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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is an offshoot from the “What is the best way to learn Spanish?” thread. On page 6 it was mentioned that if your Spanish course was from Spain, the most important thing you need to know is that “cojer” (in Spain a useful, allpurpose word for “get”, “grab”, “pick up”) should be avoided in Mexico, because it means “screw” (in the vulgar sense).

It gets stronger in meaning the farther south you go in the Americas. In Argentina, it frankly means “f*ck”.

In Mexico, it must have undergone a change of meaning over the years. I observe that people currently in their 70’s and older will use it in the innocent meaning, so I infer that it changed around the 1950s–1960s.

In Mexico, you instead say “agarrar”, “conseguir”, or to pick somone up, “ir por”, “pasar por” or “recoger”. Note that the taint doesn’t apply to related verbs such as “recoger” or “acoger” – you can use those with impunity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
I expect everyone knows the basic pronunciation differences – in Spain “c” and “z” are pronounced like our English unvoiced “th”. These are pronounced “s” in Mexico. It’s easy to diagnose this when you see all the misspellings on signs that confuse “s”, ”c” and “z”.

“LL” and consonant “y” are pronounced exactly alike in Mexico, sort of a cross between English “j” and English consonant “y”. You can tell how to pronounce them when you hear a Mexican Spanish speaker fail to distinguish between “jello” and “yellow” in English.

The other differences are more subtle, and not so vital for learners. Spaniards pronounce the “jota” (and “g” of “ge” and “gi”) much stronger and harsher than Mexicans.

The Spaniard’s “s” is almost half-way to sounding like our “sh”, but not in Mexico. That makes it easy for English speakers to say the Mexican “s”; we just pronounce it like we’re used to pronouncing it in English.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
In Spain, they hardly every use the simple past. In Mexico, it’s used commonly.

Spain: Se ha caído.
Mexico: Se cayó.

Spain: Hemos llegado.
Mexico: Ya llegamos.

and so on.
 

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Vosotros the formal of nosotros .... is seldom used in Mexico. My first Spanish classes were in the '50's and our teacher gave us no breaks when it came to conjugation. Gave me a metal block for some reason
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks for a good catch, I forgot all about that important difference!

I think you had a slip of the finger. Vosotros is not the formal form of nosotros; it is the familiar second person plural; “youse guys” (but not slangy or improper). In Spain they use the familiar address more than us, so they say "tú" more than “usted” and if there is more than one person, they say “vosotros” more than “ustedes”.

In Mexico, it is always ustedes for second person plural, even if the entire group consists of your nearest and dearest, all of which you would individually call .

Vosotros ‘seldom’? I’ve seen that claim, but I have never heard of any place in the Americas where it’s used. I’m quite sure it’s not used at all in the New World.

(Tangent: I sometimes see people confused between usages of vosotros and vos, and I suspect that’s why they sometimes qualify the non-use of vosotros in the Americas. But vosotros and vos, although related in origin, are now two entirely different things. Vos (an alternate to ) passed out of use in Spain a few centuries ago. It’s not used in Mexico at all except in some border regions with Central America. So the Spanish learner in Mexico can forget about vos except for being aware that it exists – until the day they meet an Argentinean!).
 

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Vosotros the formal of nosotros .... is seldom used in Mexico. My first Spanish classes were in the '50's and our teacher gave us no breaks when it came to conjugation. Gave me a metal block for some reason
actually - vosotros is the informal of ustedes..


oops - note to self - read whole thread before replying!! I see it has been answered :D

when I was first learning Spanish - in Spain, since that's where I live - we had a girl in our class who had originally learned in a South American country - she had never heard of vosotros
 

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Vosotros the formal of nosotros .... is seldom used in Mexico. My first Spanish classes were in the '50's and our teacher gave us no breaks when it came to conjugation. Gave me a metal block for some reason
Vosotros equals ustedes

never used in Mexico
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
In Spain, it‘s quite proper to call someone’s attention (e.g. a waiter or store clerk) with a sharp "¡Oiga!" That would be approaching rudeness in Mexico.

Get someone‘s attention by gently calling "¡Disculpe!" or "Joven/Señorita" or just approaching them and saying "Buenos días/Buenas tardes".

If you didn’t understand or hear something properly, and you want to say “Pardon me?” (in the sense of “What did you say?"), you can say "¿Mande?" or even more formally, ”¿Mande usted?” Mande also serves the purpose if someone calls out to you and you want to ask them “What do you want [from me/me to do for you]?

In Spain, mande is an old, obsolete, expression of subservience, and they think we sound odd when we use it.
 

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In Spain, it‘s quite proper to call someone’s attention (e.g. a waiter or store clerk) with a sharp "¡Oiga!" That would be approaching rudeness in Mexico.

Get someone‘s attention by gently calling "¡Disculpe!" or "Joven/Señorita" or just approaching them and saying "Buenos días/Buenas tardes".

If you didn’t understand or hear something properly, and you want to say “Pardon me?” (in the sense of “What did you say?", you can say "¿Mande?" or even more formally, ”¿Mande usted?” Mande also serves the purpose if someone calls out to you and you want to ask them “What do you want [from me/me to do for you]?

In Spain, mande is an old, obsolete, expression of subservience, and they think we sound odd when we use it.
And lately we are trying to change or discard that Mande or mande Usted, since it is a submissive way of addressing
We would rather say diga, digame, diga usted
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
In Spain, you answer the phone saying, "Diga" or "Dígame".

In Mexico, "Bueno”.

I don’t know how they end phone calls in Spain, but in Mexico, there’s no set way. There is usually a series of “ándale” and "ándale pues" separated by various “just one more thing I have to tell you”. Sometimes it’s finally ended with a bai (i.e. “bye”, an English borrowing), along with various well-wishes according to the circumstances and the relationship; nos vemos pronto, cuídate mucho, qué te cuides and so on.
 

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This is an offshoot from the “What is the best way to learn Spanish?” thread. On page 6 it was mentioned that if your Spanish course was from Spain, the most important thing you need to know is that “cojer” (in Spain a useful, allpurpose word for “get”, “grab”, “pick up”) should be avoided in Mexico, because it means “screw” (in the vulgar sense).

It gets stronger in meaning the farther south you go in the Americas. In Argentina, it frankly means “f*ck”.

In Mexico, it must have undergone a change of meaning over the years. I observe that people currently in their 70’s and older will use it in the innocent meaning, so I infer that it changed around the 1950s–1960s.

In Mexico, you instead say “agarrar”, “conseguir”, or to pick somone up, “ir por”, “pasar por” or “recoger”. Note that the taint doesn’t apply to related verbs such as “recoger” or “acoger” – you can use those with impunity.
Thank you for sharing. I will definitely avoid that word. LOL:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Avoid saying madre for “mother” except in the most sacrosanct and proper of contexts (Día de la Madre, madre superior, la madre del presidente). Always say mamá. The reason is that madre has become contaminated by the expression "*$%^ your mother" (for which the Spanish equivalent uses "madre": "ch*(%^$ tu madre".

Can you use "padre"? Yes, it hasn’t suffered the same degradation. Note also that padre is also a sort of out-of-date expression for “cool” - "¡Qué padre!" = "Groovy!" But it is not improper at all the way madre is.

There’s no separate word for “parents”, it’s padres; or padres de familia if you want to make it clear that you don’t mean "fathers". But by extension of mamá, it’s also common to say papás; e.g.:
How are your parents? ¿Cómo están tus papás?

When you get used to it, thouroughly Mexicanized, you will feel the strangeness, along with a little frisson of impropriety when your
Spanish friend asks you, "¿Cómo eshtán tush padresh?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I would also add that all this advice is for Spanish learners. If you already learned Spanish from Spain to an excellent level, to the point that you could be mistaken for a Spaniard, you don’t need to change. The common advice given to learners is not to mix accents, and I agree with this. In my opinion, it would be a mistake to switch in some Mexican features to your Spanish while retaining some Spain features, and end up speaking a mish-mash of mid-Atlantic Spanish.
 

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I expect everyone knows the basic pronunciation differences – in Spain “c” and “z” are pronounced like our English unvoiced “th”. These are pronounced “s” in Mexico. It’s easy to diagnose this when you see all the misspellings on signs that confuse “s”, ”c” and “z”.

The Spaniard’s “s” is almost half-way to sounding like our “sh”, but not in Mexico. That makes it easy for English speakers to say the Mexican “s”; we just pronounce it like we’re used to pronouncing it in English.
These rules hold true for most of Spain but not for Andalucía or Galicia. Not sure about Cataluña.
 

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These rules hold true for most of Spain but not for Andalucía or Galicia. Not sure about Cataluña.
That happens when we try to agglomerate into "Mexicans", "Spaniards", "Americans", etc
each Country has a huge diversity of words and pronunciation
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
These rules hold true for most of Spain but not for Andalucía or Galicia. Not sure about Cataluña.
As far as I know, in Cataluña, they pronounce the “c/z” like “th”, too.

Nevertheless, with respect to “c/z”, I’d expect that most Spanish lessons from Spain directed at foreigners will use the “th” pronunciation. Anyone have experience to the contrary?

Another place they pronounce ”c/z” as “s” is in the Canary Islands, where there are [thanks, Wikipedia] also some other more New-World-like features, such as using the simple past in speech, using ustedes for both levels of formality, copious use of diminutives, and pronouncing the “s” at the ends of syllables similar to the English ‘h’.

The final ‘s’-losing, however, while common in much of the rest of the Americas, is not a feature of Mexican Spanish, except in a few regions on the Caribbean and southern coasts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
A few basic vocabulary items

to become angry
Spain: enfadarse
Mexico: enojarse

to go away, to leave
Spain: marcharse
Mexico: irse

small, little
Spain: pequeño
Mexico: chico
Yes, we say pequeño in Mexico, too, but the point is that in Spain, the main meaning of chico(a) is a guy/girl; it isn’t used to mean “small”. In Mexico, pequeño is a more formal way to say “small”, whereas it’s the normal word in Spain.
 
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