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Identifying Regional, National Accents

 

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Old June 24, 2016, 01:32 AM
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I've been listening to (and watching) youtube documentaries in Spanish for quite some time and listening to podcasts. My listening has improved a lot.

I am now listening to normal colloquial speaking. When people speak on the show "Caso Cerrado" for example.

I am trying to further determine and identify certain accents in Spanish by region and nationality. I now there are many countries and regions (obviously).

So I am hoping to start by only focusing on Mexico and its regions and Central Americans countries and regions.

I know there is a wide range.

I know at the moment, only the obvious differences of a couple accents: The Cubans omitting "Ss" most (all?) of the time. Argentinian. Mexican Spanish spoken more quickly and with vowel reduction; Guatemalans in general speak more slowly and it seems to pronounced their vowels more (at least when I'm listening).

I know one accent that I am hoping to ID the region and/or country, b/c I have no idea:

Example: the "b" is barely sound (or is it aspirated?). when the "b" is between to vowels.

Estaba is pronounced "estaba" but the "b" is barely pronounced and the lip barely (if at all) come together.

These same speakers also seem to reduce the "d" [th] sound when the "d" is between two vowels.

On these TV shows it is often not clear what country or region the people are from. For example on "Caso Cerrado" a wife was from Nicaragua but (I think) the husband was from Mexico. They spoke with very noticeable accents, IMO.

Anyone know of information about where to get this info?

I'd like to add that this is likely (I assume), elision. I am trying to learn more about linguistics.

Elision

In linguistics, elision or deletion is the omission of one or more sounds (such as a vowel, a consonant, or a whole syllable) in a word or phrase. Sometimes sounds are elided to make a word easier to pronounce. The word elision is frequently used in linguistic description of living languages, and deletion is often used in historical linguistics for a historical sound change.


Spanish

The change of Latin into the Romance languages included a significant amount of elision, especially syncope (loss of medial vowels). Spanish has these examples:

tabla from Latin tabula
isla from Latin insula (through *isula)
alma from Latin anima (with dissimilation of -nm- to -lm-)
hembra from Latin femina (with lenition of f- to h-, dissimilation of -mn- to -mr- and then epenthesis of -mr- to -mbr-'

In addition, speakers often employ crasis or elision between two words to avoid a hiatus caused by vowels: the choice of which to use depends upon whether or not the vowels are identical.[citation needed]

A frequent informal use is the elision of d in the past participle suffix -ado, pronouncing cansado as cansao. The elision of d in -ido is considered even more informal, but both elisions common in Andalusian Spanish. Thus, the Andalusian quejío for quejido (“lament”) has entered Standard Spanish as a term for a special feature of Flamenco singing. Similar distinctions are made with the words bailaor(a) and cantaor(a) as contracted versions of the literal translations for dancer and singer exclusively used for Flamenco, compared to the bailarín and cantante of standard Spanish. The perceived vulgarity of the silent d may lead to hypercorrections like *bacalado for bacalao (cod) or *Bilbado for Bilbao.[3]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elision

Caribbean Spanish
This dialect is spoken in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and along the East coast of Mexico and Central America; it is characterized by elided middle consonants and omitted final consonants, as well as an aspirated ‘r’ that is pronounced like the Portuguese ‘x.’

Link: 10 Spanish Dialects: How Spanish is Spoken Around the World
https://www.altalang.com/beyond-word...und-the-world/

Last edited by Rusty; June 24, 2016 at 05:56 AM. Reason: merged back-to-back posts
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  #2  
Old June 24, 2016, 07:54 AM
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I think there are three major Spanish accents: Continental, Argentine, and Latin American. Among these three divisions, there is vast variety, For instance many Puerto Ricans pronounce the r like the Spanish j or French r, but in nearby Cuba many leave the r out when used in diphthongs. It can be fun to try to identify them. By the way the same can be said for English, native New Yorkers don't sound like native Philadelphians with a ninety mile distance between them.
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Old June 25, 2016, 12:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poli View Post
I think there are three major Spanish accents: Continental, Argentine, and Latin American. Among these three divisions, there is vast variety, For instance many Puerto Ricans pronounce the r like the Spanish j or French r, but in nearby Cuba many leave the r out when used in diphthongs. It can be fun to try to identify them. By the way the same can be said for English, native New Yorkers don't sound like native Philadelphians with a ninety mile distance between them.
Thanks for this info, poli.

Can you give an example of a word or two where the Cuban leave out the "r" in a dipthong?

Thanks if you can.
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Old June 25, 2016, 09:22 PM
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Very interesting post, Aprendo. Thanks for the information you provided. When I studied phonetics I had a goal of trying to be able to identify regional accents, but quickly abandoned it as being unattainable. Globalization and the spread of mass media are probably to blame. But Good Luck to you!
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Old July 06, 2016, 01:21 AM
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Hola Aprendo, this Wikipedia article may interest you.

You have "puerta", (door) pronounced as "puetta"...

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espa%C3%B1ol_cubano

A mediados del siglo XIX el número de africanos en Cuba era altísimo, sólo comparable al porcentaje existente en Santo Domingo (donde la población blanca era una minoría). Se cree que el intercambio de /l/ y /r/ (mejor > mejol, caldo > cardo), la geminación de /r/ más consonante (cerdo > ceddo, puerta > puetta) o la entonación del cubano podrían ser de origen africano,

***

Otro rasgo peculiar del cubano y que se encuentra en el resto del español antillano es el intercambio de /l/ y /r/ implosivas. Según esta regla, "alma" se pronuncia "arma", y a su vez "arma" se oye como "alma". Este intercambio es más frecuente al final de palabra: "amol" por amor", "calol" por "calor", "mujel" por "mujer", "tlabajal" por "trabajar", etc. Aunque también existen casos en los que la /r/ se encuentra en la mitad de la palabra: "perdón" por "peldón".
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Old July 06, 2016, 12:04 PM
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diphthong was definitely the wrong word, but JPablo gave you good examples. Santa Barbara, an important figure in Cuban culture, is often pronounced Santa Babara.

That L for R substitution is common in Caribbean Spanish. I knew a Dominican doctor who said esparda instead of espalda, so I don't think it is strictly Cuban.

Although Cuba, Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo are different places with their own accents, it can be challenging for non-natives to distinguish the accents.
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Old July 06, 2016, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poli View Post
Although Cuba, Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo are different places with their own accents, it can be challenging for non-natives to distinguish the accents.
For a native speaker from other regions too.

I think it's a cool goal to distinguish accents from different regions, but since I have failed to do that in English, I'm perfectly happy with understanding what is being said... even if not always word for word.
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Old July 06, 2016, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aprendo View Post
...
I know one accent that I am hoping to ID the region and/or country, b/c I have no idea:

Example: the "b" is barely sound (or is it aspirated?). when the "b" is between to vowels.

Estaba is pronounced "estaba" but the "b" is barely pronounced and the lip barely (if at all) come together.

These same speakers also seem to reduce the "d" [th] sound when the "d" is between two vowels.

...
This phenomenon is characteristic of the voiced stop consonants /b/, /d/, and /g/ in most varieties of Spanish.

Between vowels all of these consonants normally are pronounced as fricatives, while after a pause or following a nasal consonant they normally are pronounced as stops.

The more casual the context, the more likely that these consonants will seem to disappear, regardless of which regional variety is used.

It's true that there may be some regional variation in how relaxed these consonants are pronounced at similar levels of casualness. However, when you compare the differences between regional varieties to the range of variation within individual varieties, the differences are not distinctive enough to be very useful for distinguishing regional accents compared to the variations in pronouncing several other consonants.

The consonants whose pronunciation varies most widely between regional varieties and which are most useful for distinguishing regional accents include:

- "s"
- "c" (before "e" and "i") and "z"
- "y" (or "hi") before another vowel
- "ll"
- "r" (especially at the end of a syllable)
- "rr"
- "g" (before "e" and "i") and "j"

You've already received some replies about some of these. Variations in intonation, rhythm, speed and word choice can also be helpful when trying to identify a particular regional variety.
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Old July 19, 2016, 05:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrholt View Post
This phenomenon is characteristic of the voiced stop consonants /b/, /d/, and /g/ in most varieties of Spanish.

Between vowels all of these consonants normally are pronounced as fricatives, while after a pause or following a nasal consonant they normally are pronounced as stops.

The more casual the context, the more likely that these consonants will seem to disappear, regardless of which regional variety is used.

It's true that there may be some regional variation in how relaxed these consonants are pronounced at similar levels of casualness. However, when you compare the differences between regional varieties to the range of variation within individual varieties, the differences are not distinctive enough to be very useful for distinguishing regional accents compared to the variations in pronouncing several other consonants.

The consonants whose pronunciation varies most widely between regional varieties and which are most useful for distinguishing regional accents include:

- "s"
- "c" (before "e" and "i") and "z"
- "y" (or "hi") before another vowel
- "ll"
- "r" (especially at the end of a syllable)
- "rr"
- "g" (before "e" and "i") and "j"

You've already received some replies about some of these. Variations in intonation, rhythm, speed and word choice can also be helpful when trying to identify a particular regional variety.
Thank you for this helpful and informative information, wrholt.

An additional quick question on the pronunciation of "z."

I know the common pronunciation is [s] but are there any instances of the "z" being pronounced as a "z" or in between an "s" and a "z?"
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Old July 19, 2016, 08:55 AM
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Z's and S's are pronounced similarly in Latin American Spanish. Perhaps the z in zebra resounds a bit more than the s in seda. but they are nearly completely interchangeable to my ear.
In Spain Z's follow the C rule in front of the letters E and I. By the way, ZE and ZI are almost nonexistent in Spanish except for words borrowed from other languages like zebra and zika
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