Castellano or Español?

Josh Lalonde   Wed May 02, 2007 2:40 am GMT
What exactly is the difference between these two terms? Are there different connotations? Are they associated with any geographical areas?
superdavid   Wed May 02, 2007 3:40 am GMT
Basically, they are the same language but 'Castellano' is more politically correct than 'Español'.

For example, there are a few languages spoken in the United Kingdom they are English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish.
Of the four language, English is de facto the National Language of entire UK, but you usually don't call the language "British".

It's the same in Spanish language. Spain has a few official languages and what we call Spanish now is actually the language of Castile.
There are other languages spoken in Spain so the main language should be called 'Castilian'.

For further information visit:
furrykef   Wed May 02, 2007 4:25 am GMT
I wouldn't say that "castellano" is more politically correct; I'm sure there are as many people in other places (outside Spain) that oppose "castellano" and promote "español". I don't think you're going to get in much trouble if you use the "wrong" term either way, though.

There's a whole Wikipedia article about names for Spanish/Castilian:

- Kef
furrykef   Wed May 02, 2007 4:31 am GMT
Oops, I didn't notice that the post above mine contained the same link.
Guest 224   Wed May 02, 2007 6:32 am GMT
My Spanish class is a mix of native spanish speakers and non-native spanish speakers. One day, the teacher told one of the native spanish speakers, matter of factly, "Maria, you speak Castilian." And Maria adamantly replied, "No! I speak Spanish!"
Unknown Author   Wed May 02, 2007 7:04 am GMT
Castellano and Español are "one"

Some people in Latin America will say "I speak Castillian" , most say they speak "Spanish" .

Castillian is the official language and was the official language spoken in "Castilla de la Mancha" during their local wars in Spain and whatsoever.
Pete   Wed May 02, 2007 1:08 pm GMT
There are two divided opinions among Spanish speakers. A fair few of both native and non-native speakers feel that as the language we speak was used to unify all the hispanic community, coming from Spain, there's no other option but calling it Spanish.

Now, some linguists explain that Spanish is the correct name of the language and Castillian is now the term to refer to the accent which is charasteristic in the region of Castile nowadays.

Others, because of political reasons (mainly people from Spain), argue that There have been always many languages in Spain, Castillian was only a language to unify the empire, an instrument. All of the languages spoken in the peninsula are Spanish, and each one is important in their on way, here it is, it should be called Castillian, not Spanish.

In Latin America there's no problem at all with using any of those terms. People generally say "Castellano" (Castillian), although some others refer to it as "Español" (Spanish). I myself don't use "Castellano" very often. I don't consider it proper. We're not in the colonial times of the Spanish crown anymore, if there are some political issues concerning the name, that's only the Spaniard's business really, not mine. I prefer "Español", especially when talking about it in a Language class or when talking to foreigners.

I invariably ask: ¿Habla(s) Español?.

Best regards

Pete from Peru
Gabriel   Fri May 04, 2007 3:39 pm GMT
Although it could be argued that, since there are different languages quite alive in Spain, the term Castellano should be preferable.
Josh Lalonde   Fri May 04, 2007 3:58 pm GMT
The Wikipedia article says that some Latin American countries use Castellano, while others use Español. Is there any reason behind which ones use which? (eg. those with more Spanish immigration)
Galego   Fri May 04, 2007 4:34 pm GMT
"Castellano" would be the correct term in Spain. But even in Spain this is a complicated issue. Most people in Spain say "castellano" because there are other official languages, quite different BTW: "Galego" in Galicia, Catalan in Catalunya and Euskera in the Basque Country (Euskadi) and maybe some areas of Navarre, besides Valenciano and Mallorquí (akin to Catalan).

That said some Catalans and some Basques say "Castellano" but nationalist people in Catalunya and Euskadi use "Español" to emphasize that they are not part of Spain.

It sounds crazy? Maybe but that is the way it is these days. In Spain languages are too often a charged political issue.

In South America most people say "Español". A few people - the educated type - there say "Castellano" also.
Sergio   Fri May 04, 2007 6:03 pm GMT
Hi Galego,

I mostly agree with you.
In Mexico, to say "Castellano" is not a matter of education level, but rather of preference.

In Southamerica (for us in Mexico, when we speak of Southamerica, we mean from Columbia southwards, without meaning anything negative) it could be the case as you said. Hopefuly Pete, Aldo and Gabriel could answer this.

I wouldn't care to switch to "Castellano", but I am used to saying always "Español", just as Pete.
A-S   Fri May 04, 2007 6:29 pm GMT
<<What exactly is the difference between these two terms? Are there different connotations? Are they associated with any geographical areas? >>

Si t'es basque ou catalan, tu diras "castellano" pour bien distinguer que c'est la langue originaire de la région espagnole de Castille, et montrer que cette langue n'est pas la seule langue du territoire nommé aujourd'hui Espagne.
Si t'es hispanique, je pense que tu peux dire "español", car les espagnols qui colonisèrent l'Amérique, venaient de toutes les régions.
C'est la contribution de tout un pays.
If you're Basque or Catalan, you'll say " castellano " to distinguish well it's the language native of the Spanish region of Castile, and to show that this language isn't the only tongue of the territory named today Spain.
If you're Hispanic, I think that you can say " español ", because Spanish which colonized America, came from all the spanish regions.
It's the contribution of a whole country.
Guest   Fri May 04, 2007 6:42 pm GMT
The idea I get is that "Castellano" refers mostly to a language of a people of Spain while spanish is the language spoken by many different people with different backgounds that share one language.

This is obvously not correct because castellano and spanish are one and the same.

Galego   Fri May 04, 2007 9:32 pm GMT
Sergio. Yes I agree. I´ve known a lot of Mexicans I didn´t mean to imply that people using "Español" instead of "Castellano" are not well educated. My sentence didn´t come out right.

ElPinoy   Mon May 07, 2007 1:22 am GMT
When I was in Colombia, I had to withdraw money from ATM machine. It asked you which language you prefer, English or Castellano. Back home in the US, the ATM would ask you English or Español.