Castilian v Latin American Spanish


I presume Rocket uses Latin American rather than Castilian?  I know a number of forums say that there is little difference, but a number of Spaniards I have known say otherwise.  I'd be interested in user's views.  Thanks.


Rocket does indeed use Spanish from Latin America (Chili). It is different from the Spanish spoken in Spain. In addition to using a few different verb conjugations (vosotros in Spain, for example), accents can vary widely. Generally speaking I have little trouble understanding someone from Madrid, but found it very difficult following someone from the Canary Islands or southern Spain. If you want to hear the differences for yourself, get on, contact someone from the country you're interested in and try to converse with them.



I believe the original presenters of Rocket Spanish are from Chile so the Spanish being taught is Latin American Spanish.  Even so, they also teach the 'vosotros' conjugation which is only really used in Spain.


As Steven and Robert have said, RS does teach "Latin American" Spanish. From the little bit of experience that I have gleaned from studying Spanish for almost 2 years, from having the opportunity to talk with native Spanish speakers from Spain and several Latin American countries, and listening to a lot of videos, I have formed the following opinions:

There are some differences between Spanish spoken in Spain and in the Americas, but not so different as to prevent one from understanding another. There are some differences in the names for things, as as mentioned, in the use of the vosotros conjugation. To my ear, the biggest thing is the "th" pronunciation of c and z in Spain.

I have also been told, and have noticed for myself, that there are substantial pronunciation differences among various Latin American countries. Columbians seem to have an accent most easy for me to understand. Argentinians drop s's and some other letters that I find challenging. And, as much as I love Cubans, when they talk to one another I can barely understand a word that is being said!

I talk weekly via Skype with a woman in Spain who teaches Spanish to foreigners there. I am impressed at how neutral and easy to understand her accent is. No "th", no "vale."

I compare this a lot to English. I don't know about the rest of you from the US, but I sometimes have trouble understanding British English clearly. Consider the many English accents; British, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian, and the many accents here in the US.


Absolutely. I have had a chance to travel extensively and the only place I've had trouble understanding people in English is in England. That said, recently I thought this one woman was mocking out another because of the way she was talking. I started joking with her afterwards about it and quickly had to backtrack as that WAS the way she talked (she was from Tennessee). I honestly didn't understand a word she was saying...


By the way, is "Castilian" the proper descriptor of Spanish spoken in Spain? According to Wikipedia it seems to be, but then again it is the internet...

I am not disputing Chris' title for this post, but just seeking clarification on the correct and accurate way to identify the Spanish spoken in Spain from that spoken in Latin America. Or perhaps, more accurately, from that spoken in the Americas, since Spanish is widely spoken in some parts of the United States.

Ava Dawn

Castillian is primarily from Madrid, Catalan from Barcelona, Galicia from Santiago de Campostela and something else from Navarre Spain located northeast of Spain


I can't seem to find a clear explanation of the difference between the words "Castillian", "Castellano", "Spanish", and "Español".  Some explanations say that all four words mean the same thing.  Castillian is just an English word for the Spanish word "Castellano" and "Spanish" is just and English word for the Spanish word "Español".  I would appreciate any responses.  Jim.

marieg-rocket languages

Mmmm confusing topic, specially due to all the conflict of interest in between... This is what El Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas (The Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Doubts) says about "Castellano" and "Español":

"Para designar la lengua común de España y de muchas naciones de América, y que también se habla como propia en otras partes del mundo, son válidos los términos castellano y español. La polémica sobre cuál de estas denominaciones resulta más apropiada está hoy superada.

Aun siendo sinónimo de español, resulta preferible reservar el término castellano para referirse al dialecto románico nacido en el Reino de Castilla durante la Edad Media, o al dialecto del español que se habla actualmente en esa región."

"To designate the common language of Spain and many nations of America, which is also spoken as their own in other parts of the world, are valid the terms Castilian and Spanish. The controversy over which of these names is more appropriate is today surpassed.

Even as synonymous with Spanish, it is preferable to reserve the term Castilian to refer to the Romanesque Castilian dialect born in the Kingdom of Castile during the Middle Ages, or the Spanish dialect spoken today in that region."

Hope this helps!


Hola amigos,

Just adding my two cents here.

First, Rocket Spanish definetly focuses on latinamerican spanish, if we stretch a bit the definition, we might as well say , they are teaching in a very neutral-standard Spanish , and not necessarly spanish from Chile (where at least one of the teachers is originally from) .They teach more of a general 'one size fits all' kind of spanish.

For those who don't know me I am mexican, and from the parts of the course I've checked I am 100% convinced any person from Mexico would understand it 100%, since, as I mentioned before, it aims to a neutrality, letting some local phrases, words and slang (and even accent) out of the ecuation, thus making it understandable by any latinoamericano (and also people from Spain).

Speaking of which, Castillian or Castellano comes from Castilla (not to confuse with castillo, which means castle) a region in Spain where, more or less, modern spanish got shaped.  Of course the word Spanish (Español) comes from the name of the country, Spain (España). So here is where the controversy arises. Spain speaks more than one language,and it is not due to inmigration or other similar situations, but mainly because, well, some regions in Spain kept their own language, some of them are deeply related to castillian and some have nothing to do with it. Gallego, Catalán, Vasco or Euskera , Aragonés, etc. Just to mention one, Gallego, is spoken in Galicia. This language is no doubt a combination between portuguese and castillian.

A good example I can think of is, well, English. English is a word that means "from England" , why don't we call the language British or UnitedKingdomish? Well, because the British also speak other languages, Irish, Welsh, Gaelic, etc. Same thing is with Spain, that is why some people preffer to say "Castillian" instead of Spanish, its something that has caused some controversies.

Other prefer to use Spanish, since Castillian (technically speaking) doesn't reallly exist anymore (there is still a Provice in Spain called Castilla, but it is just a fraction of what it used to be). This group arguments that, Castillian evolved and incorporated other words from the  new world (a.k.a the americas) so it is no longer Castillian, per se, but something else, and this is what we can call now modern Spanish languages. It is the way our language is known internationally and it is also the name I prefer to use (spanish)Aside from all the  technicalities, both names make sense to me, I found both to be interchangeable.

This is some information I found regarding the name of the language, according to the Constitution of each of the following countries, 7 for Castillian, 8 for Spanish and 4 where is not even mentioned officially (which include my country, Mexico, and also Argentina, the two countries with the largest population of spanish-castillian speaking perons) , versus the number of population combined :
Castellano en 7 países con una suma de 140 millones de habitantes: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Paraguay, Perú y Venezuela.

Español en 8 países con una suma de 60 millones de habitantes: Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica,27 Panamá,28 República Dominicana y Puerto Rico.

No hay mención alguna de la lengua oficial en las Constituciones de Argentina, Chile, México y Uruguay (Los 4 suman 180 millones de habitantes)

I hope you find this information useful, take care.

Hasta pronto, saludos desde Baja California!



Hola Marie, we posted almost at the exact same time :D!

How did you become a tutor? It would be cool for me to become one, and official tutor, that is haha!

Saludos :)

marieg-rocket languages

¡Hola Christian! Hehehe Yes, almost at the same time haha! :D

Well, if you'd like to know, I would suggest sending an email to support, you can do it at [email protected] and request it.

Regards! :)


Hola Cristian,

¿ Que tal amigo? You've been our tutor for quite some time and you should be designated official, but either way you're "official" to me.



Ava Dawn

I love the participation of official and non-official tutors. Thank you so much. After averaging 1000 points per day for one year, I decided to scale down to 400 points daily. My classes at the senior center is not going anywhere really. I wish I could teach my Hispanic friends to wear the Spanish tutor hat when I have conversation with them. I need someone to do drill exercises mainly English to Spanish.


Hi Ricardo and Aurora,

Thanks for your comments! I will still be helping you out with any questions official or not, remember I am your amigo! 



Thanks for all of the responses.  Jim.


I am currently in Granada, Spain for one week doing language lessons at la escuela (I will post separately about my trip :) ) and in my first lesson we were taught about the different regional languages of Spain and how Castilian has become the 'official' Spanish language. 
In terms of the difference with Latin American Spanish I have noticed only a few differences like has already been mentioned, the use of vosotros, some of the pronunciation etc.
As an English person I am sorry Steven for the confusion with English haha! And also not just because of the different languages within the UK eg. Welsh, Irish, but also the different accents/dialects e.g. Scousers from Liverpool, Geordies from Newcastle, Brummies from Birmingham etc.
I was talking about it with a Spanish guy I work with and he said England is so difficult because of that, the dialects are so much more pronounced than say the regional accents in Spain.
i guess ultimately we are all just learning to communicate, even if the exact dialect or grammar is not 100% correct but the person understands you then you are successful!


Not only do accents vary from country to country, but from region to region, just like with English in the USA and UK. In Mexico, Chilangos (those from Mexico City) have an urban accent that is very strong, probably a bit like people in NYC or Chicago do. My husband is from Mexico City and I often understand the person he is speaking with better than I understand him. Spanish speakers are typically well aware of how their use of Spanish is different from Spaniards, but they may not understand how idiomatic their own speech is, nor how strong their regional accent is. 


I just returned from spending 6 1/2 months in Peru studying Spanish and I must say that going through most of the level 1 course here at RS was very helpful.  I was a leg-up on the other students.  I didn't encounter any thing from RS that caused a conflict or confusion with my classes.  As to the castillano or español question, most people there that I talked with called it español with only a handful using the word castillano.  I even had one older gentlemen correct me when I used the word castillano, telling me I was in Peru and not Spain so we spoke Spanish.


Awesome. What did your studies consist of? How would you rate your level in Spanish now?



I have to say that I am envious. I have believed for some time that my Spanish is at a level where a lengthy immersion program would give me that elusive ability to  quickly and accurately comprehend what is being said to me by other, and then form a grammatical response. And, of course, visiting machu picchu is definitely on my bucket list.


The language school was 3-4 hours a day, 5 days a week.  There were 2 classes each day, grammar and practice, although for 12 days I had a phonetics class instead of grammar.  The phonetics class was extremely helpful in reducing my American accent.  Also, I helped out with a Peruvian church the whole time and they only had services in Spanish.  I had opportunity to share during the services as my Spanish improved, and the last Sunday I was there I preached for nearly 45 minutes.  So, both the language school and then spending the rest of my time working directly with Peruvians were a great benefit in learning the language.

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