Mexican Regional accents

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jerezano, Oct 5, 2008:

Mexican Regional accents?

In another thread in response to Oscar2 and “wedos” or “weros” or what have you, Esperanza wrote:

Oscar, you are talking about the word güero…pronounced WEHR-oh.<<< Interesting. Here in Zacatecas the majority of the people actually sound the g in güero or güera. GWEH rro, GWEH rrah. Also in Agua AH guah–although it’s pretty close to a toss-up with AH wah. It seems the more education (American sense not Hispanic sense) they have, the more likely to sound the g. Although in aguacates I hardly ever hear the g: Ah wah CAH tes no matter what the education level.

Another interesting observation is that it seems to me more care is taken in speaking Spanish here in Zacatecas than there is in Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Coahuila, Nayarit, Jalisco, San Luís Potosí or Veracruz. That is in the general population. As for educated people the best Spanish I have encountered so far was in Mérida, Yucatán. There I could actually hear the l in silla SEE lya or SEE ljah. As for Oaxaca I wasn’t there long enough to make an observation.

Would it be interesting if Sr. Quevedo or Olivia or Esperanza started a thread on different Mexican regional accents? I should have looked to see where Esperanza is living (although my impression is the Guadalajara area) or Oscar 2 for that matter. Reminds me also that Cubans in general claim to speak the best Spanish in the world but are almost unintelligible to many other Hispanic nationalities. Reminds me also that Spanish Radio Stations in the United States and movie moguls used to look for Puerto Rican nationals as announcers and dubbers. Do they still do that? What do you folk think?

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quevedo

A Jaliscoan: ¿Eres de Chihuahua? A Chihuahuan: Sí, soy de Shhihuahua. Linda gente, la de Chihuahua. +

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esperanza Oct 5, 2008,

jerezano, I live in Morelia, Michoacán, where we talk quite rapidly compared to some of the rest of the country. The ‘g’ in güero/a is pronounced far back in the throat and is almost silent. If you Zacatecanos are pronouncing it as as hard ‘g’, like the ‘g’ in the Spanish word ‘gato’, their pronunciation is incorrect. Listen hard and let us know. https://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com (This post was edited by esperanza on Oct 5, 2008, 6:41 PM)

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jerezano

Hello Esperanza. You said:>>>The ‘g’ in güero/a is pronounced far back in the throat and is almost silent. If you Zacatecanos are pronouncing it as as hard ‘g’, like the ‘g’ in the Spanish word ‘gato’, their pronunciation is incorrect. Listen hard and let us know.<<< It is not quite so hard as the g in gato but it definitely is there, it is not absent or swallowed. And that is my point: This is not incorrect pronunciation at all. It is a regional pronunciation or accent from the fact that our people here speak with a hard accent and have done so from time immemorial. For example many of the people trill their final r’s. Particularly when at the end of the sentence or when excited or speaking with force. I haven’t heard that very often in the rest of the country where final r’s are often swallowed. As for GWEH rah I have a very well-educated friend, a high school teacher, who speaks excellent Spanish. His wife is light-skinned and blonde and his favorite name when talking to her is GWEH rah. Sometimes GWEH rrah–with a trilled r. Reminds me of the radio and TV announcer for Regio (toilet paper) who did the famous squeeze test saying: ¡REH heoh! ¡REH heoh! ¡RAY jeeoh! That was years ago. Also the tequilla announcer, who was on for only a couple of months, who said AH gah bay instead of ah GAH bay. So, what other regional differences have any of us noted?

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sergiogomez / Moderator Oct 6, 2008

Jerezano, you’re right. The g in güero is pronounced like a hard English g under certain circumstances. This would be when the g comes at the beginning of a breath group (which is a sentence in many cases, but can include several sentences if the speaker has a lot of breath) or after n. So güero by itself would be pronounced with a hard g, but el güero is pronounced with a soft g that’s made by positioning your tongue for a hard g while letting air escape in a stream instead of in one big puff. This soft g can sound somewhat like “weh” when the speaker is very relaxed. As far as I have seen, “güe” is usually only pronounced like “weh” among young speakers of Spanish slang, often chicanos or those who live near the border. Most of the time, especially in words like aguacate and agua, the g becomes is pronounced but becomes so soft that it’s hard to pick up unless you’re used to hearing it. I’ve heard the thing about Puerto Rican announcers before, although I’m not sure how true it still is. Many of the radio stations that I listen to have native Mexican announcers. Films are somewhat of a different story; they’re usually dubbed by Spanish speakers who have been trained to have a “neutral accent,” but a few of these speakers are obviously Mexican. I get a kick out of listening for o’s. That’s one of the best indicators (that I know of) to tell where a speaker is from. Every country pronounces them differently. As for regional Mexican accents, they vary incredibly from one region/state to another. They all have some common characteristics, because you can always tell a Mexican from a Spanish speaker from another country. But once you pay close attention, you start to realize how different they are. That’s another game I like to play: guess where a Mexican is from based on their accent. It’s a great idea for starting a lively discussion. Maybe someone else can kick it off. I would do it right now, but I have an examen that I should be studying for.

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sergiogomez / Moderator Oct 6, 2008

My boyfriend is from Zacatecas and loves to make fun of Chihuahuan ch’s. I don’t pronounce them like that very often, but once in a while one slips through. Always a cause for great hilarity on his part. I laugh at the way he says y’s like j’s when he gets excited…all in good fun, of course. No hay como un buen sentido del humor.

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jerezano

Hello Olivia, Thank you for the complete and thorough explanation of why I hear the g in guero. As I mentioned earlier, Zacatecanos tend to speak with a hard accent even if their Spanish is pure. Your comment about your Zacatecano boy friend pronounching the y as a j is really common here. How many times have I heard the explosive ¿¡JOE!? when somebody makes a comment which the hearer doesn’t particularly like. For example: “You told me….” “¿Joe? Nunca te dije eso….” And we have a town here called Yeje pronounced JAY heh. Too the word projecto can often be heard as proh JEC toh. Also we have a clothing shop in town named Yersey pronounced JEHR say. Olivia, your arcane knowledge about the pronounciation of Spanish and the differing regional accents prompts a question. Not being metiche but I, and I think a lot more of us, would be interested in knowing a bit more about your background. I am assuming that you are a native English speaker, or am I wrong? Your comment about the Chihuahua shii slipping occasionaly might indicate that you were born there.

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Georgia

Well, in Colombia, they claim to speak the “purest” Spanish. In my opinion whatever people speak in a given region is correct. As for the northern border states of Mexico as well as the southern border states of the USA: the Spanish spoken in both places has been influenced by English and the English by Spanish. I met a young man here in Jalisco who has a Mexican name, and his English was heavily accented by Spanish: but he didn’t speak Spanish, he was from southern Texas. A lot of angelinos do the same thing. Having lived in Spain when I was a young woman and having studied Spanish pronunciation at the master’s degree level by rabid Castillians, I am painfully aware of different places claim to possess the “most correct” Spanish. All propaganda!

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jerezano

Hello Georgia, Hmmmm. An interesting post where you talk about corrupt Spanish. But your having studied Spanish pronunciation at the Master’s level in Spain leads me to ask these questions: l. On TV or the Radio or when you meet an Hispanic who is a stranger to you, can you, as Olivia says she can do, determine by his/her voice if that Hispanic is a Mexican or from some other country? And 2. Can you, if that stranger should be Mexican determine what region he/she is from, Northern Mexico, Southern, DF, Veracruz etc? My Mexican friends tell me that yes, they can do this. I wish that I could do both these things but no, not yet. That is what we are searaching for here–regional Mexican accents.

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esperanza

I am able to distinguish among Mexican, Spanish, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Chilean, Venezuelan and Argentine Spanish-speakers. I am able to distinguish among Michoacán, Jalisco, Yucatan, Baja California, Chiapas, and Distrito Federal spoken Spanish. – https://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

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Georgia

Esperanza is far more conversant with the different Mexican accents than I am, but I’m getting there. I can tell if a Mexican’s native tongue is indigenous language vs. Spanish, and of course, the northern states are so distinct. I’m better at telling the difference between Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dom. Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina and Spain. Aside from the accents, a lot of the vocabulary and argot are different. My Spanish phonetics class did not dwell at all on those distinctions, just how Castillian Spanish is spoken. Very fussy about the whole business, I might add. The unusual thing in Spain is that from spoken Spanish, it is often difficult to discern class distinctions, unlike Mexico, where class distinctions are immediately apparent from the spoken language.

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sergiogomez / Moderator Oct 8, 2008

Interesting fact about Spain. I didn’t know that, but then again, I haven’t heard much Castilian Spanish. In Mexico, you can tell right away if someone is from a big city or small town, how educated they are, and if they’ve lived in more than one place just by listening to them talk. Different states tend to have unique accents, but even then, certain regions and cities within a state have variations. I wish there were some way to qualify all the differences, but right now, the only thing I can think of is that they’re different. Helpful, huh? The funny thing is that when I listen to a native Nahuatl speaker, it seems like a lot of distinctively Mexican pronunciation and tone of voice have been carried over from that language. Not to mention vocabulary. Until recently, I had no idea that chapulín came from Nahuatl. I thought everyone called them that, until I saw a recipe that called for saltamontes. (Jerezano, to answer your question, I was born in the US but grew up speaking both languages.)

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Georgia

Yes, hearing indigenous people here speak Spanish is like hearing Native Americans who grew up speaking their own language at home speak English – a little bit “flat.”

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Ed and Fran

Reminds me also that Cubans in general claim to speak the best Spanish in the world but are almost unintelligable to many other hispanic nationalities. When I was working and living down in Venezuela I was told by more than one local that “No hablamos español, hablamos castellano.” Personally, since I had learned most of my spanish in Mexico, I had a real hard time understanding the locals for their accent and also because they tended to cut off the ends of words, especially verbs. My hearing and command of the language isn’t good enough to detect regional Mexican accents, but at least I can often figure out when someone isn’t from here.

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Carron

When I was teaching English in Chiapas, I quickly realized that the Spanish spoken there had no relation whatsoever to the Tejano/Spanglish stuff I was accustomed to hearing and even speaking a little along the Texas border. Teachers who had taught other places in Mexico agreed that Chiapanecan Spanish was without doubt the most difficult to acquire and understand. One of my advanced English students once laughed and explained it to me this way: ” We speak Spanish with such a Southern accent here, you would think we lived in Argentina!”

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jerezano Oct 17, 2008, 9:40 AM Post #16 of 20 (33228 views) Shortcut Re: [Carron] Mexican Regional accents? New thread? Can’t Post | Private Reply Hello: Carron said when speaking of the accented Spanish of Chiapas:>>One of my advanced English students once laughed and explained it to me this way: ” We speak Spanish with such a Southern accent here, you would think we lived in Argentina!”<<<

And here in Zacatecas they tell me that the Argentinos speak Spanish with an Italian accent. I did notice years ago that the Argentine telenovelas used an entirely different type of Spanish than here in México. In those telenovelas they always used vos instead of tú with the consequent change in verb (plural informal as used in Spain). While I never learned how to to use that, I could at least understand it.

Why do Argentinos speak with an Italian accent? I understand it is because of the large number of Italians who fled to that country during the Mussolini regime. Or maybe even earlier.

jerezano

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mazatlanlee, Oct 17, 2008
… and, last year, in a Costco in SE Washington state, I needed to pass between two Hispanic men, and, as I did so, I quietly asked, “Con permiso, Senores”…. then, didn’t give it another thought. Later, at the check-out, one of the two men approached me and asked, in perfect English, “Where did you learn to speak Spanish?”… I told him, again in Spanish, that I live in Mazatlan, Sinaloa. He smiled and told me he knew I must’ve learned in Sinaloa or Jalisco, or Nayarit, because my ACCENT (in those simple three words!) was definitely from one of those three Pacific Coastal states of Mexico! I was amazed, until he went on to explain that, here in Mexico, just as in every other country, regional accents are a give-away to anyone who is familiar with the spoken language of a country. My friend is from New Orleans, and we tease her that the Mazatlan natives who learn even a few words of English from her will have the same Southern accent that she does.

I LOVE SPANISH… and try to learn more every day!

Mazatlan Lee
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Oscar2
Mazatlan Lee, agreed, accents are at times distinct and can define origin. I figure maybe, just maybe, one day, not sure how far into the future, I will speak like a local. This is what I jokingly tell some locals I speak too and back it up by saying, “give me one year here, and I’ll be speaking just like you.” They look up at me with a dubious smile and somewhat of a wink, as if to say, yeah-sure-okay! I have fun with it and it kind of eases up conditions for more conversation.

I’ve seen a few posts of yours in the past and maybe I’m missing some but not to many, as of late. This time, out of curiosity I looked further and discovered you have a blog that is not posted with every post, but should “by all means” be posted because I loved it. Not only was the colored tapestry of photos filled with travel logs and places some are probably just dying to see, but your layout was touched with that special something I personally found engaging and enjoyed it very much.

45 years and then your loved one must leave. He’s probably looking down from above smiling and enjoying you picking up the gauntlet and continuing in a venture into a world which belonged to both of you. You’re a real trooper and I for one really appreciate whatever it is which makes me feel this way. Gracias

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sergiogomez / Moderator, Oct 17, 2008

It’s because the rhythm of Argentinian Spanish is very much like Italian. Argentina has very strong Italian and German influences, which might explain why they seem to think they’re better than everyone else. Argentinians are known as the snobs of the Spanish-speaking world. This makes it fun to laugh at the way they talk. ¿Vos decís que sos de Argentina? No hombre, ¡si no me dices no me doy cuenta!

Linda gente, como quiera.

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