The Spanish language spans many different countries and because of this, the language has adopted many different cultures and dialects. In part one of our multi-part series, we talked about the Castilian and Latin American dialects of the Spanish language, and in part two, we talked about the Rioplatense and Caribbean dialects. Each dialect we have discussed thus far has its own unique qualities and today, we will continue our journey and talk about the Mexican Spanish dialect and the Chilean Spanish dialect.
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Continue reading below to learn more about the Mexican and Chilean Spanish dialects!
Since the Southwestern United States borders Mexico, it makes sense that those who speak Spanish in that part of the country use the Mexican Spanish dialect. It also makes sense that the dialect also has some American English influences.
American English isn’t the only influence on the Mexican Spanish dialect. This dialect also has influence from indigenous languages such as Nahuatl and Tzotzil. You may think that everyone in Mexico speaks Spanish, but in reality, there are some Mexican communities that are strictly indigenous and don’t speak any Spanish at all.
Because of these influences, some of the words in the Mexican Spanish dialect are different than those used in other dialects. For example, the word “chocolate,” means the same thing that it does in English, and “aguacate,” meaning avocado, come from the indigenous language Nahuatl.
Those who speak with the Mexican Spanish dialect have also used some “loaner words” from the English language. For example, in Mexico, they used the word “computadora” for computer, but in Spain, they would use the word “ordenador.” Another example is the word “rentar,” which easily translates to the word “to rent,” whereas other Spanish-speaking countries would use the word “alquilar.”
In part one, we mentioned that some dialects have unique slang and phrases that have different meanings in other countries. The Mexican Spanish dialect is known for having many unique phrases and slang words such as the word “güey.” In Mexico, this word is used as a slang word for “dude” or “homie” like in the sentence “Que pedo güey?” or “What up dude?”
Chilean Spanish is unique and difficult in its own way. The most unique aspect about this dialect is the way native speakers drop certain letters from the beginning or ending of words. They also have a tendency to combine words in their speech, which sometimes makes the language hard to understand unless you are already accustomed to it.
In phrases that end in “do” or “da,” Chileans will drop the “d” sound, and in words that end in “a” and are immediately followed by a word beginning in “d,” the “d” sound is removed. You can understand how this could confuse someone who is hearing this dialect for the first time. An example of this is the word “fracasado” which means “to fail.” It would be pronounced as “fracasáo.” Another example of the dropped “d” following an “a” is the question, “dónde está la biblioteca?” which would be pronounced in Chile as “onde esta la biblioteca?” Along with dropping letters, Chileans also pronounce their “ch” with an “sh” sound, making the word Chile sound like “Shi-lé.”
Combining words is another reason that the Chilean Spanish dialect is so difficult to understand. One of the most common words used in the Spanish language is the word “para,” which has many different meanings, depending on the context. In Chile, the word “para” is combined with the masculine article “el” or shortened with the feminine article “la.” Para el will become “pá’l” and para la will become “pá la.”
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In both the Mexican and Chilean Spanish dialects, there are many aspects that make each dialect unique. If you are planning on vacationing in Spanish-speaking country, do some research to see if there is anything to you need to make note of about the dialect used in that country.
If you are looking to teach Spanish to your child, Teach Spanish 2 Kids has all the Spanish learning tools you will need. There are so many benefits to learning a language at a young age, and your child should be a part of them. Browse our selection of books, beginner Spanish lesson plans, games, and more!