Spanish is different from Mexican
That's how different Mexican and Spanish Spanish are
With nearly 500 million native speakers and many more students, Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. However, although it originated in Spain hundreds of years ago, you may be surprised to learn that the country with the most Spanish speakers is Mexico.
These are the differences between Mexican and Spanish Spanish
Many Spanish learners want to travel to (or work) in Mexico, but it is important to note that Mexican Spanish differs from the European language in some ways. While those who speak European Spanish are likely to be understood, understanding the key differences can make your life a lot easier.
With that in mind, we've put together a guide with a special focus on the differences in Mexican Spanishand there especially in the grammar rules, pronunciation, vocabulary and slang words. This saves you from embarrassing situations.
Probably the most important differences that one should be aware of are the various grammatical deviations from European Spanish and even from the dialects spoken in other Central and South American countries. In general, Mexican Spanish follows the same rules, but there are a few notable exceptions.
Let's first look at the personal pronouns, because this is where we find one of the most important differences between Mexican Spanish and European Spanish. The second person plural is commonly used in Europe as the informal ‘vosotros’, which means you ’when talking to a group of people. In a more formal environment, the word ‘ustedes’ is used instead. But in Mexican Spanish, the casual ‘vosotros’ is never used, whereas the more formal ‘ustedes’ is generally used, regardless of the level of familiarity.
Unlike in some other parts of Central and South America, however, the word ‘vos’ is not used as a second person singular in Mexican Spanish, instead the word ‘tú’ is said.
Another very clear difference relates to the tenses of verbs and you will quickly notice that the perfect tense (préterito perfecto compuesto) is quite unusual in Mexican Spanish. Mexicans generally use the Pretérito perfecto simple instead
You should pay particular attention to the second person pronouns, as using the more casual versions of European Spanish may seem rude to some Mexicans. It also makes it clear that you are not a native speaker. Apart from these differences, Mexican Spanish follows the same basic rules as the Spanish spoken in other parts of the world.
In addition to grammatical differences, Mexican Spanish also differs in pronunciation from other Spanish-speaking countries. While the accent is generally a little different, the most obvious feature is the absence of the ‘lisp’ that is known from European Spanish.
For example, the letter ‘z’ in European Spanish is usually pronounced like the unvoiced ‘th’ in English. But in Mexican Spanish this is different, the letter is usually pronounced like an unvoiced s ’. This means that in Mexico there is no difference in pronunciation between the letters z ’and‘ s ’. So the words "casa" and "caza" (translated respectively "house" and "hunt") sound the same in Mexico, while they sound different in Spain.
The same rule also applies to the letter c ’if it is immediately before an‘ i ’or an e’ in a word. To describe this phenomenon, Mexican Spanish is said to have "seseo".
Mexican Spanish also occasionally differs from other dialects in terms of how words are emphasized. To give an example, in Spain the emphasis in the word "video" is on the "i", while Mexican speakers tend to emphasize the sound of the letter "e" in that word.
Vocabulary and slang words
Last but not least, some of the Mexican Spanish has its own vocabulary, even if most Spanish words are general. As a result, travelers to Mexico may need to familiarize themselves with some of the dialect's unique words and expressions if they are to clearly understand the locals.
The geographical proximity to the USA and the migration movements between the two countries are responsible for another difference in Mexican Spanish: You will find many words here that are based on English or are Anglicisms.
Some of these words, like ‘hobby ’, are pronounced and spelled exactly as they are in English; others are so similar to their English counterparts that they are easy to understand if you can speak English. Examples are ’emergencia’ (emergency, in German emergency), ‘marqueta’ (market, in German market) and ‘traque’ (track). Neither of these words are commonly used in European Spanish, and usually the closer you get to the border with the United States, the more common the use of Anglicisms.
But there is also Mexican slang, which is completely unknown in Spain, and many slang expressions have different meanings than their literal translations.
You probably won't be using them, you may hear them when you're in Mexico, so we've put together a list of eight slang words and expressions to get you started:
‘¡Aguas!’ - Literally means ‘Water!’, But it should mean Caution! ’Or Be careful!’.
"Bronca" - originally meant "an argument" or "argument", but in Mexican slang the word has a less concrete meaning and can be used to describe problems or crises of any kind.
"Codo" - Although it is a normal Spanish word and means "elbow", it is often used in Mexico to describe someone who is "stingy" or "stingy" with money.
‘Estoy crudo’ - The literal translation is I'm raw ’, but it is usually meant to mean I have a hangover’.
"Fresa" - literally means "strawberry", but is used by some Spanish speakers as a slang term for a young, obnoxious, materialistic person. Usually used to describe someone with a privileged family background.
‘Huevo’ - A normal Spanish word meaning eggs ’. However, it is sometimes used as a vulgar term for "testicles" in Mexico.
‘Naco’ / Naca ’- Is used to describe a person from the lower class. The last letter of the word changes depending on the gender of the person being described, which corresponds to the basic rules of the Spanish language.
‘¡Qué padre!’ - Literally translated, it means relatively pointless ‘like father!’, But it usually corresponds to German expressions such as wie cool! ’,‘ Like great! ’Or that's great!’. If you want to learn Mexican Spanish, this list is essential.
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