Latest news

map-428639_640 (1)

Latin Spanish and Castilian Spanish, differences

In this entry, I will explain some grammatical, semantic and phonetic differences between Latin Spanish and Spanish spoken in the Iberian Peninsula.



A great difference that many foreign students will have noticed is that in the Spanish spoken in South America, especially in Argentina, the formula “vos” is used in front of “tú” or “usted”, second-person singular Spanish pronoun. In Castilian, Spanish vos was an expression used in the Middle Ages to refer to someone in the second person as a sign of respect, compared to the Latin spoken in Latin America, which uses it as a colloquial form. In medieval Castilian Spanish, the formula “vuesa merced” was also used a lot, also as an expression of respect that evolved to the present “usted” of today.

When the Spaniards colonized the different regions of America, each of them adopted as their own language the Spanish that was spoken in the Peninsula at that time (16th century).  The Spanish spoken in the colonies began to develop in different directions since the communication with Spain was very limited. Due to this little contact, many formulas that fell shortly afterward in Spanish Castilian remained in the Latin Spanish until the present time, among them the use of “vos”, mainly in the South American countries, among them Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. So if you go to a restaurant in Buenos Aires it is much more likely that the waiter will ask you   “¿de dónde sos vos?” before “¿de dónde eres?

 Also, in Latin Spanish is never used the form “ustedes” while in Castilian Spanish is used even more than “vosotros”.Usually the second person pronoun of the plural “vosotros” is usually used in a more formal sense and “vosotros” in a more informal sense, but in Latin Spanish can be easier for foreign students since they should only use the form “ustedes”, while in Castilian Spanish can confuse the situations in which they should use “ustedes” or “vosotros”.

personal pronouns  in Castilian Spanish                         personal pronouns in Latin Spanish

1ª persona del singular -yo                                                            1ª persona del singular-yo

2ª persona del singular informal-tú                                            2ª personal del singular-tú (informal) usted (formal)/vos-más común vos para ambos usos

 2ª persona del singular formal-usted                                         3ª persona del singular-él/ella

3ª persona del singular-él/ella                                                      1ª persona del plural-nosotros/as

1ª persona del plural -nosotros/as                                                2ª persona del plural-ustedes

2ª personal del plural formal-vosotros/as                                  3ª persona del plural-ellos/ellas

2ª persona del plural informal-ustedes

3ª persona del plural-ellos/as

Another grammatical difference to emphasize is that in Latin Spanish the use of adverbs of a place is preferred “acá” or “allá” instead of “aquí”(place closest to the subject), or “allí” (lugar más lejano al sujeto). Por ejemplo ellos prefieren decir lace farthest from the subject). For example, they prefer to say “mi casa está por acá cerca”  instead of “mi casa está por aquí cerca” . It is also noteworthy that Latin Americans prefer to use the verb in preterite indefinite rather than in perfect past to speak of situations passed relatively recently, in a manner similar to English:

Español latino: Ya desayuné

Español castellano: Ya he desayunado


As for vocabulary, there are many differences between Latin Spanish and Castilian Spanish, but in this entry, we will only talk about a few differences.

Let’s look at a list of words in Castilian Spanish that are said differently in Latin America:

coche                                    carro

ordenador                           computadora

beber                                    tomar

suelo                                     piso

tío                                         chamo

niño                                     chamaco

trabajo                                chamba

conducir                             manejar

darse la vuelta                  voltearse

empujar                             aventar

padre                                   papá

madre                                  mamá

tienda de ropa                    mol

armario                                closet

ducha                                  regadera

spending on the specific area, some words will be used more than others. And it is interesting because this way the student will be able to take it into account for the geographical area that he is going to visit and feel more familiar with the vocabulary used, as well as the expressions that are more common depending on the region in which you are.





0 Comment