Discussing Common Cultural Products of Spanish-Speaking Countries

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

Would you like to be able to discuss cultural products of Spanish-speaking countries? This lesson gives you not only the vocabulary you need but also some expressions around this topic.

Definition of Cultural Products

Let's meet Dr. Larrea. He is a professor of anthropology at Universidad Autónoma de México. Today, Dr. Larrea helps us with los productos culturales (lohs proh-DOOK-tohs kool-too-RAH-lehs), which means 'cultural products.' Los productos culturales are the set of different objects or practices that have a symbolism for a culture and which can influence other societies. To make this definition more concrete, let's look at examples of productos culturales in the next section. Also, you can learn some versatile expressions as you can use them with the new words you learn.

Examples of Cultural Products

When it comes to Spanish-speaking countries, Dr. Larrea says it is a good idea to talk about the specific objects and practices that have relevant symbolism in society. We have:

  • el arte pre-hispánico (ehl AHR-teh preh-ees-PAH-nee-koh): prehispanic art
  • la música (lah MOO-see-kah): music
  • la pintura (la peen-TOO-rah): painting
  • las tradiciones culturales (lahs trah-dee-see-OH-nehs kool-too-RAH-les): cultural traditions

Translation: Salsa is a very calling rhythm.

Now, let's break each of these into specific products.

Arte Pre-Hispánico

Dr. Larrea notes that pre-Hispanic art is key in Spanish-speaking countries and it is the set of artifacts made by the indigenous people who lived in the American continent before the Spaniards conquered this territory. People of all cultures, not only Spanish-speaking countries, feel fascinated by those artifacts, and they are present in museums around the world. The most relevant artifacts include:

  • los collares (lohs koh-YAH-rehs): necklaces
  • los cuchillos de piedra (lohs koo-CHEE-yohs deh pee-EH-drah): stone knives
  • las flautas de barro (lahs FLAHOO-tahs deh BAHR-roh): clay flutes
  • las vasijas de barro (lahs vah-SEE-has deh BAHR-roh): clay vases

As you can see, even music is present in pre-Hispanic art. Here are a couple of useful expressions we learn from Dr. Larrea to use with this vocabulary:

  • Los collares del arte pre-hispánico tienen fama mundial. (The necklaces from pre-Hispanic Art have worldwide fame.)
  • Es fácil encontrar reproducciones de arte pre-hispánico a bajo costo. (It is easy to find reproductions of pre-Hispanic art at a low cost.)

All you have to do is replace the words in bold with any of the vocabulary words in this section.


Regarding music, Dr. Larrea says that the music and accompanying dances produced in particular Spanish-speaking countries is often listened to and danced in other countries. Here are some concrete examples of music styles that have a big influence in the Spanish-speaking world (we include the main country of origin next to each type of music):

  • la cumbia (lah KOOM-beeah): cumbia - Colombia
  • el flamenco (ehl flah-MEHN-koh): flamenco - Spain
  • la salsa (lah SAHL-sah): salsa - Cuba, Puerto Rico
  • el mariachi (lohs mah-ree-AH-chees): mariachi - Mexico
  • el tango (ehl TAHN-goh): tango - Argentina

Let's learn more expressions along with Dr. Larrea. You have a couple of examples here; all you have to do is replace the words in bold with any of the vocabulary words in this section.

  • Mucha gente de habla hispana baila al son de la salsa. (Many Spanish speakers dance to the rhythm of salsa.)
  • El tango es un ritmo que trasciende las fronteras de su origen. (Tango is a rhythm that goes beyond the borders of its origin.)


Painting is definitely an art that travels among Spanish-speaking countries because cultural exchanges allow people to know painters from different nations. Dr. Larrea gives us some examples of the most famous Spanish-speaking painters of the modern and contemporary world. You have the pronunciation so you sound really knowledgeable when you speak about them.

  • Fernando Botero (fehr-NAHN-doh boh-TEH-roh) - Colombia
  • Salvador Dalí (sahl-vah-DOHR- dah-LEE) - Spain
  • Joan Miró (jho-AHN mee-ROH) - Spain
  • Frida Kahlo (FREE-dah KAH-loh) - Mexico
  • Diego Rivera (dee-EH-goh ree-VEH-rah) - Mexico

Dr. Larrea says you can make no mistake if you use these expressions just by changing the name of the painter.

  • La pintura de Frida Kahlo tiene gran impacto en el mundo de habla hispana. (The paintings by Frida Kahlo have great impact in the Spanish-speaking world.)
  • Muchas personas de habla hispana admiran el arte de Diego Rivera. (Many people who speak Spanish admire the art by Diego Rivera.)

Now, let's learn how to speak about these painters.

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