Latin American Spanish accents

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From Joanna Hausmann:

See also "Signs you're Venezuelan".


  1. sivilyslare said,

    October 17, 2015 @ 10:41 am

    General Sociolinguistics Question:
    If you speak incredibly quickly, as the Dominicans apparently do, are your thoughts processed more quickly too? To Dominicans, does the world slow down compared to a culture that speaks more slowly?

    [(myl) To start with, I wonder whether it's really true that Dominicans in general speak more quickly than other speakers of Spanish? The stereotypes about American Southerners speaking slowly, for example, seem to be false.

    It's possible that there's some quality of typical Dominican prosody that makes their speaking rate seem fast — but anyhow, this would be a good topic for a small research project.]

  2. Hugo said,

    October 17, 2015 @ 10:41 am

    Funny, but you would find interestin that in Chile the phenomenon you described of /r/ in /Puelto Rico/ in Chile lots of times is the opposite (in some social groups), so here are some examples
    /farda/—>/falda/ (skirt)
    /parta/—>/palta/ (avocado)
    /karma/—>/kalma/ (chill, take it easy)

    also, we usually aspirate the /s/ at the end of the syllables (ahpirar–>aspirar)

    Anyway, here is a song I found and is kind of funny too

  3. Coby Lubliner said,

    October 17, 2015 @ 11:10 am

    Brilliant! I'm familiar with most of the accents she does, and she really nails them, though I'm not sure that the "paisa" accent (from Antioquia) is all that typical of Colombia.

  4. DCBob said,

    October 17, 2015 @ 11:19 am

    Fabulous! I'll never hear Spanish the same way again. "Syllable broke up with you and then showed up at the party with Jessica!"

  5. Julián Ortega Martínez said,

    October 18, 2015 @ 11:26 am

    The 'paisa' accent she did was great, except for the «imagínate tú» (true paisas would use «imaginate vos»). And of course Colombia has many accents (too many for the size of its territory, which of course has to do with topography and history; the 'paisa' accent even has variations), including the Bogotá accent, that would be the "standard" accent of media and education (and yes, unlike the myth states, Bogotanos do have an accent. Everyone does).

  6. Jay Sekora said,

    October 18, 2015 @ 11:51 am

    Sort of off-topic from the video, but I’ve noticed a significant difference in prosody between European Spanish and Latin American Spanish (all varieties I’ve encountered, although maybe Argentine Spanish somewhat less), which is that European Spanish seems to have much more pitch and speed variation, while American Spanish seems more monotone and more stacatto, with stress playing a bigger role compared to pitch and speed. First of all, is this true or am I making it up? And if it’s true, does anybody have ideas about where that difference came from? Is there a region of Spain (or other demographic source of Spanish sailors or colonists) that showed these traits? Or might it have had to do with the prosody of the native-language substrates of Latin America (seems implausible, since we’re talking about a huge region with lots of disparate languages, but maybe one region’s style of Spanish spread)? Or was colonial-era Iberian Spanish more like Latin American Spanish, and Iberian Spanish prosody has changed since then?

  7. Y said,

    October 18, 2015 @ 1:31 pm

    A PR friend once gave me a demonstration of several stereotypical Latin American accents. All I remember is the Cuban one having strongly trilled r's, and the Mexcican one being "sing-songy", i.e. with markedly long duration and high pitch on stressed syllables.

  8. old gobbo said,

    October 18, 2015 @ 2:43 pm

    This was super entertainment, and thank you very much. (I suppose, of course, that her distinctions are largely correct, with acknowledgements to the caveats made above.) The main difficulty for me (British English native, and not a Spanish speaker at all) is that I could understand Ms Hausman rather less well than the examples she offered (though mercifully she slowed her delivery towards the end of the clip).

    Hope somebody comes back about Jay Sekora's questions which are fascinating.

  9. K Chang said,

    October 18, 2015 @ 3:11 pm

    Sort of ancillary question… Is there a significant difference between Castillian Spanish vs. Spanish? A long time ago in Colombia where I went to school the teachers kept emphasize they were teaching *castellano* which I always took as being somewhat different from regular Spanish.

  10. Clayton Hamre said,

    October 18, 2015 @ 3:32 pm

    As far as I know, Castilian/Castellano is just an alternative name for the Spanish language.

  11. Bloix said,

    October 18, 2015 @ 8:44 pm

    A Chilean friend of mine described his first language as Castellano (he pronounced it Cateyano). Apparently this is common in Chile:

  12. John Swindle said,

    October 19, 2015 @ 12:40 am

    The term "Castellano" or "Castilian" refers to the particular regional version of Spanish enshrined as the national language of Spain. It can be intended to make a contrast with other regional versions or with Latin American Spanish, or it can just mean "Spanish" as opposed to Portuguese or Italian or French or whatever.

  13. aron blub said,

    October 19, 2015 @ 4:24 am

    It's called 'Castillano' and not 'Spanish' because Castilian isn't the only language natively spoken in Spain. There's also Galician, Catalan and Basque among others.
    But see also

  14. boynamedsue said,

    October 19, 2015 @ 2:25 pm

    @John Swindle

    While "Castellano" is used to differentiate between Spanish and other Iberian languages and dialects in Spain, it is not used to contrast Peninsular and Latin American Spanish. "Español" and "castellano" are generally synonyms whose nuances are political or cultural opinion rather than linguistic variation.

  15. JorgeHoracio said,

    October 19, 2015 @ 4:11 pm

    Here in Argentina, and as far as I know, in the rest of Latin America, nobody uses "Castellano" in opposition to our version(s) of the language. Rather, we use the terms "Español" and "Castellano" as interchangeable. Some people may prefer one or the other as a name for our language. But we all perceive it as one language.

    For my part, I prefer to call it Castellano, because I feel that the other languages of Spain, Basque(Euskera), Galician, and Catalan could rightfully be called Spanish languages too.

  16. JorgeHoracio said,

    October 19, 2015 @ 4:26 pm

    Only one (minor) criticism to Joanna's vertsion of Argentine accent:

    NEVER stress your s's … and don't separate them from the next word:
    'si no sos de Argentina' should not sound
    "si no soss/ de Argentina"
    "si no sohde de Argentina"
    [you have very marked s's of course in Mexico, Peru, Bolivia and also in some regions of Argentina like the Santiago del Estero province, but not in the Rio de la Plata region she's imitating]

  17. Yuval said,

    October 22, 2015 @ 12:32 am

    Ha! I wondered if it's just to me that Br. Portuguese sounds like Russian.

  18. Austin said,

    October 22, 2015 @ 10:01 pm

    I personally think European Portuguese (including the islands) sounds much more Slavic than Brazilian Portuguese.

  19. Chris said,

    October 24, 2015 @ 2:01 am

    @ Jay Sekora:

    This is ever more off-topic, but your post makes me wonder where the difference in prosody between American English and Received Pronunciation/southern English English* comes from? Did the original English colonists in the new world have similar prosody to modern Londoners? Did the waves of immigrants from all sorts of places who came after them change the prosody of American English? Or was the prosody of the English in the American colonies similar to the prosody of modern American English and the prosody of London English changed from that to become what it is today? I just wonder if anyone else has thought about this besides me.

    * The reason I say southern England specifically is because the prosody of varieties of English in the midlands and north of England can be dramatically different from the prosody of southern English varieties

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