Article on Cuban colloquial Spanish….how does Spanish in the DR compare

Marianopolita

Former Spanish forum Mod 2010-2021
Dec 26, 2003
4,821
766
113
This article came out yesterday and it caught my interest. Some Cubans (in Cuba) were interviewed briefly about the local language and how Cubans speak.

Cuba has its own vernacular and brand of local speech but it does share common characteristics with fellow Caribbean Spanish-speaking islands- DR and Puerto Rico.

The article is on point and the commentary by a few random Cubans gives an honest view point about the Spanish you will hear in Cuba and among Cubans. Notice how the older lady is not pleased. She calls it chabacano.

Article:


I will mostly likely comment on this article elsewhere but I thought I would post it here too since it is a good topic about language.

How does Cuban colloquial speech compare to DR and Puerto Rican speech? Which island has the most difficult Spanish to understand?

-MP.
 

Lucifer

Silver
Jun 26, 2012
4,845
787
113
I ABSOLUTELY love it!

I notice that jeva (one of many words claimed by Dominicans, but which is actually boricua) and its variations have propagated to Cuba, as well.

I would tend to believe that different regions in Cuba have their own colloquial way of speech. Overall, I find cubanismo charming. Puerto Rican colloquial speech has many English words "boricuanized," and Dominicans are all over the map.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Marianopolita

Marianopolita

Former Spanish forum Mod 2010-2021
Dec 26, 2003
4,821
766
113
I like it too 👍 In my opinion, Cuban Spanish is like a cousin. DR and PR Spanish have more vocabulary in common and one influences the other.


There are definitely distinct ways of speaking in different regions of Cuba but everyone claims their way of speaking is the best. Not necessarily grammatically correct but the best Spanish. The internal pride is interesting to observe. The Orient gets the most criticism. It is said that it has the worst Spanish spoken in Cuba. Coincidentally, it is the most Dominican sounding. You have to have a good ear to notice the difference right away between a Dominican (not from Cibao) and a Cuban from the Eastern part of the island. I think it’s linguistic drift due to proximity that may be the reason the speakers sounds so similar.

However, I always tell people when in doubt resort to vocabulary. There are certain words and expressions that are authentically Cuban and not even DR and PR speakers use the words. Cuba has lot of africanismos especially the names of foods and the slang is just so different from DR and PR. You really have to take a step back if a Cuban starts speaking to you with local vocabulary. However, the terms of endearment are similar to what you hear in the Caribbean especially similar to PR- mija, mijo, titi, tata, papi, mami etc.
 
  • Like
Reactions: nanita and Lucifer

Marianopolita

Former Spanish forum Mod 2010-2021
Dec 26, 2003
4,821
766
113
I came across a link two days ago after I read the article in Cubanet and unfortunately, I didn’t save it. It was a poll that revealed which country has the worst Spanish according to whoever was asked to participate in it. A few cities in Spain were chosen (that’s really specific), Chile then Cuba, Puerto Rico and DR rounded out the poll with the highest percentages.

All three Caribbean islands were flagged as having the worst Spanish. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but most likely they based their opinion on their experience with Spanish and Spanish speakers from those islands. However, what makes for good conversation and interest is to explain why.

What the three Caribbean islands have in common:

1) most speakers drop the S in the plural and before a consonant

2) most speakers drop the D in between two vowels E.g. hablao, instead hablado

3) in questions the pronoun is placed in front of the verb whereas in standard academic Spanish it should follow. This is truly a grammatical aspect of Caribbean Spanish. E.g ¿ cómo tú estás? and in standard grammar it’s ¿cómo estás tú? and then the local versions of the former in ¿cómo tú‘ ‘ta. BTW- I have never heard a Cuban say that.

4) R to L change- in Puerto Rico it’s the most prevalent and to be honest, I am surprised when I don’t hear a Puerto Rican speak with the R to L change. My conclusion is it’s rural speech and education that determines whether or not it’s used but the percentage is high.

5) Placing a pronoun before an infinitive (and unconjugated verb). Honestly, I have only heard this in the Caribbean or from Caribbean speakers and it stands out to me. For e.g. Para yo saber….it should be para saber….there is no need for yo in front of the verb


Okay that is just five points off the top of my head but I wanted to list some observations as to why people may find Spanish spoken in the Caribbean hard to understand. Then of course there is the speed of the speakers. In the Caribbean, people speak fast in general which is a problem for those are who are not used to Spanish spoken at a fast pace. Throw in the colloquial speech, slang and some vulgarismos and you get a version of Spanish that is a hard to understand even for locals. However, at the end of the day it’s still Spanish and if you have a strong command of what is considered the standard, these local variations just add to what you already know.

Here are two links from a good source if you want to compare more local vocabulary:





Let me try:

-¿Acere, qué bola?

- No tengo fula, voy a pinchar

- Y tú ¿pa’ dónde va?

- A la casa de mi jeva a jamar
 

Lucifer

Silver
Jun 26, 2012
4,845
787
113
On the 38 Dominican slang words, a few, super-popular words are missing:

Killao: upset, mad as hell, and ain't taking it anymore
Con-con: rice that sticks to the pot (a Dominican who claims they don't like it, is lying)
Desubica'o: temporarily confused or mentally unsteady, but not in a crazy way, just not really sure... maybe even very worried about a situation that just transpired

And while the list covered chin, another popular version is chin-chin: same as un chin, but with more emphasis
 

carlos

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 29, 2002
3,783
761
113
aarhus and Kipling333,

Stay on topic

Thanks
 

Marianopolita

Former Spanish forum Mod 2010-2021
Dec 26, 2003
4,821
766
113
On the 38 Dominican slang words, a few, super-popular words are missing:

Killao: upset, mad as hell, and ain't taking it anymore
Con-con: rice that sticks to the pot (a Dominican who claims they don't like it, is lying)
Desubica'o: temporarily confused or mentally unsteady, but not in a crazy way, just not really sure... maybe even very worried about a situation that just transpired

And while the list covered chin, another popular version is chin-chin: same as un chin, but with more emphasis

Yes, those are good additions and surely FluentU is aware of them but I think they try to put what is common and easy (so to speak ) to understand.

Concón = DR

La raspa= Cuba

Arroz pegao’ = PR

Remember we talked about this recently in another thread. ‘Si cocinas como caminas hasta la raspa me como’. Es un dicho cubano 🇨🇺

Desubica’o is a good one. I remember many years ago in Zona colonial I came out of a store and I just needed to orient myself and the owner of the store came out and said to me: ‘ubícate, vas por allí’…..I must of looked clueless to her as to where I was going 😉
 
  • Like
Reactions: aarhus

Marianopolita

Former Spanish forum Mod 2010-2021
Dec 26, 2003
4,821
766
113
@ Lucifer

One aspect about Dominican Spanish that irks me and it comes from jerga is the spelling of words like jablador, jarto….You can’t change the spelling of words. As well as pronouncing words with a J sound like in hablar when the H in that word is silent. All those forms go against the academic standard.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lucifer

Lucifer

Silver
Jun 26, 2012
4,845
787
113
@ Lucifer

One aspect about Dominican Spanish that irks me and it comes from jerga is the spelling of words like jablador, jarto….You can’t change the spelling of words. As well as pronouncing words with a J sound like in hablar when the H in that word is silent. All those forms go against the academic standard.
Agree with you 100%. But what irks me the most is the "Spanglishation" taking place all over:

Baquiar (or bakiar) for back up, as in ¿Quién te 'tá baquiando en tu negocio?

Joseo
for hustle: <<Lo' cualto' 'tán hecho; na' má' hay que bu'calo, pero hay que josiá>>.

While hablador means talkative and chatty, most Dominicans will pronounce it as jablador when referring to lying (liar). Mentiroso is the word for liar.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Marianopolita

Marianopolita

Former Spanish forum Mod 2010-2021
Dec 26, 2003
4,821
766
113
Agree with you 100%. But what irks me the most is the "Spanglishation" taking place all over:

Baquiar (or bakiar) for back up, as in ¿Quién te 'tá baquiando en tu negocio?

Joseo
for hustle: <<Lo' cualto' 'tán hecho; na' má' hay que bu'calo, pero hay que josiá>>.

While hablador means talkative and chatty, most Dominicans will pronounce it as jablador when referring to lying (liar). Mentiroso is the word for liar.

Yes, I know the local difference in meaning between jablador and hablador. That is why I used it as an example. I don’t think a separate spelling is required for the meaning of liar. The context of phrase should be enough to differentiate. As well, look up jablador in the RAE and you will see it’s not found. It’s a local spelling.

The Spanglish transformation would annoy me as well and thankfully, I am not around it. Language evolves. It’s not static but these invented forms of speech should not have the same weight, validity, and usage as the standard. It should never be what the majority speaks then you have a sub dialect (because in linguistics Spanish spoken in the Caribbean is a variation of standard Spanish and that’s the classification it falls under). Spanish——->Dominican Spanish——> Dominican sub-dialect. I think the norm should be Dominican Spanish with local slang.

Your example of baquiar with that meaning is 👎Those forms are only valid in that local vernacular but it has its sociolect meaning not all Dominicans speak that way and those who do surely one can find a commonality. How much you want bet me if you give those same sub-dialect Spanglish invention speakers an excerpt from the newspaper or book they will struggle to read and understand it.

Knowing the local language is inevitable if one lives in xxxx country. It’s a matter of survival. However, I always think you need to be strong in the standard form of speech since it’s universal, you need it to get a job, etc. those forms of speech don’t work any formal circle that’s for sure.
 

Marianopolita

Former Spanish forum Mod 2010-2021
Dec 26, 2003
4,821
766
113
@Lucifer and malko


If you get a chance check out this article. It’s quite informatIve and entertaining….Spanish word variety can be tricky.


 
  • Like
Reactions: malko and Lucifer

Lucifer

Silver
Jun 26, 2012
4,845
787
113
@Lucifer and malko


If you get a chance check out this article. It’s quite informatIve and entertaining….Spanish word variety can be tricky.



very informative for those learning Spanish. He even mentions cocinadominiana.com, Tía Clara's masterpiece. Love it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Marianopolita

Marianopolita

Former Spanish forum Mod 2010-2021
Dec 26, 2003
4,821
766
113
very informative for those learning Spanish. He even mentions cocinadominiana.com, Tía Clara's masterpiece. Love it.

Yes, I thought the article was good and helpful with the odd words and in some cases very localized.

What are your thoughts on my response to you in post #13?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lucifer

NanSanPedro

Nickel with tin plating
Apr 12, 2019
6,552
5,646
113
Boca Chica
yeshaiticanprogram.com
@Lucifer and malko


If you get a chance check out this article. It’s quite informatIve and entertaining….Spanish word variety can be tricky.


Even for someone like me who is borderline Spanish illiterate, it was a great article. I do like concon too!
 

MariaRubia

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2019
2,295
3,074
113
4) R to L change- in Puerto Rico it’s the most prevalent and to be honest, I am surprised when I don’t hear a Puerto Rican speak with the R to L change. My conclusion is it’s rural speech and education that determines whether or not it’s used but the percentage is high.

My little "angel" who is 11 has started picking me up on my pronunciation. She was out shopping with me at the weekend and decided to correct me in a store when I was asking when the offer expired.

" Es OfeRta con R, no es OfeLta con L. Con L es muy muy barrial. "

Sometimes you just want to slap them.