Spanish Languages Varieties

The Spanish-speaking world is very diverse. Spanish is the language of 19 separate countries and Puerto Rico. This means that there is no one standard dialect.

The most common Spanish dialect taught in the U.S. is standard Latin American. It is sometimes called “Highland” Spanish since it is generally spoken in the mountainous areas of Latin America.
While each country retains its own accents and has some unique vocabulary, residents of countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Perú, and Bolivia generally speak Latin American Spanish, especially in urban centers.
This dialect is noted for its pronunciation of each letter and its strong “r” sounds.
This Spanish was spoken in Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and was brought to the Americas by the early colonists.
However, the Spanish of Madrid and of northern Spain, called Castilian, developed characteristics that never reached the New World. These include the pronunciation of “ci” and “ce” as “th.” In Madrid, “gracias” (thank you) becomes “gratheas” (as opposed to “gras-see-as” in Latin America.)
Another difference is the use of the word “vosotros” (you all, or you guys) as the informal form of “ustedes” in Spain.
Castilian sounds to Latin Americans much like British English sounds to U.S. residents.
The third major type of Spanish is spoken in the Caribbean, coastal areas of Latin America, and in some cases in southern Spain. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the accent in Seville, Cádiz, and other cities in Andalusia, in Southern Spain, began to change. Speakers began to drop the final “s” on words.
The settlers and traders of southern Spain took this dialect with them to the Caribbean and other coastal areas. Today Caribbean or “Lowland” Spanish is characterized by its relative informality, its rapid pace, and the dropping of “s” sounds, allowing people to talk more quickly.
A fourth type of Spanish has developed in and around Buenos Aires and in parts of Uruguay. It is characterized by some out-of-date grammar, and a vocabulary and pronunciation heavily influenced by Italians who settled the area in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Generally in the Spanish world “tú” is the singular way of saying “you.” In Buenos Aires, however, “vos” is used instead. It is accompanied by a modified old Spanish verb form. It is as if part of the English-speaking world still used “thee” and “thou” in everyday speech.
The influence of Italian has even led to the development of a separate language, Lunfardo, which blends Spanish and Italian. Argentine intellectuals have produced Lunfardo dictionaries and books in an effort to keep the language alive.

Wow! What do you think about the spanish languages varieties, now?

I have to say that the first time I came to USA, I was surprise about the spanish language varieties, I could not understand some words in Spanish, words from people from Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, etc… I was surprise about the language varieties in my Spanish Native language, that I did not know about before. I had to learn differents words in spanish from different countries and I realized that some of them can had a bad meaning in some countries that I have to be careful about when speaking and viceversa.

Well, we will probably be expose to all those Spanish varieties if you live in United States, which is not bad at all and it will also help us to learn about other cultures as well. But remember it is all still Spanish and even some words are different you will be able to understand people when you learn Spanish.

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Does a bilingual school help your children (ages 0 – 4) to be bilingual?

Language study for children is based on immersion. Kids sing songs and play games will help develop language comprehension skills. which is a natural way of learning language.

When children start learning languages at birth, they have the capacity to learn many languages at once without getting confused — because, as the brain develops, so too does the ability to separate one language from another.

Not only is learning a foreign language easier for children than it is for adults, but children who are exposed to other languages also do better in school, score higher on standardized tests, are better problem solvers and are more.

Language lessons would help children to appreciate their heritage as well, it is very important.

Some languages take more time to learn than others. My daughters will start learning French pretty soon. They are learning English and Spanish. I have been told that they can start learning French since they are very little, like any other language, through songs, games, etc.  But they will start learning the grammar at age 8 or 9 around 6th grade, grammar is not easy as speaking in some languages, like Chinese, Hebrew, etc.

Recent studies indicate that the best time for a child to learn another language is in the first three to four years of life, since language learning is a natural process when children are young.

when people immerse themselves in a language like children, through play and exploration, they can learn a language quickly and easily. So the more we become child-like in language learning, the easier it becomes. Children growing up in a well-rounded environment learn to speak at least 2,000 basic words by the time they are four years old. Simply observing how babies learn to talk proves that they are natural learners. During the first six months of life, babies babble using 70 sounds that make up all the languages in the world. They will then learn to talk using only the sounds and words they pick up from their environment, most importantly from their parents and caregivers. A baby’s brain will then discard the ability to speak in languages he or she does not hear (Kotulak, 1996).

Unfortunately, most American schools teach foreign languages when students are in high school. Foreign language teaching should begin when children are in preschool—when teachers can maximize a child’s willingness and ability to learn. By the time a student reaches high school, the optimum learning period is lost.

So RUSH! give your children the gift of languages!

Does it help to take a child to visit other country to their language skills?

Taking the child to visit in a country where the parent’s language is the language of the environment is a great idea!, it is very helpful. If it is practical: taking the child to visit other country at early age 2 to 4 years old, help them a lot in their language skills and sending the child to spend time with grandparents at about the age of eleven or twelve is also a good idea, for many reasons.

This is probably a good place to remind parents and children that a multilingual environment is also a multicultural environment, and that it is very difficult if not impossible to separate language from culture. Without a context (culture) for the language, the child will have difficulty making sense of the meanings underlying the words.

My Old daughter (5 years old) is completely bilingual English, Spanish now, she values the languages. I took her to Peru when she was 2,3 and five. I did not think too much about how she learned Spanish, everything was natural for her, she will speak Spanish to me and turn around and speak English to her Dad with not problem, but..

My youngest one she is 4 now. She went to Peru when she was one year old and she hardly remember that of course. but I have being talking in Spanish to her since always!, and she never will answer me in Spanish, she spoke English to me and everybody, she did not want to speak Spanish At All.

When she was 3 almost four years old, I thought to myself Gezzz! can not believe she does not speak Spanish at all, after all this time I have being speaking Spanish to her and putting a lot of effort into that. She understood everything I say all the time, but she couldn’t make any complete sentence at all.

So I decide to take her to Peru plus need to get some things done there as well. I stayed for a month, it took her one week to start making whole sentences. ONE WEEK! could you believe that? by the second week she was making perfect sentences and speaking  Spanish fluently.

I thought SHE DID NOT KNOW how to make sentences, she did not know how to speak Spanish. I have to confess I WAS WRONG!. She had everything in her little brain, everything!, it was just she did not want to, WHY? because she did not value the language, she did not think other kids in other countries speak Spanish as well, she did not think that was an important language to learn, she did not think she need the Spanish at all.

First week kids will say to her, I can not understand you, kids will speak Spanish to her and since she understood she will speak English back and kids will say again I can not understand you, can you speak in Spanish? that was it, she want the kids to understand her, she is very relational, she want to play with the kids, have a good time with them.

My oldest daughter she is very perfectionist, she cares more about speaking right and doing things right so I may say traveling to Peru helped her a lot but more it helped her in speaking it right, like conjugations like: Yo fui, el fue, nosotros fuimos, ustedes iran.. etc. which took her a lot of time to learn until we travel to Peru she learned in one month.

But to  my younger daughter traveling to Peru helped her to understand that Spanish is important too, just as important as English, in fact she will have more friends if she speak more languages, she love having friends.

I will say if you are capable to travel to other country. DO IT, do not think it twice! GO! if you are not, well groups of kids who know the other language will help a lot!

We all should become bilingual! what do you think?

There are a lot of benefits from learning a second language ormaybe  a third language or forth language..

Learning a second language at an early age…

  • Has a positive effect on intellectual growth.
  • Enriches and enhances a child’s mental development.
  • Leaves students with more flexibility in thinking, greater sensitivity to language, and a better ear for listening.
  • Improves a child’s understanding of his/her native language.
  • Gives a child the ability to communicate with people s/he would otherwise not have the chance to know.
  • Opens the door to other cultures and helps a child understand and appreciate people from other countries.
  • Gives a student a head start in language requirements for college.
  • Increases job opportunities in many careers where knowing another language is a real asset.

About being bilingual I have to say I agree! 100%.

What do you think about what the president of United States have to say about this, feel free to comment, watch the video..

Which language is easy to learn? Spanish or English?

Well, while no language is simple to learn, those that are more closely related to your native language are certainly going to be easier to learn than ones that are not.

Learning a completely different writing system can also be a big challenge, though that does not necessarily make a language more difficult. Grammar and sentence structure can often play a larger role in difficulty.

Since it’s impossible to say with certainty that there is a language that qualifies as “most difficult”, See these statistics and rankings provided by the the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the US Department of State which are intended for native English speakers. They say Spanish is one of the easiest language to learn… Wow! It is very important if we (parents) are Spanish Native Speakers, to teach our children Spanish as well so they can be bilingual..

What is the hardest language?