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Which Spanish is the most difficult to understand?


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Hola!

I've visited so many different countries that speak Spanish and I was wondering if there's a country native Spanish speakers find really difficult to understand...

When I was in Chile, I could swear some of the time they were speaking a different language it was so fast!

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Well I don't really think that this a good question to be asking. It all really depends on Where you have studied Spanish. If you have studied it in Mexico, You will find Spain's Spanish odd because of the lisp and such if you know what I mean.

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I'm a native spanish speaker from Mexico, and I have a really hard time trying to understand what the people from Argentina, Paraguay, Venezuela, Uruguay & Bolivia say.  I usually understand half of the things they say, the same thing happens to them when speaking with me.  This is mostly because of the vocabulary they use, as well as the accent, of course. 

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I am not a native speaker of Spanish, but I find the easiest Spanish to understand is Mexican. This is partly because I have more exposure to this variety and partly because I feel they pronounce the word very close to how it is written.

I found Cuban Spanish quite difficult at first but I eventually got used to it. I also found the Spanish in Andalusia quite difficult at first. Both varieties seemed very fast to my ears and some syllables in some words are not pronounced or pronounced very lightly and that makes it harder to understand.

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I think I have only heard Spanish from Spain. In Catalunia is very similar to Portuguese, catalán on the other hand is really tricky to understand, I don't even know if it is considered another language.

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I don't even know if it is considered another language.

It is!

Haha, I'm from Chile, and I've always heard that we speak really fast, but I find that in Peru they speak even faster than us! Maybe Chilean is hard to understand because we use A LOT of idioms.

And, like Trellum, I find Argentinian Spanish the hardest to understand because the accent is so different from the other countries of Latin America, the 'voseo' can easily confuse you if you aren't aware of its conjugations rules. (In Cordoba, AR. they use lots of idioms too and have a different type of accent, so the Cordobés has to be the hardest for me.  o.o)

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As someone who has taken many Spanish classes and have learned about many dialects, I would have to say Cuban Spanish or Basque Spanish.

A lot of Cubans sound like they have their mouth full when they speak. It is indiscernible sometimes.

Basque on the other hand is just really different from your typical Spanish. I can't understand any of it. I feel like it is a completely different language.

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Basque on the other hand is just really different from your typical Spanish. I can't understand any of it. I feel like it is a completely different language.

Because it is! The only connection with Spanish is that both are spoken within the territory of Spain, but other than that, Basque doesn't resemble in anything to Spanish, that is why you are having a hard time understanding it.

It seems that lots of non-native Spanish speakers put Basque and Catalan in the same basket with Spanish.

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  • 2 months later...

I work as a customer service Rep for the Spanish queue. I service the wide Hispanic community here in the United States. I speak with Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Mexicans, Peruvians, Venezuelans, Chileans, Costa Ricans, Dominicans, Spain Natives, Argentinians, and other countries. I can understand all of them when they speak, however, I do not understand some of the words they use. I have had to ask what it means. After 5 years doing the same, I am accustomed to the accents the idioms, their speed, and so forth.

However, even to this day, I have a hard time understanding Dominicans, because out of all of them they are fast fast fast talkers.

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  • 4 weeks later...

For me, it's hands down Catalan.  I was nearly fluent in Spanish before I travelled to Barcelona, and the second I stepped into Cataluña I was utterly confused.  The vocab is different, the style of speaking is different, it's just confusing but also fascinating to me.

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Besides the lisp and vosotros in Spain Spanish vs. Mexican Spanish, are there any other barriers to understanding each other?  In other words, if I were to study with someone from Mexico and learn from speaking with them, would I be able to get around alright in Spain? 

Back when I was much more immersed, I remember Ecuadorian Spanish being very strange - some interesting inflections.

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I find it all terribly hard to understand. It's such a learning curve, having to learn that there isn't much of a pause between each word and all the letters are pronounced. Even though we speak fast in English I feel we make clear pauses between each word so we can tell a new word is being said. For me, listening to Spanish is so hard because it all sounds like the same word and I can't pick out each word to know what the person is saying. If the person slows down I can, for the most part, understand it.

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  • 1 month later...

I find Puerto Rican Spanish is difficult to comprehend because it seems they speak so quickly I can't distinguish words sometimes! I know native speakers that also speak so quickly they leave of ending sounds of words and blend words together, so it doesn't even sound like individual words I know! I realize we do this in English all the time, but as a non native speaker I now see how confusing this can be! It takes lots of training of your ear to be able to listen to fast talkers and understand the way they are speed-pronouncing even familiar words.

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I think Spanish from Argentina is the most difficult to understand. They pronounce the "ll" sound differently from the Spanish I've had an opportunity to hear. And I sure did listen to a couple of accents.

First, I was being taught by a Peruvian therefore I don't consider it a difficult one - it was the first one and I didn't know any other.

Later, I had some classes with a man from Navarra, a region in Spain that has a lot in common with Basque Country. He spoke really understandable Spanish and knew Basque as well, so I can tell you from my own experience, Basque is a totally different language.

Now my teachers are from Andalucia (southern Spain) and Castilla y Leon (central part). The accent from Castilla is an easy one, nothing special but the andalusian... yeah, this is the one that can cause missunderstandings. They don't pronounce some of the "s" so it's like "Nosotroh ehpanoleh tenemoh muchah aficioneh". But if I'm honest, I love it!

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  • 5 months later...

I find this question a bit funny. If you speak Spanish, then you will be able to understand every Spanish native speaker, no matter where they are from. I am from Peru and have no issues understanding any latin or spaniard speaker. The thing you might be talking about is the regionalisms and that if they are used all the time but if not, you just ask the person what this or that word means and problem solved.

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I'm from Puerto Rico. Besides ours, Dominican and Mexican Spanish is quite easy for me to understand because I've been exposed more to the culture. Dominicans are probably the largest group of non Puerto Rican hispanics that live here, and Mexican Spanish is used a lot on tv. I think the Argentinian Spanish is one of the hardest to understand.

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  • 2 months later...

Since I arrived in Chile I realised that this is for me the hardest type of Spanish to understand. It is due to the speed of pronunciation and the dropped consonant like "s" and "d". As they themselves admit they are prone to using different idiomatic expressions like "po" which is used as an intensifier for any affirmation Ya po, No po, Nos vemos po...etc

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  • 2 weeks later...

I lived in Chile for a long time and they do speak very fast, but very clean.  To me, they best approximate "classroom Spanish" of any country I've dealt with.  It's just very fast.  Mexican television is very easy to understand for me, but to be honest, I haven't spoken with one Mexican person that I understood very well.  Something about the accent or the number of slang words they throw in that just throws me way off.

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Castilian Spanish. I live in Southern California so I am in contact with many mexican speakers, so that is the type of Spanish I am really good at listening to. I get the least contact with Castilian speakers. However, I actually do a pretty mean Castilian accent haha.

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I'm currently studying Castillan Spanish, and the lisp is slightly weird, but I'm getting the hang of it, haha. I've spoken to people from other Spanish-speaking countries, and the difference is astonishing. I've spoken to my aunt (who is from Peru) in Spanish and I understood her completely. I've spoken to a woman from the Dominican Republic, however, and I could barely understand her because her accent was so thick. It's interesting, but it really shows how many different dialects of Spanish there are.

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  • 1 month later...

hola!

Your question is reali good.  Each of the spanish speaking countries have there way of speaking .I do know that  in certain  countries like : Puerto rico . Venezuela, Dominican Republic, and others , they do speak fast and  they are aware of it. But all depend on the person you are speaking with and there level of education.

http://language4me.com

Thank you

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  • 1 month later...

For me, Cuban would be the hardest to understand.  I only have limited experiences there, but they talk so muffled, like they have cottenballs in their mouths, it makes it very hard to hear the end of syllabels.

Mexico is the easiest for the exact opposite reason, many sounds they over-emphasis, which makes it easier to pick up on.  it is funny, I live in Nicaragua now, which is like Hondorus and Costa rica in that it has a really generic sound to it.  When I lived in the USA, I lived in Ohio, which is the same way.. it is kinda the ´meh´ of proununciation with no real accent.

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