In Latin American the Spanish language has variants or dialects in the diverse zones where it is spoken because of the magnitude of the territory and different history. We can observe in the different geographical areas the development of different variants of Latin American Spanish: Amazonian, Bolivian, Caribbean, Central American, Andean, Chilean, Colombian, Ecuadorian, Mexican, Northern Mexican, Paraguayan, Peruvian, Puerto Rican and Argentine Spanish.
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Different Dialects of Latin American Spanish:
Latin American Spanish is composed of a mix of various Spanish dialects spoken and used in Latin America. The Spanish language in Latin America has variants depending on the zone where it is spoken. These differences are called regional variants or dialects. In Latin American this tendency toward having different dialect is almost imposed by the very magnitude of the territory.
Depending on the geographic area, we can observe the development of different variants of Latin American Spanish:
In the Amazon area, the languages of the region have their influence on the Spanish language
In Bolivia, there are a significant amount of idioms and regionalisms that exist in spoken Spanish. These variations are more pronounced in the department of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
Caribbean Spanish is has distinct idioms, influenced by those who speak Andalusian and Canarian.
Areas that use Caribbean Spanish are the territories of Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the coastal areas parts of Venezuela, northern Colombia and Panama.
The Spanish found in some major metropolitan areas in the US, including Miami and New York resemble more Caribbean Spanish.
Central American Spanish:
This type of Spanish is normally heard and used in Central America, the Anahuac and the Caribbean. It is the type of the Spanish language utilized in the Central American republics (regions) of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.
You will find the following words used in Central American Spanish: bohío , sabana, yuca, guacamayo and enaguas.
In the Andes, from Ecuador to the Tropic of Capricorn, there are traces and influences of Quechua and Aymara indigenous languages. The following are some words still used today from those languages: alpaca, guano and vicuña..
Chile uses a Spanish with some significant differences with other Latin American dialects notably in pronunciation, syntax and vocabulary. There are a wide variety of tones depending on the context and for the conjugation of the second person singular (tú).
Colombian – Ecuadorian Spanish:
Colombian – Ecuadorian Spanish, including parts of the northern coast of Peru, is a combination of the Caribbean and Peruvian dialect. The main cities with linguistic influence in this region are Guayaquil, along Bogotá and Quito.
The dialect of the Spanish spoken in Mexico has an indigenous influence of Nahuatl. . The variances of vocabulary in Mexican Spanish are strongly evident; however, it is harder to see the difference in the area of grammar.
The Spanish used in the North of Mexico (Chihuahua, Sonora, Nuevo León, Sinaloa and Coahuila) differs from the other regions of Mexico mainly in the intonation of the words (Northern Accent). It preserves the same differences that the Mexican dialect has with respect to Peninsular Spanish (the universal use of the personal pronoun ustedes for formal and informal situations, the seseo and the yeismo).
The Spanish used in Paraguay has strong influences of Guaraní, the other language spoken in Paraguay. as well as in the Argentinian provinces of Misiones, Corrientes, Formosa and Chaco is characterized by strong Guaraní influence. Paraguay is the only Spanish American country where the majority of its population is bilingual. Paraguayan Spanish does not differ much in its written form from the rest of the Spanish of the Southern Cone.
The Spanish found in Peru draws from the waterfront dwellers and the residents of Lima. Lima had a significant influence on the Spanish spoken in the region due to presence of the University of San Marcos, many language scholars and educated residents. Between 1535 and 1739, Lima was the capital of the Spanish Empire in South America, from which the culture spread, and its speech became the purest because it was the home of the famous University of San Marcos of Lima and also it was the city that had the highest number of titles of nobility from Castile outside of Spain.
The other main variety of Spanish from the coast of Peru is that which appeared after the penetration of the linguistic habits of the mountain areas and of the rural environment into the coastal cities and Lima.
Puerto Rican Spanish:
Puerto Rico has developed a distinct Spanish dialect that is recognizable by most Spanish speakers. Due to the migration of Puerto Rican to the New York metro area, the Spanish spoken in New York and Northern New Jersey is predominantly Puerto Rican Spanish.
It can be distinguished by the aspiration of the final /s/ or interconsonantal at the end of syllables (transforming /adiós/ to /adioh/ or /horas/ to /horah/), the elision of the teeth in the suffixes -ado, -edo e -ido and the corresponding feminine forms – converting to -ao, -eo and -ío-, and the loss of the phonological opposition between /r/ and /l/, which results in allophones allowing the forms /señol/ as /señor/ or /Puelto Rico/” as /Puerto Rico/.
Argentine Spanish is considered by many scholars to carry the most variations from the rest of the Spanish spoken in the region. Not only is the pronunciation and accent starkly different, Argentines use “vos” instead of using “tú” along with a different conjugation of the verb. Futher, local terminology and jargon is more pronounced in Argentina. With significant Italian influence, the accent used by native Argentinians carries a similar sound to Italian in the way it is spoken.
River Plate Spanish has been enriched by the influence of immigrants who settled in the area and also by native voices. Among the immigrant groups the influence of Italian and French stands out.
There are vocabulary differences and differences of morphology between Argentinian Spanish and Uruguayan Spanish. Both incorporate terms from Guaraní: tapir, ananá, caracú, urutaú, yacaré, tapioca, mandioca.
In Argentina, slang is called lunfardo. Originally, Lunfardo started as a prison language, spoken by the prisoners so that the guards wouldn’t understand them. Many of the expressions arrived with the European immigrants (mainly Italians).
Today, many of the “Lunfardo terms” have been incorporated into the language spoken all over Argentina, while a great number of Lunfardo words from earlier times have fallen into disuse.