A Few Differences in Spanish from Ecuador to Uruguay

We have only been here a very short time but have found many differences in the Spanish used here in Uruguay compared to Ecuador and Panama. First the dialect spoken in Uruguay is called Rioplatense for the River Basin that runs into the ocean here in Uruguay bordering Argentina.

Here are just a few of the language and pronunciation differences:

  • English           Spanish Ecuador   Spanish Uruguay
  • suitcase                maleta                      valija
  • shoe                     zapato                      calzato
  • pineapple             pina                          anana
  • avocado               aguacate                  palta
  • market                 mercado                   feria
  • typical greeting   como esta                 que tal
  • you                       tu                             vos
  • y or ll                    ja or ya                    sh sound
  • butter                   mantequilla              mantica
  • cone (ice cream) cono                         bocha
  • chicken                pollo                         pollo  pronounced ll like sh – posho
  • beach                   playa                        playa  pronounced y like sh – plasha
  • boardwalk            malecon                   la rambla
  • red pepper           pimiento rojo            morron
  • sweet potato        camote                     boniato
  • ketchup                salsa de tomate       ketchup
  • hot sauce             aji                             Tabasco

There are so many differences in the language but it is exciting learning something new.

Fashion is different as well, of course coming from the coast of Ecuador we mostly wore shorts, tank tops and flip-flops. Here the women’s shoe styles are so different I had to write an entire article on the shoes alone, I posted that a few weeks back. But they also are wearing long skirts or long dresses as well as knee-length and longer sweaters or vests.  Many people walk around with their maté cup, straw (called a bombilla) and thermos everywhere they go, all day and all night long. Some even have a leather carrying case to hold everything. Also, there are many brands of maté and they come in huge bags.  Drinking yerba maté has been elevated to an art form here.  I will do an entire post on these in the near future.

So we keep learning and keep enjoying our new culture.








10 thoughts on “A Few Differences in Spanish from Ecuador to Uruguay

  1. We are quite close with a young man named Javier here in San Clemente. You know him. He is from Argentina and has many of the same speech patterns in his Spanish as well. I got him some Mate once and served it to him after he worked here one day. He was grateful, but felt that it was different with out the special cup.

    Thanks for the informative post. Have a great day!

    • Hi John and Mary, yes it seems very important to have the special cup and your favorite mate. Hope you are both well, Nancy and Joe

  2. This is a re=do

    A pretty girl or woman…………….postre para los ojos (Dessert for the eyes)
    You here in western Panama…..usted
    You in Panama City/Colon……….tu

  3. Nancy,
    So glad to hear you are enjoying your time there. I understand that they drink from that special cup all day. A great cup of tea! I have some and a few special cups but only use the cups to decorate the home> haha! So glad you are finding good prices! I heard it was expenice!
    Thinking of you two,

    • Karen, I just took some pictures today while at the mall of the Yerba Mate cups, thermos and carrying case. And you are right the Uruguayans drink their tea all day long…N

  4. ufff….there are many differences between spanish from all south american countries even some words in one country maybe can be rude or vulgar in another country.

    • Jorge, that is what we have found. Even something simple like asking for a plastic bag calling it a bolsa in one country is okay but in another it is offensive. We are learning so much in our travels. Thanks for your comment, Nancy

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