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In Spain I learned aquí, allí, allá, but in Costa Rica it all seems to become acá. Am I not remembering the Castellano correctly or does this differentiation not exist in Latin America?

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In Spain acá is not typically used. So you probably learned the Spanish from Spain where we use aquí, allá and allí as you said.

I believe the word acá is very common in Latin America countries, and has the same meaning as aquí.

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  • It might not be as usual as in other Spanish speaking countries, but it is indeed used. – Gorpik Jan 30 '14 at 8:52
  • @Gorpik Never heard – SysDragon Jan 30 '14 at 8:55
  • As it was explained to me in Madrid aqui....alli............alla. Sorry I don't have the accents. In Costa Rica it seems to be aca....aca.............aca – user2405 Jan 30 '14 at 22:30
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"Aquí" and "Acá" have the same meaning. The same for "Allí" and "Allá".

We use "Aquí/Acá" when you're talking about a position near to you, or maybe your own position. In the other hand, "Allí/Allá" is for pointing a position far from you.

For example:

  • Aquí/Acá fue donde lo vi por última vez.

  • Esta silla de aquí/acá es de hace 5 años.

  • Vamos a comer allá/allí

  • Ese de allá/allí es a quien buscas

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  • 1
    I'm from Chile, and this is how we use this words – brb Jan 28 '14 at 19:11
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    There is a slight difference. acá and allá may be used comparatively, whereas aquí and allí may not. Hence más acá/allá but not más aquí. – user0721090601 Jun 23 '14 at 7:53
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I was taught - by a Colombian - that aquí is more proximal than acá. That is, if something is in the general vicinity, but not at arm's length, one would use acá. If it was easily reachable, one would use aquí. (Exactly where the boundary lies is a bit fuzzy).

Is this the case in Colombia, but not elsewhere?

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2

As the RAE definitions compared in this other answer show, both words have the same meaning. However, from the questions and comments it is clear that in some regions one is preferred over the other.

By using Google trends (thanks @ukemi for this find), which shows what people are searching for, we can notice that:

  • aquí is overwhelmingly preferred in Spain
  • aquí and acá have mixed usage in hispanoamerica, with aquí being more popular overall but acá getting more common the further south you go
  • Argentina is the only country where acá is more common than aquí

Since the language evolves here is the result of Google trends as of May/2019

enter image description here

In the particular case of Argentina, again according to Google trends the preference for acá has not been always the same and around 2012 aquí was more common in searches.

enter image description here

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  • Very interesting. So Argentina is really the odd one out as I thought. Curiously we do prefer ahí in expressions like ahí vamos (though mostly reduced to something like ay). – pablodf76 May 17 '19 at 14:34

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