South American Spanish vs European Spanish: What Are The Differences
When businesses need Spanish translation services, they must specify whether their target audience is in Spain or South America. This distinction might seem surprising to some since they are essentially the same language. However, what are the significant differences between the two languages? When you translate to Spanish, will professional translators in Argentina understand your text? On the other hand, can a Spaniard help translate a Colombian Spanish to English translation? All of these questions are vital when seeking professional Spanish translation services.
Understandably, if we were to make the same distinction with English, a Briton can understand an Australian. The same goes for an American and a New Zealander. They might have different expressions, accents, and vocabularies, but they understand each other. The same goes for Spanish.
In Spain, where the Spanish language originates from, it is known as Castellano or Castilian. Castilian refers to the central Spain province Castile, where the language apparently originated from. Spaniards don’t call it the Spanish language or Espanol. This is because other languages like Basque, Galician, Catalan, and Valencian are spoken in the country. Conversely, the Spanish language is called Espanol or Spanish in South American nations. This name is because it highlights that the Spanish language originates from Spain.
The evolution of the Spanish language
The term “continental lag” was first introduced by Albert Markwardt, a linguist. It was a term to describe the idea that a language was less likely to change than its origin. Perhaps this idea could explain why specific phrases and words used in South America differ. The language didn’t get enough time to meet up to its origin (Spain). Instead, it was influenced by the countries and people around it, thus affecting the vocabulary. South American Spanish has borrowed certain words from English due to the juxtaposition to the United States.
Other words such as coctel, champu and bistec are common in the Spanish language of Spain and South America. Professional Spanish translation agencies must use these words in the right context. Before the arrival of the Spanish language in South America, there were numerous native languages. So, it is safe to say South Americans merged quite a number of these words. This means each South American country incorporated words from other languages into their version of the Spanish language.
Spain is the only nation that uses the pronouns vosotras and vosotros. This means that when you translate to Spanish, you have an additional ending to memorise. This is perhaps one of the differences between both languages. Vosotros is the plural of the second person. When addressing a group of friends, you can use Vosotros. However, when you translate to Spanish with professional Spanish translation agencies, you use ustedes to be formal. In South America, the pronoun vosotros doesn’t exist. This means when you translate to Spanish in South America, the professional Spanish translation agency will take this into account.
Professional Spanish Translation Should Consider Pronunciation Differences
Perhaps the most significant difference between both Spanish variants is pronunciation. When you translate to Spanish, you will discover that the pronunciation of C before E or I and Z differ. South America pronounces both letters as S, while Spain pronounces it as TH. This is the reason why Cazorla is pronounced Cathola.
Let’s take the phrase la taza es azul, which means the cup is blue.
- In South America, it would sound like la tasa es asul
- , while in Spain, it would sound like la tatha es athul.
In certain parts of Uruguay and Argentina, the Y and double LL sounds are pronounced like the SH sound in English. When you translate to Spanish, you will also discover that it can be pronounced as Y.
An example is esta lloviendo en la playa,” which when it undergoes Spanish to English translation is “it is raining on the beach”,
- In Argentina, it would sound like “esta shoviendo en la pasha”
- While everywhere else, it would sound like “esta yoviendo en la playa”.
Apart from the differences in particular letter sounds when you translate to Spanish, there are differences in how people speak. Some linguists can say that some South American nations speak Spanish in a sing-song accent. Those that translate to Spanish say that Colombian Spanish is neutral sounding. Even some countries drop the S in the middle or end of words.
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