There are many questions on the Internet from people, wondering if they should learn Spanish from Spain vs Spanish from Latin America. There are many factors, but since I live in Europe I decided that it is wise to follow general advice and study version from Spain (castellano), to use it in my speaking and writing with natives in Europe. Due to this, I watched and analyzed (by paying attention to the use of phrases, intonation, etc.) several movies and series from Spain ("La Víctima Número Ocho", "Contratiempo", "El Desconocido").
But the thing is that I am studying Spanish not only to talk with natives from Spain, but also to obtain advantages of Spanish being very global language. I don't want to limit myself only to content from Spain, because there is so much of interesting content in Latin America, as well. Books, movies, articles on different topics. Initially I thought of consuming Latin American content only after I learn one dialect - castellano (to have sort of base when dealing with Latin American content). But now I decided to consume input and learn from all countries.
Basically, right now my goal is to be understandable by native speakers in Europe (in writing and speaking) and at the same time to strive to increase my ability to understand content from both Latin America and Spain.
I am already quite aware of the main differences in grammar between Spanish in Spain and Latin America, at least what to pay attention to. Of course, it varies country by country, but in general:
use of vos vs tú,
use of ustedes vs vosotros,
use of pretérito indefinido vs pretérito perfecto
loísmo vs leísmo
preference for reflexive verb forms for verbs of movement in Latin America: venir vs venirse, entrar vs entrarse, etc.
SO, by knowing this, I think I have less chances of learning "incorrect" grammar to be used in Spain, even if I consume and learn from Latin American content. So, these differences in grammar doesn't concern me much. Besides, to me they seem not too difficult learn. For example, as I already now "vosotros" conjugation, swapping it for "ustedes" when in Latin America doesn't seem so difficult for me. Maybe when you already have habits, it is more difficult to swap, but still I think quite easy to adjust if needed.
I am also somewhat aware of different pronunciation, like yeísmo in Rioplatense dialect for for “y” and “ll” and tendency in dropping "s" and "d" (especially in Carribean). Other differences in pronunciation between natives from Spain and other Latin American countries are not so dramatical, at least for my ears. So, differences in pronunciation doesn't concern me too, as long as I pay attention to the most drastical differences.
Different slang/colloquialism doesn't concern me either, because I use WordReference to distinguish between slang in Spain and Latin America. Example below.
Eso mola - used in Spain. https://www.wordreference.com/es/en/translation.asp?spen=molar
While in Mexico different word with same meaning would be used https://www.wordreference.com/es/en/translation.asp?spen=chido
As you can see, there is symbox "ES" or "MX" and you just need to use the one where you live now. And usually you learn slang on-the-go by living in that area. So I now avoid learning any slang in advance, maybe a couple of slang words from castellano dialect, for fun.
What concerns me more is the difference in the use of non-slang words and phrases to describe the same object or issue (like differences in UK vs US English). For example, from "La Víctima Número Ocho":
Vamos justo de tiempo = we are in a hurry
As you can see, there is no any regional symbol (unlike with slang example of "mola" above), so I assume this phrase is universally understood in Latin America too. Correct?
There are other phrases I learnend from movies from Spain. Would, for example, these prhases be understood in Latin America?
Tener a bien
Muerto de hambre
Tener una vida por delante
Hacer caso a alguien
Echar la bronca
Merecer la pena
Salirse con la suya
Seguir el rollo
Tomar el pelo a alguien
SO, the problem is that when I watch Argentinian or any other Latin American movie, I can see many interesting uses of words, phrases, etc., which I would like actually to memorise and to use later in speaking with natives from Europe. But subconsciously I am a bit afraid to learn something I will not be able to use here.
In regards to this, questions:
- If I used these phrases above from Spanish movies, would I be understood in Latin America? Are these phrases really are universal, according to WordReference?
- Question connected with the question above - can I rely on WordReference when translating any phrase from Latin American movie that if it doesn't show any regional symbol (unlike in case of "molar") that it can be used in Spain and be understood?
- Maybe the main question - is it really safe to learn such kind of chunks of words and individual words from Latin American movies to use later in Spain, to be understood by people?
I am really asking this all because I don't know how much natives from Spain and Latin America understand each others use of particular words (carro vs coche as example).
I, of course, red about this issue myself. And liked the response from Stephanie S in this link: https://www.fluentin3months.com/forum/specific-language-questions/should-i-learn-european-spanish-or-latin-american-spanish/
Seems like it is not a problem at all. But I am also interested in obtaining feedback here.