Spanish Variation - Mexico
Language Resources

Mexican Spanish

Spanish is one of the most spoken languages worldwide, but is the Spanish spoken in Mexico any different to the Spanish spoken in Spain? Here we'll show you some of the main differences:

Grammar

  • Voseo - in some areas, the pronoun “vos” is often used instead of “tú” to mean “you”.
  • The biggest grammatical difference is that in Mexico, “ustedes” is used for the second-person plural (you all) in both formal and informal situations. In Spain, "ustedes" is used only for formal situations, while “vosotros” is used for informal situations.

Vocabulary

  • Vocabulary is where you will encounter the most differences. As well as having some completely different words, Mexican Spanish also includes many words influenced by English, given Mexico’s proximity to the United States.
    Here are just a few examples of the many differences there are.

  • Mexican SpanishPeninsular SpanishEnglish
    acáaquíhere
    aretependienteearring
    bolsabolsopurse/handbag
    papapatatapotato
    jugozumojuice
    plumabolígrafopen
    camiónautobúsbus

    Here are a few examples of words influenced by the U.S.:

    celular móvilcell phone/mobile phone
    cortetribunalcourt
    paytartapie
    refrigeradorFrigoríficorefrigerator
    computadoraordenadorcomputer
    largartocaímanalligator
  • Connotations - “coger” - this verb meaning “to choose, to grab, to catch (a bus)” in Spain has rude connotations in Mexico and other Latin American countries and should be avoided.
  • Slang also varies widely from one country to another.

Pronunciation

  • “Yeismo” - “ll” and “y” are pronounced the same.
  • “Seseo” - The pronunciation of the consonants “c” (followed by “e” or “i”), "z" and "s" is the same: pronounced “s”.

Influences

Language influence flows in more than one direction. Just as American English has influenced the Spanish spoken in Mexico, Spanish has influenced English (we can thank Spanish for words like anchovy, banana, cafeteria, canyon, cargo, hurricane, mosquito, and many more) and Nahuatl, a Uto-Aztecan language spoken by approximately 1.5 million people in Mexico, has influenced both Spanish and English. For example, the words avocado, chocolate, chipotle, guacamole, and tomato all have their origins in Nahuatl, which is just one of Mexico's many indigenous languages.

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