Dominican grammar and Spanish

Marianopolita

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I was reading the last post (at the time) in this thread this morning and it was a comment about grammar– post #92. Therefore, to make complete sense of it all I went back to the post where the grammar topic originated within the thread and I have to say it is just another example of the mind-boggling aspects of Spanish we hear and see in writing in the Dominican Republic.

What seems acceptable and passable to most (at least those who can read and have a decent level of education) is inexplicable to those who have a good command of Spanish grammar. I am not even talking about those of us who have pursued the language at a very high level for our career. I am talking about just regular everyday Spanish.

Post #32 is the starting point of the comment in post #92. All I will say is unbelievable- caramba.
http://dr1.com/forums/showthread.ph...hic-Sets-Sail-to-the-Dominican-Republic/page4

Therefore, here is a thread where you can just comment on Dominican grammar and Spanish. The aspects and anomalies you have observed, the grammar differences from the standard and/ or Spanish spoken in other regions and how the regional grammar impacts a person’s writing. Is the average person even aware that how they speak is considered incorrect in Spanish in other countries?

Is Spanish spoken in the Dominican Republic a unique or shall I say sui generis version that you like, don’t like, don’t know the difference? Has it affected your Spanish and are you aware of what would not pass in Spanish in other regions?

This is a thread to write your observations and comment appropriately.


-MP.
 

Marianopolita

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An interesting blog commentary from a Dominican Spanish teacher

I found this blog by a Dominican Spanish teacher who is residing outside of the DR I believe based on her commentary. She makes some interesting and valid comments about Dominican speech although I disagree when she says that some of the speech patterns are not wrong. They are a wrong since they don't comply with Spanish grammar rules. However, that's what vernacular speech is about. It is a form a speech specific to a group or region.

http://www.unavainabienspanish.com/how-dominicans-speak/


I am watching WAPAA noticias from Puerto Rico and the reporter interviewed a Dominican about the effects of Hurricane Irma and the interviewee said- pa'que haiga.....and I thought okay here is an example for the thread. Haiga which is haya is a grammatical error heard usually in rural areas or what is considered speech by campesinos or if the person is not from a rural area then it is due to poor or little education. It is not even an archaism. It's just incorrect. From what I have observed it's not isolated to the DR though. In Cuba it's typical guajiro/a speech. Same in Puerto Rico, it's jíbaro/a speech.


-MP.
 
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Marianopolita

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That is different. I have not heard that ever from a Spanish speaker. I would expect to hear that from a foreigner who is learning or just never grasped the concept of how to express I like xxx. Foreigners have difficulty with understanding constructions like me gusta, me cae muy bien etc.


What I found interesting about the blogger was her obvious orgullo which to me was a means of justifying the incorrectness of the Dominican vernacular. 'It's the way we speak' vs. it's completely wrong. As well, she is a teacher and she seems to know about grammar which is why I find it hard to believe she would intentionally speak with obvious grammatical errors when among Dominicans. She may speak like a Dominican yes but conjugate verbs incorrectly and put /s/ where they don't belong etc. I doubt it. There is such a thing as knowing when and how to localize vs. proper grammar.


-MP.
 

Fulano2

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Putting the s where it doesn't belong, in speaking, is typical for Dominicans when you want to talk "fino".
Then they got in trouble putting to many s's. "Comiste espaguetis?", is then the reaction.
 

Marianopolita

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Putting the s where it doesn't belong, in speaking, is typical for Dominicans when you want to talk "fino".
Then they got in trouble putting to many s's. "Comiste espaguetis?", is then the reaction.

A complete local expression (and I am tired of it) for describing an obvious problem. I say problem because in any language one will get away with improper speech because the objective is to communicate but as soon as you put anything in writing then the grammar rules come into play and that person will be critiqued by anyone who reads it. 

A good friend of mine who is from Bani lived there until her 20's moved to SD for about three decades and is back in Bani. We always have have these conversations because her Spanish is above average considering what you normally hear and she always says 'nosotros los dominicanos hablamos mal. Machucamos el idioma'.

In the DR in general, there are always exceptions but it's the vernacular speech. In school the teacher is supposed to teach pluralization and enforce it until a student graduates especially because it's dropped when speaking and I know for a fact it's not happening.

E.g. Singular- el muchacho // Plural- los muchachos. There is no grammar rule that accepts lo muchacho as the plural form. 

This is why writing is a challenge for many and if one does not read essentially there is nothing to save a person's writing skills and worse yet in their own language.


-MP.
 
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Fulano2

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It's hard, I am speaking Personally, when you speak Spanish all day, every day among people who speak a poor kind of Spanish, keep up the level. 
 

Marianopolita

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It's hard, I am speaking Personally, when you speak Spanish all day, every day among people who speak a poor kind of Spanish, keep up the level. 


When all is said in done you are still in control of how you choose to speak.

You will pick up some of the local vernacular, speech patterns, intonation etc. It's inevitable if you live there long enough and you are a person who actually engages in Spanish (I say this because some foreigners live in a foreign country for years and don't learn to speak the local language). However, you just need to be aware of what is really incorrect. I mean off the wall in their speech. You don't benefit from learning and repeating errors and concoctions. If you travel to other Spanish-speaking countries I would think you would really feel proud if people say hablas muy bien instead of mira como habla. This is just my opinion.


If you read in Spanish it could really give you that balance linguistically that will help keep you sharp in the midst of the errors you hear on a daily basis.


-MP.
 

Marianopolita

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To those interested...

Surprisingly, Wikipedia has a good Dominican language page.

It’s a good reference for those learning the language and for Spanish speakers as well. Many have questions as to why Dominicans say xyz or pronounce certain words against the rules of grammar or don’t follow the rules of grammar. Read the web page. It gives insight.

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Español_dominicano

I was glad to see a grammar point on there that is important to point out. In Caribbean Spanish, not only the DR the incorrect formation and usage of inverted questions is the standard speech pattern. To say ¿cόmo estás? ¿De dόnde eres? (In the DR it would be ¿De dόnde tú ere?) etc. is grammatically incorrect. The pronoun must be inverted - ¿Cόmo estás tú? ¿De dόnde eres tú? You will not hear the correct form locally but be aware if you speak Spanish outside of the DR and say this ¿cόmo estás? The reactions will vary and some will be bold enough to say hablas mal el idioma.

These forms will not be leaving the DR or Caribbean speech patterns any time soon but you need to be aware if speaking proper Spanish is important to you.


-MP.
 
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Putting the s where it doesn't belong, in speaking, is typical for Dominicans when you want to talk "fino".
Then they got in trouble putting to many s's. "Comiste espaguetis?", is then the reaction.

I find it the other way, at least in Sosua, they drop the S typically, i.e. words like Entonces become Entonce, and so on...Also, they seem to truncate words a lot, say the first 2/3 of it, good enough, not sure if that happens elsewhere? That makes it a bit hard for someone who is new to Spanish, I'm not fluent in Spanish, but the Spanish I learned is Castallano, and between the dropping of the S, truncating, speaking a 100 mph and HEAVY use of slang, makes it initially difficult to understand the Dominican Spanish.
 

Marianopolita

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I find it the other way, at least in Sosua, they drop the S typically, i.e. words like Entonces become Entonce, and so on...Also, they seem to truncate words a lot, say the first 2/3 of it, good enough, not sure if that happens elsewhere? That makes it a bit hard for someone who is new to Spanish, I'm not fluent in Spanish, but the Spanish I learned is Castallano, and between the dropping of the S, truncating, speaking a 100 mph and HEAVY use of slang, makes it initially difficult to understand the Dominican Spanish.


It's castellano not castallano.

Castellano and español refer to the same language which is Spanish. If someone asks you - ¿hablas español? do you say no, hablo castellano. You will get a strange look.

Historically as far back as the Middle Ages castellano referred to the region where Spanish originated which is Castilla in Spain and it was also used to differentiate it from other languages spoken in the country like Basque, Gallego etc. but as time evolved it became known as español and spoken in the entire country not just Castilla. It is also the language brought to Latin America via colonization known as español.

However, the word castellano is still used especially in the older colonial cities (countries) in South America. In countries like Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru and even Venzuela the language is referred to as Castellano and strongly in the Southern Cone.


-MP.
 
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It's castellano not castallano.

Castellano and español refer to the same language which is Spanish. If someone asks you - ¿hablas español? do you say no, hablo castellano. You will get a strange look.


-MP.

I am aware that Castellano is Spanish, but that is to say that "Castellano" and that Spanish which is spoken in La R.D. do not "jive". 2 quick examples off the top of my head, a pen is boligrafo in Spain, not lápiz or pluma, zumo is juice in Spain, not jugo (and even how you are going to pronounce the Z is different, depending on region, vs the S sound in R.D.). I've yet to hear either of those words from Spain (And I've been to Spain) used in La R.D., hence me using the terminology, "I learned Castellano"...
 

Marianopolita

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I am aware that Castellano is Spanish, but that is to say that "Castellano" and that Spanish which is spoken in La R.D. do not "jive". 2 quick examples off the top of my head, a pen is boligrafo in Spain, not lápiz or pluma, zumo is juice in Spain, not jugo (and even how you are going to pronounce the Z is different, depending on region, vs the S sound in R.D.). I've yet to hear either of those words from Spain (And I've been to Spain) used in La R.D., hence me using the terminology, "I learned Castellano"...

Okay I understand your perspective now but if you are comparing Spain and DR vocabulary you will also hear lexical differences when you compare it to all the other Spanish-speaking countries too. You can imagine the list. 

The two examples you gave vary as well. In some Latin American countries you will hear zumo and bolígrafo which is shortened to boli.

What other Spanish-speaking countries have you visited? The variety is endless (not even including the regionalisms).


-MP.
 

Lucifer

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Always heard and used bolígrafo and/or lapicero (for pen) while growing up in the D.R.

If we have switched to calling it pluma, we can attribute it to our monkey-see, monkey-do attitude.
 

Marianopolita

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Always heard and used bolígrafo and/or lapicero (for pen) while growing up in the D.R.

If we have switched to calling it pluma, we can attribute it to our monkey-see, monkey-do attitude.


I don't know if you can say it's even a switch because both words appear in the dictionary with no regional specification with the same meaning. In my experience the usage of both pluma and bolígrafo and now boli is quite balanced in the Spanish-speaking world. There are so many words that are said one way in Spain and different in Latin America but totally understood by speakers with exceptions. 


Coche/ carro
Patata/ papa
Enfadarse/ enojarse
Aparcar/ estacionar/ parquear
Rueda/ llanta/ neumático/ goma

These are just some random examples and the list goes on.


-MP.
 

Marianopolita

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Cuba, R.D., Spain (Valencia, which does have it's own dialect), Panama.

Leaving Spain out you have been to three countries with similar vocabulary and grammar patterns. I think the more exposure you have to Spanish the gap will narrow in what seems like Spain vs. Latin America or DR. It won't matter anymore or stand out as much.


-MP.
 

Marianopolita

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I don't know if you can say it's even a switch because both words appear in the dictionary with no regional specification with the same meaning. In my experience the usage of both pluma and bolígrafo and now boli is quite balanced in the Spanish-speaking world. There are so many words that are said one way in Spain and different in Latin America but totally understood by speakers with exceptions. 


Coche/ carro
Patata/ papa
Enfadarse/ enojarse
Aparcar/ estacionar/ parquear
Rueda/ llanta/ neumático/ goma

These are just some random examples and the list goes on.


-MP.

Just adding to the list as the words come to mind:

Gafas/ lentes 
Conducir/ manejar
Ordenador/ computadora 
Vale/ bien (or many other local equivalent words)
Carnet de conducir/ licencia de manejar


I think the sense of Spain vs. Latin America narrows the more vocabulary one has. If a speaker does not understand just try another word. These in my opinion are quite standard. It's the fruits and vegetable vocabulary that could get tricky.


-MP.
 

Fulano2

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There are so many words that are said one way in Spain and different in Latin America but totally understood by speakers with exceptions.  MP.



And there are even differences in using words among Hispanic American countries. Una guagua is a bus (or a large cucaracha) as we know but in Chile it's a baby.