Even if you’ve studied Spanish for years, there will always be minuscule colloquial differences in the language wherever you go. Spaniards have a bit of a superiority complex, viewing their particular dialect as the purest form of Spanish. (I mean, I guess technically Spanish originated in Spain, but still…) It’s definitely different from the Spanish taught in the United States, since we mostly use Latin American Spanish. For example, Spaniards pronounce ‘z’ as a ‘th’ sound. Instead of zapatos (shoes) sounding like z-ah-pah-toes it sounds like th-ah-pah-toes.
Besides the different sounds, Spaniards also use different vocabulary. First off, there's the word ‘vale,’ which means ‘okay’ and is usually used multiple times in the same utterance.
Example: “I’d like a coffee please. “ “Oh vale, vale, perfecto. Sí vale.”
The real-deals can make whole sentences out of the word ‘vale’ alone, but I’m, of course, just a beginner.
The next buzzword here is ‘marchar.’ Normally, in Spanish classes you learn the verb ‘ir’ means ‘to go.’ However, Spaniards typically use the word ‘marchar’ whenever they are leaving or going to a destination. When I first heard it, I imagined someone literally marching somewhere, and laughed a little too hard. I still prefer ‘ir’ to ‘marchar,’ but I’m now able to restrain myself from laughing.
Other slang words include “guay” (cool) and “tío” (bro). The weird thing about 'tío' is that it normally means “uncle” in Spanish. Whenever I hear it, all I can think of is that they're basically saying, “What’s up, Uncle?” Which to me, is just plain strange.