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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Rosa here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I'll answer some of your most common Spanish questions.
The question for this lesson is, What are the main differences among Spanish from Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean?
Spanish is one of the world's most widely spoken languages. It's the official language of 19 countries as well as Puerto Rico.
It's so widespread because of Spanish colonial history. During the colonial period, Spanish mixed with native regional languages, and that's why Spanish today is so different around the world.
There's no standard Spanish dialect, only regional dialects. So it's common for Spanish learners to run into different kinds of Spanish - especially in terms of pronunciation.
In the U.S., Latin American Spanish is what's most commonly taught in schools. It's spoken in most of Central America and South America, including Mexico, and excluding Argentina, Brazil, Suriname, French Guiana and Guyana.
Latin American Spanish has strong r’s and a relatively clean pronunciation. Words are pronounced mostly as they're written.
Here are just a few regional varieties of Latin American Spanish:
Caribbean Spanish often drops s's at the ends of words, making it sound a lot faster than Spanish from other places.
Mexican Spanish takes a lot of vocabulary from the indigenous language Náhutal. You may be familiar with the word chocolate, which comes from the word xocolātl in Náhutal. Also, the double-l in Mexico has a "y" sound. So for the sentence, "My name is Ricardo," Mexicans say, me llamo (yamo) Ricardo.
Colombian-Ecuadorian Spanish is a mixture of Caribbean Spanish and coastal Spanish. Here, the double-l usually makes the sound "j," like me llamo (jamo) Ricardo.
Argentinian Spanish is in a category by itself. It's very different from the Spanish spoken in the rest of Latin America. It has some indigenous Guaraní vocabulary, but French and Italian immigrants also strongly influenced this dialect.
An interesting fact about Argentinian Spanish is that Argentinian slang, called "lunfardo," was originally a made-up prison language. Prisoners, mostly Italians, used it so guards wouldn't understand what they were saying. Now, lunfardo words are used all over Argentina.
Argentinian Spanish also uses vos, the formal "you" address, rather than tú, the more common informal address in Latin America. The double-l is also pronounced like "j/zh" as in me llamo Ricardo.
Spanish in Spain is called Castilian Spanish. Some pronunciations are very different than the other kinds of Spanish we’ve already mentioned. The double-l is pronounced differently depending on the region within Spain.
The Latin American "ci/ce" sound is pronounced with a "th" sound like, "ci/ce [Castilian pronunciation]."
For example, Gracias, meaning thank you, is "[Latin American pronunciation]" in Latin American Spanish and Gracias "[Castilian pronunciation]" in Castilian Spanish.
Another major difference is that Castilian Spanish often uses vosotros as the plural of tú instead of the Latin American ustedes.
Pretty fascinating, isn't it?
If you have any other questions, leave a comment and I'll try to answer it!