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Spanish-Talking International locations in South America

Spanish-Talking International locations in South America


When individuals consider locations on this planet the place individuals communicate Spanish, South America normally involves thoughts. Spanish is the first language in massive swaths of the continent, and two fifths of the world’s Spanish audio system stay there. 

As large as Spanish is in South America, although, it’s not a common language there. Many South People don’t communicate Spanish, and those that do communicate a regional dialect that may be onerous for non-native audio system to grasp. So, how are you aware the place Spanish shall be helpful? We’ll assessment the international locations in South America that talk Spanish, and spotlight the variations in Spanish spoken by individuals from these international locations.

Which international locations in South America communicate Spanish?

9 out of the twelve sovereign nations in South America use Spanish as both their official or de facto nationwide language. These international locations are:

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

In whole, roughly 210 million individuals in South America communicate Spanish, which is barely lower than half of the continent’s whole inhabitants of 422 million.

Variations in South American Spanish

It’s necessary to notice that the Spanish spoken within the Americas, together with South America, is completely different from the Spanish spoken in Europe. There are variations in pronunciation and vocabulary that may have an effect on on a regular basis speech. For example, in Spain, individuals use the pronouns vosotros and vosotras because the casual plural type of the second particular person (“you”). In South America, individuals use the pronoun ustedes as a substitute.

There are additionally variations between the Spanish spoken in several South American international locations, and even between areas of the identical nation. One instance is that, in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, individuals use the pronoun vos as a substitute of the extra customary . Listed here are some broad traits that may enable you establish the Spanish spoken in every nation.


Capital: Buenos Aires

Inhabitants: 45.8 million

From Patagonia to Iguazu Falls, Argentina has pure magnificence in spades. To completely recognize a go to, although, you’ll must study your manner across the nation’s dialect of expressive Spanish. It’s spoken in a musical manner—much like Italian—and audio system pronounce “ll” and “y” with an “sh” sound as a substitute of the standard Spanish “y” sound. Appropriately, Italian is definitely the second most spoken native language in Argentina as a result of many Italians immigrated there within the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


Capitals: Sucre and La Paz

Inhabitants: 12.1 million

Bolivia has a staggering 37 official languages, 36 of that are indigenous. Though Spanish is the nation’s majority language, with about 75 % of the inhabitants talking it, many Bolivians additionally communicate indigenous languages, which have influenced the nation’s Spanish vocabulary with a wide range of loanwords. 

Listed here are some distinctive phrases you’ll hear in Bolivia, influenced by indigenous languages: 

  • quelliskiri = an individual who has a scorching mood
  • ¡Jallalla! = Hiya, everybody! 
  • Elay puej = Nicely, sure, in fact


Capital: Santiago

Inhabitants: 19.5 million

In Chile, Spanish audio system are identified for talking in a short time, and with an intonation that rises and falls quickly whereas they communicate. Due to this, even native Spanish audio system from different international locations can have a tough time understanding Chilean Spanish. When you’re having issue maintaining with a Chilean Spanish speaker, you could must politely ask them to talk slower by saying, Hablas lentamente, por favor.


Capital: Bogotá

Inhabitants: 51.5 million

Colombia is dwelling to extra Spanish audio system than some other nation in South America, with over 99 % of Colombians talking the language. The Spanish spoken in Colombia is pleasant to non-native audio system as a result of individuals have a tendency to talk slowly and clearly, although there are a variety of distinctive slang phrases that Colombians continuously use. Some examples are parce (“good friend”) and chévere (“good” or “cool”).


Capital: Quito

Inhabitants: 17.8 million

Ecuador has two principal dialects: coastal and Andean. The coastal dialect is, as you might have guessed, spoken alongside the Pacific coast. Probably the most noticeable function of this dialect is that it pronounces an “s” on the finish of phrases and earlier than different consonants as an “h” as a substitute. For example, you’ll pronounce buenos días (“good day”) as buenoh díah, or me gusta (“I prefer it”) as me guhta.

The Andean dialect is spoken within the highlands, together with the capital Quito. It’s frequent to listen to phrases that start with “r” pronounced with an “sh” sound as a substitute. As an alternative of roja (“purple”), you may hear somebody say shoja


Capital: Asunción

Inhabitants: 6.7 million

Whereas most individuals in Paraguay communicate Spanish, Paraguay is the one nation within the Americas the place a majority of the inhabitants speaks an indigenous language. About 70 % of Paraguayans communicate each Spanish and the native language Guaraní, so even Spanish audio system there use some Guaraní phrases. An instance is the phrase karape, which implies “quick.”


Capital: Lima

Inhabitants: 33.7 million

Just like Ecuador, the 2 commonest dialects of Peruvian Spanish are coastal and Andean dialects. Coastal Peruvian Spanish has a popularity for clear pronunciation. Andean Peruvian Spanish is usually spoken slowly and seemingly doesn’t distinguish between the vowels “e” and “i,” in addition to “o” and “u.” 

Each are influenced by Quechua, the principle language household of the Inca Empire. Quecha has contributed many phrases to Spanish, each in Peru and throughout South America. Some you could know, like llama and quinoa, and listed here are some others: 

  • choclo = ear of corn 
  • cancha = soccer area
  • cura = priest


Capital: Montevideo

Inhabitants: 3.4 million

Uruguayan Spanish shares similarities with the Spanish spoken in Argentina, together with the Italian influences. Like Argentinian Spanish, audio system in Uruguay pronounce “ll” and “y” with an “sh” sound. Nevertheless, some vocabulary is completely different. For example, whereas the Argentinian Spanish phrase for “bus” is colectivo, the Uruguayan phrase is ómnibus.


Capital: Caracas

Inhabitants: 28.2 million

​​Venezuela, positioned on the north-most finish of South America, is dwelling to tens of millions of Spanish audio system with a ardour for abbreviation. Venezuelan Spanish audio system generally shorten phrases, like shortening para (“for”) to simply pa. Additionally they drop “d” sounds after they’re between vowels, so a phrase like helado (“ice cream”) can be pronounced e’lao.

Why accomplish that many individuals in South America communicate Spanish?

Spanish is spoken throughout South America for largely the identical causes individuals in the USA and Canada communicate English: colonization by European international locations. Christopher Columbus and different Spanish-speaking colonists introduced the language to the Americas. As they conquered native populations and colonized areas on behalf of Spain, the language unfold. Aiding this had been Catholic missionaries who taught Spanish to indigenous teams in South America so they might speak to them and convert them.

What different languages are spoken in South America?

Along with Spanish, there are 4 extra generally acknowledged languages spoken in South America: 

  • Portuguese
  • English
  • French
  • Dutch

Portuguese is sort of as frequent as Spanish in South America, with 206 million audio system. This is because of the truth that Portuguese is the nationwide language of Brazil, which has greater than half of the continent’s whole inhabitants. English is the third most spoken language and is the official language of Guyana. French and Dutch are the official languages of French Guiana and Suriname, respectively. 

There are additionally lots of of indigenous languages, a few of that are acknowledged as official nationwide or regional languages in sure international locations. In Peru, as an illustration, the indigenous Quechua and Aymara languages share co-official standing with Spanish.

Be taught Spanish you should use throughout South America

There may be a lot range of language in South America, however if you wish to communicate to individuals from these international locations, Rosetta Stone’s Latin American Spanish program provides you with a strong base to work from. Rosetta Stone makes use of a distinctive immersion method to language studying, and breaks classes down into bite-sized items that match into the busiest of schedules. 

Begin your language journey at the moment at rosettastone.com, or obtain the Rosetta Stone app to study on the go!