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Is Spanish from Spain a "Problem"?

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

No, of course not! Obviously :-)

What I mean is a common concern my students have when they learn I'm from Spain. They ask me if that is going to be a problem, since they want to travel or live in Latin America, or have a relationship with someone from Latin America. Their concern is that the Spanish from Spain variant is going to be different from the variant they will encounter. I give them the comparison of someone who is a Texas native and someone who is from New York. If your native language is English, or you are fluent in it, you will notice their accent is different. The same with some of the vocabulary or expressions they choose to communicate in English. But that doesn't mean they cannot understand each other. It is the same with Spanish from Spain. Furthermore, Spanish variants from countries within Latin America differ from each other; for instance, Spanish spoken in Mexico is different from Spanish spoken, say, in Venezuela., or in Peru. Different countries have different Spanish variants, since language and culture are intimately interconnected.

That said, I think what my students are mostly concerned is with the pronunciation of the letters "z" and "c", since in most of Spain, it is pronounced as a "th" sound. To make it easier, I teach Spanish pronouncing "z's" and "c's" with an "s" sound, as it is similar to English. Also, I try to be as universal as possible when teaching Spanish vocabulary and expressions, since the goal is to be able to speak and understand Spanish in any context.

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