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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29
votes
9answers
2k views

Any difference between aquí and acá

I've been taught that aquí and acá are completely interchangable. From personal observation, acá seems to be used more often than aquí in the context of "I live down this road." Example: Vivo ...
24
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
23
votes
11answers
4k views

How to pronounce the consonants “y” and “ll”?

I have heard y/ll pronounced in two different ways: [j] (like 'y' in "yellow") [ʒ] (like 's' in "measure") Do native speakers use both interchangeably? Or is it pronounced [j] in some regions and ...
20
votes
6answers
54k 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 ...
15
votes
10answers
5k views

'vos' vs 'tú' usage by country

I lived for a while in Bolivia, and I noticed some people used "vos" instead of "tú" as the second person familiar singular pronoun. Which countries use "vos" instead of "tú", and are there any that ...
14
votes
8answers
789 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
8k views

How prevalent is the phrase “qué padre”?

Here in Mexico, the slang phrase qué padre (or various forms such as muy padre, etc) are quite common, with the meaning "how cool". Is this just Mexican slang, or do other regions use the same ...
12
votes
1answer
184 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
692 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
3answers
1k views

“Antier” para expresar el día anterior a ayer

Hace unos días mientras me encontraba cambiando de canal en la televisión por cable, escuche una conversación de una pelicula americana doblada al español. Dos personas estaban en un bar conversando. ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

What are the main differences between Spanish in Spain and Spanish in Latin America? [closed]

A good analogy is that the difference is like those in British and American English, but what are those differences exactly? Is Spanish in Latin America a branch from that in Spain?
10
votes
8answers
704 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

How is the letter 's' (or the 's' sound) pronounced in Spain?

I've heard varying things regarding the pronunciation of the 's' sound in Spain. However, no one was willing/able to explain this to me. How is the 's' sound pronounced in Spain compared to its ...
10
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
7answers
11k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
9
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
156 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
7answers
845 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
5answers
1k 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, ...
8
votes
5answers
7k views

Difference between Spanish and Catalan

I recently went to Barcelona and found that the people there speak Catalan but not Spanish. Although, I did listen some words that are common in both Spanish and Catalan, still there was also a ...
8
votes
3answers
553 views

Use of “Que” in “Que todo te vaya bien”

Que todo te vaya bien. Que nos reunamos a las 6. I've seen, and used, que in this form - it's as if the verb has been dropped, say, espero. What is the origin of this usage? Is it ...
8
votes
3answers
841 views

What is Spanish for “John Doe” in Puerto Rico?

What is Puerto Rican Spanish for "John Doe" or "Jane Doe" ? Is it still Fulano de Tal ?
8
votes
2answers
363 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 ...
7
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
711 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
8answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
444 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
136 views

Difference between -iera and -iese ending of the imperfect subjunctive

There are two forms of the imperfect subjunctve in use, for example, pudiera, pudieras, pudiera, pudiéramos, pudierais, pudieran and pudiese, pudieses, pudiese, pudiésemos, pudieseis, pudiesen I ...
7
votes
4answers
870 views

“Po” for “pues” - anywhere else but Chile?

I recently met someone from Chile who used "po" as a contraction of "pues" - and said that this is common usage in Chile. Is it used anywhere else? Recientemente conocí una chilena que utiliza "po" ...
7
votes
1answer
148 views

“Haber de” y futuridad

La entrada de "haber" en lo "Diccionario panhispánico de dudas" incluye este trozo: a) haber de + infinitivo. En el español general, esta perífrasis denota obligación, conveniencia o necesidad ...
7
votes
2answers
156 views

¿En qué países se utiliza la expresión “colgar el sambenito”?

Como resultado de una pregunta anterior relacionada con el concepto de culpabilidad (guilt trip), surgió la expresión (frecuente en España) "colgar el sambenito", que significa "culpar a alguien ...
6
votes
2answers
581 views

Enumeración: Mil millón vs. Billón

En inglés, se dice "one billion" para la cantidad 10^9 (1,000,000,000). Pero en español, he oído la cantidad "mil millones" para la misma cantidad (hasta en los periódicos). Casi nunca he oído la ...
6
votes
8answers
283 views

¿Por qué la gente se ríe cuando me presento como “Fénix, como el ave”?

Mi nombre es Fénix — muy raro aún en inglés. Cuando me presento a la gente en Suramérica, a menudo se malinterpreta mi nombre como "Felix". Entonces, me he acostumbrado presentarme así: "Soy Fénix, ...
6
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
354 views

¿En qué países la palabra “coger” tiene connotaciones sexuales?

En algunos países hispanoparlantes la palabra coger tiene connotaciones sexuales. La RAE indica "Realizar el acto sexual", pero el problema es que es una expresión malsonante, marcada fuertemente como ...
6
votes
5answers
6k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
359 views

Regional use of “genial”

What parts of the Spanish-speaking world regularly use the word genial? Is it only encountered in Spain, or is it common in other regions as well? Edit: It seems like it's more widespread than I ...
6
votes
3answers
292 views

Is Spain the only country that uses “vosotros” for “you all”?

Is Spain the only country that uses vosotros for you all (informal) instead of ustedes? (In the second-person perspective). Examples: Spain: Vosotros sois inteligentes. Other (?): Ustedes ...
6
votes
2answers
218 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
165 views

Are there regions or dialects which use both “tú” and “vos”?

In my experience most places use either "tú" or "vos" for the second person singular intimate/informal pronoun. But I haven't been to every Spanish speaking country and area. Are there places which ...
6
votes
1answer
251 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

What does “apañao” mean?

¿Qué significa "apañao"? Aparentemente se usa exclusivamente en la región de Andalucía. Estaba hablando con alguien y dijo esa palabra pero no la pudo traducir. ¿Alguien sabe su significado y uso? ...
5
votes
4answers
302 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?