How Many Types of Spanish are There?

The Spanish language is spoken by an estimated 437 million native speakers worldwide. And like any language, Spanish varies depending upon the geographic location and socio-cultural influences. So how many types of Spanish are there? Read on to find out ways to identify language variations in Costa Rica.

Continental variations: Spain and Latin America

It’s common to make a distinction between the Spanish spoken in Spain versus Latin American Spanish. The features which set the Spanish of Spain (called castellano) apart from Latin American Spanish are its pronunciation of the letter ‘c’ as a ‘th’  in front of certain vowels; the use of the pronoun vosotros and its accompanying verb form to express the familiar plural of  ‘you;’ and myriad words and phrases particular to Spain which reflect the country’s cultural, linguistic, and historical development.

National dialects 

On the other hand, Costa Rica and a few other countries are known for using the pronoun ‘vos‘ to express the familiar form of ‘you.’ Also, Costa Rican Spanish has its own vocabulary for certain words, and these lexical differences are particularly common in informal speech among native Costa Ricans (or ticos). As in most Spanish dialects, native speakers of other Spanish speaking countries generally understand Costa Rican Spanish without much difficulty.

Linguistic variations within Costa Rica

Finally, when you’re in Costa Rica you’ll note that people in the coastal and rural areas have a slightly different way of speaking compared to people who live in Costa Rica’s capital city. One of the most striking features of urban speech in Costa Rica is the use of an ‘r’ that is very similar to the ‘r’ used in American English, making it easier for native English speakers in the US to understand. In addition, linguistic diversity in Costa Rica has been impacted by immigration and linguistic influences from other countries, such as Panama and Nicaragua, Venezuela and Colombia. It’s also been shaped by the languages and cultures of the country’s indigenous populations throughout the ages.

There’s no better way to enjoy the cultural and linguistic diversity of Costa Rica than by enrolling in a Spanish immersion study abroad program at one of Costa Rica’s top language schools. At Costa Rican Language Academy (CRLA), you’ll enjoy the many benefits that make the school the leading international Spanish immersion school in Costa Rica, including:

  • Over 25 years in business
  • International students from all over the world
  • Expert instructors with degrees from top Costa Rican universities
  • CRLA’s own unique teaching methodology
  • Homestay programs with experienced, highly vetted host families
  • Cultural courses such as cooking and dancing
  • Opportunities for service learning and volunteering in the community
  • Day excursions
  • Assistance with making travel arrangements for independent travel on weekends or after you finish the program

For more information on CRLA’s Spanish immersion and homestay programs, please contact us.