Spanish Dialects – How Many Types of Spanish are There?

Spanish Dialects Castilian Rioplatense Mexican Columbian Peruvian Chilean

Is there More Than One Kind of Spanish?

Yes, there’s more than one kind of Spanish! Although there’s only one Spanish Language you are about to find out that there are many Spanish dialects. To the untrained ear different Spanish dialects can sometimes sound like completely different languages – they are still the same Spanish though!

When I first started to learn Spanish, I never even considered that there might be more than one kind. I guess I just figured that Spanish was, well . . . just Spanish!

“Did you know that Spanish is spoken by well over 500 million people worldwide” and as many as 21 countries around the world have Spanish as their official national language”.

If you were to do a bit of research on the English language, you’d find out that there’s considered to be as many as 160 different dialects of English spoken around the world!

With there being so many different kinds of the English language, it stands to reason that there would be more than one variety of Spanish – in fact a lot more than one!

The Definition of a Dialect

Factors Determining Definition of a Spanish Dialect

So, what is a dialect anyway, and what exactly makes one kind of Spanish different to the next?

A dialect is a variety of a language that is spoken in a specific geographic region or by a particular group of people. Dialects can vary based on pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and usage, and can be influenced by various factors, such as social, cultural, and historical factors.

Although two dialects can be very different to each other – sometimes even sounding like different languages – they are still the same language. This is because they share a common origin and can be easily understood by native speakers from each dialect.

The point is, as they are the same language, they are mutually intelligible.

Here’s where things get a little tricky though. The distinction between a language, a dialect and an accent is sometimes not clear cut. As well as linguistic rules (pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, etc.) cultural and even political considerations can come into play. It really can depend on your point of view.

Technically, an accent refers only to the way words are pronounced, while a dialect takes in pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and usage.

What might be considered a dialect in one context or by one group of people may be considered as separate language by others. To add to this, the terms “dialect” and “accent” are often used interchangeably.

How Many Kinds of Spanish are There? Quick Answer

Since the definition of a dialect is open to interpretation, it’s difficult to put a real number on just how many Spanish dialects there are. It will always depend on who you ask – some will say 7, some will say 10 and others might say there are as many as 20!

There are just too many regional variations in pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar to put an accurate number on it. The real answer is that it doesn’t matter!

Having said that however, it is estimated that there are around ten main dialects of Spanish. These ten dialects can be grouped into two main categories: Latin American Spanish and Castilian Spanish (also known as European or Peninsular Spanish).

Both of these two main dialects can be further divided into sub-dialects based on regional differences. For example, in Latin America, there are many different sub-dialects, including Mexican Spanish, Caribbean Spanish, and Argentine Spanish, among others. In Spain, there are also regional variations, including Andalusian Spanish, Canarian Spanish, and Castilian Spanish, to name a few.

We’ll go into these in a little more detail later . . . . .

Castilian vs Latin American

Castilian Spanish (sometimes called European Spanish, Peninsular Spanish, or even Spain Spanish) is the standard form of Spanish that is spoken in Spain. Latin American Spanish, as it’s name suggests, is the variety of Spanish spoken in Latin America, which includes a number of regional dialects and variations.

Castilian Spanish is often described as being more formal and traditional. Latin American Spanish is considered to be a more relaxed and informal dialect.

Some of the main differences between Castilian and Latin American Spanish include:

Pronunciation: The pronunciation of certain letters and sounds can differ between the two varieties of Spanish, such as the pronunciation of the “s” sound and the “c” and “z” sounds.
Vocabulary: There are also differences in vocabulary between Castilian and Latin American Spanish, with some words having different meanings or not being used at all in one variety of Spanish.
Grammar: While the basic rules of Spanish grammar are the same in both Castilian and Latin American Spanish, there are some differences in usage, particularly when it comes to verb conjugation and the use of formal and informal language.
Regional Slang and Colloquialisms: Latin American Spanish includes a wide range of regional variations and dialects, each with their own unique characteristics and differences from Castilian Spanish.

I’ve written about the differences between Latin American and Castilian Spanish in another article on this site. I go into a lot more detail on the vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation differences mentioned above that set these two main dialect groups apart. It’s definitely worth a read if you want to see exactly what makes one Spanish dialect different to the next.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the main Spanish dialects we can find around the world . . .  

European Spanish Dialects

The table below gives us a nice summary the main European Spanish dialects and the regions they are spoken in:

Spanish DialectRegion
Castilian SpanishSpain (Central region of Castile)
Andalusian SpanishAndalusia (Southern region of Spain)
Murcian SpanishMurcia (Southeastern region of Spain)
Castúo SpanishExtremadura (Western region Spain)
Castrapo SpanishGalacia (Northwestern region of Spain)
Canarian SpanishCanary Islands (Off the West coast of Africa)
European Spanish Dialects

It’s worth a mention that even these dialects can have their own sub-dialects, and the differences between them can be significant. As we talked about earlier, what makes a dialect a sub-dialect can depend on your definition of what a dialect actually is.

Let’s take a closer look of each of the European dialects listed above . . . .

Regions of Spain


The Castilian Spanish dialect due to its roots in history is the official language of Spain. It was the preferred dialect of the Spanish monarchy way back in the 12th to 15th centuries and as a result became the dominant and official language of the state.

It gets its name from the Castile region of North central Spain where the dialect has its origins and contains many words of Arabic origin.

It is the official dialect of the Spanish government and is used in the media and education system. If you are taking Spanish course, there is a good chance it is Castilian Spanish you will be learning (the other main Spanish dialect taught in Spanish courses being Latin American Spanish).


Andalusian Spanish is the dialect you’ll find spoken in the southernmost regions of Spain. It is the second most widely used dialect in Spain (after Castilian) and as well as being spoken in Andalusia it is also spoken in the regions of Ceuta, Melilla, and Gibraltar.

The dialect has a few characteristics that will help you to set it apart from Castilian and other Spanish dialects. Probably the biggest thing that makes it recognisable is the absence of the ‘Spanish lisp’. Another thing you’ll notice is that Andalusians tend to speak with a strong rolling “r” and will regularly drop the “s” sound at the end of words and drop the “d” from every word.

Some say this results in smoother and softer sounding dialect than othes. In the past this ‘different sounding’ dialect has even been made fun of.

If you ever plan to travel to southern Spain though, it would be well worth your while getting familiar with the Andalusian way of speaking Spanish!


Murcian Spanish is the regional brand of Spanish you’ll find spoken in the southeast region of Spain, in the independent community of Murcia. As well as the capital city of Murcia, the Murcian region also takes in several large towns like Cartagena and Lorca and the surrounding rural areas.

If you were to look at a map of the region, you’d see that Murcia is ‘surrounded’ by the other two main Spanish dialects, Castilian to the North and Andalusian to the West. It’s no surprise then that Murcian takes a fair amount of influence from both Castilian and Andalusian. Some even say that Murcian Spanish is just like Andalusian Spanish, yet others think it’s more like Castilian Spanish.

Despite not having its own unique set of defining characteristics, Murcian Spanish is still considered a separate dialect area, and its speakers (over a million of them) take great pride in their language. So, if you ever find yourself in Murcia, be sure to listen closely to the local Spanish – you might learn something new!


Castúo Spanish is the name given to a group of Spanish dialects spoken in the Extremadura region of mid-western Spain. Extremadura actually has its own language which although considered to be a different language to Spanish has many similarities to Castilian Spanish.

Castúo you could say is “Extremaduran Castilian” – it’s not quite Castilian and it’s not quite Extremaduran but shares many traits of both. Features of the dialect include the aspiration (strong burst of breath) of certain letters and the elision (omission of sounds, syllables or words) of others.

The name Castúo originally referred to a character in a book of poems published way back in 1921 by Luis Chamizo Trigueros a popular Extremaduran poet. Describing a traditional countryman or peasant of Extremadura, the name Castúo over time, has become the popular way to refer to the region’s languages.

Castúo Spanish has been in decline in recent decades, with younger generations tending to speak the more standard Castilian Spanish instead. Efforts have been made however, to promote the language and preserve its cultural heritage, such as through the creation of a Castúo Spanish dictionary and the incorporation of the language into local school curricula.


Castrapo Spanish is the dialect of Spanish you will find spoken in the Galician region of northwest Spain. The region of Galicia actually has its own language which is different to Spanish and strongly influenced by nearby Portuguese.

The Castrapo dialect is that little bit different from other dialects of Spanish because it uses many Galician words and phrases. For example, “Close the window” in Castrapo Spanish would be “Pecha a ventana,” whereas in standard Spanish, it is “Cierra la ventana.”

The influence that these two dialects have had on each other and the similarities between them means that you will encounter native speakers living in this region mixing the two languages almost interchangeably.

Many traditional people in Galicia are proud of their Galician language and heritage and not exactly happy with the way that Spanish has influenced their Galician language over the years. They feel that the current form of Galician has been overly influenced by Spanish.

The name Castrapo actually comes from the words “Castelán”, meaning Castilian and “trapo” meaning rag. This, almost scornful name, “Castrapo”, literally meaning “rag-Spanish”, was given to the dialect which is a mixture of Spanish and Galician by Galician natives to express their disdain for the Spanish being spoken in their region.


Canarian Spanish, as its name suggests, is the brand of Spanish that you will greet you when you visit the Canary Islands. Because of its historical roots this dialect is quite similar to the Andalusian Spanish variety spoken in Western Andalusia and also has a lot in common with Caribbean Spanish.

This is because the Canary Islands were colonised by Andalusians sailing down from the ports of Andalusia way back in the 14th century. The similarities to Caribbean Spanish is due to the influence of Canarian emigration to the Caribbean Islands and Hispanic America over the years that followed.

Canarian Spanish has one unique characteristic in that it takes some influence from the indigenous Guanche language which was widespread in the Canaries before it was colonised by the Andalusian explorers. The Guanche language was almost completely wiped out after the colonisation but you will still find remnants of the language in the names of some plants and animals, in some of the words related to cattle farming, and in more than a few island placenames.

A feature of Canarian Spanish that might catch your attention is its pronunciation. It is sometimes described as being very musical and expressive. You’ll notice the “s” sound is often pronounced as “h” and the “v” sound is often pronounced as “b”.

Just like all other Spanish speaking regions there are some variations within the Canarian Spanish dialect itself – depending on where you are. For example, the Spanish spoken in Tenerife is just a little different from the Spanish spoken in Gran Canaria. Despite these regional differences, Canarian Spanish is still considered to be a single dialect and is widely understood by Spanish speakers from other regions.

Not Spanish

Spanish That’s Not Really Spanish – Catalan, Basque, Galician and Aranese Occitan

The Spanish language as its spoken in Spain – which you now know has several different regional dialects – is not the only language spoken on the Spanish peninsula. Although the majority of people in Spain speak Spanish, Spain actually has four other “co-official” languages spoken in different regions around the country.

These languages are Catalan, Basque, Galician and Aranese Occitan and are officially recognised by the Spanish constitution. Although these languages come from similar origins and have a lot in common with Spanish they are considered to be different and separate languages of their own rather than dialects of the Spanish language.


Taking its name from the region of Catalonia where it originated from, Catalan, is a stand-alone language that is spoken in the Spanish region of Catalonia, as well as in the Balearic Islands, Valencia, and the eastern part of Aragon.

Since the Spanish region of Catalonia shares a border with France Catalan is also spoken in some parts of southern France. Catalan is classified as being a Romance language which shares similarities with Spanish, French, and Italian, but still has its own unique characteristics.


Galician is a language spoken mainly in Galicia, a region of Spain’s north-west which lies on the northern border of Portugal. Because of the regions close proximity to Portugal you will also find Galician spoken in some of the bordering towns of Portugal.

Galician has many similarities with Portuguese, and the two languages share a common history. However, Galician has also been heavily influenced by Spanish, and the relationship between Galician and Spanish has been a contentious issue in the past – read about the Castrapo dialect above to see why!


The Basque Country, which comprises of a northern region of Spain and the very southwestern tip of France has its own unique language – Basque. It is estimated that around three quarters of a million people speak Basque, with the majority of them being in Spain.

Basque, which is also known as Euskara, is considered to be one of the oldest living languages in Europe and is unique in that it is not related to any other language in the world. It is the only surviving language of the pre-Indo-European languages spoken in Western Europe.

The Basque language has a very complicated grammar system and some unique phonemes (sounds) that you won’t find in any other language. This makes it one of the most difficult languages to learn.

Aranese Occitan

Aranese Occitan, also known as Aranese or simply Occitan, is a language spoken in the Aran Valley of northern Catalonia which lies on the French border. It is a variety of Occitan, which is a Romance language that you’ll find spoken in southern France, northern Italy, and parts of Spain.

Aranese Occitan is the only official language of the Aran Valley, where it is used alongside Spanish and Catalan. Although Aranese Occitan is closely related to other Occitan dialects spoken in France and Italy, it has some unique features largely due to its isolation and also because of its contact with Catalan and Spanish.

Spain’s Linguistic Diversity

There’s no doubt that Spain is a country rich in historical traditions and culture. The diversity of tradition and culture becomes really evident when you take a closer look at the various dialects and languages spoken throughout the country, like we have here.

The dialects and languages we have talked about are just the major  ones. If you were to spend any amount of time travelling around Spain, you would eventually encounter other sub-dialects of Spanish and even different regional languages altogether.

This linguistic diversity is by no means unique to Spain or the Spanish language.

As you’ll see, Latin American Spanish dialects are just as varied and culturally diverse. . .

Video – The Five Languages of Spain

Latin American Dialects

Before jumping into talking about the different dialects of Latin America take a look at the table below. It gives us a nice ‘birds eye view’ of the main Latin American Spanish dialects and the regions they are spoken in.

Caribbean SpanishCaribbean
Andean SpanishAndean region of South America
Rioplatense SpanishRio de la Plata region of Argentina and Uruguay
Mexican SpanishMexico
Colombian SpanishColumbia
Chilean SpanishChile
Peruvian SpanishPeru
Latin American Spanish Dialects

This of course is by no means a complete list. It’s just the major dialects and regions. Just like in Spain, the Spanish of the Americas has taken influence from happenings of the past and local cultures throughout the land. Outside of these main dialects there are many sub-dialects and even remnants of other indigenous languages.

Let’s take a look at the Spanish dialects on our list . . .


Caribbean Spanish, as its name suggests, is the brand of Spanish you’ll find to be spoken in the Caribbean Island regions. You’ll encounter the Caribbean dialect in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, as well as parts of Panama, some of Venezuela and northern parts of Colombia.

The Caribbean Island region is in fact the first part of the American continent that the Spanish language was introduced to. It has its roots in the Spanish spoken by colonizers who arrived in the region in the 15th and 16th centuries. As a result of colonization, Caribbean Spanish has also been influenced by African, indigenous, and other European languages.

One of the distinctive features of Caribbean Spanish is its rhythm and accent, which are often described as being musical and melodic. There are also some unique grammatical structures and vocabulary that are specific to the dialect., The use of the diminutive suffix “-ito/-ita” and also the use of the second person plural pronoun “ustedes” instead of “vosotros” are just two to watch out for.

Caribbean Spanish is also well known for its use of slang and colloquialisms, which are constantly evolving and changing which can make it difficult for non-native speakers to understand at times. Despite its variations and differences from other Spanish dialects, Caribbean Spanish is still widely understood throughout the Spanish-speaking world.


The Andean Spanish dialect, sometimes called Andean-Pacific, is a variant of Spanish spoken in the Andean region of South America. You’ll find it in southern parts of Colombia, in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia and in northern parts of Argentina and Chile.

Like the Spanish spoken in other parts of South America the Spanish dialect of the Andean region has taken influence from its colonial Spanish settlers. You can find similarities to the Spanish dialects of mainland Spain, Castilian and Andalusian, as well as the more local Caribbean Spanish dialect especially in the larger cities.

The thing that sets Andean Spanish apart from other dialects of Latin America is the way it has been influenced by the indigenous languages of the region that were in existence there long before Spanish arrived. Aymara and Quechua are just two of these languages and many words and phrases from these languages have been incorporated into the Spanish spoken in this region over the years.

One notable feature of Andean Spanish to watch out for is the use of the diminutive suffix “-ito/-ita” to express affection or to indicate a small size or quantity. For example, “perro” (dog) becomes “perrito” (little dog), and “taza” (cup) becomes “tacita” (little cup).

Another characteristic of Andean Spanish is the use of the pronoun “vos” instead of the more common “tú” to address the second person singular. This usage is known as “voseo” and is also found in other Spanish varieties, such as Rioplatense Spanish.

The Andean-Pacific Spanish dialect is variant of Spanish that really reflects the unique history and cultural heritage of the Andean region of South America.

Rioplatense Spanish

Rioplatense Spanish, sometimes called “River Plate Spanish” or simply “Argentine Spanish” is a dialect of the Spanish language spoken mainly in the Rio de la Plata region of South America. The region takes in parts of Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.

The story of Rioplatense Spanish is much the same as many other Latin American Spanish dialects. Spanish colonists who moved into the region over half a century ago brought their Spanish language with them. Although the colonists completely pushed out the indigenous people of the area some words and phrases from their native languages remained.

Guarani and Quechua are two such native languages whose words and phrases crept into the Spanish language of the region and still remain today.

In later years, the late eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds, waves of immigration from European settlers, mostly from Spain and Italy, had a notable influence on the Spanish language of the region. Vocabulary of Italian origin are commonplace in Rioplatense Spanish. For example, the word “bondi” (bus) comes from the Italian “vagoni,” and “laburar” (to work) comes from the Italian “lavorare.”

One of the main features of the Rioplatense Spanish dialect, and one that sets it apart from others is the use of “voseo”. This form of grammar uses the pronoun “vos” instead of “tú” for the second person singular, and the conjugation of verbs in the present tense is different from other Spanish dialects. For example, instead of saying “tú hablas” (you speak), Rioplatense Spanish uses “vos hablás.”

Apart from some of the unique words and phrases coming from the native languages of old and more recent Italian influence it is probably the use of voseo that you as a visitor to this region of Latin America would notice. How often do you say “you” in English – quite a bit!


The Mexican Spanish dialect is the most widely spoken Spanish dialect in the world. As well as in Mexico it is also spoken in many southern parts of the US due to the Migration of millions of Mexican nationals into the US over the years.

Approximately 130 million people speak it as their first language which is more than double that of any other Spanish speaking country in the world. With such a large number of speakers of the Mexican dialect you can expect to find quite a few regional variations as you move around Mexico. For example, the Spanish spoken in Mexico City will be a little different from the Spanish spoken in the northern states of Mexico.

The history of Mexican Spanish follows a similar path to other Latin American Spanish Dialects. The Spanish language was brought to Mexico back in the 15th and 16th centuries by Spanish colonists and was influenced by the country’s indigenous languages, such as Nahuatl for example. In more recent times Mexican Spanish has also taken some influence from English.

The influence of English and indigenous languages has led to the incorporation of many ‘loanwords’ and expressions into the language that are unique to the Mexican Spanish dialect. Two examples that you’ll hear a lot in Mexico are “chido” which means “cool” or “awesome”, and “güey” which is a slang term for “dude” or “guy”. The language is full of colloquialisms that reflect the country’s culture and history.

One of the main features that distinguishes Mexican Spanish from other dialects of Spanish is its pronunciation. For example, the letter “s” and the letter “j” is often pronounced like the “h” in English. Mexican Spanish also has some unique grammar rules, such as the use of the reflexive pronoun “se” in place of “le” or “les” for indirect objects.

With Mexican Spanish being such a widely spoken dialect you’ll find that many Spanish courses and lessons are based on the Mexican Spanish dialect. If you are learning Spanish right now there’s a good chance you are learning Mexican Spanish.


Colombian Spanish is the Spanish dialect of Colombia. That sounds simple enough, right? Well, it’s not quite that simple. The brand of Colombian Spanish you’ll find on mainstream media in Colombia is the Spanish of the capital Bogotá and probably the Spanish that Colombia is known for.

Once you move away from the capital city though ,you can find huge regional variations in the Spanish being spoken by locals in the different cities, towns, and villages around the country. Depending on where you are in the country you could find similarities with Caribbean, Rioplatense or even Peninsular Spanish dialects.

One of the most notable characteristics of Colombian Spanish is its pronunciation. Colombians generally speak with a clear and crisp accent, with distinct enunciation of each syllable. Unlike some other varieties of Spanish, Colombian Spanish does not tend to “swallow” syllables or drop consonants at the ends of words. For this reason, it is often said that Colombian Spanish is the easiest Spanish to learn for beginners.

Another distinctive feature of Colombian Spanish is the use of the pronoun “ustedes” to address groups of people in the second person plural, which is common in some other Latin American countries as well. However, in some regions of Colombia, people also use the pronoun “vosotros” as a second person plural, which is more commonly used in Spain.

Colombian Spanish also has its own set of slang terms and expressions that are unique to the country. Some examples include “parcero” (which means “buddy” or “friend”), “chévere” (which means “cool” or “awesome”), and “paila” (which can mean “too bad” or “what a shame”).


The Chilean dialect has its roots in the Castilian Spanish that was brought to the country by Spanish colonizers in the 16th century, but just like in other South American countries, it has over time, developed its own very unique characteristics.

The Spanish spoken in different parts of the country is generally similar, but you’ll find differences in zones of the far south and extreme north, and sometimes even differences among different social classes.

Certainly, one of the first things you’ll notice about Chilean Spanish is its speed. Chilean Spanish is known for being fast-spoken, and it can be difficult even for some Spanish speakers to understand. It’s definitely not the easiest Spanish for a beginner to get a grasp of!

When you eventually tune into the fast-paced accent there are a few things about Chilean pronunciation that will stand out. Chilean Spanish tends to omit the final “s” or “d” sound from a lot of words. Also, you’ll notice that the “ch” is almost always pronounced as an “sh” sound – so Chile becomes Shile!

Chilean Spanish also has a unique set of slang words and phrases that are not commonly used in other Spanish-speaking countries. In fact, Chilean Spanish has more than 2,200 slang words and idioms officially recognised by the Royal Spanish Academy and many more that are not yet on the official list. Apart from Honduran Spanish this is more than in any other Spanish dialect.

Overall, the Chilean Spanish dialect is one of the most distinct and colourful variations of the Spanish language, characterized by its fast pace and countless slang word and idioms.


Peruvian Spanish is more of a geographical term for the Spanish of Peru rather than an individual dialect. This is because Peru is in fact recognised as having at least five separate dialects of Spanish.

In Peru you’ll find:

  • Peruvian Coastal Spanish
  • Amazonic Spanish
  • Andean Coastal Spanish
  • Andean Spanish
  • Equatorial Spanish

Peruvian Coastal Spanish is probably the most ‘standard’ form of Spanish spoken in Peru. It’s what you’ll find in the capital city of Lima and also on mainstream media throughout the country.

Like with Columbian Spanish, Peruvians tend to pronounce all the letters in their words making Peruvian Spanish just a little easier for non-native speakers to understand. In other Spanish dialects the “z”, “c” and “s” can have different pronunciations but in Peruvian Spanish they typically all have the same “s” sound.

Similar to other Latin American Spanish dialects, Peruvian Spanish has inherited a lot of Quechua words. Quechua is one of the main indigenous languages which was spoken in Peru and other Andean countries before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors several hundred years ago. You’ll hear words like “chamba” (work), “choclo” (corn), and “papa” (potato) used regularly in everyday conversation.

Video – Spanish Dialects from Different Countries

Other Spanish Dialects

There’s no doubt that Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. It’s impossible to put an exact figure on the number of people who speak Spanish, but it is estimated to have around 580 million speakers.

While Spanish is naturally associated with Spain and Latin America, many people may not be aware that Spanish is also an official language in several other countries and territories around the world outside of Spain and Latin America. This adds to the overall count in terms of numbers of dialects.

We’ve talked about the main Spanish dialects of Spain and Latin America but there are other dialects. From the US to Africa to Asia and Europe, Spanish is used as a means of communication in many different regions of the world.

Spanish In the US

With the US being such close neighbours to the largest Spanish speaking population in the world, Mexico, it’s no wonder that Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the United States. There are over 41 million people speaking it as their primary or secondary language. It is particularly prevalent in states with large Hispanic populations, such as California, Texas, and Florida.

Spanish in Africa

Spanish is also spoken in several regions of Africa. This is due to the history of Spanish colonization and trade in the continent, as well as migration and cultural exchange over the years.

Equatorial Guinea

Equatoguinean Spanish is one of the official languages of Equatorial Guinea, a small country located in Central Africa. It is spoken mainly by the country’s minority Spanish-speaking population and is used in government, education, and media.

Western Sahara

Spanish is one of the official languages of Western Sahara, a disputed territory in North Africa that is claimed by both Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. It is used primarily in government and education and is spoken by a minority of the population.


While Arabic and Berber are the official languages of Morocco, Spanish is spoken by a significant portion of the population, particularly in the northern regions of the country where there has been a historical presence of Spanish culture and influence. It is also spoken in Ifni, a former Spanish colony located in southwestern Morocco.

The Rest of the World

Outside of Africa, Spain, and Latin America, Spanish is spoken in:

The Philippines – Spanish was once the official language of the Philippines, and while it is no longer an official language, there are still some Spanish speakers in the country, particularly among the older generation.
Gibraltar – Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located on the southern coast of Spain. Spanish is widely spoken in the territory, along with English.
Western Europe – Spanish is spoken by significant communities in several Western European countries, including France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Isreal – Spanish is spoken by a small but significant number of people in Israel, particularly among the Sephardic Jewish community.
Canada – Spanish is spoken by a growing number of people in Canada, particularly in cities such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
Oceania – Spanish is spoken by small communities in several countries in Oceania, including Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Island nations of Fiji and Vanuatu.

Too Many Spanish Dialects to Count

As we have seen, there are many Spanish dialects around the world, each one with its own history, culture, and flavour. Spanish has evolved in unique ways in each region, from the Castilian Spanish of Spain to the Caribbean Spanish of Cuba and Puerto Rico, you will find differences in vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, slang and colloquialisms.

So, getting back to the question, “how many Spanish dialects are there?”. The real answer is that it just depends on who you ask.

The truth is that the concept of a “dialect” is fairly subjective, and different linguists and scholars will define a dialect in different ways. Some might consider differences in vocabulary and pronunciation to be enough to define a new dialect, while others look for more significant grammatical or syntactical differences.

Despite the many dialects of Spanish, however, it’s important to remember that they are all part of the same language family. At their core, they share a common grammar, vocabulary, and syntax. So whether you’re speaking Spanish in Mexico, Argentina, or Spain, you’re still communicating in the same language – just with a slightly different accent and some local variations.

Which Spanish Should You Learn?

With so many different kinds of Spanish to choose from how do you choose which one to learn? I take a look at this very topic in another post I recently published – you can read it here!

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