Neutral Spanish: an introduction

Spanish is spoken in 20 different countries. And of course, we can’t expect it to be spoken the same way everywhere. So how can we overcome those little misunderstandings? What would be a Neutral Spanish that could be spoken and understood anywhere?

Neutral Spanish

Not all Spanish is the Same

Spanish or Castilian originated in the region of Castile. From those villages, it expanded through the entire territory of what is modern-day Spain. Later, with the rise of the Spanish empire, it went on to be the language of the majority of Latin America. Naturally, we can’t expect the so-called “Madrid Spanish” to survive intact from those journeys in space and time.

Today, the Spanish spoken in different parts of the Spanish-speaking world varies a little bit from the original Castilian language - hence, the expressions “Spanish from Madrid” and “Spanish from Latin America”. The latter is especially deceiving, because there are several variations of the language even within Latin America.

It’s important to understand that even if the original language had been properly learnt by everyone across the Spanish-speaking world, Spanish today would still have several varieties. After all, it’s only natural for languages to evolve differently in different parts of the world. Each geographic area has its own realities, which means new vocabulary must have been created to express them. Also, Latin American countries had very rich cultures and civilizations prior to the Spanish occupation, so some of that vocabulary survives. If you're interested in knowing more about the differences between Latin American and Spain Spanish, we broke them down on this article.

Introducing Neutral Spanish

The idea of a “neutral language” is not exclusive to the Spanish language. In fact, you can find a “neutral” form for almost every widely spoken language. People learning English as a second language often learn “neutral accent”. Standard Arabic was created to make it easier for speakers around the Arabic-speaking world to understand each other. Portuguese underwent a controversial spelling agreement to bring Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese and African Portuguese closer.

So neutral Spanish would be a strain of Spanish easily understood by anyone whose native language is Spanish or who has high fluency level. The Real Academia Española (English: Spanish Royal Academy) has tried to create it as soon as the XVIII century. And as of today, it is still the regulation body of the Spanish language.

What are the Advantages of Neutral Spanish?

Neutral Spanish is what makes it possible to create contents that will resonate with the entire Spanish-speaking community. Imagine what it would be like if a company wanted to enter the Latin American market and needed a different translator for each country! Common software such as Microsoft Word would probably not be translated yet!

Neutral Spanish is also what makes the language more appealing to second-language speakers. Any student who learns neutral Spanish has open doors in many growing economies.

But another of the topics that is putting neutral Spanish in the spotlight is the creation of mass media and cultural exports for all of the Hispanophone world. For example, Venezuela, a country with a huge soap opera industry, tends to prefer neutral Spanish so that its creative output is easily understood throughout. Mexico, probably the country with the most social communication outlets, follows the same trend.

Now that we explained how Spanish can be understood all around the world, are you ready to learn Spanish?