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Brazil’s Spanish variation: Implications for Teaching

Spanish is a pluricentric language. As a foreign language spoken in Brazil, it is necessary to understand the students’ different attitudes towards these variations.

There are two variations for research, the Peninsular variety which refers to Spanish as spoken in Spain; and the Rioplatense variety, which means Spanish spoken in Argentina. The Peninsular one can be regarded as the origin of Spanish, it has a “significant material infrastructure tuned to the spread of Spanish in the world” (Bugel & Scutti Santos, 2010, p. 152). The Rioplatense variety is important because of its similarity with Brazilian Spanish, also a mixed language, a compound with many influences and borrowings. Participants’ opinions in this comparative research reached the conclusion that the Rioplatense speaker is preferred because of it sincerity, friendliness and warmth: more positive personality characteristics were attributed to Peninsular variety than Rioplatense one. On the other hand, Peninsular Spanish was considered in terms of intelligence, hardworking, and reliability: participants believed that this is the original language which held a prestige in learner’s ideas. It is obvious that participants have different attitudes toward these two kinds of varieties. This kind of difference is cause by the proximity between Brazil and Argentina which share similar culture and thinking, so the Brazilian Spanish has more complex and contradictory judgments, with negative nuances toward Argentinean Spanish. The different attitudes toward different varieties lead to a conclusion that “the stereotypes, representations, and attitudes toward Argentineans and Spaniards seems to be mobile and subject to shifts, alterations and changes” (Bugel & Scutti Santos, 2010, P.165).

This conclusion opens a new way for Spanish instructors to allow students to get access to different varieties, because this could present students with different ways of speaking, which helps them toward other ways of thinking and judging. In this sense, it is necessary to understand different varieties for Spanish learners because this really broadens their thinking, they can access different logic through similar languages. Although students do not need to understand every kind of variation, a limited number of language varieties and basic knowledge of dialectology is necessary. In this way, instructors can be able to influence the shift in students’ attitudes and stereotypes.



Bugel, Talia, & Santos, Helade Scutti. (2010). Attitudes and Representations of        Spanish and the Spread of the Language Industries in Brazil. Language Policy, 9(2), 143-170.

Hamel, R. E. (2006). Language conflict and the micro-macro link in the Spanish      speaking world. In C. Mar-Molinero and M. Stewart (Eds.), Globalization and       language in the Spanish speaking world (pp. 47–75). Basingstoke: Palgrave            Macmillan.

Valle, J., & Villa, L. (2006). Spanish in Brazil: Language Policy, Business, and        Cultural Propaganda. Language Policy, 5(4), 371-394.



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This information was originally published on the website of the International Network for Language Education Policy Studies ( as

Forthcoming. (2018). Language Education Policy in the Americas and Caribbean. In F. V. Tochon (Ed.), Language Education Policy Studies (online). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin—Madison. Retrieved from: (access date). 

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