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Leismo: Definition and Geographical Distribution

This post you will help you understand what a leismo is and recognize it.

In addition, there are plenty of examples with audios to help you better understand the concepts and to practice your listening skills.

Definition of Leismo

Leismo consists of replacing the direct object pronoun lo/la/los/las with the indirect object pronoun le/les to mention él/ella or ellos/ellas. That is, it is the use of le/les as a direct object.

Primarily, this occurs when the direct object refers to a male person (le instead of lo).


Abreviation: Direct Object Pronouns (DOPS).

Llamo al chico

I call the boyLo llamo
Le llamo
I call him
Llamo a la chica
I call the girlLa llamo
Le llamo
I call her
Llamo a los chicos
I call the boysLos llamo
Les llamo
I call them
Llamo a las chicas
I call the girlsLas llamo

Les llamo
I call them
Vi a tu padre
I saw your fatherLo vi
Le vi
I saw him
Vi a tus amigos
I saw your friendsLos vi
Les vi
I saw them

What Does Real Academia Española Say?

Even though leismo is not grammatically correct, Real Academia Española (RAE) accepts the use of le as direct object of person for singular masculine. This is due to its extended use among educated speakers. However, they don’t accept the use the “plural leismo” or it refers to an object.


Abreviations: Approved by RAE (A) and rejected by RAE (R).

Amo a Juan
I love JuanLo amo
Le amo (A)
I love him
Conozco a los jefes
I know the bossesLos conozco
Les conozco (R)
I know them
Veo el edificio
I see the buildingLo veo
Le veo (R)
I see it

Where Does Leismo Occur?

Leismo occurs in the center-north-eastern zone of Spain and some parts of South America as it is mentioned at Un análisis microparamétrico by Jordina Nogués Graell.

Final Thoughts

Because this phenomenon is as common in Spain, most people do not have any problem with it. They use it in their everyday language.

Therefore, if you ever plan on traveling to Spain, be ready to recognize these pronouns. And not just that, after a while you will may end up using them.

Before you leave, do you want to practice your conversation skills? Check out our online conversation Spanish classes.

17 Tips to Becoming Conversationally Fluent in Spanish


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