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How To Speak Castilian Spanish: Slang, Phrases, & More

What the heck is Castilian Spanish? What is the difference between Castilian Spanish and Latino-American Spanish? Which should I choose to learn?

Let’s answer all of your questions and talk about the vocabulary, accent, and grammar of Castilian Spanish, and how it differs from Latino-American Spanish.

picture of spanish graphics - explaining the castilian spanish of spain

Summary: How to Speak Castilian Spanish

If you want to know how to speak Castilian Spanish, I'll tell you right now - it won’t be too difficult. Truthfully the pronunciation of Castilian Spanish is generally much easier for us as English speakers.

Furthermore, many of the word changes will be understood by Latino Americans as well if you end up speaking with one.

The main thing that you need to know that separates the Castilian Spanish of Spain and the Latino-American Spanish - is that in Spain “You” (Plural) is “Vosotros.” Whereas in Latino America we say “Ustedes”.

This comes with a different set of conjugations, but they aren’t too hard to understand and learn.

Pronunciation of Castilian Spanish

The pronunciation of Castilian Spanish is considered "The most standard" and I'm not going to try and debate that. However, it is pretty different than how most of the Spanish-speaking world speaks. Let's take a look!

The Z and CI/CE - The Notorious “TH” Sound

In Castilian Spanish, the sound “TH” exists like in the word “Thin” - as opposed to Latin America where these consonants are represented by a “Sss” sound.

This “TH” sound exists always when a “Z” is seen, and also when a “C” appears before an “I” or an “E”. Below are some examples that demonstrate these rules.

Word (Underlined consonants = th)


Corazón (co-ra-thone)


Cereza (the-re-tha)


Zorro (tho-rro)


Vecino (ve-thee-no)


Cenar (the-nar)

To have dinner

The Throaty “J” and “G”

The “J” and “G” in Castilian Spanish have an extremely strong way of being pronounced as compared to the Latino-American pronunciation.

They sound like a throaty hiss - like you are trying to clear your throat. “Jefe” meaning “Boss” is pronounced like “KKHHefe”.

spanish man (cartoon) explaining how to pronounce the G And J in Castilian Spanish

The “LL” and “Y” in Castilian Spanish

The “LL” and “Y” in Castilian Spanish sound almost exactly like the “Y” in English. For example in the word “Llave” meaning keys, sounds like (Ya-ve). Also like in the word “Yo” which sounds like (Yo) like in the word “Yodel”

Castilian Spanish Vocabulary

Before we jump into the vocabulary I want to warn you quickly that, although some of these sound very different to Latino Americans, most of them would be understood by them as well. So don’t worry about not being able to communicate with Latino Americans if you want to learn this dialect.

Computer - Ordenador 💻

In Latin America the word used almost all of the time is “Computadora” whereas in Spain they say “Ordenador” which sounds like (Or-den-a-dor)

Car - Coche 🚗

If you are in Spain riding in a car, you are in a “Coche” whereas in most other countries you’re in a “Carro” or an “Auto”.

Ticket - Billete 🧾

If you want a ticket in Spain you ask for a “Billete” (Bi-ye-te) whereas in Latin America you ask for a “Boleto”.

Glasses - Gafas 👓

In Spain, your glasses are “Gafas” whereas in Latin America they are “Lentes”.

To take/Grab - Coger 🤏

In Spain you “Coger” a taxi, whereas in some Latin American countries that means to F*** a taxi. In Spain, you can also use “Coger” to say that you “are grabbing something" like a soda from the fridge. In Latino America the most common way of saying these two words are “Agarrar” and “Tomar”.

Adiós mamá, ya voy a coger un taxi.

(Bye mom, I'm going to grab a taxi now)

Juice - Zumo 🥃

If this doesn't make you feel a bit weird, you’re built to speak the Castilian dialect of Spanish. For most if not all of Latin America, “Zumo” (or Juice) is “Jugo”.

Socks - Calcetines 🧦

In most of Latin America “Socks” are “Medias” whereas in Spain they are “Calcetines”

To stand up - Ponerse De Pie 🕴

To stand up in most dialects of Spanish is “Pararse”, whereas in Spain it is to “Ponerse de pie” or “to put oneself on foot” - that one makes a lot of sense doesn't it?

Me puse de pie, y ví un tipo mirándome de una forma rara.

(I stood up, and I saw a dude looking at me in a weird way.)

Wallet - Cartera 💵

A wallet in Spain is a “Cartera” whereas in Latin America it is a “Billetera”.

Floor - Suelo 👇

The word “Suelo” can be used in Latin America as well, but from my experience “Piso” is much more common.

Cool - Guay 😎

In Castilian Spanish, they say “Guay” to mean cool, which isn’t surprising because just about every country has its own way of saying something is cool!

Ese coche es bastante guay, no?

(That car is pretty cool, right?)

Flip out - Flipar 🤬

This is a fun one for us English speakers, super easy to understand and use, it’s just like the verb “To flip out” in English!

No sé por qué está flipando.

(I don't know why he's freaking out.)

Cute - Mono 😹

The way they say cute in Spain is another goofy and pleasant expression - they use the word “Monkey”. So by calling somebody “Very monkey” they are saying they are “Very cute”.

¡Qué mona es tu casa!

(Your house is so cute!)

Unique Phrases in Castilian Spanish

Castilian Spanish has a boatload of fun phrases to learn, let’s hop right into the ironic ones that are related to napping. Castilian Spanish - The originator of the “Siesta” (Midday Nap).

The Sleepy Spanish: How to say “I am going to take a nap” 🥱

The Spanish love their siestas, so much so that they have the absolute coolest and funniest ways to say that they are going to go to sleep, or take a nap. Check out this treasure!

  • Voy a hablar con la almohada - I am going to talk to the pillow

  • Voy a planchar la oreja - I am going to go iron my ear

  • Me voy al sobre - I am going to the envelope

  • Voy a sobar - I am going to “go crash”

Drink some beers - Tomar unas cañas 🍻

To say that you want to drink some beer in Castilian Spanish is - say that you want to take some cane.

To take the blame - Comerse el marrón 😒

Hopefully, you don't have to, but if by chance you must take the blame for something that happened, then you are going to need to “eat the brown” or “Comerse el marrón”.

Grammar of Castilian Spanish

The grammar of Castilian Spanish is more or less what you would expect from any other Spanish dialect. However, there is one major difference - how they say “You” in the plural form.

You (Plural) - Vosotros

In Latino America, we are all used to saying “Ustedes” to say you in the plural form. But in Spain, they say “Vosotros”. The biggest difference between our dialects is probably that change right there.

What it means is that those who want to learn Castilian Spanish will have to learn conjugations that aren’t used on the “American side of the world”.

Some examples of how the changes look are as follows:

¿Cómo están? (Latino America - “How are you?” Plural)

¿Cómo estáis? (Spain - “How are you?” Plural)

¿Qué piensan? (Latino America - “What do you think?” Plural)

¿Qué pensáis? (Spain - “What do you think?” Plural)

Frequently Asked Questions By Spanish Learners

Here are some of the most common questions that are asked about Castilian Spanish by Spanish learners. If you have any questions about Castilian that aren't answered here, put them in the comments or shoot me an email and I'll add them to this FAQ.

How do I know for sure if I am learning Castilian Spanish?

Well for one, if you are seeing the word “Vosotros” or “Ordenador” then rest assured, you’re learning Castilian Spanish. If you learn all of the words in this list, you will be able to identify whether you are learning Castilian Spanish for sure or not.

Can you tell Castilian Spanish apart from Latin American Spanish in subtitles?

Absolutely, when they use conjugations that go with “Vosotros” such as “Vosotros pensáis” instead of “Ustedes piensan” you are surely seeing subtitles in Castilian Spanish. Also seeing words such as “Ordenador” or “Zumo” are dead giveaways.

What’s the biggest difference between Castilian Spanish and Latino-American Spanish?

The biggest difference between the two would be the difference in how they say “You” (Plural). Whereas in Latino America they say “Ustedes” - in Castilian Spanish, they say “Vosotros”.

Which dialect/form of Spanish should I learn?

If you live in North America and plan on interacting with the immigrants in your country or going to the Latino American countries for vacation, choose Latino American Spanish. It is spoken far more than Castilian Spanish (of Spain).

What is the most respected version of Spanish to learn?

The most “respected” version of Spanish is the formal way of speaking in any country. If you are looking to be “respected” by all people, probably a formal Argentinian or Venezuelan accent might be your best option.

Which dialect of Spanish has the most speakers?

The Mexican Dialect of Spanish by far has the most speakers with about 130 million speakers just within the borders - not including people who immigrate to other countries. In comparison, Spain only has a population of about 47 million.

spanish people holding spanish flags

Conclusion: Castilian Spanish Dialect

Castilian Spanish is the most practical dialect to learn if you plan on living in or visiting Spain. The Castilian Dialect doesn’t change so much as if to become a different language from the Spanish spoken by most of the world.

But it does however have its distinct characteristics such as different vocabulary, conjugations, and accents. At the end of the day, a Latino American can understand the Spanish spoken in Spain with almost no issues, so don’t let that be too big of a factor in your decision.

In any case, it’s a beautiful dialect with a rich culture and history behind it.

If you’re interested in learning about other potential dialects to choose from - check out my article “Choosing the Right Spanish Dialect: A Personal Journey”

If you want to get a free lesson with a tutor, click here and Italki will give you a free $10 credit when you schedule your first lesson within 48 hours!

Here is a Quizlet to help you learn these terms:


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