How Is Spanish In Spain Different From Spanish In Latin America?

Is the Spanish spoken across Latin America significantly different from the Spanish spoken in Spain? Does it change from country to country? We consulted native Spanish speakers from six Spanish-speaking countries to find out.

You might think Spanish sounds the same and is spoken the same way everywhere, but there are many differences and subtle nuances you can observe between Spain Spanish and, well, Everywhere Else Spanish. Beyond just the categorical differences between European and Latin American Spanish, there are also a ton of regionalisms that distinguish the Spanish spoken in various countries — even the ones that are geographically close to one another.

Let’s get complicated and delve into the differences between the varieties of Spanish spoken in Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Argentina.

Accent And Pronunciation

In Spain, Z usually sounds like “th”; the same goes for a C when it comes before an E or an I. In Latin America, Z sounds like an S, and so does C before an E or I.

And what do people in the Caribbean and parts of southern Spain do to the letter R? They kick it to the curb and turn it into an L!

In parts of Argentina and Uruguay, the “ll” in words like llamar, lloro and lluvia is not pronounced like an English Y (like in Spain and the rest of Latin America), but instead like a “sh.”


In the Spanish language, there is a marked difference between the informal and the formal usted when addressing someone, with used almost everywhere. But only in Spain will you find a difference in the plural with the informal vosotros and the formal ustedes. In Latin America, only ustedes is used.

In Spain Spanish

¿Vosotros tenéis ganas de salir?

(Do you all want to go out?)

In Latin American Spanish

¿Ustedes tienen ganas de salir?

(Do you all want to go out?)

The different continents also use different past tenses.

In Spain

Hoy no he desayunado.

(I haven’t eaten breakfast today.)

In Latin America

Hoy no desayuné.

(I didn’t eat breakfast today.)


The differences between various regional versions of Spanish are not only linguistic. When you greet people in different countries, learn the local customs! Don’t get into a confrontation by accidentally disrespecting someone.

In Spain

Women: greet everyone with a kiss on either cheek.
Men: greet women with a kiss on either cheek, and greet other men with a handshake.

In Mexico & Colombia

Women: greet everyone with one kiss on the cheek.
Men: greet women with one kiss on the cheek, and give men a handshake.

In Argentina

Both men and women greet with one kiss on the cheek.


Depending on which country you find yourself in, you will be confronted with different names for the same:



Spain: autobús

Colombia: bus

México: camión

Puerto Rico & D.R.: guagua

Argentina: colectivo


Spain: bolígrafo or just boli

Mexico: pluma

Colombia: esfero

Argentina: lapicera


Spain: piso

Latin America: departamento or apartamento

“Cell Phone”

Spain: móvil

Latin America: celular


Spain: ordenador

Latin America: computadora or computador


“To have a hangover”

Spain: tener resaca

Mexico: tener cruda

Colombia: tener guayabo

Chile: tener caña


“That’s cool”

Spain: esto mola

Mexico: está chido

Dominican Republic: eto tá

Puerto Rico: está chévere

Colombia: está bacano


🇺🇾 vs. 🇪🇸 slang (or jerga) and word choice. Learn Latin American Spanish OR European Spanish at the link in bio 🔗 #uruguay #españavslatinoamerica #españayuruguay #uruguayyespaña #jergaespañola

♬ original sound – Babbel

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