Spanish Latin America
Language Resources

The Spanish in Latin America varies from country to country and even within the countries themselves. You can check our special pages about the Spanish spoken in differents countries in Latin America. For example this month: Spanish spoken in Mexico, Cuba & Argentina !

Here are a few of the major characteristics of Latin American Spanish:

VOSEO VS TUTEO

In at least some part of every Latin American country, with the exceptions of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, the pronoun "vos" is used either in competition with or instead of "tú". Both mean "you".

The usage of the pronoun "vos" and its corresponding verb conjugations is known as "voseo", while the use of the pronoun "tú" and its corresponding verb conjugations is known as "tuteo".

USE OF "USTEDES" INSTEAD OF "VOSOTROS"

While peninsular Spanish has two ways of saying "you" in plural form (such as when addressing a group; "you all"), Latin American Spanish has only one. In Spain, both "vosotros" (you all, informal) and "ustedes" (you all, formal) are used, while in Latin America "ustedes" is always used. This also goes for the corresponding verb conjugations.

WEAKENED OR LOST CONSONANTS

As is common in southern Spain, many consonants at the end of a syllable or word are either weakened or lost altogether. This is especially the case with the final "s" sound. For example: "los niños" (the children) ends up sounding more like "loh niñoh", "adios" (goodbye) sounds like "adioh" and the clause "esto es lo mismo" (this is the same) sounds more like "ehto eh lo mihmo".

In words with a "d" between two vowels, the d is often dropped so that "cansado" (tired) sounds like "cansao" and "pecado" (sin) sounds like "pecao". When before a conso

You will notice this Spanish variation in the Caribbean, much of Central America, the entire Pacific coast of South America, the Rio de la Plata nations and some areas of Mexico. The "r" is also commonly dropped from the end of verb infinitives, so that "comer" (to eat) sounds like "comé".

SESEO

The s, c and z are all pronounced with an "s" sound instead of the "th" common in Spain.

  • "Centros" (centers) sounds like "sentros", whereas in parts of Spain it sounds like "thentros".

YEÍSMO

  • "ll" pronounced like a "y", while in rest of Spain pronounced like a soft j, or like the second g in garage.
  • Te llamo (pronounced te jamo) becomes "Te yamo"

CONFUSION BETWEEN "L" SOUND AND "R" SOUND

Like in parts of southern Spain, there is a certain confusion between the l and r sounds. The "l", when placed before a consonant in a word, is often pronounced as an "r". For example, the word "alma" (soul) will often be pronounced "arma".

This is the case in the Caribbean region and in parts of Chile.

INFLUENCES - INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES, EUROPE, ETC.

From indigenous languages like Nahuatl, Mapudungun, Guarani and Quechua to European languages like Galician Spanish, Italian and French, Latin America is certainly a melting pot of influences.

The Spanish spoken reflects the many cultures that have set foot in Latin America over the years. While the base language is Castillian Spanish, there are traces of indigenous, European and even African languages in regional Latin American dialects.

A great example is Argentina, which has some 9,000 words that are spoken nowhere else. Peru has a sizeable Asian population and, over the years, has hispanicized many Japanese and Chinese words. Venezuela has integrated African words into its Spanish, remnants of when the Spanish arrived with slaves.