Ask a Question

(Create a thread)
Go Back   Spanish language learning forums > Teaching & Learning > Culture


Differences in U.S. and Mexico?

 

Questions about culture and cultural differences between countries and languages.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old June 21, 2007, 10:21 PM
ckc777 ckc777 is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 20
ckc777 is on a distinguished road
Differences in U.S. and Mexico?

I live in Texas and would like to be able to communicate with the Spanish community here. Could someone tell me if Spanish in Mexico is much different from the Spanish that Spanish-Americans speak?

While I'm at it, is there much difference between Spanish in Mexico and Spanish in Central America and South America? How about Spain? I'm sure each country and continent have certain differences and dialects, but overall is the Spanish about the same?

I'm concerned that the immigrants coming up through Mexico and beyond will be speaking a very different language than the Spanish-Americans (Pardon me if I'm using the wrong description....no offense intended).

I'm trying to determine which books/cd's etc. would best suit me given the area that I live. I've already invested in some books and a home study course, but I am now wondering if I am learning a lot of unnecessary Spanish. I can see that this is going to be hard enough as it is. Thanks, Chris
Reply With Quote
   
Get rid of these ads by registering for a free Tomísimo account.
  #2  
Old June 22, 2007, 10:43 AM
Tomisimo's Avatar
Tomisimo Tomisimo is offline
Davidísimo
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: North America
Posts: 5,534
Native Language: American English
Tomisimo will become famous soon enoughTomisimo will become famous soon enough
Hi Chris,

Just taking a wild guess here, but I'd say the majority of Spanish-speakers in the US are Mexicans or are of Mexican descent, and many other are from different Central and South American countries. There are many differences between the Spanish that is spoken in the different countries, but if you learn "standard" Spanish, you should be understood by everyone who speaks Spanish. Some notable differences are:
  • the "vosotros" verb form is only used in Spain
  • there is a "vos" verb form, comparable to "tu" that is used in certain central and south American countries- not in Mexico.
  • there are lots of vocabulary differences between different countries/areas.
  • some pronunciation differences/variations

I'd recommend you start with learning the vocabulary/conversational stuff in the material/courses you've bought. As far as the verb forms, start with:
  • yo - I (first person singular)
  • tu - you (second person singular, informal)
  • usted - you (second person singular formal)
  • el/ella - he/she (third person singular)
  • nosotros - we (first person plural)
  • ustedes - you (second person plural)
  • ellos/ellas they (third person plural)

That should be enough for communicating with most Mexicans, Central Americans and South Americans.

If you're looking for more books and material for studying, I'd recommend getting something more aimed at "American" Spanish, as oposed to Spanish from Spain, and it will work better for communicating with most of the immigrant population.
__________________
If you find something wrong with my Spanish, please correct it!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old June 22, 2007, 09:50 PM
ckc777 ckc777 is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 20
ckc777 is on a distinguished road
Thanks David. Any suggestions from you or anyone else on a book or study course that is American-Spanish oriented.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old June 23, 2007, 01:08 PM
celador celador is offline
Ruby
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 99
celador is on a distinguished road
This is one of the best starting places I have seen online.

http://www.studyspanish.com/

A lot if fun interesting free lessons and you can subscribe to a paid membership to expand it considerably when you are ready.

You can get a long ways just maximizing the free lessons.

I enjoy the idiomatic phrase generator.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old June 26, 2007, 02:34 PM
Elaina's Avatar
Elaina Elaina is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Midwest
Posts: 2,565
Native Language: English
Elaina will become famous soon enough
Spanish Language Mexico vs Texas

Hola CKC777:

Let me explain something to you about the differences in the Spanish language from Mexico to Texas.

Many years ago when the US took Texas and others states from Mexico, the inhabitants from these states were all Mexican and spanish-speakers. Of course there was much prejudice back then and the "white" man treated these people as slaves. These people were viewed as traitors from their counterparts in Mexico, calling them "vendidos" and traidores as these people could have gone back to Mexico at any time but they didn't. These people were seen as inferior people by the "white" man because of how different they looked and sounded.

These people found themselves without a nation. Not Mexican and not American. For years they have struggled with this. Many years ago they developed their own language.....not English and not Spanish. Spanglish was born. It is not recognized as a language like "Ebonics" but it is a unique language that sets these people apart from the Mexicans and the Americans.
It wasn't until the last 25 years or so that Spanglish was cleaned up and has now lost all its luster and glory. Unfortunately Spanglish was seen as a language used only by gangs and the uneducated so it was rejected by many people that migrated to the US from other Spanish-speaking countries. Only very few people from the smaller towns in Texas still speak it.

A few words.......

Planchar oreja = take a nap
mi ruca = my girl/woman
la vieja = my mom
las maneas del carro = the brakes of the car
echarnos un frajo = smoke a cigarette
vamos al jale = going to work
la waina - the station wagon

Like I said it is not widely used now but it existed and very proudly.

I hope you enjoy this little history lesson.

Elaina
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old June 27, 2007, 06:46 PM
ckc777 ckc777 is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 20
ckc777 is on a distinguished road
celador, I've been using some of the tools on that website during the last few days....very helpful. Muchas gracias, Chris
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old June 27, 2007, 06:51 PM
ckc777 ckc777 is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 20
ckc777 is on a distinguished road
Elaina, I found the history lesson to be very interesting. I had no idea! It seems that I recall seeing books available on amazon.com about Spanglish, yet I didn't bother looking beyond the title to see what they were referring to. Gracias, Chris
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old July 01, 2007, 11:10 PM
Elaina's Avatar
Elaina Elaina is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Midwest
Posts: 2,565
Native Language: English
Elaina will become famous soon enough
Hola CKC777...

I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Isn't it great how many things we can learn from each other? I have also learned lots from this website and its participants.

lol
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old August 02, 2007, 11:15 AM
redbeard's Avatar
redbeard redbeard is offline
Ruby
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Inglaterra
Posts: 33
Native Language: inglés
redbeard is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckc777 View Post
While I'm at it, is there much difference between Spanish in Mexico and Spanish in Central America and South America? How about Spain? I'm sure each country and continent have certain differences and dialects, but overall is the Spanish about the same?
Just like English is spoken differently in different parts of the United States, so is Spanish spoken differently in different parts of Mexico. Don't forget that Mexico is a rather large country!

The Spanish of the south-western United States is basically a northern Mexican dialect with a lot of English interference. The biggest change you'll notice in Mexico itself is the vocabulary, and to a smaller extent the grammar. If you learn "proper" Spanish, though, in other words what they'll teach you in evening classes or at college, you'll be able to understand and be understood by Mexicans without any problem. I'd also speculate that the biggest problem you'll have with "American" Spanish is that it's different to what you were taught, not that it's difficult in itself!

The Spanish of southern Mexico bleeds into Guatemalan Spanish. The main difference with "proper" Spanish is again the vocabulary. If you already speak some Spanish you'll just start noticing differences here and there. You won't have any problem with understanding or being understood, it's just a case of learning a few more words. One idiomatic difference I seem to remember is that in southern Mexico and at least Guatemala a common greeting is ¡Buenas! (or ¡Buenos! in the morning), rather than the usual form you'll find in books.

Parts of Central America at least are in the same dialect zone as the Caribbean countries (Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic). As well as yet more differences in vocabulary there's a significantly different accent which I at least found as a bit of a shock when I first encountered it! It was like hearing a completely different language at first, not helped by the fact that they speak more quickly than in Mexico. The letter "s" in particular either becomes like the English "h" or is even dropped completely, and the letters "y" and "ll" are pronounced like English "j" or "dy" (as in "Who d'you think you're talking to?"). In particularly "careless" speech the letter "n" is also sometimes dropped in certain circumstances. I can't remember more than that off-hand. Anyway, by way of (a slightly contrived) example, compare the pronunciation and vocabulary of these two questions:
Standard Spanish:
¿Dónde está la estación de autobúses?
Puerto Rican Spanish, respelled [and with "h" as in English]:
¿Dondehtá la etayó de wawah?

That's from memory of quite a few years ago, so I might have it a bit garbled; but you hopefully get the idea!

In the Southern Cone countries of South America the accent is different again. Here the letters "y" and "ll" are pronounced like the "zh" in "Doctor Zhivago", and the letter "s" can also be reduced to "h" or dropped altogether. I found the accent in Entre Ríos to be almost impenetrable even after a few days in Uruguay beforehand. In Buenos Aires you'll even hear Spanish spoken with something of an Italian rhythm, which is rather wonderful thing to hear. In these countries you'll also encounter "vos" used for "tú", and probably used with different verb endings than you'll find in your grammar book (I think only the Argentinians tend to use it in the written language, though).

As for European Spanish compared with the Latin American variety, the best analogy is between British and American English. Lots of little vocabulary differences (Latin American Spanish is a bit closer to English than the European version), a few grammatical differences, and the accent is different again. From experience I'd say the biggest problem is that Spaniards speak the language very quickly, even when asked to speak more slowly!

Hope I haven't put you off! Overall I'd say that the differences between the various varieties of Spanish are less sharp than those between the major varieties of English. And when you have to deal with a new variety it might take a little while for your ear to re-atune itself, but at least they should have no difficulty in understanding you. Remember also that most parts of the Spanish-speaking world are reasonably used to films and television from the other Spanish-speaking countries, so people are often used to the differences.

¡Suerte!
__________________
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old August 14, 2007, 12:18 PM
sosia's Avatar
sosia sosia is offline
Ankh-Morpork's citizen
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: a 55 cm del monitor
Posts: 2,984
Native Language: Spanish (Spain)
sosia has a spectacular aura aboutsosia has a spectacular aura about
we, wedontspeaksoquickly!!!

Yes, we usually speak fast, and we try to hide the nouns

I can't say anything, the thread it's very good

to Elaina
una vez escuché una frase en spanglish que me hizo gracia. Era algo como
"voy a limpiar/clenear la carpeta" meaning "I'm going to clean the carpet"

saludos
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmark this thread at:

 

Link to this thread
URL: 
HTML Link: 
BB Code: 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Site Rules


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:09 AM.

Forum powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

X