All languages have dialects, but there tend to be "major" dialects (e.g. For English, Canadian/American, a few of the British accents could be considered as the main dialects to consider learning (there are others, this is just an example)).

With Spanish, it seems like there are many more major dialects. For that matter, it just seems like there are more dialects in general. That said, is proper pronunciation really that important, given that so many people speak in so many ways, all of which are native to different regions? Along these lines, is it incorrect to combine features and 'make up' a dialect (e.g. pronounce 'll' the way Argentinians do and 'z' the way Spaniards do)?

  • There is no problem in pronounce 'z' in Spain as /th/ or /s/. Some Spanish accents (specially in Southern Spain) use /s/ sound for 'z'.
    – pferor
    Jan 2, 2012 at 14:24

2 Answers 2


It depends on what correct means and in which circumstances.
In a Spanish exam, you'll certainly fail with the example you gave, but if all you want is to be understood by native speakers, you'll mostly be alright as we all spanish speakers can understand each other no matter what dialect each one speaks.

This being said, I'm Argentinian and once in Mexico, I called the operator to make a phone call back home and I said: quiero hacer una llamada, with the typical Argentine pronunciation of ll as you say, which sounds pretty much like english sh and the operator kept saying ¿samada? and she coudln't possibly understand what I was saying, until I corrected myself to /iamada/


It's the same as with the English language. 99% of people don't mind what accent you have as long as you are polite and respectful, but you would probably lose marks on it in an exam. The average person on the street probably wouldn't care if you mixed up a dialect in the way you describe although there would be nothing to stop them commenting on it (maybe in quite a rude way).

I remember when I was in Bolivia, someone asked me '¿Cómo te shamas?'. Luckily I realized that she meant '¿Cómo te llamas?' and just guessed that was how that sound was pronounced wherever she was from but I had not heard it before.

  • Thanks for your insight! This shamas is also very common in Argentina. We hope to see you again in Spanish Language.
    – fedorqui
    Dec 24, 2017 at 18:10
  • I think the person was from Uruguay if I remember correctly. Dec 24, 2017 at 21:00

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