FAQ, Spanish and its dialectal issuesLast Sunday we were witness to the 14th Spanish general election of our democracy. The results are a good example of how many different regions we have and how different we are.

The Spanish language is not homogeneous, neither; there are not only variants in Spain but in America, too. These differences are even obvious for our students when they listen to audios, watch series and movies or read texts from different countries.

Today, we’re bringing you here three variants that can make you be confused.

1. Seseo and ceceo: /ka’sar/ or /ka’θar/?

Seseo is the pronunciation of letters ‘c’ (before ‘e’ and ‘i’) and ‘z’ as the sound /s/ (like ‘sit’) instead of the normative /θ/ (like ‘think’). This happens in most regions in the south of Spain and Spanish America.

On the other hand, ceceo is the opposite phenomenon: the use of the sound /θ/ instead of /s/. This last one is more limited (only in the South of Andalusia and some regions in America like El Salvador or Puerto Rico).

This confussion can cause funny misunderstandings. Imagine a man asking his friend about his coming wedding:

¿Qué pasa? ¿Te vas a casar? (What’s up! Are you going to marry?)

Sí, ya tengo preparada la escopeta (Yes, I have my shotgun ready).

Wow, are we going to attend another ‘red wedding’ like in Game of Thrones? Not really. The second man is maybe a seseante person and he thought his friend asked him about hunting (cazar). In these situations, only the context can save us.

2. What should I use: vos, tú, ustedes, vosotros…?

This question is even hard for us. Only a person who is used to travelling between both mainlands or a linguist can answer it.

In Spain, the normal way to address somebody is using the pronoun or usted if the situation is more formal. For the plural, we use vosotros or ustedes (politer). This use changes in Canary Islands and some areas in Andalusia, where they prefer ustedes for formal and informal situations.

However, in America they don’t use vosotros is most of countries, replacing it with ustedes for all situations. That’s not all, the use of vos instead of is generalized in oral and written language in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, but also used in Bolivia, Costa Rica, Chile and more. In many other areas, el voseo (use of vos) is limited like in Colombia, Cuba, Mexico and others.

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3. Why the participle forms sound as if they had lost the letter ‘d’?

We’re sure you habrás ‘escuchao(might have heard) this consonantal loss in the participle endings –ado and  –ido (hablao, comío, vivío instead of hablado, comido, vivido). It’s very widespread in Spain and it’s growing in America. It’s more frequent in the first conjugation (-ar) than the others. Nevertheless, it’s considered vulgar and it’s not recommended for written language or formal situations.

Si nunca has hablao español con un nativo, reserva una clase de conversación aquí.

Mastering a language is not easy. When you think that you know all the rules and vocabulary you need, you have to deal with dialectal variations. Don’t worry, on www.spanishviaskype.com we can help you with that. Reserve a free trial lesson here, and speak like a Spanish native.