Miami Spanish

M

Marianopolita

Guest
Miami is a city with a high percentage of Spanish speakers. Those who live(d) there, visit often or even just once will notice that it is a predominantly Spanish-speaking city but unique in its own right as well in terms of how it is spoken. Linguistic research has been done and is still being done because Spanish will continue to be a prevalent language in Miami however, a unique form of Spanish (Spanglish) is spoken and in my observation it varies drastically.

I have started to research Miami’s linguistic structure because it stands out and the speakers range from completely unilingual, no English at all to the Spanglish that is unique to Miami ranging from unique expressions, vocabulary and literal translations from one language to another that don’t make any sense but understood by the local population because of the influence of English in the way people speak Spanish.

Here is a video that I thought is a good example of the words, phrases and expressions you will hear in Miami (by no means exhaustive). I heard a phrase yesterday by a gringa who has learned to speak Spanish but with a lot of blunders and on the radio translated a phrase literally from English to Spanish and it made no sense but it did not phase her at all.




¿Qué opinan uds?






-MP.
 
Last edited:
D

Derfish

Guest
While in Maine I met a foreign exchange student from Spain. He finally admitted he couldn't figure out where I had learned Spanish. When I said Miami he understood. My favorite Spanglish phrase was the girl who had to do the vacuum cleaniando for her mom.
Derfish
 
  • Like
Reactions: colmcb
D

Derfish

Guest
Listened to the video. 'Venir para atras' was a phrase that my Colombians had trouble with, Meant come back easy enuff for me, but confused them. Not just call back, but come back!
Derfish
 
  • Like
Reactions: colmcb
M

Marianopolita

Guest
While in Maine I met a foreign exchange student from Spain. He finally admitted he couldn't figure out where I had learned Spanish. When I said Miami he understood. My favorite Spanglish phrase was the girl who had to do the vacuum cleaniando for her mom.
Derfish
You have mentioned that example in the past and actually it must be typical Miami Spanglish because I have not heard it in other areas where Spanglish is prevalent. The way Spanglish is spoken in one region differs from another. For example, Spanglish in Miami compared to New York and Los Angeles compared to different cities in Texas. It is not the same.

In the video link I posted there is a reference to that phrase but he said what is common in Miami is vacunar la carpeta which indeed makes no sense when you consider what each word means. This is another example of how these phrases have no meaning in Spanish.


-MP.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: colmcb
M

Marianopolita

Guest
Listened to the video. 'Venir para atras' was a phrase that my Colombians had trouble with, Meant come back easy enuff for me, but confused them. Not just call back, but come back!
Derfish

Venir pa’tras is come back and people also say llamar pa’tras or pa’tra. It is a literal translation of the English call back. This phrase is very common in the US Spanish vernacular. You will hear very often te llamo pa’tras. However, the problem is outside of the US in the Spanish-speaking world where English has not influenced Spanish to such a degree speakers don’t understand what it means. I have experienced instances where I had to explain it means devolver la llamada. Regresar is the standard in Spanish for come back.

*Puerto Ricans say llámame pa’tra a lot.

From a sociolinguistic perspective there are a few factors involved when analyzing why certain people choose to use certain phrases even when they know the correct way in Spanish and it is especially interesting if you analyze the older Spanish-speaking population of Miami or elsewhere in the US.


-MP.
 
Last edited:
M

Marianopolita

Guest
La ciudad del sol y el idioma de Cervantes

Even though Miami is the US city where the most Spanish is spoken its survival is still at risk according to studies and research. Over the past sixty years the presence of Spanish has gradually increased to what it is today with the influx of immigrants mostly from Cuba and other Latin American countries. However, the first generation children of these immigrants tend to prefer English over Spanish. Therefore, what does this mean for Spanish and a city that has become so reliant on bilingualism?

Miami is a city where Spanish is dominant over English today and its own population might not have anticipated how this linguistic phenomenon would impact future generations. In my experience, there is still a divide meaning some Spanish speakers only speak Spanish, some speak a little English but clearly are more comfortable in Spanish, some speak Spanglish and some of the first generation speak little to no Spanish at all.

https://www.univision.com/noticias/latinos/miami-donde-mas-espanol-se-habla-en-estados-unidos

My experience in Miami over years though is quite different. I don’t get any Spanglish spoken to me at all. It is pure Spanish all the time wherever I go and good quality. My friends tell me- ‘it is because you speak very well so people pick up on that’. I don’t know but I think it is a fascinating dynamic and I will continue to observe how Spanish is spoken in Miami with such a mixed group of Spanish speakers.


I hope to find some more information to add to the thread.


-MP.
 
D

Derfish

Guest
I got hung up on the word appointment being used instead of their word cita. My lady was told que ella tenia hacer un appointment to see the doctor. I had to intervene so she knew what was being said.
The Miami Herald at one point, when my kids were in school, and they are over 50 years old now, said that 60 per cent of the people in Miami spoke Spanish.
When we got Jimmy Carter's wave of Marielitos we were overwhelmed with illitertate persons. I was offfered a job working on the phone to see if I cou;d find jobs for many people out of state. But many who found work in Kansas or Ohio came back where the Spanish was within a couple of months.
DerFish
 
M

Marianopolita

Guest
I got hung up on the word appointment being used instead of their word cita. My lady was told que ella tenia hacer un appointment to see the doctor. I had to intervene so she knew what was being said.
The Miami Herald at one point, when my kids were in school, and they are over 50 years old now, said that 60 per cent of the people in Miami spoke Spanish.
When we got Jimmy Carter's wave of Marielitos we were overwhelmed with illitertate persons. I was offfered a job working on the phone to see if I cou;d find jobs for many people out of state. But many who found work in Kansas or Ohio came back where the Spanish was within a couple of months.
DerFish

The dominance of Spanish in Miami is not only the language itself and whether one speaks or not. It has changed the working opportunities for many who are not bilingual. How does a person get a job (especially in the public sector) in Miami without being able to speak Spanish? A large percentage of the English-speaking population over the past two decades has moved out of South Florida because of Spanish.

The new influx of Spanish speakers in South Florida is Venezuelans (a significant number) and I read that an estimated 50,000 Puerto Ricans moved to Miami and Orlando after hurricane Maria. The numbers keep climbing. The Spanish-speaking population in Miami does not compare to NYC, LA, Houston and Chicago. All are cities with significant Spanish speakers but it does not compare to Spanish in South Florida which is the main language of Miami.


Your example hacer un appointment is a Miami classic. Thus their Spanglish. The real Spanish word una cita is perfectly fine but many say it in English when speaking Spanish. Another example is downtown. How many people in Miami say downtown in Spanish? You never hear voy al centro. It is always voy al downtown.


-MP.
 
D

Derfish

Guest
The dominance of Spanish in Miami is not only the language itself and whether one speaks or not. It has changed the working opportunities for many who are not bilingual. How does a person get a job (especially in the public sector) in Miami without being able to speak Spanish? A large percentage of the English-speaking population over the past two decades has moved out of South Florida because of Spanish.

The new influx of Spanish speakers in South Florida is Venezuelans (a significant number) and I read that an estimated 50,000 Puerto Ricans moved to Miami and Orlando after hurricane Maria. The numbers keep climbing. The Spanish-speaking population in Miami does not compare to NYC, LA, Houston and Chicago. All are cities with significant Spanish speakers but it does not compare to Spanish in South Florida which is the main language of Miami.


Your example hacer un appointment is a Miami classic. Thus their Spanglish. The real Spanish word una cita is perfectly fine but many say it in English when speaking Spanish. Another example is downtown. How many people in Miami say downtown in Spanish? You never hear voy al centro. It is always voy al downtown.


-MP.
My same Colombian wife tried to use the word 'downtown ' once we arrived in Panama, but it didn't work!
 
M

Marianopolita

Guest
My same Colombian wife tried to use the word 'downtown ' once we arrived in Panama, but it didn't work!
In Panama, no. Although there is a lot of English mixing and word creation from English in Panama using downtown in Spanish is not one of them. That is what I mean one region’s Spanglish is not another’s. Compare how they speak Spanglish in NYC to Miami. It is totally different. Honestly, I think it is easier to just speak Spanish.

In Panama, people say voy pa’ Panamá when referring to going to the downtown area.

Hopefully, you learned some nice Spanish from her. Even the regionalisms like de pronto it is a total Colombian identifier.


-MP.
 
G

GuillermoRamon

Guest
In Panama, no. Although there is a lot of English mixing and word creation from English in Panama using downtown in Spanish is not one of them. That is what I mean one region’s Spanglish is not another’s. Compare how they speak Spanglish in NYC to Miami. It is totally different. Honestly, I think it is easier to just speak Spanish.

In Panama, people say voy pa’ Panamá when referring to going to the downtown area.

Hopefully, you learned some nice Spanish from her. Even the regionalisms like de pronto it is a total Colombian identifier.


-MP.
It is interesting how not only each Country, but even regions within a Country will have different "dichos". You mentioned Colombian, of which a Co-worker of mine is, and when referring to money, he always uses plata, much like Pablo Escobar did. Many other things can give away where someone is originally from, or where their Spanish is from.
 
  • Like
Reactions: colmcb
M

Marianopolita

Guest
It is interesting how not only each Country, but even regions within a Country will have different "dichos". You mentioned Colombian, of which a Co-worker of mine is, and when referring to money, he always uses plata, much like Pablo Escobar did. Many other things can give away where someone is originally from, or where their Spanish is from.
Yes, regionalisms, expressions, speech patterns etc. identify a speaker. Regarding plata outside of the standard word dinero it is the most commonly used word for money in all of South America. Even for me it is unusual for me to say dinero only if I am referring to my own money (maybe) but when dealing with clients I always use plata. It is the norm in the banking industry in South America. For eg. a transfer of funds, it can be transferir fondos, dinero or plata. As you said in Colombia it is commonly used. You often hear la plata no llegó o voy a transferir la plata a tu cuenta bancaria etc. Very familiar. In Venezuela too.


-MP.
 
D

Derfish

Guest
Here is another common phrase which I noticed in Miami (and maybe it is common elsewhere too):

¿Estás ready? You would not believe how common this is. It is as though the correct phrase ¿Estás list@? does not exist.


Nice link here about Spanglish in the USA:


https://www.panoramas.pitt.edu/art-and-culture/¿estás-ready-look-spanglish-united-states


-MP.
All of S Florida addresses are designated with NE SE SW or NW. I insisted that all workers use these designations instead of norte este or west can be occcidente or oeste, just sorting out the este from oeste was too much for me. maybe some preferred nor oriente.Nope figure out this much. And when we had a shed built for tools everyone had a different for it, almacen, taller and several others. So once again I assured everyone they were capable of saying shed. And of course ready and downtown were a couple other things they learned from me.
Derfish
 
M

mofongoloco

Guest
hey derf. How did the ahora, ahorita thing go? now, a little while from now, right now, or in-your-dreams-ain't-never-gonna-happen. All possible meanings.
 
  • Like
Reactions: colmcb
M

Marianopolita

Guest
All of S Florida addresses are designated with NE SE SW or NW. I insisted that all workers use these designations instead of norte este or west can be occcidente or oeste, just sorting out the este from oeste was too much for me. maybe some preferred nor oriente.Nope figure out this much. And when we had a shed built for tools everyone had a different for it, almacen, taller and several others. So once again I assured everyone they were capable of saying shed. And of course ready and downtown were a couple other things they learned from me.
Derfish
If I am following your logic correctly this may help you the English speaker but not the Spanish speaker. There is a word in Spanish and then they must mix it with English? That does not make it easier for them in my opinion. It may be difficult for you to say those directions in Spanish but for them to say them in English when speaking Spanish does not make it easier for them.

To quote a co-worker of mine currently- acabas hablando un español bien malo. I agree with my co-worker.



-MP.
 
D

Derfish

Guest
hey derf. How did the ahora, ahorita thing go? now, a little while from now, right now, or in-your-dreams-ain't-never-gonna-happen. All possible meanings.
I reallydon't recall confronting it until I got to Panama. The desk at Barriga Car Rental had people behind it, but a different Gringo asked when they were going to be open was told ahorita, after waiting 35 more minutos we noticed Avis was open and went there to get our cars.
 
D

Derfish

Guest
If I am following your logic correctly this may help you the English speaker but not the Spanish speaker. There is a word in Spanish and then they must mix it with English? That does not make it easier for them in my opinion. It may be difficult for you to say those directions in Spanish but for them to say them in English when speaking Spanish does not make it easier for them.

To quote a co-worker of mine currently- acabas hablando un español bien malo. I agree with my co-worker.



-MP.
I have always had an underlyng feeling that since I speak their language while here they should know a few words of English when living there. As in the shed the Peruavian could not agree with the Colombians what it should be called though they did undersand each other's word for it.
 
M

Marianopolita

Guest
I have always had an underlyng feeling that since I speak their language while here they should know a few words of English when living there. As in the shed the Peruavian could not agree with the Colombians what it should be called though they did undersand each other's word for it.

True they can learn English but separate from Spanish. An English word in the middle of a Spanish phrase does not help them. What helps is if you teach them a complete sentence in English.


Regarding regionalisms that is normal in Spanish. There are so many ways to say the same thing. Vocabulary varies and tends to be very regional. I will tell you based on linguistic mapping of regionalisms Peru and Colombia will have different vocabulary for many words compared to let’s say Colombia and Venezuela. For ex. Straw in Colombia and Venezuela is pitillo in Peru it’s cañita. To say straw in general varies in the Spanish-speaking world.


-MP.
 
D

Derfish

Guest
True they can learn English but separate from Spanish. An English word in the middle of a Spanish phrase does not help them. What helps is if you teach them a complete sentence in English.


Regarding regionalisms that is normal in Spanish. There are so many ways to say the same thing. Vocabulary varies and tends to be very regional. I will tell you based on linguistic mapping of regionalisms Peru and Colombia will have different vocabulary for many words compared to let’s say Colombia and Venezuela. For ex. Straw in Colombia and Venezuela is pitillo in Peru it’s cañita. To say straw in general varies in the Spanish-speaking world.


-MP.
Another thread we talked about the term Gringo, but in Colombia I was often called Mono which is the general Spanish word for monkey, but there in Colombia they call a monkey a mico. And how did amfitheatro get to be the word for morgue anyhow?