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Spanish in South America

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
a little idea, not a definite plan....
Due to our various Camino endeavours we have become quite enamoured with Spanish and have thrown ourselves with gusto into learning. I know SouthAmerican Spanish is different to Spain, but we are wondering about spending a couple of months somewhere to focus on language learning. We are familiar with just turning up in a place and learning, but we are wondering whether taking some classes might not be a bad thing too. Living with a local family is the best but would be tricky if we were taking two (or possibly four) kids.
Does anyone have any recommendations?
 
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A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Castellano spoken in Spain and in the rest lf the world is as different as English is, spoken in England vs Australia or the US. No biggy. Different accent yet, different slang yes, and then a few differences in vocabulary but nothing major.

Cuernavaca, in the burbs of Mexico City, is well kmown for its language schools. And it is beautiful evenif it has changed a lot in the last 2o years when it became a burb and not a weekend getaway. Spent many puentes at the family country home there. Can still feel the sunburns, taste the grilled sardines and picked off the tree pomelos. Oops, meant to say toronjas.
 
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C

Castilian

Guest
I would suggest to research about options in Ecuador. I know is a popular country for Spanish learning so you shouldn't have problems to find places to take some classes. Perú would be another interesting option although I don't know how easy/difficult would be to find classes there. In both countries, you shouldn't have (too many) problems with the Spanish spoken there (neither in Colombia, BTW). Perú has barely any voseo use. In Ecuador and Colombia there's voseo use in some aeras of those countries but not in others.

As a native Castilian speaker, I didn't have problems to understand Chilean accent(s) the few times I've heard a Chilean speaking but I know some speakers of Spanish as second language sometimes have problems to understand them.

In some parts of Argentina and Uruguay, they have a very distintinctive accent. And both Argentina and Uruguay, as well as Paraguay, are countries with heavy use of voseo. Bolivia too although in some areas it isn't as much used (i.e.: it's used on informal contexts but not -so much- on formal contexts). In Chile voseo is extended on colloquial language. ¿Cachai? (That's the colloquial way to say Do you get it? in Chile)

BTW, be aware voseo verbal conjugations aren't the same in all the areas that use voseo.

P.S.: I didn't forget about Venezuela, it's just that I don't know too much about the Spanish spoken there.

Castellano spoken in Spain and in the rest lf the world is as different as English is, spoken in England vs Australia or the US. No biggy

In fact, I would say it's less different than the variants of English spoken around the world. OTOH, I don't think all the speakers will consider they speak castellano.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
a little idea, not a definite plan....
Due to our various Camino endeavours we have become quite enamoured with Spanish and have thrown ourselves with gusto into learning. I know SouthAmerican Spanish is different to Spain, but we are wondering about spending a couple of months somewhere to focus on language learning. We are familiar with just turning up in a place and learning, but we are wondering whether taking some classes might not be a bad thing too. Living with a local family is the best but would be tricky if we were taking two (or possibly four) kids.
Does anyone have any recommendations?

I spent three months in Guanajuato Mexico taking Spanish classes at the Don Quijote school there. Guanajuato is a world heritage site. The city is the site of a gold mine that has been worked continuously since mid 1500's. It is said to be the location of the start of the Mexican Revolution in 1810. Its a university town and there is lots of stuff to see and do. It hasn't been 'discovered' by the tourist crowd so it has quite a different feel from the beach resorts.

The Mexican accent is quite distinctive and people speak slower than elsewhere Spanish is spoken. They don't use the 'Vosotros' form at all (except in books and newspapers that originate in Spain).

Another prospect is Ecuador. It is said the people speak with an accent that most closely resembles that used in Salamanca Spain (where the Castellano is the most 'pure') I've looked to go to Cuenca and Quito. You get the best bang for the buck with one-on-one instruction for the price of a seat in a class of eight in Spain.

I would not go to Argentina because the language is almost a separate dialect.

Same Same for anything in North Spain. Barcelona uses Catalan. Navarra uses Euskara, and Galicia uses Galician ... all official languages in Spain ... so what you get in class doesn't apply in the street.

I liked Granada Spain. I spent a week in Salamanca before an incident with a building prompted a move to Alicante. Alicante has nice sunny warm weather in the spring but it is a beach resort. A good time to go is around Easter when the processions are taking place.
 
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alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
I'm fluent in Spanish (native speaker-I'm Cuban). As stated above, the language is the same with some minor differences. Well, minor to those of us who are fluent :)

The problem for English speakers is the accent. Since you are not fluent it is much more difficult for you to distinguish words. That said, I would recommend learning Spanish in a country with an "easier" accent for your ears. Panama is a good choice since there is also a strong English language influence there and you will be able to get out of tight spots easier. Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Colombia are all good choices. Even Mexico is a good choice as lont as you are learning from professionals and not the locals in a small town. I can't understand what the heck they are saying half the time. The accent used by people not in professional positions or the media is like southern US English to me :)

Venezuela would be a good choice as well but don't travel there now. Major chaos with the government and food shortages. My cousin who lives there has warned me away for the time being.
 
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Lmsundaze

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF (2016), CP (2017)
It isn't South America, but I studied in an immersion program in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico -- the school is Academia Hispano America. I thought the school was great and plan to go back.
 
C

Castilian

Guest
Barcelona uses Catalan. Navarra uses Euskara, and Galicia uses Galician ... all official languages in Spain ... so what you get in class doesn't apply in the street.

Each of those languages is co-official just in the Autonomous Communities (or Community) of Spain that recognize(s) one of those languages as co-official (either in all the Autonomous Comunity or just in part of it. In the later case, it's just co-official on the part of the Autonomous Community where it's recognized as co-official). OTOH, Castilian is official in all Spain.

Euskera is spoken just in part of Navarra (for more info: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ley_Foral_del_Vascuence).

Barcelona uses Catalan in signage, announcements in the metro... OTOH, there are more locals that usually speak Castilian than locals than usually speak Catalan (official data can be found at: www.idescat.cat/pub/?id=eulp&lang=en ).

In Galicia, there are areas where Galician is more used than Castilian and areas where Castilian is more used than Galician.

Salamanca Spain (where the Castellano is the most 'pure')

You are lucky you are on an English speaking forum that isn't a language forum. That statement on a Spanish speaking forum (specially one specialized in language subjects) would probably arise a heavy debate... regardless what city you quoted as the one with the most pure castellano.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
Each of those languages is co-official just in the Autonomous Communities (or Community) of Spain that recognize(s) one of those languages as co-official (either in all the Autonomous Comunity or just in part of it. In the later case, it's just co-official on the part of the Autonomous Community where it's recognized as co-official). OTOH, Castilian is official in all Spain.

Euskera is spoken just in part of Navarra (for more info: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ley_Foral_del_Vascuence).

Barcelona uses Catalan in signage, announcements in the metro... OTOH, there are more locals that usually speak Castilian than locals than usually speak Catalan (official data can be found at: www.idescat.cat/pub/?id=eulp&lang=en ).

In Galicia, there are areas where Galician is more used than Castilian and areas where Castilian is more used than Galician.

You are lucky you are on an English speaking forum that isn't a language forum. That statement on a Spanish speaking forum (specially one specialized in language subjects) would probably arise a heavy debate... regardless what city you quoted as the one with the most pure castellano.

Otro veinte años y espero que yo hablaria fluidamente.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Our Spanish is the Castellano of N Argentina and has always worked well in N Spain, so the reverse should be true. Some words are different but pronunciation in basically the same. The 'll' varies in other countries to the ly sound (eg. Chile calle=calyay) rather than the soft g/j sound we are used to. The province of Salta and the city is in the foothills of the Andes with access to Jujuy. Further south in Argentina Spanish pronunciation etc changes especially round Buenos Aires, which we always felt was a place of transit only.
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
Rachael, what about Costa Rica??? We even have a language school in our little town, Santo Domingo de Heredia! We also have accommodation, but then we would be chatting in English, unless I handed you over to all my grandchildren!
Ah, we ( friends who are developing a Coast to Coast trek accross Costa Rica) it's just about ready, after years of trial and error). Think about it!
Costa Rican Spanish is very clear and easy to understand!
 
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elizason

Member
Past OR future Camino
Lisbon- Santiago Sept-Oct 2015
a little idea, not a definite plan....
Due to our various Camino endeavours we have become quite enamoured with Spanish and have thrown ourselves with gusto into learning. I know SouthAmerican Spanish is different to Spain, but we are wondering about spending a couple of months somewhere to focus on language learning. We are familiar with just turning up in a place and learning, but we are wondering whether taking some classes might not be a bad thing too. Living with a local family is the best but would be tricky if we were taking two (or possibly four) kids.
Does anyone have any recommendations?
Hello there,
Just for starters, it is tons of fun for any language
check out www.duolingo.com
But I also recommend for extended stay, Ecuador as it is inexpensive and lovely people.
enjoy your adventure !
 
Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I seem to have an easier time following the Spanish as spoken on Columbian TV shows than others. Dominicans tend to drop their Ss and that can be confusing; "Tu estas" sounding like "Tu esta."
 

Lmsundaze

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF (2016), CP (2017)
I find the Spanish of Argentinos tricky to understand because of the "ll" sound.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
A few points to consider:

What do you/your family plan to do with the Spanish you learned? Does anybody want to get some serious qualification, f.e. for teaching and where would you use them then? If that is the case, I would concentrate on the variety of Spanish that is the most use for you/them in the future.

Cost of getting and living there. As you are 'chronic volunteers' (that is meant with uttermost affection btw!) you could try to combine both, some of you volunteer/some study.

Just food for thought, SY
 

Dennis D

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés - 2014
Francés - 2015
Francés - 2016
Francés - 2017
Francés - 2018
Francés - 2019
(2020 - ?)
Duolingo is great fun - thanks for the post

Buen Camino
 
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elizason

Member
Past OR future Camino
Lisbon- Santiago Sept-Oct 2015
Happy you are enjoying it...I can get lost in time with it....especially if I pour a glass of wine
then forget about it I'm there forever:D
 
Past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
While Buenos Aires is an interesting city and has lots of language schools, I am not sure if the Spanish spoken there transfers easily to Spain. I am still not certain if I understood more than a sentence or two when I spent a month there a few years ago, although they seemed to understand me readily enough, even if I got an eyebrow or two raised gently at my lisped Castilian pronunciation. I found Chilean Spanish easier to follow.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
I don't think the country where you go for learning matters. Just find a fun place to live in with a proven track record of teaching.

I've grown up speaking Spanish, with a mix of the Mexico City and Spanish accents and vocabulary and still when I lived in Argentina I had to learn a few words, andsmile at how they use italian accentuation on words, while not understanding a word of Chilean TV, although I never have trouble understanding my chilean friends.

Ah, but what to say about the accent in Paraguay. Worked there for a few months and I remember that the first three days, while attending all sorts of presentations for our benefit I could not understand a word: they eat their Rs and "i" sounds like it is fused with a "u".

But your ear gets used to all this. The basis of the language is the same.

And I agree with Imsundaze, San Miguel de Allende in Mexico would be a lovely spot. While filled in expats, it is a beautiful colonial town, with lovely architecture and an artists hub. Safe as well, with inexpensive flat our house rentals. Also well located for side trips to discover other parts of Mexico.
 

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