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How To Choose The Right Spanish Dialect: A Personal Journey

You need to choose a dialect! This will help you maintain your motivation, connect with a culture, and be able to communicate with people in a very colloquial way.

Do I go with the Standard Castilian Spanish of Spain?

Or the Mexican Dialect which has the most Spanish speakers of any country?

What are the Pros and Cons of choosing these dialects?

In this article, we are going to briefly go over the differences in the most common dialects

chosen by Spanish learners so that you can answer the question ---

“What version of Spanish should I learn?”

Flags of latinoamerica

Table of Contents

Castilian Spanish is technically the Spanish that is spoken within the north and central region of Spain. However, more recently, it has become a term that is used to describe the dialect of all of Spain when contrasting it with that of Latinoamerica.

Castilian Spanish is regarded by many as the purest and most perfect form of Spanish, and in comparison with many Dialects, it's extremely easy to understand.

A photo of Madrid, Spain

Most notable changes in Castilian Spanish

The Castilian Spanish is one of the most distinct dialects in the Spanish Speaking world. Below we will take a look at the greatest differences in the everyday speech of a Castilian Spanish speaker.

The Z & C Pronounced as TH

The most iconic feature of the Castilian Dialect is how the Z and C sometimes sound like "TH" such as in the word “Corazón” which sounds like (Ko-ra-thown)

instead of the Latin American pronunciation (Ko-ra-sown).

When The Z & C Change in Castilian Spanish

The C in Castilian Spanish is pronounced as a TH whenever it comes before a E or I. For example: Cereza = Theretha / Cena = Thena / Cielo = Thielo

On the other hand, if the C comes before an A, O, U, it will be pronounced like an English K.

For example: Coche = Koche / Acondicionado = Akondithionado

The Z in Castilian Spanish is always pronounced as Th. For example:

Zapato = Thapato / Cerveza = Thervetha / Azul = Athul / Quizá = Quithá

How To Say You Plural In Castilian Spanish

In Latinoamerica, if you want to say “You” (Plural) you say “Ustedes” whereas in Spain “You” (Plural) is “Vosotros”.

A Spanish flag with spanish guitar player in front of it that says "The Spanish Of Spain (Castilian)"

Along with this little change, there are also a whole new set of conjugations – For example; (LATINOAM) ¿Cómo están ustedes? (CASTILIAN) ¿Cómo vosotros estáis?

Vocabulary In Castilian Spanish

Vocabulary can differ to a noticeable degree between the Spanish of Spain and that of Latinoamerica. For example, when I first went to Panama I was saying "Calcetines" until I was corrected by a Panamanian who said "You mean medias?" (socks)

For another example, take the word “Coche” which in Spain means “Car”, in most of Latino America that word means “Carriage”. And again, whereas in Spain, they say “Bolígrafo” in Latinoamerica, they say “Pluma”.

Castilian Spanish:  Considered the “purest form of Spanish” by many due to its preserved nature. Castilian is classy, clear, and VERY European

Pros Of Learning Castilian Spanish

  • Easier communication with people from Spain

  • Shorter learning curve for this accent

Cons Of Learning Castilian Spanish

  • Could be awkward speaking to Latino Americans with the Castilian accent

  • This will result in more difficulty to understand Latino Americans due to a lack of exposure

  • If you are from the US you won't meet many people from Spain

The Mexican Dialect varies to a degree due to its vastly diverse groups of people within the borders. However, in general, Mexican Spanish is regarded as rather easy, clear, and standard Spanish when compared with other Latinoamerican Dialects.

You can expect a fun rhythm, vocabulary, and colloquial phrases/jokes/idioms in the Mexican Dialect of Spanish.

Old Mexican town

Most notable changes in Mexican Spanish

One of the most differentiating factors between Mexican Spanish and the others is the influence that the indigenous languages had on the day-to-day speech.

Here are a couple of examples of words of indigenous origin that are used in everyday speech – (Turkey/Guajolote – Owl/Tecolote – Chocolate/Chocolate)

picture of the mexican flag with a marachi band in front of it that says "The Mexican Spanish Dialect"

Mexican Vocabulary

One of the funnest things about choosing the Mexican Dialect of Spanish will be the colloquial phrases that you will get to learn and use on a normal bases.

Some examples of these fun phrases are;

¿Qué onda wey? - What’s up dude?

(Literally – What wave dude?)

¡Qué padre! - How cool/nice!

(Literally – What Dad!)

Chido – Cool

¡Aguas! – Watch out!

(Literally – Waters!)

Neta - Truth

Padrísimo - Excelent, Dope!

(Literally - super father-like)

Mexican Spanish: Mexican Spanish  is one of (if not) the most unique dialects of Spanish with so many indigenous words taken into the language! You have to love this Spanish dialect for innovating and preserving other cultures  within itself. Also, if you love chocolate, thanks the Aztecs


  • You will have tons of fun vocabulary to utilize with other Mexicans

  • You will speak the same dialect of Spanish as the biggest group of Spanish speakers in the world (Mexicans)

  • You will be easily understood by most Speakers from other countries

  • Mexicans are happy, friendly, and humble people, they will love that you speak like them


  • You will know a lot of phrases and vocabulary that may not be as useful with speakers of other dialects.

The Spanish of Colombia is sometimes regarded as one of the most beautiful accents and for good reason! The country itself contains many diverse accents but more or less can be understood by all of Latin America without many issues.

Beautiful Colombian town

Most notable changes in Colombian Spanish

Some of the notable changes in Colombian Spanish is the soft D’s. When the D is pronounced by Colombians it usually is very soft, or none existent.

For example, when speaking with a Colombian from Cali, I heard him say the word “Ustedes” like “Utee” and that is not an exaggeration.

Colombian Spanish: Colombian Spanish comes with tons of interesting features, including: Soft Ds, Ps, B/Vs, lots of slang, and funny idiomatic expressions. With the way some Colombian accents sound, it’s no wonder why so many rate the Colombian accent as the most beautiful in existence!

Another aspect of the general pronunciation of Colombians is the Y/LL being pronounced more like the J in the word “Jackpot” than a Y like in the word “Yellow”.

The last notable change is the use of “Vos” in everyday speech.

The weird thing is usually the use of vos means thatisn't utilized, but here that’s not the case. I have tried to understand when to use vos in Colombia and it is a difficult question to answer.

I have heard people say that while talking with Colombian friends, they have switched between Vos and Tú multiple times in the same conversation.

A colombian flag with a colombian cartoon character in front of it that says "The Spanish Of Colombia"


  • You’ll have an accent that is pretty easy to understand

  • You’ll get experience with “Vos” and “Tú”

  • You’ll have a lot of fun Colombian vocabulary and culture to learn about


  • Some Latinoamerican hold prejudices against Colombians for their history with the drug trade, so if you really sound Colombian, it might alter some interactions (but this would be uncommon and shouldn’t hinder you from learning it if you would like to)

The Argentine dialect of Spanish is one of the most distinctive and recognizable dialects of the language. Its unique intonation, pronunciation, and vocabulary set it apart from all other dialects of the Spanish language.

While mastering the nuances of the Argentine dialect can be a challenge, it can also be a rewarding and enriching experience for learners who want to immerse themselves in the rich culture and traditions of Argentina.

Beautiful landscape in Argentina

Most notable changes in Argentinian Spanish

The difference in the Spanish of Argentina that you might pick up the quickest is the way that they say their LL/Y. Whereas in most of latinoamerica (where those letters sound like a “Y” or a “J”) in Argentina, the Ll/Y is pronounced like “SH” which makes for a very pleasant-sounding discourse.

The second most notable difference lies in the use of voseo. Voseo, if you don’t know, is a form of Spanish where the “Tú” is replaced by “Vos”.

Here is an example of how Voseo works, compared with Vosotros in Spain.\

In Spain “You are” (Plural) is “Vosotros sois” and in Argentina “You are” (Singular) is “Vos sos”.

To give you another example, “You think” (Plural) in Spain is “Vosotros pensáis” and the voseo version is “Vos pensás”. Easy enough, right?

Another pleasant distinction that can be found most prevalent in the southern region is the Italian influence on the rhythm of the language. I have heard some Argentinians speak that actually sounds like the stereotypical Italian accent that you probably have in mind.

Argentine Spanish: Argentine Spanish comes with completely unique accents, goofy slang and idiomatic expressions. Not only are there beautiful pronunciation differences of letters like LL making the “SH” sound, but there is some sort of difference in the Argentine people that can only be described as... Italian

The last notable difference which is not completely unique to Argentina, is the use of Lunfardo. Lunfardo refers to the act of inverting words in the informal/everyday speech.

For example, the word “Mujer” becomes “Jermu” or “Joraca” which means “Carajo”.

an argentine flag that says "The Spanish Of Argentina"


  • An extremely beautiful accent with Italian-like features

  • A wonderful culture and history to learn about

  • Being able to speak easily with the locals in the “Paris of LatinAm” (Buenos Aires)


  • The “LL” sound might be confusing to speakers who don’t know about Argentinian norms

  • Very few places to buy tacos in the country (if you ever want to go)

The Caribbean Dialects of Spanish have a flow to them that is just incredible. But some people view these dialects as “too informal” or even “criminal-like” (I have met a Dominican who thought that about her own country's dialect).

But I think everybody is just hating because they know that when a group of Dominicans is speaking, they sound like the coolest people in the world. It’s just like one big party and we ain't in it...

If I was a much cooler person I probably would have gone with a Caribbean accent, but well, I’m not.

Caribbean beach

Most notable changes in Caribbean Spanish

The most prevalent difference in the Spanish of the Caribbean is probably the D’s and S’s which almost (if not) completely disappear from the words.

So for example the sentence;

“Dónde está ella yo he estado buscando por dos horas?” Becomes

“¿ónde tá ella yo he e’ta’o bu’can’o por do’ hora’?”

The few other letters that change are the “R” and the “B/V”.

The “R” if it’s at the middle or end of a word becomes an “L” like in the word “hacer” which would sound like “acel” in the Caribbean dialects. This can vary greatly, but is something to be conscious of - especially with Dominicans.

And the last change is that of the “B/V” which turns into a “W” sound in many parts of Caribbean countries. So the sentence;

“Yo estaba estudiando cuando llegaste” becomes

“Yo estawa estudian’o cuando llega’te”

Of course like all of the other Spanish dialects, Caribbean Spanish comes with its very own set of idioms, words, and common phrases. Take for example the "Que lo que?" that is utilized mainly in the Dominican Republic, which means the same as "Que tal?" or "Whats up?"


  • An accent with a lot of flow and rhythm

  • A dialect with many expressions and words that are completely reserved for Caribbean countries.

  • Some of the most beautiful countries that you will be able to explore with the ability to communicate and understand the locals


  • May cause some problems for speakers of other dialects due to the difference in pronunciation

  • It’s a lot more to get used to than for example the Argentinian accent

Conclusion: How To Choose The Right Spanish Dialect

If you want to know how to choose the right dialect of Spanish to learn, it's important to consider what you want to achieve and where your interests lie.

Whether you're drawn to the Castilian Spanish of Spain, the Mexican Spanish of North America, or the Argentine Spanish of South America, the choice ultimately comes down to what resonates with you the most.

a beach with a man standing on it yelling "which dialect do you like most?"

At the same time, we should also be aware of the differences between dialects of Spanish, such as variations in pronunciation and vocabulary. While these differences may seem minor, they can potentially impact our ability to communicate effectively with Spanish speakers from other regions.

That's why I personally recommend that we stay open-minded and flexible, always willing to adapt our language skills to suit the context and audience.

Ultimately, the key to success in learning a dialect of Spanish is staying committed to your goals and immersing yourself in the language as much as possible.

Now tell me below! Which dialect will you be choosing to learn?!

Which Dialect will you choose?

  • The Castilian Spanish of Spain

  • The Spanish of Mexico

  • The Spanish of Colombia

  • The Rioplatense Spanish of Argentina

I hope this article has helped give you an idea of some of the differences between the Spanish dialects spoken all across the world. Hopefully soon you will fall in love with a country and learn their dialect to the fullest!

Have a great day and learn a lot!

~ Ben


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