Some people who are not Spanish speakers or have never learned the language might not realize that there are actually two major types of Spanish. These are Latin American Spanish and Spanish from Spain, which I will refer to as Castilian Spanish. Sometimes, learners are not sure as to which variety of the language that they should learn. I am going to offer my opinion as a native English speaker who speaks Spanish. I have mainly studied Latin American Spanish, but have also studied Castilian on my own for a bit.

The Basics

The first thing I want to mention is that the base vocabulary and grammatical structure is almost entirely the same. Castilian and Latin American Spanish are two completely mutually intelligible dialects of the same language.

Dialects

Within the various countries of Latin America, and various regions of Spain, there are different accents and varieties of Spanish. Be sure that you know what you are learning. All of these different accents and types of Spanish don’t really impact mutual comprehension.

Now I want to highlight certain important differences

Latin American Spanish

The major differences in Latin American Spanish are:

Vosotros

This pronoun is generally not used in Latin America.

Ci/e – Is pronounced see/ say

Zi, e – Is pronounced zee/ zay

Slang depends on the region and country

Spain

Vosotros

Spain uses this pronoun.

Ci, e – This is pronounced as thee/ thay

Zi, e – This is pronounced as thee/ thay

Vocabulary

There are some small differences in vocabulary.

What do I recommend?

Assuming that you have no bias towards either one, I highly recommend Latin American Spanish as the first choice. It is spoken by hundreds of millions more people. I think that Latin American Spanish is a bit easier. You can always adjust if you go to Spain. It would be more productive to adjust for the much less used Castilian Spanish and get to a high level in Latin American Spanish.    

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