¿Coche o carro? y otros diferences entre el español de España y el de las Américas

In this video, Virginia explains some of the differences between the Spanish of Spain and Latin America Spanish. This is the first of a series of videos on this topic. 

Hello and welcome to Real Spanish!

I’m sure you already know that the Spanish that’s spoken in Spain is not the same as the Spanish spoken in Latin America. The accents and many words vary from country to country, and even among different parts of the same country. Also, some grammatical forms vary. Argentinian Spanish is very different from Colombian Spanish, and Andalusian Spanish is quite different from the Spanish spoken in Madrid.

Normally you’ll understand and be understood in any Spanish-speaking country… although it’s good to know some words that can cause confusion or embarrassment. For example, the verb «coger», in common use in Spain, has sexual connotations in some Latin American countries.

Another dangerous word: in Spain «Concha» is a common female name. It’s not a reference to seashells that you find on the beach; it’s the diminutive of the name Concepción.

But watch out! In Latin America, «concha» may refer to the exterior part of the vagina. In Argentina it’s very common to say, «¡La concha de tu madre!», as an expression of anger. In Spain it’s more common to say «¡Hijo de puta!» or «¡La madre que te parió!».

Here are some less risky examples:

  • El zumo in Spain is jugo in Latin America
  • El móvil is a celular in Latin America
  • El ordenador is a computadora in Latin America
  • Las gafas are anteojos in Latin America (because you wear them in front of your eyes)
  • El coche es el carro o el auto in Latin America. In Spain, el carro is a cart or trolley in a supermarket.

In some of our courses and mini-lessons we have examples of Spanish from various places, to help you to understand native speakers, wherever they are from. For example, in this clip, one of the characters is from Argentina, while the other is from Galicia, in Spain. Listen:

– Hombre, yo era director de un banco, de esas cosas entiendo algo.

– ¡Che! ¡Director de banco! ¡Qué bárbaro! ¿Vos qué sos, otro Rockefeller?

One of these days I’ll bring you other examples of the different varieties of Spanish. Bye for now!

We plan to publish more videos about some of the differences between different varieties of Spanish.  Follow us on YouTube so you don’t miss them!

Please leave us a comment, a question, or a suggestion: we’d love to hear from you!

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