Language

Languages spoken in Costa Rica

The official language spoken in Costa Rica is Spanish. The Spanish spoken in Costa Rica differentiates itself from other Spanish speaking countries by the slower pace at which it is spoken and its clear pronunciation.

This combination and the friendliness of the Costa Ricans ( Ticos), make Costa Rica a popular destination to study Spanish. There are many language schools and the level of education is generally high.

Language courses are offered at Universities and private language schools but also in combination with work or travel, and even culinary experiences, both in the cities and in the countryside. Costa Rican Spanish has, like in other Spanish speaking countries, its own vocabulary and expressions. Do not worry if learning Spanish in one country would cause difficulties communicating in another Spanish speaking country. The Spanish you will learn can be used in all countries. If you are doing well, people will recognise where you studied Spanish from you accent and/or vocabulary.

In Costa Rica people address each other in the ‘ usted’ form (formal) and ‘ vos’ (informal). The word ‘ tu’ (you) as heard in Spain is hardly used in Costa Rica. Letters such as ‘z’ and ‘c’ which in Spain are pronounced with a lisping sound similar to the pronunciation of ‘th’ in the English word ‘thing’, are pronounced as an ‘s’ in Costa Rica. Costa Ricans tend to add ‘-ito/ -ita’ to words as well, for example, un momento (a moment) becomes un momentito, una casa becomes una casita. Words ending on ‘ito/ita’ usually mean they are small, hence a little moment or a small house. Other typical words are ‘ macho/ macha’ (used to address people with blond hair), ‘ Upe’ (to call attention) and ‘ mae’ (dude).

Further reading

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