Spanish Dialect is more than your thoughts

Leave a comment

Image

Another difference in pronunciation lies in the palatal lateral approximant (written with two “Ls” ll) and the voiced palatal fricative (written as y). This phonemic contrast can be understood as /ʎ/ (ll) and /ʝ/ (y). In the past, Spanish used to maintain this distinction. However, the majority of speakers today in Spain and the Americas have merged these two phonemes into /ʝ/. This merger is otherwise known as yeísmo. In Spain, speakers continue to differentiate these two phonemes in rural areas and smaller cities of the north while the same phenomenon is observed in South America and this characteristic suggests that bilingualism is a contributing factor – Quechua languages, Guarani and other indigenous languages possess the /ʎ/ sound in their speech sound patterns. This characteristic shows up in speakers from Peru and Paraguay.

Examples:

hoya “pit / hole” olla “pot”
baya “berry” valla “fence”

Grammar wise, there is only one minor difference. As Spanish is a T-V distinction language, (T-V distinction indexes level of politeness depending on the social status of the addressee) there is an emphasis on how the addresser refers to the addressee. For instance, different pronouns representing “you” (second person singular pronoun) denote different levels of formality. In most varieties, there are only two levels of contrasts – either “formal” or “informal” (or “familiar”). Under the formal usage of the second person pronoun, most speakers of Spanish (as well as other Spanish dialects) and Spanish America agree on using usted (second person singular pronoun) and ustedes (second person plural pronoun). However, when it comes to the informal usage of the second person pronoun, there is a regional contrast. For example, either or vos can refer to the second person singular informal and either vosotros or ustedes can refer to the second person plural informal. For instance, in Standard European Spanish, the plural of (second person singular informal pronoun) is vosotros and the plural of usted (second person singular formal pronoun) is ustedes. On the contrary, in Spanish America, vosotros is not used, thus, the plural of both and usted is ustedes.

Pic source: payatdoor.com

Learn the third most widely language in 5 minutes

Leave a comment

Image

The standard variety of Spanish that is usually taught in classroom settings is otherwise known as Castellano or Español. However in many parts of Latin America, the standard variety is commonly accepted as Castellano, rather than Español. Apart from the standard variety, other Spanish dialects or varieties are also present due to geographical reasons. This does not mean that such dialects are inferior. These non-standard (instead of sub-standard) varieties usually differ in terms of pronunciation and vocabulary while grammar remains intact to a large extent. The different pronunciation and vocabulary merely reflect a different linguistic environment that has shifted away from the linguistic environment that adopts the standard variety.

Languages are subject to change overtime and the linguistic environment and speakers play a major role in influencing language use. Written Spanish does not differ amongst different speakers and the different spoken forms are not portrayed too. Differences can be found between European Spanish and Spanish America. Furthermore, there are also differences within European Spanish and Spanish America respectively. The different varieties that adopt Spanish America can be generally categorized into Mexican, Caribbean, Andrean Pacific (Cuba, Panama), Plata River (Peru, Colombia), Chilean and Central American (similar to Caribbean).

Despite an array of contrasts within the Spanish dialects, there is one extremely striking feature that allows listeners to tell Spanish speakers apart. This is usually known as the maintenance versus the loss of distinguishing these two phonemes /θ/ and /s/. The contrast between these historical phonemes /θ/ and /s/ is retained in northern and central Spain whereas these two phonemes have merged in Spanish America and a huge part of southern Spain. The maintenance of such a contrast is referred to as distinción in Spanish. Speakers of Spanish America produce the merged phoneme as [s] while on the Canary Islands, speakers produce it as either [s] or [], which is unlike /θ/.

Examples:

cinco “five”
ciudad “city”

<to be continued…>

Pic source: learnspanish4life.co.uk

%d bloggers like this: