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Puntarenas Beach, Costa Rica
Puntarenas Beach, Costa Rica
Puntarenas Beach, Costa Rica

Costa Rica Expat Forum

Spanish Dialect

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Hedjuju58
8/3/2022 09:02 EST

Hello,
Does anyone know what dialect of Spanish is used in Coasta Rica?
Thanks,
Julie

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Johnphd24
8/3/2022 11:26 EST

We have a teacher who is teaching us weekly "Costa Rican Spanish." She frequently mentions the difference between true Spanish in Spain vs. Mexican, Guatemalan, South American, The accents can be quite different on a word, rolling of r's can be strongly used or not at all, letters in words like double ll's in pollo are pronounced very differently by Costa Ricans vs. Mexicans (we are from AZ).

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Hedjuju58
8/3/2022 11:12 EST

Thank you for information! Much appreciated.

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Dairhenien
8/3/2022 09:26 EST

The quick answer is that they speak Costa Rican Spanish! It's a pretty standard Latin American dialect, with the following features:

-Syllable final /s/ is strongly pronounced, unlike some neighboring countries where it turns to [h] or is lost altogether.
-The /d/ sound between vowels is also pronounced in most speech, and not lost. For example, "lado" does not sound like "lao".
-The trilled R can be assibilated -- in other words, it almost sounds like a ZH sound. This is more of a rural feature.
-The sound represented by j (or gi, ge) sounds gentler than elsewhere, closer to an English h.

The most unusual feature is that most speakers don't use the pronoun tu. Instead, they either use Usted or vos. Vos is a very informal pronoun, so you might not find yourself using it at all. It actually has a different conjugation to learn as well. (Compare "tú comes" and "vos comés", "tú andas" and "vos andás".)

I personally find Costa Rican Spanish very easy to understand. It's comparable to Colombian, and not too different from Mexican, Peruvian, or Ecuadorean Spanish. It lacks the unusual features of Argentinian, Chilean, or Caribbean varieties.

I recommend going onto YouTube and looking up some videos of Costa Rican television programs to give you a flavor.

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