Follow TV Tropes


Useful Notes / Spanish Accents And Dialects

Go To

See Spanish Language for the Spanish language in general.

    open/close all folders 

European (Spanish) Spanish Variants

    Northern Galician 

Galician Language

There was a time when there was little to no difference between languages on North-Western Spain, that time was immediately following the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the specific, vulgar latin that was spoken in the area which eventually would evolve into both Spanish and Galician languages, as well as Portuguese Language.

During the middle ages Portuguese and Galician were the same language known as Galaico-Portuguese, with, along with Occitan, saw great attention as a Lingua Franca for chilvalric poetry and wandering minstrels. Also, medieval castilian bore no great differences with galaico-portuguese, sharing many features such as sibilant structures.

It is by the 12th Century, when the Portus Callae county gets independence from the Kingdom of Leon, eventually becoming the Kingdom of Portugal, that Galician and Portuguese start its divergence. Portuguese develops from Galician as its territory was growing under the Portuguese Reconquista while Galician gets confined to the mountains of North-Western Spain and lose relevancy over castillian spanish, which would itself shape different over the next century both from Galician and Portuguese.

Galician Language gets an upgrade on the 19th Century with a quite a few renamed poets and it's one of the four official languages of the spanish nation, but this is all about dialects and accents and we'll talk about how Galician affects speakers when talking castilian spanish, and not about the language itself which is neither an accent nor a dialect.

The Other Wiki has an entry about galician language if you want to expand your knowledge about it.

Galician accents

Galician accent is notoriously rhythmical with a very distinctive, slightly high, pitch and idiosyncratic intonation which is often regarded as a very smooth form of spanish. Its pronounciation has very close vowels at the end of words, most notably the O vowel, which is pronounced in standard spanish as an open-mid back rounded vowel (ɔ) while in the galician dialect it is pronounced as a closed-mid back rounded vowel (O), as Castro (A kind of fortification for celtic pre-roman tribes which is a common landmark and a surname for galician spaniards) would be [kastro̞] in standard spanish and [kastro] in galician spanish, and the E vowel (e̞) which may get closer to the I vowel (e) in some instances.

The gheada or debbuccalization of the phoneme /g/ may exist but it is not very common nowadays and it is most often not protrayed (or even known about) by media.

Also, it is common the simplification of consonant clusters by skipping weaker phonemes on these instances, for example concepto (concept) would be [konˈθ ] in standard spanish but may become [konˈθeto ] in galician spanish. Repugnante (Disgusting) may be shortened from [re.puɣˈnan.te] to [re.punan.te], an acto (an act) [ˈ] may be an ['ato] and so on.

Grammatically, as is common in all northern dialects, galicians will never use compound tenses, always preterite: Supe (I knew) instead of He sabido. It is safe to say you can identify somebody who as a northerner (from Galicia to the french border through the Cantabrian Mountains) because they will always use preterite, which is almost never used in the rest of Spain where they much more favor the present perfect (e.g. He dicho instead of Dije for "I said").

At last, Galicians are very high on localisms and crosswords between galician and spanish languages, which would be too extensive to list here, but the most common feature is the diminutive -Iño, -Iña instead the more standard -Ito, -Ita (e.g. perriño instead of perrito for "little dog"). (This is similar to Portuguese, where -inho, -inha is the standard suffix for diminutive

The stereotype for the galician dialect traditionally it's not a very positive one. Galicians were (and, often, are) regarded as rustic, backwards simpletons with odd sex partners who live in the mountains and are often stuck fifty years or a century ago; in Latin America, they are the butt of dumb people jokes. In media, this is invariably the accent for the Kindhearted Simpleton (In recent times), the Fish out of Water (When regarding townsfolk in a big city), The Fool, the Cloudcuckoolander and Too Dumb to Fool. Think Homer Simpson for the kind of character.

Examples in fiction.

  • Ramón Sampedro (Played by Javier Bardem) pretty much destroys the stereotype for soul-wrenching drama in Mar adentro
  • Xoan from Pedro Almodovar's Julieta gives this trope a positive twist and makes him a handsome, badass Galician fisherman.

    Northern Asturian-Leonese 
    Northern Basque-Navarran 
    Northern Aragonese 
    The Plains - Aragonese 
    The Plains - North Castilian 
    The Plains - Madrid 
    The Plains - South Castilian and Murcia 
    Eastern Peninsular 
    Easter Insular 
    Southern Peninsular 
    Southern Insular 

Mexican Spanish Variants

Chicano accents in the USA are influenced by the various accents of Mexican Spanish.

    Norteño (Northern) 
This dialect of Mexican Spanish sounds louder and more aggressive and clipped than its southern counterparts. The speech also sounds more rhythmic and is characterized by its peculiar sing-song tone. This is why the accent is sometimes also said to be "cantadito" or "golpeao" (heavy-handed). Northern Mexicans are usually portrayed as either hard-working capitalist tycoons, or as hat-wearing cowboys fond of beer and barbecue.

The speech of the North has experienced heavy influences from the several indigenous tongues of the region, most notably the Yaqui Indian language. For example, here is the sample line, "El buki bichi a papuchi dando tatahuila en el zoquete (The naked kid, mounted on someone's shoulders, turning around in the mud)."

Other than Yaqui, English has a lot of clout in this dialect as well, being closest to the Anglophone country, The United States of America. Think words like watchear (to watch), parkear (to park), and truka (truck).

While wey or guey is quintessentially Mexican to most Americans, it's almost foreign to the Northerners as well. The Norteno lexicon prefers alternatives like vato, compadre, or compa.

One curious idiosyncrasy of the North is the practice of adding an article to names. For example, there is La Mari­a instead of Mari­a and El Diego instead of Diego.

The Northerners also have a slang lexicon of their own. For example, to get drunk is pistear in the North whereas emborracharse elsewhere. Similarly, to bathe is pasarse here, banarse elsewhere. It can also be mamarse if you're intending to be vulgar.

    Norteño del Este (North-Eastern) 
The accent spoken in the states in Northeastern Mexico, which are Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, and Coahuila. Northeast speakers replace the "sh" sound with the "ch" sound. Hence, sushi sounds like "suchi", just like in Colombia (see below).

    Norteño del Oeste (North-Western) 
The accent spoken in the states in Northwestern Mexico, which are Chihuahua, Sonora, and Sinaloa. Its intonation is similar to Monterrey Northern, but with a tendency to replace the "ch" sound with the "sh" sound — the state of Chihuahua, as a result, is often nicknamed "Shihuahua".

    Bajacaliforniano (Baja Californian) 
The accent spoken in the states of Baja California and Baja California Sur. This accent of Mexican Spanish (also sometimes referred to as the peninsular northern variant) is more heavily anglicized than any other in Mexico due to being close to the US. Its connotation depends on the speaker's origin: if the speaker is from Baja California, they're likely to be portrayed as chicanos or cholos, whereas those from Baja California Sur are likely to be portrayed as fun-loving adventure sports fans.

This accent sounds Norteno in grammar and diction. Words like watchear and parkear are as at home in Mexicali as they are in Ciudad Juarez. The only thing setting it apart from Norteno is its vocabulary.


  • Bichi note : Nude or naked
  • Chilo note : Cool
  • Morro note : A young man
  • Paro note : A favor. "Tírame un paro" can be more or less translated as "do me a solid".
  • Pistear note : To get drunk
  • Pirata note : Crazy
  • Cura or curada note : Funny; both cura and curada are gender-neutral, i.e. end in -a in both feminine and masculine forms.
  • Lángaro note : A cheap or greedy person
  • Sobrerruedas note : Flea market; all flea markets are tianguis in Central Mexico. But in Baja California, only one in a fixed building is tianguis; the one on the street is sobrerruedas.
  • ¡Arre! or ¡fierro!: Go ahead! Get it on!
  • La refri note : Air-conditioner; Careful with the gender here because the masculine el refri is slang for refrigerator in all Mexican Spanish dialects.

A lot of English words have also creeped into the Spanish spoken here. Words like troca (truck) and baika (bike) are commonplace. Another interesting quirk of this accent is that when making diminutives, -illo/illa is often preferred to -ito/ita.

    Western Region 
The accent spoken in the states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Colima, and parts of Aguascalientes and Michoacan.

    Tapatio (Guadalajara) 
Guadalajaran, or Tapatio, is the Mexican equivalent of the United States of Amarica's Midwestern accent: when exaggerated it makes you sound like a hayseed, but when played normally it's basically "standard Mexican". It ranks next to Northern and Mexico City Spanish in media popularity, thanks in good part to Guadalajara being the birth place of many world-famous Mexican symbols such as tequilanote , mariachi and the charro outfit.


  • ¡Ajalas!: An interjection that expresses positive surprise.
  • ¡Ámola!: "Let's go!"
  • Ajustarnote : To afford something.
  • Birote: A loaf of bread, in principle referring to a short sourdough baguette that can only be made in Guadalajara due to atmospheric pressure and microbiota, but sometimes used to refer to any bread in general.
  • Bule: A strip club.
  • Caguama note : One-liter beer bottle
  • Calar note : To taste, to test
  • Carrilla note : Teasing
  • Casconote : Glass bottle, usually for soda or beer
  • Charpearnote : To splash
  • Charcharnote : To operate
    • No charchar el asunto: To have erectile dysfunction (literally, "'pissness' not working")
  • Chesco note : Soft drink
  • Chile note : Salsa
  • Coto note : Gated community, most prevalent in the southern outskirts of Tlajomulco.
  • Asquil, asquilín note : Ant
  • Bien mucho note : Too much
  • ¿Edá? note : an interjection that can be more or less translated as "gnome sayin'?".
  • Ey note : Yes, I agree. Often uttered in response to "¿edá?".
  • Chucho note : Dog
  • Guanatos: The local nickname for Guadalajara.
  • Fajo note : Belt
  • Ocupar note : To have a need
  • Lonche note : A loaf bread sandwich, known in the rest of the country as "torta" (except for the torta ahogada, a meat sandwich drenched in tomato sauce).
  • Mijo note : A corruption of "mi hijo", which can be best translated as "buddy".
  • Melolengo note : Idiot
  • Moruzasnote : Crumbs
  • Enchiloso note : Spicy
  • Rait note : A ride in an acquaintance's car (e.g. not an Uber ride)
  • Chuchulucos note : Sweet things
  • Guzgues note : Street snacks
  • Chispear note : Light rain
  • Echar lío note : To flirt, to chat
  • Sabe: An abbreviation of "quién sabe", which means "who knows". Often pronounced as "saaaaaaabe", with a long A.
  • Támaro: A traffic cop. The word is a corruption of "tamarindo", in reference to a brown uniform they used to wear in the past.
  • Toro, torito: A sobriety checkpoint.
  • Truchanote : To be alert and aware.

    Bajio (Lowlands Region) 
The accent spoken in the states of Guanajuato and Michoacan, as well as parts of surrounding states like Querataro and Jalisco.

    Altiplano (Central Region) 
The accent spoken in the states of Mexico, Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, Morelos, and Puebla, and parts of Querataro.

    Defeño or Chilango (Mexico City) 
The Chilango accent attracts strong opinions akin to the accent of New York. When played normally on media, it's usually used in a neutral way, since the overwhelming majority of Mexican TV shows and movies are made in Mexico City; when exaggerated, it's usually to depict trashy, impoverished people, or to mock Mexico City's reputation in the rest of the country of being a cesspool of crime, corruption and liberal politics. A very striking feature of the Chilango accent is its signature drawl, which can be likened to the Texas drawl. Stressed vowels are drawn out significantly longer than the remainder of the words. No manches wey sounds like /no 'maaaan-chis waaaaaay/.

    Costeño (Coastal) 
This accent features in the speech of states along the Gulf Coast, such as Veracruz and Tabasco. The Pacific coast also exhibits this dialect, especially the coastal regions of Guerrero and Oaxaca. It is also present to some degree in Baja California Sur as a mix of coastal with northern, since all the major cities of that state (La Paz, Guerrero Negro and Los Cabos) are coast towns. Of all Mexican Spanish dialects, this one resembles the dialects in the Caribbean or Puerto Rico the most.

One similarity between the Costeño accent and the Cuban accent is in what they do with the word-final and inter-vocalic d. They don't pronounce it. Thus hablado sounds like hablao and verdad sounds like verda. Word-final -s also meets the same fate. It's ignored. That's why, for instance, pues sounds like pueh. Also, like the Caribbean dialects, unstressed vowels are blurred or altogether elided in these regions as well. The dialect is also marked by a softer volume and higher rate of speech compared to Norteno.

Unsurprisingly, coast people are usually depicted as fun-loving boat tour operators, snack peddlers and hotel staff; those who hail from Baja California Sur are likewise depicted as fans of adventure and water sports, never seen without an all terrain vehicle thanks to the well known Baja 1000 rally.

    Sureño (Southern) 
There are pockets where Sureno exhibits some overlap with the Altiplano dialects but Yucateco and Chiapaneco remain the most defining Mexican Spanish dialects of the South. Given the regions ethnic heritage, the Spanish spoken in these parts have a strong Mayan influence in vocabulary and diction. Of all Mexican Spanish dialects, Sureno is the only one to have any Mayan influence.

    Yucateco (Yucatan Peninsula) 
Compared to other Mexican Spanish dialects, this one seems to be the least rapid-fire.

In this accent, vowels tend to be drawn out a bit more, especially where the stress of a word is located. The sound 'sh' does not exist much in the Spanish language, but in the Yucatan you may hear it more since in Mayan, it does exist. A prime example is a neighbor who clearly says 'shincuenta' instead of 'Cincuenta' for the number 50. The "n (enyay)" which usually has a sharp "nya" sound is drawn out more to sound like "nia" or "nio". An example would for the 'nino' which would be pronounced 'ninio.' Sometimes the letter 'h' is pronounced like a soft 'j.' In other Spanish dialects, the 'h' is silent.

Another distinguishing feature of Yucatán Spanish is the strong presence of Mayan words. The Yucatán dialect has lots of them, to the point that some sentences may sound completely obscure and incomprehensible to other Mexican ears.

A good example of the Yucatán accent can be found on standup comedians Puruxona Cahuich and Tila María Sesto.


  • Charros note : Corkscrew
  • Botaxix note : Ass or asshole.
  • Pirix note : Ass.
  • Pelana note : "Fuck!".
  • Wixar note : To urinate.
  • Queso note : Pussy.
  • Menudo note : Change (of money)
  • Vereda note : Parting in hair
  • Costurar note : To sew
  • Tirahule note : Slingshot
  • Papagayo note : Kite
  • Xix note : The last few remnants left after consuming something.
  • Tirix tah: Diarrhea.
  • Purux note : Fat.
  • Xik note : Armpit.
  • Pek note : Dog.
  • Huiro note : A person of poor culture.
  • Huach note : Foreigner.
  • Weputa: A slurred corruption of hijo de puta, which means "motherfucker".

    Chiapaneco (Chiapas) 
The most notable feature of the Chiapaneco dialect is the prevalence of voseo. This is the only part of Mexico where vos is used in the second person singular instead of tu. None of the other Mexican Spanish dialects practice this usage. This is a direct influence of Guatemala on the speech of the Chiapas.

American (USA) Spanish Variants

    New Mexican 
New Mexican Spanish is a native Spanish dialect spoken in New Mexico and Colorado by neomexicanos, descendants of Spanish settlers who lived there before the annexation of the Southwest by the States. This accent preserves several features of Early Modern Spanish lost in most other varieties, such as ser being conjugated in the first person as yo seigo, rather than yo soy, and haiga rather than haya being the subjunctive of haber. It suffered a decline in the 20th century as English came to dominate, but the recent influx of Latino immigrants has ensured the dialect's survival. English has left an unmistakable mark on the dialect, however, and many words are of English origin adapted into Spanish phonology, e.g. troca for "truck" rather than camioneta.

Central American Spanish Variants

    Costa Rican 

Caribbean Spanish Variants

    Dominican (Dominican Republic) 
    Puerto Rican 

South American Spanish Variants

The Colombian dialect, especially the one used in the capital, Bogota, has a very interesting quirk: Unlike other dialects, the second person pronoun "usted", which is normally used in formal speech in other countries, is used almost exclusively in daily speech, regardless the social standing of the person which the talker is addressing to. That means that, no matter if that person is your own parents, your slibings, your best friend from childhood or even your girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband, etc, you would normally use "usted" instead of "tu" to address other people. For non-Colombians, that would be the equivalent of using the Spanish equivalent of the Japanese Keigo.

Another feature of the Colombian dialect (which is also shared with the northern-eastern dialects of Mexican Spanish) is the pronounciation of certain letter clusters: One of the most notorious one is the Colombian pronounciation of the "sh" cluster, which is normally pronounced as "ch" instead. This is especially notorious when a Colombian tries to pronounce foreign words when this cluster is used continuously, especially those from languages like Japanese, when names or words like Kenshin Himura, Geisha, Sushi or Shoko Nakagawa (aka Shoko-tan) are pronounced in Colombian Spanish as "Kenchin Himura", "Geicha", "Suchi" or "Choko Nakagawa/Choko-tan" respectively.


African Spanish Variants


Example of: