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In other words, are the different dialects so different that they can’t understand each other, or so similar that the difference is extremely minor? And what dialect of Spanish is the most convenient to learn? Which dialect has the most speakers? I’m currently learning Mexican Spanish.

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  • The varieties of Spanish differ basically regarding accent and some vocabulary. It's best to just say you are learning Spanish with a Mexican flavor. It is really just one language. Would you say a person is learning New Zealand English? Same idea. It's just English. And they are not dialects of Spanish, just like New Zealand's English is not a dialect of English. A dialect must have significant differences, not just some words and a few sounds.
    – Lambie
    Dec 20, 2022 at 18:07

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To some extent the answer to this depends on where you intend to visit in the Spanish speaking world. My experience learning European Spanish is that (a) there are dialects within Spain itself mostly involving pronunciation differences and word choice but not grammar (b) when I travelled to South America I found much the same in terms of pronunciation and occasional difficulties in understanding words where I only knew the European word and they only their own word, (c) there are grammatical differences in parts of South America involving the second person forms but they should be able to understand you. Nobody seemed bothered by my European accent although they did sometimes find it mildly amusing.

You might find some of the answers to this question interesting I'm an English-speaking American relearning Spanish -- which dialect do I choose?

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Mi consejo es que si estas iniciándote en el idioma español da lo mismo al principio, ya que las reglas básicas sirven para el habla de cualquier lugar, lo único que cambiara serán los acentos regionales, expresiones y algunas palabras en el vocabulario que son cosas, en líneas generales, que no te impedirán avanzar.

Para hacer una comparativa, es como si yo pregunto con que tipo de inglés debo iniciarme en la lengua inglesa, ¿ debo aprender el inglés de Inglaterra, el de Canadá, el de Sudáfrica o quizás el de Australia? Para comenzar y entender la estructura del idioma da igual, solo es necesario que tengas suerte con el profesor que te imparte, pues por lo demás, dependerá de los lugares que visites, donde vivas, la gente que conozcas o el tiempo que estés en un lugar determinado, ya que es entonces cuando notaras los diferentes acentos y expresiones propias de esa ubicación.

My advice is that if you are starting out in the Spanish language, it doesn't matter at first, since the basic rules are used for speaking anywhere, the only thing that will change will be the regional accents, expressions and some words in the vocabulary that are things, In general, they will not prevent you from moving forward.

To make a comparison, it is as if I were asking what type of English should I start with in the English language, should I learn English from England, from Canada, from South Africa or perhaps from Australia? To start and understand the structure of the language, it doesn't matter, you just need to be lucky with the teacher who teaches you, because for the rest, it will depend on the places you visit, where you live, the people you meet or the time you spend in a certain place, since it is then when you will notice the different accents and expressions typical of that location.

Te dejo dos referencias que podrían ser de ayuda para conocer un poco mejor el tema.

I leave you two references that could be of help to get to know the subject a little better.

Peninsular Spanish

Spanish language in the Americas

P.D. El dialecto con más hablantes es el de México, con más de 124 millones de personas.

The dialect with the most speakers is that of Mexico, with more than 124 million people.

Español mexicano

Mexican Spanish

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From my experience, you can understand most of them while being native. The only problem is to learn new set phrases or new interpretations for the same word. Sometimes even the verb for something simple as 'andar' in some regions of central America could be used to say something like '¿Andas camera?' to mean if you have something to take photos with, while in Mexico the natural phrase would be '¿Traes con qué tomar la foto?'.

Other words may change, the one that comes to my mind is the word for money. It can be 'guita', 'lana', 'plata', 'baro'; and the most commonly used will depend on regions.

Other than that, learning the basics should be enough to grasp most of what any other Spanish speaker is saying. Although, you have to get used to different accents. Even native speakers will have trouble deciphering accents which whom they are not familiar.

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  • Andas camera? Surely, you mean andar con camera.
    – Lambie
    Dec 20, 2022 at 18:32
  • No, no. Even so it sounds painful, it's common Honduras informal talk. Also I missed a regional accent it should be like '¿Andás cámara?'
    – C-cat
    Dec 20, 2022 at 20:24
  • Andas con x sounds well within the logic of Spanish to me to say: Have you got a camera with you?
    – Lambie
    Dec 21, 2022 at 0:27
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Los dialectos son variedades del castellano repartido por todo el mundo. Normalmente creo que se entiende perfectamente lo que dicen las otras personas en otros dialectos. Es cierto que hay muchísimas palabras que son nuevas si no hablas ese dialecto pero con el contexto se entiende perfectamente. Todos los dialectos del español son ricos en cultura y aprender más es mejor que menos; aunque este no sea un dialecto, yo recomiendo el catalán porque se habla por muchísimos sitios y es muy útil. Por ejemplo en Andorra sólo hablan catalán (pósteres, etiquetas…)

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    Tengo que discrepar respetuosamente: el catalán es una lengua distinta y no un dialecto, y es de difícil comprensión para un hablante nativo de español Dec 28, 2022 at 15:35
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    Sí, usted tiene razón. Pero lo que quería interpretar era que todos los dialectos son igual de geniales por lo recomiendo cualquiera. Además de eso, quería añadir que el catalán era un idioma bueno porque se habla en muchos lugares. Espero que me haya expresado bien y me corrija si me haya equivocado al expresarme. Muchas gracias @JaimeSantaCruz Dec 28, 2022 at 16:32
  • Tienes razón, me parece que no leí el "aunque este no sea un dialecto" cuando escribí el comentario, me disculpo. Coincido en que es un idioma muy interesante de aprender. Dec 28, 2022 at 16:44
  • No se disculpe, esta plataforma necesita más usuarios como usted. Dec 28, 2022 at 16:47

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