Differences Between American and Castilian Spanish

Jordi   Saturday, July 17, 2004, 07:17 GMT
I have an interest in knowing how the European Spanish variety and accent is dealt with in the Americas. I have a feeling that there are certain countries where it would have more prestige than others. There are many countries all the way from California to the tip of Chile. I think it's an interesting topic although it would take a wide study. Obviously, English RP (Received Pronunciation) has much more prestige in Commonwealth countries than in the United States and it's all due to very recent ties amongst all these countries. That doesn't mean, of course, that some US Americans will not be lured into this particular philosophy, especially those with European roots. Could it be that RP has more prestige in Canada than the US? I don't know but the Queen of England is still the symbolic head of state of Canada and some of the differences in language and spelling in Canada are definitely British.
I'd like to know if this also happens with Castilian and the different Castilian-speaking countries. I'm not trying to prove that this is the right thing just if it actually happens. I work in the tourism trade and quite a lot of Latin American tourists I meet over here will tell you something like: "My grandfather was born here or there (somewhere lost in Spain)". You can't imagine just how many upper class (it's just a term) tourists come from the other side of the pond and, lately Spain is receiving thousands of new working class residents from Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina, for example.
For instance, the cubans from Miami you meet over here are always bragging about their Spanish ancestry no matter how dark they are. It's as if the other part didn't exist. I agree that a lot has to be done regarding self-esteem and knowing who one is and euro-centrism definitely affects everybody since it's part of a widely accepted social belief in the ruling classes of the Western world. There seems to be two sides to this question. To simplify the first one would be: the Spaniards came here and robbed us but the second side is: the ones who robbed us are, after all, our forebears. As I told you previously the Spaniards who stayed in Spain mainly robbed other Spaniards and never had children in the Americas. And the great majority in the first centuries (15th to 18th centuries) were Castilian-speaking Spaniards mainly from Castille and Andalusia.
I think there must be different traditions in different countries regarding this question and I would like to know why. Maybe the elites of certain countries have kept a more recent tie (19th and 20th centuries) with European Spanish culture and universities than others. It's just an idea right now but from what I've read about Colombia that could well be a reason and then great Spanish waves of migrants continued thorughout the 19th and 20th centuries; the last great one was after the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) when most of our best scholars and professors fled to many Latin American countries. Their contribution to 20th century Latin America has been studied elsewhere.
Xatufan   Saturday, July 17, 2004, 21:16 GMT
Well, you might know Lucio Gutiérrez Borbúa. He's our president, and months ago he said that Borbúa comes from the French surname "Borboi". I don't know if the surname Borboi exist; I was afraid to ask my French teacher. Weird, people here don't just want to be descendants of Spaniards, now they also want to be descendants of French or Italian people...
Julian   Sunday, July 18, 2004, 02:41 GMT
It could be a derivation of "Bourbois". There's also a geothermal spring in Lajatico, Italy called "The Borboi" (or "I Borboi"). So maybe your president is of Franco-Italian descent.
Julian   Sunday, July 18, 2004, 03:07 GMT
All this talk about people claiming to be something they're not reminds of the time I went with some Filipino friends to see a Filipino-American comedian (who's name escapes me at the moment). The comedian was ragging on dark-skinned Filipinos who kept passing themselves off as Spaniards or part Spanish simply because of their hispanic surnames. The comedian then went into this imaginative bit involving Spanish administrators knocking on these aforementioned Filipino's doors, revoking their last names on the count of "abuse of Spanish heritage", and slapping them with some tongue-twisting native names (which I was told later were vulgar terms). When I asked my friends about this later, they told me that it's so true; that a lot of Filipinos claim to be part Spanish, American, Italian, or even German (apparently, there are quite a few Germans and Italians living in the Philippines), even though they look very "native". How sad.
Juan   Sunday, July 18, 2004, 04:59 GMT

<<and brainwashed them into self-loathing.>>

This sort of thing is more prevalent within the upper-class members of society such as the oligarchies and its acquaintances. I can’t generalise and say this no longer takes place but this sort of behaviour is almost unheard of amongst common folk like myself. :-)

<<When I asked my friends about this later, they told me that it's so true; that a lot of Filipinos claim to be part Spanish, American, Italian, or even German>>

You won't see too many Aztecs or "mestizos" involved in this sort of behaviour. It's almost exclusively the elite of Latin American society that have this tendency. Have you ever noticed the artwork some Mexican immigrants in the US have done on their cars. Look closely and you'll see a myriad of Aztec images spray painted on their cars and other property. There is not a chance in hell these people would try to convince you they are "Spaniards" or Europeans. ;-)
Xatufan, oops I did it again...   Monday, July 19, 2004, 20:11 GMT
The Mayas painted really cool! Two years ago, we were studying them. In my book, there was a Maya painting. It showed a man sitting in a chair and taking a shower. Or at least, that was what I thought. My teacher said it was a Maya king receiving God's grace. Cool!
Xatufan   Tuesday, July 20, 2004, 21:00 GMT
Please, write your comments about the Mayas here.
Juan   Wednesday, July 21, 2004, 12:01 GMT
What sort of comments? There isn't much to tell about the Mayas. Most of their culture and knowledge was destroyed.
|||   Wednesday, July 21, 2004, 16:09 GMT
Tal vez como a muchos Estadounidenses no les interesa hablar RP, a mí en lo personal, no me interesa en lo más mínimo hablar con acento Castellano o Peninsular.
No creo en las monarquías. Por ej. La reciente visita de el ciudadano Español Carlos y su esposa a Monterrey, México. Muchos de "clase alta" fueron a verlos y a escucharlos con una expresión en su rostro de aaaahhh "El príncipe", de tal manera que me clarifican la escena de cuando llegaron por primera vez a suelo Azteca los Españoles y los nativos los vieron barbados y vestidos diferente y con una expresión similar a la actual, han de haber dicho: aaahhh "Descendientes de Quetzalcoatl". Por que encima el ciudadano Español Carlos, visita México, barbado, como lo hicieron sus antecesores hace más de 500 años. Que velada ofensa.
Bueno regresando al acento, el Español Peninsular, en México no es mal recibido, pero tampoco es altamente aceptado por las mayorías.
Jordi   Wednesday, July 21, 2004, 19:13 GMT
Amigo yo tampoco soy monárquico porqué mi familia tuvo que pasar muchos años fuera del país por republicana. Imagino que te refieres a Juan Carlos I y a su mujer Sofía. ¿O era su hijo Felipe con su esposa Leticia? A veces van con barba y a veces no, me refiero a los varones, supongo que depende de las ganas que tendrán de afeitarse. Ahora, mejicanos barbudos y bigotudos debe haber unos cuantos, empezando por el gran Pancho Villa. He comprobado la siguiente cita:"Los hombres blancos se parecían al barbado Quetzalcoatl que una vez los había gobernado, y ellos portaban la cruz, uno de sus símbolos, y muchos pensaron que eran el mismo Quetzalcoatl." ¿O sea que el estupor ante los europeos fue porqué ya tenían a algún dios parecido? A eso se le llama una ironía de la suerte.
De hecho, las barbas y bigotes no están demasiado de moda por Europa desde hace unas cuantas décadas aunque algunos se empecinen en lucirlos. Dicho esto, amigo mejicano, estoy contigo y no creo que nadie deba imitar el acento de nadie y te agradezco la información valiosa que me has facilitado.
Juan   Thursday, July 22, 2004, 00:09 GMT
Era una leyenda que los Aztecas creian, que hiba a regresar un "idolo" con una apariencia de piel palida.
Juan   Thursday, July 22, 2004, 00:18 GMT
<<Por ej. La reciente visita de el ciudadano Español Carlos y su esposa a Monterrey, México. Muchos de "clase alta" fueron a verlos y a escucharlos con una expresión en su rostro de aaaahhh "El príncipe">>

What did I tell you, Jordi? ;-)
Xatufan   Thursday, July 22, 2004, 02:19 GMT
Jordi, I thought the princess' name is spelt "Letizia" like in Italian. However, I may be wrong.

"A veces van con barba y a veces no, me refiero a los varones, supongo que depende de las ganas que tendrán de afeitarse."

¿Y las mujeres? Ellas también van con barba a veces...

Personalmente, creo que afeitarme es una tarea horrible y sangrienta. Una vez me corté y fui el hazmerreír de todos. ¡Qué vergüenza!

Yeah, Aztecs were very intelligent people but, unfortunately, Spaniards killed them. Something similar happened here, Spaniards killed the Incas, including our beloved Atahualpa...
Jordi   Thursday, July 22, 2004, 06:58 GMT
<<¿Y las mujeres? Ellas también van con barba a veces...
Amigo Xatufán:
Quizá esto explique porqué muchos españoles del nuevo mundo preferían casarse con nativas antes que hacerlo con españolas. No se conocen casos de aztecas o incas barbudas pero europeas con bigotes (y alguna hasta con barba) hay unas cuantas. En el siglo XVI la cosa sería mucho peor que ahora porqué no se depilaban demasiado.
Bueno, ya sabes, un poco de humor no viene nada mal en estos casos y te ruego me perdones la frivolidad.
Ahora, si te afeitas a los 13 años debe ser por tu pasado europeo profundo. ¿De qué montañas proceden tus antepasados? Yo no me afeité hasta los 17 años aunque desde entonces tenga que hacerlo cada día. Hay una cuchillas chulísimas de usar y tirar que impiden que te cortes. No dejes de comprarlas. Son económicas. Espero que no te tiemble el pulso.
Creo que tienes razón y que se escribe Letizia. El caso es que una ortografía tan poco hispánica me resulta un tanto difícil. Esto te demuestra lo poco que he seguido el "bodorrio real español".
Mi5 Mick   Friday, July 23, 2004, 06:35 GMT
I have a question for you guys.

It seems that Catalan and Spanish speakers have problems pronouncing "z" and "th" in English. It sounds like they're combined into "dzth" or faintly pronounced. Consider: "the breeze swept through these shiny thongs and sandals".

I'm trying to understand that if someone pronounces 2 different phonemes the same, are they necessarily unable to hear them as 2 distinct sounds?

Eg. breeze and breathe are pronounced something like "breezthe" by a Spanish speaker; so they are in effect one word when he says them. However, can he dinstinguish them as 2 different words when he hears them pronounced in isolation by an English speaker?

I'm relating this to a friend with difficulties in English.