Questions addressing any of the many differences in vocabulary, pronunciation, usage, etc. of the varieties of Spanish spoken through Spain and the Americas.

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5
votes
3answers
115 views

Pronunciación de la letra ge

En un curso de Memrise.com hay extractos donde la ge en "amigo" y "lugar" se pronuncia como una leve jota, casi como una hache. ¿Es realmente la pronunciación castellana?
13
votes
8answers
530 views

¿Se usa 'guácala' fuera de México?

En español mexicano, cuando uno siente algo repugnante es típico usar una palabra onomatopeica: 'guácala' (imita el sonido de vomitar). Es equivalente a decir 'yuck' en inglés. ¿Qué tan común es ...
6
votes
2answers
166 views

Regional differences between escuchar and oír

In school I learned that escuchar was for the English "to listen to" and oír was "to hear." In Central America, however, I frequently heard escuchar being used for "to hear" (e.g. No te escucho ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

What are the differences between “el mar” and “la mar”?

Another question touched on this issue, but I wanted to ask in more detail. Mar is a noun that can be masculine or feminine. I have heard that there are subtle differences in connotations between the ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Describing the common cold or flu in Spanish

In English, when talking about common viruses people often get, there are generally two categories: a cold is generally more mild and can come with runny nose, sneezing, coughing, sore throat, etc. ...
8
votes
5answers
799 views

Difference Between “Computadora” and “Ordenador”

Español Ví un cartel fuera de una tienda que decía: "Computadoras y ordenadores" en un cuadro "cubano" fuera de New York City, En un principio, creo que ambas palabras significan "computer". Pero, ...
7
votes
5answers
936 views

¿Cómo se dice regionalmente “coquetear”?

Español (Pregunta: ¿cómo se dice "to flirt" regionalmente?) Sé que la forma correcta de decirlo es "coquetear". Sin embargo, en México usamos la palabra "ligar". He oído que en Chile usan la palabra ...
17
votes
6answers
32k views

What's the difference between “vamos” and “vámonos”?

Español Cuando estaba estudiando Español, aprendí que "let's go" es "vamos," pero cuando fui a México, lo único que oído estaba "vámonos." Pregunté a una persona bilingüe allá, pero ella no supe la ...
8
votes
7answers
6k views

Is there a difference between cilantro and culantro in Spanish?

I've seen the American English "cilantro" (British English "coriander") translated into Spanish as both cilantro and culantro. What is the difference? Are they synonyms used interchangeably, or is the ...
8
votes
5answers
447 views

Is “tobogán” an acceptable word for “slide” throughout the Spanish speaking world?

English I'm trying to learn words to talk to my baby at the playground in Spanish. WordReference.com gives the following as part of its definition for "slide." slide 2 sustantivo 1. (in ...
9
votes
6answers
510 views

How big are the regional differences in the Spanish spoken in different countries?

As a non-native speaker, I have no more difficulty conversing with a Mexican than a Spaniard or Venezuelan or Colombian or vice versa. I realize there are regional variations and differences in ...
10
votes
1answer
136 views

Plug vs Socket: Interchangeable?

Many dictionaries that I have looked at online seem to use enchufe as a word that is interchangeable for the English words plug and socket, which are two related, but distinct objects. Some ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

What's the difference between rezar and orar? Are there any other ways to say 'to pray'?

My teacher told me that different religions tend to use different words for "to pray", usually choosing between rezar and orar. Which words are preferred by what religions & in which areas? Are ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Happy Birthday songs in Spanish [closed]

The most recognized song in the English language is "Happy Birthday to You" (the common song sung on someone's birthday). What songs in Spanish are traditionally sung on birthdays (and what are the ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “haiga” mean?

What is the Spanish word haiga? Is it a properly conjugated form of a verb? Or a regional variant or improper conjugation? Where/when is it used?
3
votes
2answers
551 views

How outdated is the Spanish of the Reina-Valera Bible?

I've been told by native Spanish speakers that the Reina-Valera Bible (even the 1960 edition) sounds old fashioned and stuffy. It's one of the reasons our pastor uses other translations. But when ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

wallet: cartera vs. billetera

The English word "wallet" (as in something you carry in your pocket to hold money, credit cards, etc.) can be translated into Spanish as cartera or billetera. Are the words synonyms that can be used ...
6
votes
4answers
5k views

to drink: beber vs. tomar

I have heard beber and tomar used interchangeably as translations for the English "to drink." Is there any difference between the two, or are they exact synonyms when describing drinking a liquid? Are ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Querer vs Amar & Adorar

The words amar and querer according to RAE are synonyms; however, in Colombia, at least, amar is considered a stronger feeling, a highest level of love, if you can say that. For example, I can tell a ...
6
votes
3answers
381 views

Translation of “bloody” etc. for frustration (colloquialisms)

A random question, In English I use words like 'bloody', 'damn', 'darn', 'blimmin', 'bleedin', 'freaking', to express frustration without using harsh swear words. (Ok maybe 'freaking' is just a spin ...
1
vote
2answers
82 views

Usage of the word acullá

WordReference translates acullá as "yonder." Is this a word that was only used in the past, or is it still used in modern Spanish today? If so, what regions does it appear in and how is it used?
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Armpit: sobaco vs. axila

"Armpit" in English can be translated as either sobaco or axila in Spanish. Is each term used in different regions, or are they both used across the Spanish-speaking world? What is the difference, or ...
4
votes
4answers
720 views

“s” final en tiempo pretérito indefinido: -aste(s), -iste(s)

Español La segunda persona singular del pretérito indefinido generalmente termina en "-aste" o "-iste". En muchos lugares, la gente agrega una "s" final a estas palabras (por ejemplo, hablastes en ...
1
vote
1answer
318 views

Studying Spanish at school in a Spanish speaking country

In the Spanish speaking country where you live or have been, up to what age/year level is it compulsory to study the Spanish language at school. Where I live (English speaking country) it is ...
6
votes
7answers
961 views

Learning programming in a Spanish speaking country

This question is for anyone who has learned programming in a Spanish speaking country. Seeing as though the key words for programming languages like Java, C, Python etc are all in English I have a ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Translation of “bowl”

I have heard many different translations for bowl (the dish) in different Spanish-speaking countries. What words are normally used to translate "bowl"? Which is most universally understood? What ...
4
votes
5answers
3k views

Most accurate translation of “possum”

What is the most universal Spanish word to describe a possum? What regional variations exist? Does the translation refer specifically to the same animal as the English word, or does it cover a larger ...
10
votes
2answers
879 views

Audio maps of spanish dialects?

Apart from vocabulary differences, the spanish language has an enormous and fascinating diversity in pronunciation and accents. In my country (Argentina) people from the central inland region have a ...
4
votes
7answers
2k views

Meaning and connotations of “gringo”

In the US, "gringo" is usually understood as a disparaging reference to a foreigner (see the Merriam-Webster definition). What exactly does gringo mean in Spanish? Is it neutral, or does it have ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

What does “chepa” mean in Nicaraguan Spanish?

What does the word chepa mean when used to refer to a person in Nicaraguan Spanish? What are some examples of how it is used?
4
votes
4answers
3k views

Different words for “beer”

In Mexico, besides "cerveza" we call beer the following: cheve chela pisto (anything with alcohol) bironga helada fría These are used informally. Are there any other words used to address beer in ...
3
votes
2answers
507 views

Why “camarada” means friend?

It is common in Mexico to use the word camarada as a way to call informally a friend. For example: Tengo un camarada que es piloto. Ayer fuimos a la fiesta un camarada y yo. RAE defines camarada ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Other spanish synonyms to “Banana”

I remember reading in high school that the word la banana is actually a different word in several different countries. Is this true? If so what are the other similar/equivalent Spanish words for la ...
2
votes
1answer
857 views

reserva vs. reservación

What is the difference between reserva and reservación (as in a reservation that you would make at a restaurant)? Do the two words mean the same thing? Which is used in what parts of the ...
5
votes
5answers
713 views

¿“Septiembre” or “setiembre”?

Setiembre is only used in Peru, AFAIK, but I wonder if there are any other countries where setiembre, as opposed to septiembre, is also valid. RAE links the definition of setiembre to the definition ...
2
votes
2answers
497 views

Spanish names for preterite and imperfect tenses

In school, I learned that the Spanish past tenses were called preterite and imperfect in English, and preterito and imperfecto in Spanish. However, in talking to native speakers I've run across other ...
9
votes
2answers
940 views

What is the most common way to answer the phone?

What is the most universally-used greeting when answering the phone (i.e. way to say, "Hello?")? Are there any circumstances where the greeting would be different (for example, when answering a phone ...
5
votes
4answers
259 views

How regional or widespread are the colloquial “pa” / “pa'” in place of “para”?

In Mexico I sometimes heard or saw the colloquial variant pa' or pa used for para. But is this just a Mexicanism, also used in Central America, all Latin America, or even in Spain?
7
votes
3answers
557 views

What Spanish term (or terms) work best to describe a glass jar as used for coffee, jam, etc?

A bit earlier in the chat room I mentioned that I needed to buy a new jar of coffee, but that I didn't know how to express that in Spanish. I want to know a good Spanish word for "jar" in the sense ...
7
votes
4answers
538 views

How did the words “mataburros” and “tumbaburros” come to mean “dictionary”?

The recent question about irregular plurals led me to a couple of odd and interesting words that apparently mean "dictionary" in at least one sense each: mataburros tumbaburros The connection ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

¡Buenas! greeting in morning

Another question brings up the fact that in many countries, ¡Buenas! is used as a greeting (as an abbreviation of Buenas tardes or Buenas noches). In regions where this is the case, what should be ...
6
votes
5answers
828 views

Definition of escuela and colegio

Spanish has two generic words for school: escuela and colegio. I have heard different explanations for what phases of schooling each word refers to. For example, I've been told that colegio refers ...
5
votes
2answers
535 views

“Iros” instead of “idos” (imperative of verb “ir”)

I have heard many times the use of the infinitive instead of the imperative in Spanish with the verb "ir". For example: Si me queréis, irse* (Instead of: Si me queréis, váyanse) [Famous quote of ...
8
votes
7answers
683 views

Are there any words that have opposite regional meanings?

Following in the footsteps of EL&U, are there any words that have opposite meanings in different Spanish-speaking regions? We are looking for words that are the same, but have different meanings ...
8
votes
2answers
261 views

Usage of “adiós” in the Basque country

People in the Basque country commonly use local words, such as agur instead of adiós. According to our former Spanish teacher, usage of adiós is unadvisable in the Basque country because of its ...
6
votes
1answer
222 views

What's the origin of the Panamanian word “biñuelo”? Is it merely a corruption of “buñuelo”?

I was in Panama about five years ago and there was a common deep fried street food called "biñuelo". Of course there's a regular Spanish word "buñuelo" which means fritter. So is "biñuelo" just the ...
23
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is the “X” in México and Texas pronunced as the letter “J”?

English Even as a native speaker I don't know the reason of this. Another example would be Xavier. Español Aunque el español es mi primera lengua, no sé por qué razón sucede esto. Otro ejemplo ...
2
votes
1answer
149 views

Are there vulgarities in Spanish that are universal throughout the language?

The vulgar words I'm familiar with all seem to be local slang. Does Spanish have any words that are universally accepted as vulgar or profane?
2
votes
1answer
332 views

Pronunciation of words ending in -n

It seems that some people pronounce words that end with -n almost as a "ng" sound. "Bien", for example, seems to come out as "Bie[ng]". Is this a regional issue? What regions use this ...
12
votes
1answer
155 views

How can I know if a word or phrase should be avoided due to regional variations?

Say that I want to write some blog posts or news articles in Spanish. Are there any useful resources (e.g. books, websites or guidelines) that one could use in order to write “neutral” Spanish, that ...