Are Spanish from Spain and Latin America the Same?

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Is the same language actually the same, no matter where it is spoken? The resounding answer is absolutely not. All languages change over time, and though they may come from the same root, thanks to geographic and other cultural factors, they evolve away from each other. An example of a common language that is actually very different depending on where it is spoken is Spanish.

Spanish -- like Italian, French, Portuguese and several others -- is a Romance language evolving from Latin. When the Spaniards arrived in the Americas during the age of European Imperialism, they brought their language with them. Spanish became the lingua franca of the majority of the Latin American world, and eventually incorporated words from local languages and dialects. In modern day, given Latin America’s proximity and business and cultural dealings with the United States, there are many English loanwords used in Latin American Spanish not used in European Spanish.

This, amplified by the geographic distance between Spain and its colonies, caused the language to develop independently. Even today, European and Latin American Spanish are highly mutually intelligible, verbal conjugations, tenses and, especially vocabulary, vary greatly. 

Some quick examples of differences are the “vosotros” versus “ustedes” form for the plural you, “compañía” versus “empresa” for the word company, and let’s not even get started with the meaning of “coger” in Mexico compared to its meaning in Spain…

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