It often happens that Spanish learners go to a Spanish-speaking country and realize that there are tons of words they are not familiar with, even though they refer to simple items or activities and even though they thought there was a different vocabulary for that. This is because there are numerous dialects of the Spanish language, depending on the particular country or even region.
The reason for such diversity is that before the Spanish colonizers arrived in the 15th century, there were over 2,000 indigenous languages in Latin America. Even though native South Americans were forced to learn Spanish, their original languages were not entirely gone.
Numerous words from languages used by ethnic groups like the Maya in the Yucatán Peninsula, the Inca in the Andes, or the Taíno in the Caribbean transferred to modern speech and writing, creating regional dialects.
To help teachers and students differentiate such slang words in various countries, we have prepared a Spanish word chart comparing lots of them in one place. Let’s learn more about chosen Spanish slang words and how they vary in the whole Hispanic world!
Examples of Language Differences in the Spanish Chart
To help you understand how diverse the vocabulary can be across different Spanish-speaking countries, we have prepared some of the most remarkable examples from our Spanish words chart.
The Drinking Straw
Drinking straw seems like a simple term, but saying it in Spanish can be tricky! In Spain and a few other countries, it is pajita, but be careful because it can be a vulgar term in some dialects!
There are actually as many as 11 Spanish words for a drinking straw (sometimes even more than 1 word per country):
- Cuba: absorbente
- Bolivia, Chile: bombilla
- Dominican Republic: calimete
- Peru: cañita
- Panama: carrizo
- Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala: pajilla
- Spain, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay: pajita
- Venezuela, Colombia: pitillo
- Mexico: popote
- Ecuador, Peru, Argentina: sorbete
- Puerto Rico: sorbeto
You may think that the word popcorn is used internationally, but in fact, in Spain itself, there are over 17 local names for it, such as bufas, rosetas, cotufas, moquetes, or palometas. Apart from that, in Latin American countries, there are even more terms, including:
- Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay: pororó
- Chile: cabritas
- Peru: panchita
- Bolivia: pipoca
- Argentina: pochoclo, pipoca, pururú
- Colombia: crispetas
- Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Chile, Colombia: palomitas, palomitas de maíz
Another well-known example from our Spanish chart is eyeglasses:
- Spain, Colombia, Peru: gafas
- Argentina: anteojos
- Mexico, Venezuela: lentes
- Puerto Rico: espejuelos
Request Our Spanish Words Chart
These are just a few of the numerous examples we collected in our chart. Such word comparison in Spanish will help you identify the differences between different varieties of the language across Spanish-speaking countries and let your students know about them so that they are not surprised on their future trips.