Dominicans speak only one word. And it is all of the words.
November 16, 2015 9:22 AM   Subscribe

 
But there's so much fun to be made of the Puerto Rican accent, I don't know why she settled on only covering the R thing.
posted by yeolcoatl at 9:40 AM on November 16, 2015


That is the best description of the Argentine accent I have ever heard. I am sending it to all the Argentines right now.

Also, I've always said Portuguese is Spanish with a funny accent. Now I know it's a Russian accent.

Puerto Rican Spanish is Spanish without all those pesky consonants.

And Cubans? I don't know how she figured out what their accent is. They talk so fast, who knows what they're saying? Cubans are the only Spanish speakers I literally cannot understand half the time. When I go to Cuba they launch into their full conversational Spanish when they realize I speak Spanish and I have to ask someone to translate. The hotel staff eventually get that even though I speak fluently, they have speak to me in their dumbed-down-for-gringos Spanish.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:02 AM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not a Spanish speaker, but as an English-speaking Canadian who once tried to have a conversation in a bar in Glasgow, I get it.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 10:11 AM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


nuyorican spanish has the most satisfying mouthfeel
posted by poffin boffin at 10:20 AM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


But oh my GOD i am dying at her TOTALLY UNDENIABLY ACCURATE description of argentinian spanish. help
posted by poffin boffin at 10:21 AM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was all set to hate, and I have no idea if that hate would be partially allowed if I was a Spanish speaker, but she's so cute I could Spanish plotz.
posted by clvrmnky at 10:33 AM on November 16, 2015


As a Canadian, Glaswegians are way more easy to understand than south London types. I once caught a taxi to the airport in London and had no idea what the driver said to me for like 2 hours. The traffic was bad.

Scotland was a dream compared to that.

I can't wait until the UK joins the EU so they have to change their currency and use one of the official languages.
posted by clvrmnky at 10:36 AM on November 16, 2015


I see no lie in any of this.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:38 AM on November 16, 2015


the real video i want to see is the various nation's ways of saying go fuck yourself because the diversity is delightful
posted by poffin boffin at 10:46 AM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I will go her one further. I have long maintained that Portuguese is Spanish spoken by a Russian with a mouth full of oatmeal...
posted by jim in austin at 10:47 AM on November 16, 2015


Having just finished Narcos on Netflix ... yep, they all sounded Colombian like she demonstrates, even though I know that the cast included a Brazilian, a Chileno, a Puerto Rican...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:49 AM on November 16, 2015


Oh this is wonderful. I lost it at "if Sean Connery knew Spanish and was telling you a sad story all of the time."
posted by Navelgazer at 11:14 AM on November 16, 2015


What is this??? entire niche of the web I've no nada nichts ничего knowledge, oh but she's right Chileans use "wawa" for bebé!
posted by sammyo at 11:17 AM on November 16, 2015


oh but she's right Chileans use "wawa" for bebé!

Not wawa, guagua (yes, pronounced more or less like wawa). Not just Chileans. I was taught this was one of many Quechua words that entered Ecuadorian Spanish. Not sure where Chileans got it. Puerto Ricans use the same word to mean "bus" which causes great confusion when trying to explain to Puerto Ricans that someone is very poor because they have 10 guaguas.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:23 AM on November 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'll have to watch this when I get home but it reminded me of this little video my friend sent me, she teaches college Spanish, I gotta send her the FPP video too.
posted by numaner at 11:24 AM on November 16, 2015


I was taught this was one of many Quechua words that entered Ecuadorian Spanish.

Yeah, as soon as she said "peruvians are incomprehensible" I was like OHOHO QUECHUA STRIKES AGAIN but afaik that's not a chilean thing? Where did they get this, why are they biting our rhymes
posted by poffin boffin at 11:30 AM on November 16, 2015


[A few comments deleted. Please just flag things.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:32 AM on November 16, 2015


The argentinian accent is pretty terrible, and the rest sound very suspect too, honestly.

This is a way better video, dealing perhaps more with word meaning than accents, but the accents sound much more correct too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LjDe4sLER0

(The "argentinian" accent is more commonly known as rioplatense spanish, if you're interested.)
posted by palbo at 11:34 AM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


YES i am deeply and passionately interested thank you
posted by poffin boffin at 11:40 AM on November 16, 2015


Chapter 27, volume XXIV of the book of my character flaws is dedicated to how hard I had, and ocassionally still have, to work to take Cubans, Castillians, Argentinians and people from Mexico City seriously. Not to say anything about Central Americans and their vainas.

I know it makes me a terrible person, but my first reaction on hearing the accents is to treat Cubans as if they are joking and laughing at you, Castillians just sound a bit stupid, Argentinians are so arrogant I wish they would just climb on top of their egos and jump to their deaths. Chilangos are just full of it and you can't trust a thing they say.

Why can't everyone speak Spanish with a nice neutral urban western Mexico accent like me? Oh yeah, because it sounds effeminate and entitled, as I've been told a few times.

Ironically, I became aware, and ashamed, of this after I moved to the USA. Someone trying to be polite (wtf) told me I looked and sounded more Spanish than Mexican. It was not the racism that bothered me at first, it was the fact that someone thought I sounded stupid.

Does this work the same way for English accents?
posted by Doroteo Arango II at 11:42 AM on November 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


nuyorican spanish has the most satisfying mouthfeel

But Mexican Spanish is like eating Pop Rocks, that's pretty cool too
posted by clockzero at 12:07 PM on November 16, 2015


" my first reaction on hearing the accents is to treat Cubans as if they are joking and laughing at you,"

That's because we are. I mean come one, how obvious do we have to make it?
posted by oddman at 12:12 PM on November 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


I want her to do a Miami accent. (Apparently, I've got it, but hell if I know what it is. I suspect it involves liberal use of borrowed English and the inability to conjugate to save our lives.)
posted by oddman at 12:14 PM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I find it hilarious the way american tv shows completely screw up spanish accents. This week's Madam Secretary had an episode in Cuba with a cuban ambassador who was clearly not cuban (Pro tip, no one pronounces Rodriguez "Grogrigggezzz") and there's a memorable Lost episode that has spanish pirates that sound suspiciously Puerto Rican. I'm baffled as to why an industry based in Los Angeles (a city with a large Latin American immigrant population) cannot find competent spanish speaking dialect coaches.
posted by Omon Ra at 12:30 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I had to laugh when I was watching University Challenge and Jeremy Paxman went out of his way to say "Gabriel Gar-THEE-a MarqueTH" There he was arrogantly showing off that he knew, from his deep study of Castilian of course, that the 'S' sound is pronounced more like 'TH'.

Except of course Garcia Marquez is not Castilian and his own mother wouldn't recognize Paxman's pronuncitaion.

In any case, I think Joanna Rants is hilarious. Her Mexico City accent (and it is only Mexico city - the rest of the country has different accents of course) is spot on.
posted by vacapinta at 12:52 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was once overseeing a couple crews on a construction site - they all 'spoke' 'Spanish' but the Dominican guys couldn't talk with the Honduran guys and the Peruvian crew (all from the same village! A demolition crew of about 15, unionized and (one boasted) all cousins) could only speak with themselves. The Mexican guys got the most shit for their accents, though they had real style, except for that one guy who came in with the tin-knockers and was (I was told) from the south (the others were from the north - Chihuahua), and looked kind of grubby.

It was something to hear at lunch, all these guys trying to communicate with the same base language but often impenetrable dialects.

Ultimately one (Dominican) guy took on the role of translating. He was actually second generation Italian, before he moved to the US, where he instantly became 'Dominican' but his father still swore in Italian.

My kid has an Argentinian coach and I'm going to start paying extra attention to his accent from now on...
posted by From Bklyn at 1:02 PM on November 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Having just finished Narcos on Netflix ...

While I enjoy the show, the accents on Narcos (especially Pablo Escobar's) are pretty terrible.

“It’s like having someone with a strong southern American accent play Sherlock Holmes”
posted by saul wright at 1:06 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I went to university in Florida, and took three semesters of Spanish, one taught by a Cuban, one taught by a Puerto Rican, and one taught by a Mexican. Each of these three professors claimed to be teaching the correct accent.
posted by Cookiebastard at 1:06 PM on November 16, 2015


Cookiebastard: I imagine that the most frustrating part of that was that they were all wrong.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:09 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


There he was arrogantly showing off that he knew, from his deep study of Castilian of course, that the 'S' sound is pronounced more like 'TH'.

when I lived in ibiza, english speaking ppl could NOT stop smugly telling me "did u kno the correct pronunciation is actually eye-BEE-tha" and I was like yeah okay come out here and say that to someone in person so I can learn exciting new swears in eivissenc.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:24 PM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


The dangers of studying foreign languages.

I took four semesters of french with a Belgium born Argentinian lady who had been living in Mexico for a few years after spending some time in Paris studying wines.

I tried to use this French on a trip through northern Africa and southern Europe. The French was completely useless in ex-French Northern Africa, I had better luck with Spanish there. I thought it would be better in Europe, but it was even worse in rural France, like speaking Royal Spanish Academy Spanish in rural Mexico I guess. I started getting worried when no one could understand me in Paris. A friendly French waiter suggested that maybe what I learned was Belgian French, so I took a side trip to Belgium. No amount of triple or quadruple beers helped, no one understood me.

I felt like I was having a stroke right there in the middle of Belgium. Then I heard a group speaking MY kind of french, the one I had spent hundreds of hours learning. Maybe I had accidentally learned one of the oïl languages? They looked a bit more Spanish than Belgian, maybe I had learned Occitan?

No, I was fluent in drunk Argentinian French. My French has improved a little bit, but the accents will stay there forever.
posted by Doroteo Arango II at 1:25 PM on November 16, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm not a native speaker, or even fluent, but I understand reasonably well when I'm in-practice. Here in New York (and particularly in my neighborhood) I hear a lot of Salvadoran and Honduran Spanish, which is always way too fast for me to understand. When we were on vacation in Southern California a few years ago, though, I heard a lot of Mexican Spanish on the streets and, in comparison, it was downright comprehensible.

(And apparently I speak Italian with a Spanish accent; more than once in Italy my Italian was answered in Spanish, which is a special kind of confusing when both languages are a little shaky for me.)
posted by uncleozzy at 1:28 PM on November 16, 2015


I still remember the moment in my elementary school where the Mexican kids confronted our Spanish teacher for teaching the wrong pronunciation and making us all sound stupid. Turns out that she was teaching us Castillian Spanish, and then she had to spend another twenty minutes trying to justify to a bunch of surly fifth graders why it would be better to learn how to speak like a Spaniard and not to the bunches of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans we were tons more likely to encounter on the South Side of Chicago.
posted by dinty_moore at 1:30 PM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Really, justifying anything to a bunch of surly fifth graders never goes well, so I'm not sure why she tried.
posted by dinty_moore at 1:38 PM on November 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


There he was arrogantly showing off that he knew, from his deep study of Castilian of course, that the 'S' sound is pronounced more like 'TH'.

Most parts of Spain differentiate between c and s, some parts of Andalucía use s for all, and some other parts of Andalucía use z for all (for example, Antonio Banderas does an over the top Andalusian ceceo for his Puss in Boots). Latin American accents use seseo because of founder effect, basically. Many emigrants to America came from seseo areas, and the Canary Islands are also seseantes.
posted by sukeban at 1:39 PM on November 16, 2015


(For Andalusian seseo accent, see the trailer for Ocho Apellidos Vascos, a Meet the Parents-like hit movie in 2014 that uses all the stereotypes about Basques and Andalusians. The sequel has just been released and adds Catalans to the mix)
posted by sukeban at 1:43 PM on November 16, 2015


oddman:

Yes, you could make it more obvious :)

A part of my extended family came to Mexico from the Basque Country when Franco started banning their language, culture and right to life. My uncles liked to think of themselves as true revolutionaries, just waiting for the right time to organize and strike. They would go on and on about their ancestors the Jiménez ruling the country in the 13th century, and how they wished they could be back in the Madre Patria teaching the people how to run a real revolution. They spent the waiting time playing cards and dominoes. They would hang out with Chilean refugees, and LOVED Castro, except for the whole anti-catholic part. Not quite red, but pretty deep pink.

Sometime in the late 80's a couple of older Cuban men started hanging out with. They were on some kind of cultural/diplomatic mission, and subtly hinted that they had seen combat in the revolution, and told first hand stories about Che and Fidel. They also hinted at the possibility of Cuba supporting Euskadi separatists. My uncles, and my dad too by the time, were enthralled.

One day my dad confessed to me that the Cubans had invited the whole group to some kind of secret meeting with the Cubans. He was worried, because he did not want to commit to anything, but he could see my uncles going to Cuba to train with the communists or to meet the alleged ETA operatives working with Castro.

He came back at two in the morning, stinking not of sweat and gundpowder, but rum and fried chorizo burgers. I helped him unload some crates from his car, and we hid them from my mother in the shed. My uncles picked up the crates soon after, but I saw my dad take a medium sized box to his office. I was to scared to ask what was going on, since I was terrified of the CIA after learning about Guatemala and the School of the Americas.

Years later I asked him what was in the box. He laughed and cursed and laughed. The 'secret meeting' was a Tupperware party, a pyramid scheme kind of deal to sell rum and Cuban cigars that, the Cubans hinted, were being smuggled in diplomatic pouches. My dad took a cigar box to his office to compare to the cheap Te Amos from Veracruz he smoked. Exact same cigars.
posted by Doroteo Arango II at 1:49 PM on November 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


Oh, she missed a fun opportunity with the chileans. That is almost no longer spanish.

Every single word of their spoken language is modified in one way or another, and some verb conjugations are just replaced with an "ai" ending.

"Casi te matai, hueón!"

I say this as an argentinian: We porteños, chileans, and spaniards are the runner ups for massacring spanish. (And I'm not sure if I mean that in a bad way)

Cursing is FUN though.
posted by _Synesthesia_ at 1:50 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Cursing is FUN though.
Yeah, my sister bought me an argentinian dictionary of insults last time i was around and it's fairly big, and very fun.

A friend of mine used to say that he had a hard time understanding spanish from spain, but he had way less problems with argentinian spanish, since even though the speed was similar, the density of swearing in sentences gave him enough time to understand the actual content in it.
posted by palbo at 2:31 PM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I spent three years learning Spanish from a Jewish dude who learned it in Puerto Rico, then did a summer immersion program in the Basque Country, and then studied for a fourth year with an Argentinian woman.

I can, uh... read the language pretty well I guess.
posted by Itaxpica at 2:37 PM on November 16, 2015


My husband always defends his near total lack of foreign language skills by pointing out that his high school French teacher was from North Dakota, had the thickest "Fargo" accent in the world, and had never been outside of the country.
posted by Diagonalize at 5:09 PM on November 16, 2015


My husband always defends his near total lack of foreign language skills by pointing out that his high school French teacher was from North Dakota, had the thickest "Fargo" accent in the world, and had never been outside of the country.

In my experience, high school language teachers are selected from the absolutely quirkiest applicants to teaching college. Language fluency does not appear to be a criteria.

I was once overseeing a couple crews on a construction site - they all 'spoke' 'Spanish' but the Dominican guys couldn't talk with the Honduran guys and the Peruvian crew (all from the same village! A demolition crew of about 15, unionized and (one boasted) all cousins) could only speak with themselves. The Mexican guys got the most shit for their accents, though they had real style, except for that one guy who came in with the tin-knockers and was (I was told) from the south (the others were from the north - Chihuahua), and looked kind of grubby.

I have pretty good job-site Spanish, but I worked with one guy who was born in Oaxaca but had mostly lived in Mexico City. He was almost impossible to understand, all blended up chilango slang and Oaxacan accent, along with patches of what I think was Mixtec.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:11 PM on November 16, 2015


Does this work the same way for English accents?

Yes, of course! Both the weird class-origin-intelligence stuff (especially within-nation - whole books have been written about how the English treat each other based on accents, and native English speakers in the US, Canada, and Australia make fun of each other all the time), and the simple "wait what now" effect so familiar to me from trying to understand what people from various parts of Scotland are trying to get across to me.

It also works with French (paging fraula!), never mind the strenuous imperialist efforts to keep Parisian French the global standard: There's Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Belgium. Canada has several different French accents (not counting schoolchild English-accented Parisian French), though the only famous ones are those of urban Quebec, and French colonialism means there are (at least) three broad African French varieties and I don't know how many other variants in the Americas, Caribbean, and South Pacific, plus creoles.
posted by gingerest at 7:41 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


My Spanish professor's name was Sra. Carmen Berstein-O'Grady. You can imagine that my accent is a bit unique.

(Also, take that, Soledad O'Brien.)
posted by Fritzle at 1:18 PM on November 17, 2015


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