How do you know if you are using the correct word or words without offending someone in another spanish-speaking country?

2
votes

For example, like the word monkey.... in mexico, they call a monkey chango at least that's what' in my old spanish book, but in puerto rico, monkey is called mono. i've noticed that even in the flashcards certain words for and object were in a different spanish language. like for another instance for avacado, the flashcard said la palta, but for the longest time i've known avacado as auegate at least i think that's how it's spelt. why is there so much of a difference,how do you know to tell the difference, and how can you have a conversation without offending the other person. i was so confused on this matter i quit trying to learn. please someone explain????

3267 views
updated JUN 7, 2010
posted by janita82

5 Answers

0
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Don't worry about offending people for not saying the word the way it's said in their particular region. I've seen my Spanish-speaking ESL students from Mexico, El Salvador, Hondurus and Columbia have mini debates regularly about the correct way to say something in Spanish. They are finally getting used to asking each other how something is said in their particular country. This is ecspecially true for foods and slang. Don't let it frustrate you.

updated JUN 7, 2010
posted by alba3
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Janita said

i was so confused on this matter i quit trying to learn. please someone explain????

Hi Janita

It's unfortunate you quit because quite frankly, the differences are part of the learning process and to be honest make the learning process quite entertaining. A couple of examples in English

America Hood (of a car) - England Bonnet

America Trunk (of a car) - England Boot

There are so many more. I just hope that we have re-ignited your desire to learn and see these differences as an additional challenge.

updated JUN 7, 2010
posted by Eddy
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Just to add to my answer.... Nicole said something that illustrates my comments:

Nicole said:

For instance in England and throughout Europe, apartments are known as "flats".

If you learned standard English and used the general word "apartment" everyone who speaks English would understand you. While in England they may say "We call them flats here" and you can learn a new word. However, continuing to use the word you learned, "apartment," will certainly be correct and understood.

updated JUN 7, 2010
posted by --Mariana--
0
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I'd advise that you learn all the standard Spanish you can, i.e., what's in the dictionary for the most common word. That way everyone can understand you. For example, if you say "mono" in Mexico, Spain, or Costa Rica they will certainly understand that you mean "monkey." Someone may say "We use the term Chango here to mean monkey" and then you can learn the regional differences. However, in the meantime just learn the standard word for each thing.

If you're confused about a certain word, such as "aguacate," which has different terms listed in the dictionary...then come to the forum and ask "What's the usual word for "avocado?"

Don't give up on Spanish...you can do it and it's fun!

updated JUN 7, 2010
posted by --Mariana--
0
votes

Hi Janita and welcome to the forum,

Certain vocabulary words differ from country to country and even region to region. Do not let this upset you. Even though your word of choice might be different than what is customarily used by the person you are speaking to, chances are, they will still know what you are talking about and will not be offended.

For instance in England and throughout Europe, apartments are known as "flats". I never use that word in my own every day conversations. However, if I hear someone use that word in context, I will understand what they are speaking about and will not be offended.

The most important thing: Never, ever give up!!!!! smile smile

updated JUN 7, 2010
edited by Nicole-B
posted by Nicole-B