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Hispanic Heritage
Different Flavors of Spanish



Different Flavors of Spanish
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.4

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    slang, variation, mountainous, almond, commonly, lowland, version, saying, supermarket, winds, unique, difference, settled, standard, since, become
     content words:    Since Spanish, United States, Latin American Spanish, Latin America, South America, Central America, West Indies, In Latin American Spanish, New World, Castilian Spanish


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Different Flavors of Spanish
By Colleen Messina
  

1     Hola! If you take years of Spanish in school, you probably think that you could understand Spanish anywhere, right? You might be surprised that not all Spanish is the same. Since Spanish is spoken in 19 different countries, there are several kinds of Spanish, and even more dialects. These kinds of Spanish are like different kinds of jam for sandwiches. They are all used to speak basically the same language...with a slightly different flavor.
 
2     A dialect is a variation of a language used by people in a certain place or community. If many people use the same dialect, it might become the standard for that language. Each dialect has special words, grammar, and pronunciation. People who study languages and dialects are called linguists. Linguists study standard languages, as well as slang words. Slang words are usually fun and lively. Most cultures have slang; for example, if you call someone "nuts," you are not labeling him or her as some kind of peanut or almond. You are saying that the person is crazy!
 
3     Linguists also study how countries borrow words from other languages. In the United States, many words are borrowed from the two most common kinds of Spanish. The first kind of Spanish is standard Latin American Spanish. It is the most common Spanish spoken in the United States, and it might be considered the grape jelly of the Spanish language. This is also called highland Spanish because people who live in the mountainous part of Latin America use it. Countries that use this kind of Spanish are in South America, Central America, and the West Indies. People in Mexico also use this kind of Spanish. In Latin American Spanish, each letter is pronounced, and the "r" has a strong sound.

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