As September 16th marks the official day of Mexico’s Independence, it is perhaps most fitting today to learn a thing or two about Mexican Spanish. Mexico is not only celebrated today but also many travelers celebrate the country year round, as it is a popular tourist destination. If you are heading south of the border, Mexican Spanish can be quite different than other forms of Spanish you may know. To avoid any language gaffs or other mistakes, here are a few things to know about Mexican Spanish.
It’s All About “Tú”: In some parts of the world where Spanish is spoken, the Spanish form of the pronoun “you” is “vos.” However, in Mexico, you won’t hear “vos.” Mexican Spanish uses “tú” when referring to the second person familiar form. The same can be said of “vosotros,” used in other Spanish speaking countries to refer to a group of people. In Mexico, you would use “ustedes” instead of “vosotros.”
It’s NOT All About “Yo”: Many travelers get used to saying “yo” or “I” when they begin a sentence in Spanish in which they are the subject. However, it isn’t always necessary to add the “I” pronoun in Mexico. As most verbs are conjugated to note the subject, you can often drop off the “yo.” If you keep saying “yo,” you can come off as a little self-centered.
Avoid Certain Embarrassing Language Gaffs: Just as there can be in many languages, some words don’t always translate how you might think. If you are trying to speak Mexican Spanish while in Mexico, you can find yourself being the subject of laughter for mixing up words in context. For example, saying, “I’m embarrassed,” you might think that the Spanish word is similar. However, “embarazada” actually means you are declaring you are pregnant to someone. Other embarrassments in Mexican Spanish might come with using “leche” or milk in a sentence along with “huevos,” referring to eggs. Both can be associated with the male anatomy if they aren’t used correctly.
Always Greet and Say Adiós: You might be a bit afraid to speak Spanish while in Mexico. As a result, you will often be mistaken for a rude person by failing to greet people you encounter. Even if you don’t know a thousand words in Mexican Spanish, you should at least learn the greetings and goodbyes. A simple, “Buenos días,” goes a lot farther than complete silence when you walk in a shop or café.