Mexican Spanish

Mexican Spanish

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Mexican Spanish is a version of the Spanish language
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

, as spoken in Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 and in various places of Canada and the United States of America, where there are communities of Mexican origin.

Spanish was brought to Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 beginning in the 16th century CE. As a result of Mexico City's central role in the colonial administration of New Spain, the population of the city included relatively large numbers of speakers from Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. Mexico City (Tenochtitlán) had also been the capital of the Aztec
Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

 Empire, and many speakers of the Aztec language Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

 continued to live there and in the surrounding region, outnumbering the Spanish-speakers for several generations. Consequently, Mexico City tended historically to exercise a standardizing effect over the entire country, more or less, evolving into a distinctive dialect of Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 which incorporated a significant number of hispanicized Nahuatl words.

Variation


The territory of contemporary Mexico is not coextensive with what might be termed Mexican Spanish. First, the Spanish of the Yucatán Peninsula
Yucatán Peninsula
The Yucatán Peninsula, in southeastern Mexico, separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico, with the northern coastline on the Yucatán Channel...

 is distinct from all other forms, both in intonation and in the incorporation of Mayan
Mayan languages
The Mayan languages form a language family spoken in Mesoamerica and northern Central America. Mayan languages are spoken by at least 6 million indigenous Maya, primarily in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize and Honduras...

 words. The Spanish spoken in the areas that border Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

 resembles the variation of Central American Spanish
Central American Spanish
Central American Spanish is the general name of the Spanish language dialects spoken in Central America...

 spoken in that country, where the voseo
Voseo
Voseo is the use of the second person singular pronoun vos in many dialects of Spanish. In dialects that have it, it is used either instead of tú, or alongside it....

 is used. Secondly, Spanish remained a language widely used in Texas after its independence from Mexico, where it is identified as Tex-Mex. Thirdly, after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is the peace treaty, largely dictated by the United States to the interim government of a militarily occupied Mexico City, that ended the Mexican-American War on February 2, 1848...

 many Mexicans remained in the territory taken by the U.S. and continued to speak Spanish within their communities in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. A Spanish linguistic variety known as Ladino
New Mexican Spanish
New Mexican Spanish is a variant or dialect of Spanish spoken in the United States, primarily in the northern part of the state of New Mexico and the southern part of the state of Colorado...

 (one of several uses of the term Ladino
Ladino
Ladino may refer to:*Ladino is the name used primarily in Israel for Judaeo-Spanish, a Sephardic language, primarily spoken among Sephardic Jews, or for the written form used in religious texts and translations; compare to Ashkenazic Jews' language, Yiddish*Ladino is also used for the variety of...

) is still spoken in parts of New Mexico (for example, in the town of La Mesilla
Mesilla, New Mexico
Mesilla is a town in Doña Ana County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 2,180 at the 2000 census...

 in the south, as well as in northern areas of the state). And also, the waves of 19th and 20th century migration from Mexico to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 have very much contributed to making Mexican Spanish the most widely spoken variety of Spanish in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, except on the East Coast
East Coast of the United States
The East Coast of the United States, also known as the Eastern Seaboard, refers to the easternmost coastal states in the United States, which touch the Atlantic Ocean and stretch up to Canada. The term includes the U.S...

, where Caribbean Spanish
Caribbean Spanish
Caribbean Spanish is the general name of the Spanish dialects spoken in the Caribbean region. It closely resembles the Spanish spoken in the Canary Islands and Andalusia....

 is most common (e.g. Miami, where there is an important Cuban
Cuban
Cuban may refer to:* Something of, from, or related to Cuba, a country in the Caribbean* Cubans, people from Cuba, or of Cuban descent. For more information about the Cuban people, see Demographics of Cuba and Culture of Cuba...

 community, and the Northeastern U.S.
Northeastern United States
The Northeastern United States is a region of the United States as defined by the United States Census Bureau.-Composition:The region comprises nine states: the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont; and the Mid-Atlantic states of New...

, where there are many significant Puerto Rican
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 communities). The Spanish spoken in the Gulf coastal areas of Veracruz
Veracruz
Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave , is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is...

 and Tabasco
Tabasco
Tabasco officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Tabasco is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 17 municipalities and its capital city is Villahermosa....

 and in the states of Yucatan
Yucatán
Yucatán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Yucatán is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 106 municipalities and its capital city is Mérida....

 and Quintana Roo
Quintana Roo
Quintana Roo officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Quintana Roo is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 10 municipalities and its capital city is Chetumal....

, is also distinctive—at least at the level of vernacular speech—as the Spanish spoken there exhibits more Caribbean
Caribbean Spanish
Caribbean Spanish is the general name of the Spanish dialects spoken in the Caribbean region. It closely resembles the Spanish spoken in the Canary Islands and Andalusia....

 phonetic traits than that spoken in the rest of Mexico.

Regarding the evolution of the Spanish spoken in Mexico, the Swedish linguist Bertil Malmberg points out that in Mexican Spanish, unlike most variations of the other Spanish-speaking countries, the vowels lose strength, while consonants are fully pronounced. Malmberg explains this by the influence of the consonant-complex Nahuatl language through bilingual speakers and place names. However, there are currently more than 50 native Mexican languages spoken throughout the country and they all contribute to the diversity of accents found all over Mexico. For instance, the tonal or "sing song" quality of some forms of Mexican Spanish derives from some of the indigenous languages such as Zapotec
Zapotec language
The Zapotec language are a group of closely related indigenous Mesoamerican languages spoken by the Zapotec people from the southwestern-central highlands of Mexico. Present-day native speakers are estimated to number over half a million, with the majority inhabiting the state of Oaxaca....

 which, like Chinese, include tonality in their standard form. The strength of the consonants in Mexican Spanish is thus not necessarily from native Mexican influence, especially since other Romance languages, most notably Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 (which is replete with double consonants), also have strengthened consonants, and Mexican Spanish dates from the 17th century.

Phonology



A striking feature of Mexican Spanish, particularly in that of central Mexico, is the high rate of unstressed vowel reduction
Vowel reduction
In phonetics, vowel reduction is any of various changes in the acoustic quality of vowels, which are related to changes in stress, sonority, duration, loudness, articulation, or position in the word , and which are perceived as "weakening"...

 and elision
Elision
Elision is the omission of one or more sounds in a word or phrase, producing a result that is easier for the speaker to pronounce...

, as in /ˈtɾasts/ (trastos, 'cooking utensils'). This process is most frequent when a vowel is in contact with the sound /s/, so that /s/+vowel+/s/ is the construction when the vowel is most frequently affected. It can be the case that the words pesos, pesas, and peces are pronounced the same /ˈpesᵊs/. The vowels are slightly less frequently reduced or eliminated in the constructions /t, p, k, d/+vowel+/s/, so that the words pastas, pastes, and pastos may also be pronounced the same /ˈpasts/.

Also present in most of the interior of Mexico is the preservation (absence of debuccalization
Debuccalization
Debuccalization is a sound change in which a consonant loses its original place of articulation and becomes or . The pronunciation of a consonant as is sometimes called aspiration, but in phonetics aspiration is the burst of air accompanying a plosive...

) of syllable-final /s/; this, combined with frequent unstressed vowel reduction, gives the sibilant /s/ a special prominence. This situation contrasts with that in the coastal areas, on both the Pacific and the Gulf Coastal sides, where the weakening of syllable-final /s/ is a sociolinguistic marker, reflecting the tension between the Mexico City norm and the historical tendency towards consonantal weakening characteristic of coastal areas in Spanish America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

.

Affricates


Due to influence from local languages like Nahuatl, Mexican Spanish also has a voiceless alveolar affricate [t͡s] and a lateral alveolar affricate [t͡ɬ] represented by the respective digraphs ‹tz› and ‹tl›, like in the word tlapalería [t͡ɬapaleˈɾia].

Fricatives


In addition to the usual fricatives of other American Spanish dialects ([f], [s], [x]), Mexican Spanish also has [ʃ], [ʒ], [z], [v] and [χ] mostly in words from indigenous languages. The [ʃ], represented orthographically as ‹x›, is commonly found in words of Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

 or Mayan
Mayan
The adjective Mayan is sometimes used to refer to the indigenous peoples of southeastern Mexico and parts of Central America, such as Guatemala; their culture, language, and history...

 languages such as Xola, [ˈʃola]). (The spelling ‹x› also represents two other pronunciations: [x] (also mostly in place names) as in México ([ˈmexiko]), and (in words of Latin origin) [ks] as in anexar ([anekˈsar]).) In many Nahuatl words in which ‹x› originally represented [ʃ], the pronunciation has changed to [x] (e.g., Jalapa/Xalapa
Xalapa
Xalapa-Enríquez, commonly Xalapa or Jalapa, is the capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz and the name of the surrounding municipality. In the year 2005 census the city reported a population of 387,879 and the municipality of which it serves as municipal seat reported a population of...

).

In Northern Western Mexican Spanish, Yucateco, Oaxaqueño and in variants influenced by Mayan languages [tʃ] represented by ‹ch› tends to be deaffricated to [ʃ].

In most variants of Mexican Spanish the letter ‹y› is pronounced as the palatalized voiced post alveolar fricative [ʒʲ] before ‹a›, ‹o›, ‹u›, and is pronounced as [dʒ] before ‹e› and ‹i›. The letters ‹ll› follow the same pronunciation as ‹y› in certain dialects. In words of Zapotec origin ‹x› is pronounced as [ʒ].

In the Jalicense, Bajío, Oaxaqueño and Yucateco variants of Mexican Spanish ‹z› is pronounced as [z] rather than the standard Spanish pronunciation where the the letters ‹s› and ‹z› are both pronounced as [s]. In the Defeño variant ‹z› can be pronounced interchangeably between [z] and [s].

Regarding the pronunciation of the phoneme /x/, the articulation in most of Mexico is velar [x], as in caja [kaxa] ('box'). On the southern coasts, the normal articulation is glottal [h], as in most Caribbean and Pacific coast dialects of Spanish. In dialects of Oaxaca the pronunciation of /x/ is uvular [χ], identical to a Mayan pronunciation. In Spanish spelling before the conquest of Mexico, the letter ‹x› represented /ʃ/. Historical shifts have moved this articulation to the back of the mouth.

Due to the influence of Indigenous languages and to a lesser extent, American English, Mexican Spanish has a larger inventory of consonants then European Spanish and the pronunciation of

The consonants of Mexican Spanish
  Labial
Labial consonant
Labial consonants are consonants in which one or both lips are the active articulator. This precludes linguolabials, in which the tip of the tongue reaches for the posterior side of the upper lip and which are considered coronals...

Alveolar
Alveolar consonant
Alveolar consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli of the superior teeth...

Post-
alveolar
Postalveolar consonant
Postalveolar consonants are consonants articulated with the tongue near or touching the back of the alveolar ridge, further back in the mouth than the alveolar consonants, which are at the ridge itself, but not as far back as the hard palate...

Palatal
Palatal consonant
Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate...

Velar
Velar consonant
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....

Labio-
velar
Glottal
Glottal consonant
Glottal consonants, also called laryngeal consonants, are consonants articulated with the glottis. Many phoneticians consider them, or at least the so-called fricative, to be transitional states of the glottis without a point of articulation as other consonants have; in fact, some do not consider...

Plosive p /p/
b /b/
t /t/
d /d/
  d /ð/ c~qu /k/
g /g/
cu /kʷ/
Affricate
Affricate consonant
Affricates are consonants that begin as stops but release as a fricative rather than directly into the following vowel.- Samples :...

b~v /β/ tl /t͡ɬ/
tz /t͡s/
ch /t͡ʃ/
y /dʒ/
       
Fricative
Fricative consonant
Fricatives are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the back of the tongue against the soft palate, in the case of German , the final consonant of Bach; or...

f /f/
v/v/
c~s~z/s/
z /z/
x~ch /ʃ/
y/ʒʲ/
  j~x /x/
g /ɣ/
ju /xʷ/
gu /ɣʷ/
x~j~g /χ/
Nasal
Nasal consonant
A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...

m /m/ n /n/   ñ /ɲ/ n /ŋ/    
Approximant
Approximant consonant
Approximants are speech sounds that involve the articulators approaching each other but not narrowly enough or with enough articulatory precision to create turbulent airflow. Therefore, approximants fall between fricatives, which do produce a turbulent airstream, and vowels, which produce no...

  l /l/   i /j/
ll /ʎ/
  hu /w/  
Trill
Trill
Trill may refer to:* Trill , a type of musical ornament* Trill consonant, a type of sound used in some languages*Trill, a type of bird food-Fiction:* Trill , two symbiotic races of aliens in the fictional Star Trek universe...

  rr /r/
r /ɾ/
     

Morphology


Mexican Spanish is a tuteante form of the language (i.e. using tú and its traditional verb forms for the second person familiar), voseo
Voseo
Voseo is the use of the second person singular pronoun vos in many dialects of Spanish. In dialects that have it, it is used either instead of tú, or alongside it....

 being confined to some parts of the state of Chiapas
Chiapas
Chiapas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Chiapas is one of the 31 states that, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 118 municipalities and its capital city is Tuxtla Gutierrez. Other important cites in Chiapas include San Cristóbal de las...

, where the local Spanish rather belongs to the Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

n region. In Chiapas, the verb forms corresponding to vos are the same as in Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

—in other words, the present indicative and subjunctive have oxytone
Oxytone
An oxytone is a word with the stress on the last syllable, such as the English words correct and reward. A paroxytone is stressed on the penultimate syllable. A proparoxytone is stressed on the antepenultimate syllable.-See also:*Barytone...

 forms with monophthongal
Monophthong
A monophthong is a pure vowel sound, one whose articulation at both beginning and end is relatively fixed, and which does not glide up or down towards a new position of articulation....

 endings (cantás/-és, comés/-ás, subís/-ás); the imperative has no final /d/; there is sociolinguistic variation in the future between forms in -ás and forms in -és/-ís (the latter being the less prestigious of the alternants); and the remaining vos forms are identical to those that go with tú in standard Spanish.

Vosotros (Second Person Plural, in English "you all"). Vosotros is only in current usage in Spain and can also be found in certain archaic texts in Mexico. It sounds odd to Mexican ears. However, since it is used in many Spanish-language bibles throughout the country, most Mexicans are familiar with the form and understand it. Nevertheless, like in the rest of Spanish America, it has fallen out of everyday use.

An interesting feature of Mexican Spanish, found throughout the country, is the frequent use of diminutive
Diminutive
In language structure, a diminutive, or diminutive form , is a formation of a word used to convey a slight degree of the root meaning, smallness of the object or quality named, encapsulation, intimacy, or endearment...

 suffixes with many nouns, adverbs and adjectives, even where no semantic diminution of size or intensity is implied. Most frequent is the -ito/ita suffix, which replaces the final vowel on words that have one. Words ending with -n use the suffix -cito/cita. Use of the diminutive does not necessarily denote small size, but rather often implies an affectionate attitude; thus one may speak of "una casita grande" ('a nice, big house').

When the diminutive suffix is applied to an adjective, often a near-equivalent idea can be expressed in English by "nice and [adjective]". So, for example, a matress (un colchón) described as "blandito" might be "nice and soft", while calling it "blando" might be heard to mean "too soft".

Frequent use of the diminutive is found across all socioeconomic classes, but its "excessive" use is commonly associated with lower-class speech.

Some prefixes and suffixes


In Mexico, the diminutive
Diminutive
In language structure, a diminutive, or diminutive form , is a formation of a word used to convey a slight degree of the root meaning, smallness of the object or quality named, encapsulation, intimacy, or endearment...

 suffix -ito is also used to form affectives to express politeness or submission (cafecito, meaning little coffee; cabecita, meaning little head; chavito, meaning little young boy), and is attached to names (Marquitos, meaning little Marcos; Juanito, meaning little Juan) denoting affection. In the northern parts of the country, the suffix -ito is often replaced on informal situations by '-illo" (cafecillo, cabecilla, morrillo, Juanillo).

In Spanish, the "-ísimo" is used as a suffix to emphasize the original meaning of adjectives; it is equivalent to the Italian/Latin/Portuguese "issimo/íssimo". For instance, the word "grande", which means literally big, can be emphasized (grandísimo) therefore meaning "very big". Unlike many Spanish-speaking countries, it is common in Mexico to emphasize the adjective twice or three times: grandísimo, meaning "very big", can be emphasized again (grandisísimo), thus meaning "very very big"; and even again (grandisisísimo), meaning "very very very big".

The suffix "-ote" is typically used in Mexico as the augmentative ending; thus making nouns bigger, larger, more powerful, etc. For example, the word "camión" by itself literally means "bus"; adding the suffix, camionzote means "big or long bus". It can be repeated just as in the case of the suffix "-ito" and "-ísimo", therefore camionzotototote means "very very very big bus".

The suffix "-uco" or "-ucho" and its feminine counterparts "-uca" and "-ucha" respectively, are used as a disparaging form of a noun; for example, the word casa, meaning "house", can be modified with that suffix (casucha) to change the word's meaning to make it more disparaging, and sometimes offensive; so the word "casucha" is often a shanty, hut or hovel. With the word madera (wood), for example, it is often used with the other suffix (-uca: maderuca) and it means rotten, ugly wood.

Other suffixes include, but are not limited to: "-azo" as in "carrazo", which refers to a very impressive car (carro) such as a Ferrari or Mercedes-Benz; "-ón", for example "narizón", meaning "big-nosed" (nariz = "nose"), or "patona", a female with large legs (patas). Some others include "-udo", as in "narizudo", also meaning "big-nosed"; the prefix "a-" or "en-" used with the suffix "-ado", as in "acamado" or "engentado", meaning, respectively, someone who is tired of being in bed, and someone who is tired of being in crowds and with many people.

It is also common to add a ch- to form diminutives, e.g. Isabel => Chabela, José María => Chema, Cerveza (beer) => Chela, Concepción => Conchita, Sin Dientes (without teeth) => Chimuela. This is common in, but not exclusive to, Mexican Spanish.

Syntax


Several syntactic patterns that sound very "non-standard" to the Peninsular ear are routine in Mexican Spanish. First and foremost is the more or less conventionalized ellipsis of the negative particle "no" in clauses containing the preposition "hasta" (until):
  • Será publicado hasta fines de año. ('It will not be published until the end of the year.')
  • Cierran hasta las nueve. ('They don't close until 9 o'clock.')
  • Hasta que tomé la píldora se me quitó el dolor. ('Until I took the pill, the pain did not go away.')


In each case, the sentence has the sense indicated by the English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 translation only if the main verb is implicitly understood as being negated.

A departure from Peninsular usage (which Mexico shares with many other areas of Spanish America) involves using interrogative "qué" in conjunction with the quantifier "tan(to)" ("Qué tan" "Qué tanto" = How):
  • ¿Qué tan graves son los daños? (How serious are the damages?) (Whereas in Spain
    Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

     the question would be posed as "¿Hay muchos daños?") (Is there a lot of damage?)
  • ¿Qué tan buen cocinero eres? (How good a cook are you?)


Note that phenomena relating to bilingualism are likely to be encountered among bilinguals whose primary language is not Spanish or in isolated rural regions where the syntactic influence of indigenous
Indigenous language
An indigenous language or autochthonous language is a language that is native to a region and spoken by indigenous peoples but has been reduced to the status of a minority language. This language would be from a linguistically distinct community that has been settled in the area for many generations...

 languages has been important historically. One of the most discussed of these phenomena is the redundant use of verbal clitic
Clitic
In morphology and syntax, a clitic is a morpheme that is grammatically independent, but phonologically dependent on another word or phrase. It is pronounced like an affix, but works at the phrase level...

s, particularly "lo", a tendency that is encountered in language contact areas throughout Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

.

Another departure from Peninsular Spanish is that of the preference for the use of the preposition "por" instead of "durante", that in Mexico, as well as in some other regions of the Spanish Americas, is commonly used to convey a time duration or span. For example, whereas in Peninsular Spanish using "por" in a sentence such as Fue el presidente de la compañía por veinte años (He was the president of the company for twenty years) would sound odd and even incorrect—the preferred sentence being in that case Fue el presidente de la compañía durante veinte años—that use of "por" is widespread in Mexican Spanish, to the point that "durante" is quite uncommonly used.

Lexicon


Mexican Spanish retains a number of words that are considered archaic in Spain.

Also, there are a number of words widely used in Mexico which have Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

, Mayan
Mayan languages
The Mayan languages form a language family spoken in Mesoamerica and northern Central America. Mayan languages are spoken by at least 6 million indigenous Maya, primarily in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize and Honduras...

 or other native origins, in particular names for flora, fauna and toponyms
Toponymy
Toponymy is the scientific study of place names , their origins, meanings, use and typology. The word "toponymy" is derived from the Greek words tópos and ónoma . Toponymy is itself a branch of onomastics, the study of names of all kinds...

. Some of these words are used in most, or all, Spanish-speaking countries, like chocolate and aguacate (avocado), and some are only used in Mexico. An example of the latter would be guajolote, for "turkey" (although pavo is also used, as in other Spanish-speaking countries) which comes from the Nahuatl huaxōlōtl. Other examples would be papalote for "kite", from the Nahuatl pāpālōtl for "butterfly"; and jitomate for "tomato" from the Nahuatl xītomatl (see List of Spanish words of Nahuatl origin for a more complete list). Other usages that are unique to Mexican Spanish include:
  • Pelo chino means curly hair, although literally it means "Chinese hair".
  • Chichis means teats.
  • "¿Mande?" (Roughly translated, a formal "(you) order?"; from mandar, 'to order'). Also used as an equivalent to "(beg your) pardon?"
  • The use of "¿Qué?" ("What?") on its own is sometimes considered impolite, unless it is accompanied by a verb: "¿Qué dijiste?" ("What did you say?") or "¿Qué pasó?" ("What happened?"). Otherwise "¿Cómo?" ("How?") is preferred.
  • Ahorita: Literally "right now", used to say something should happen within an indeterminate, largely context-dependent period of time.

  • Chingadera [or chingado (-a) followed by what is being referred to]: any unspecified object (considered vulgar), damned as in damned thing.
  • Chingar: to screw/ruin/rob/steal/fuck/work/eat (vulgar), replaces the versatility of the English term "fuck" in Spanish. Considered vulgar.
  • "¿Cómo (la) ves?": Literally "How do you see (it)?", means "What do you think (about something)?"
  • "Escuincle" Literally household dog in Nahuatl, used to refer to a bratty child. Can be used in plural "escuincles"
  • Bronca: Literally "aggressive woman or girl or wild female animal", commonly used amongst young people; means "fight" or "problem". Also can mean just "wild, untame", as for example unpasteurised milk is referred to "leche bronca", i.e. wild milk.
  • Güey' "Wey" or "Buey"':(Literally, "ox") Dude, guy, but also used as "dumb", "asinine", "moron", etc. NOT to be confused with "Huey" from the Aztec title "Huey Tlatoani", in which "Huey" is a term of reverence.
  • Güero: someone with light hair (blond). Not considered offensive.
  • Naco
    Naco (slang)
    Naco is a pejorative word often used in Mexican Spanish to describe the bad-mannered and poorly educated people of lower social classes. It is equivalent to 'white trash' in American English and culture...

     from Nahuatl naca, meaning flesh or people; it may also come from "Nacayote" or "Nejayote", corn-processing wastewater, which also means "drooling" (as in "stupid") A boorish and/or uneducated person (pejorative).
  • Orale: similar to the English expression "Wow".
  • "¿Qué onda?" (literally, "What's the vibe"?) is commonly used as a "What's up?"
  • Padre: Literally "father," used as an adjective to denote something being "cool", attractive, good, fun, etc.: "Esta música está muy padre." ("This music is really cool."). Chido is also used for the same intention.
  • Pinche: Literally means "kitchen assistant". Used as "fucking", "bloody" (vulgar): "Quita tu pinche cara de aquí." ("Take your bloody face away from here.")
  • Pedo: Literally "fart", used for the same or when there is a problem as in "Hay un pedo, or it can mean "situation" as in the greeting "¿Qué pedo güey?" ("What's the situation dude?".". It can also mean "drunk", and "estar pedo" means "to be drunk". A "peda" is a party or reunion with significant amounts of alcohol and also refers to the state of drunkenness.
  • Popote: (drinking) straw.
  • En un momento.Literally means "in a moment". Usually used as "hold on a second" or "one moment".
  • Hablar: Used instead of llamar in the sense of "call" (on the telephone).
  • Macho: A Nahuatl word whose translation in Spanish is "Ejemplar", meaning "someone to be imitated" in English.
  • Chavo(a)/Chamaco(a)/Chilpayate all refer to a kid, teen, or youngster. Huerco(a), Morro(a)" are used in the northern parts of the country. All these terms but Chilpayate are usually found in their diminutives: Chavito(a), Chamaquito(a), Huerquito(a), Morrito(a).

Similar dialects


The small amount of Spanish spoken in the Philippines has traditionally been influenced by Mexican Spanish (as Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

 administered the territory for the Spanish crown).

See also


  • Mexico
    Mexico
    The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

  • Languages of Mexico
    Languages of Mexico
    The government of Mexico recognizes 68 distinct indigenous Amerindian languages as national languages in addition to Spanish. According to the Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples and National Institute of Indigenous Languages [INALI], while 10-14% of the population identifies as...

  • Spanish Verbs

External links

  • Jergas de habla hispana—A Spanish dictionary specializing in dialectal and colloquial variants of Spanish, featuring all Spanish-language countries including Mexico.
  • Latin American Spanish—This is the universal and somewhat arbitrary name that is given to idiomatic and native expressions and to the specific vocabulary of the Spanish language in Latin America.
  • Mexican Spanish slang—Several hundred words of Mexican slang and English meanings.