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Mexican Spanish

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Mexican Spanish
Español mexicano
Pronunciation[espaˈɲol mexiˈkano]
Native toMexico
Native speakers
L1: 120 million (2021)[citation needed]
L2: 8.2 million (2021)[citation needed]
DialectsNew Mexican
Sabine River dialect
Latin (Spanish alphabet)
Official status
Official language in
 Mexico (de facto)
Regulated byAcademia Mexicana de la Lengua
Language codes
ISO 639-1es
ISO 639-2spa[1]
ISO 639-3None (mis)
Varieties of Mexican Spanish.[citation needed]
  Northern peninsular
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Mexican Spanish (Spanish: español mexicano) is the variety of dialects and sociolects of the Spanish language spoken in the United Mexican States. Mexico has the largest number of Spanish speakers, more than double any other country in the world. Spanish is spoken by over 99% of the population, being the mother tongue of 93.8%, and the second language of 5.4%.[3]


The territory of contemporary Mexico is not coextensive with what might be termed Mexican Spanish,[4] since linguistic boundaries rarely coincide with political ones. The Spanish spoken in the southernmost state of Chiapas, bordering Guatemala, resembles the variety of Central American Spanish spoken in that country, where voseo is used.[5] Meanwhile, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo led to a large number of Mexicans residing in what had become US territory, and many of their descendants have continued to speak Spanish. In addition, the waves of 19th- and 20th-century migration from Mexico to the United States, have contributed greatly to making Mexican Spanish the most widely spoken variety of Spanish in the United States. Finally, the Spanish spoken in coastal areas often exhibits certain phonetic traits in common with the Caribbean rather than with that of central Mexico, and the Spanish of the Yucatán Peninsula is quite distinct from other varieties.[4] It should also be noted that there is great variation in intonation patterns from region to region within Mexico.[6] For instance, the Spanish of northern Mexico, including the traditional Spanish of New Mexico, is characterized by its own distinct set of intonation patterns.[7]

Regarding the evolution of the Spanish spoken in Mexico, the Swedish linguist Bertil Malmberg[8] points out that in Central Mexican Spanish—unlike most varieties in the other Spanish-speaking countries—the vowels lose strength, while consonants are fully pronounced. Malmberg attributes this to a Nahuatl substratum, as part of a broader cultural phenomenon that preserves aspects of indigenous culture through place names of Nahuatl origin, statues that commemorate Aztec rulers, etc.[9][10] The Mexican linguist Juan M. Lope Blanch, however, finds similar weakening of vowels in regions of several other Spanish-speaking countries; he also finds no similarity between the vowel behavior of Nahuatl and that of Central Mexican Spanish; and thirdly, he finds Nahuatl syllable structure no more complex than that of Spanish.[11] Furthermore, Nahuatl is not alone as a possible influence, as there are currently more than 90 native languages spoken in Mexico.[12]



Consonant phonemes of Mexican Spanish
Labial Dental/Alveolar Palatal Velar
Nasal m n ɲ
Stop p b t d ʝ k ɡ
Continuant f s ʃ x
Approximant l j w
Flap ɾ
Trill r


Due to influence from indigenous languages, such as Nahuatl, Mexican Spanish has incorporated many words containing the sequences ⟨tz⟩ and ⟨tl⟩, corresponding to the voiceless alveolar affricate [t͡s] and the voiceless alveolar lateral affricate [t͡ɬ], present in many indigenous languages of Mexico,[13] as in the words tlapalería [t͡ɬapaleˈɾia] ('hardware store') and coatzacoalquense [koat͡sakoalˈkense] ('from [the city of] Coatzacoalcos'). Mexican Spanish always pronounces the /t/ and /l/ in such a sequence in the same syllable, a trait shared with the Spanish of the rest of Latin America, that of the Canary Islands, and the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, including Bilbao and Galicia.[14] This includes words of Greek and Latin origin with ⟨tl⟩ such as Atlántico and atleta. In contrast, in most of Spain, the /t/ would form part of the previous syllable's coda, and be subject to weakening, as in [aðˈlantiko], [aðˈleta].[15]

Some claim that in Mexican Spanish, the sequence /tl/ is really a single phoneme, the same as the lateral affricate of Nahuatl. On the other hand, José Ignacio Hualde and Patricio Carrasco argue that /tl/ is best analyzed as an onset cluster on the basis that Mexicans take the same amount of time to pronounce /tl/ as they do to pronounce /pl/ and /kl/. They predicted that if /tl/ were a single segment, it would have been pronounced quicker than the other clusters.[14]


In addition to the usual voiceless fricatives of other American Spanish dialects (/f/, /s/, /x/), Mexican Spanish also has the palatal sibilant /ʃ/,[13] mostly in words from indigenous languages—especially place names. The /ʃ/, represented orthographically as ⟨x⟩, is commonly found in words of Nahuatl or Mayan origin, such as Xola [ˈʃola] (a station in the Mexico City Metro). The spelling ⟨x⟩ can additionally represent the phoneme /x/ (also mostly in place names), as in México itself (/ˈmexiko/); or /s/, as in the place name Xochimilco—as well as the /ks/ sequence (in words of Greco-Latin origin, such as anexar /anekˈsar/), which is common to all varieties of Spanish. In many Nahuatl words in which ⟨x⟩ originally represented [ʃ], the pronunciation has changed to [x] (or [h])—e.g. Jalapa/Xalapa [xaˈlapa].[16]

Regarding the pronunciation of the phoneme /x/, the articulation in most of Mexico is velar [x], as in caja [ˈkaxa] ('box'). However, in some (but not all) dialects of southern Mexico, the normal articulation is glottal [h] (as it is in most dialects of the Caribbean, the Pacific Coast, the Canary Islands, and most of Andalusia and Extremadura in Spain).[4][17] Thus, in these dialects, México, Jalapa, and caja are respectively pronounced [ˈmehiko], [haˈlapa], and [ˈkaha].

In northwestern Mexico and rural Michoacan, [tʃ], represented by ⟨ch⟩, tends to be deaffricated to [ʃ], a phonetic feature also typical of southwestern Andalusian Spanish dialects.[18][19]

All varieties of Mexican Spanish are characterized by yeísmo: the letters ⟨ll⟩ and ⟨y⟩ correspond to the same phoneme, /ʝ/.[20][21][22] That phoneme, in most variants of Mexican Spanish, is pronounced as either a palatal fricative [ʝ] or an approximant [ʝ˕] in most cases, although after a pause it is instead realized as an affricate [ɟʝ]. In the north and in rural Michoacan, /ʝ/ is consistently rendered as an approximant and may even be elided when between vowels and in contact with /i/ or /e/, as in gallina 'hen', silla 'chair', and sella 'seal'.[19][23]

As in all American dialects of Spanish, Mexican Spanish has seseo, so /θ/ is not distinguished from /s/. Thus, casa 'house' and caza 'hunt' are homophones.

Present in most of the interior of Mexico is the preservation, or absence of debuccalization, of syllable-final /s/. The fact that the areas with the strongest preservation of final /s/ are also those with the most frequent unstressed vowel reduction gives the sibilant /s/ a special prominence in these dialects. On the other hand, /s/-weakening is very frequent on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, and is also fairly frequent in northern and northwestern Mexico, and in parts of Oaxaca and the Yucatán peninsula. In all these regions, /s/-weakening acts as a sociolinguistic marker, being more prevalent in rural areas and among the lower classes.[citation needed] The prevalence of a weakened syllable-final /s/ in so many peripheral areas of Mexico suggests that such weakening was at one point more prevalent in peripheral areas, but that the influence of Mexico City has led to the diffusion of a style of pronunciation without /s/-weakening, especially among the urban middle classes.[4][24]

/s/-weakening on both the Pacific and the Gulf Coast was strengthened by influences from Andalusian, Canarian, and Caribbean Spanish dialects.[25]

Also, the dialects spoken in rural Chihuahua, Sonora, and Sinaloa, like that of New Mexico, have developed aspiration of syllable-initial /s/, as in words like pasar 'to pass' and señor 'sir'.[26][27][28][29]

Despite the general lack of s-aspiration in the center of the country, /s/ is often elided before /r/ or /l/, and the phrase buenas noches is often pronounced without the first /s/.[30]


There is a set of voiced obstruents/b/, /d/, /ɡ/, and sometimes /ʝ/—which alternate between approximant and plosive allophones depending on the environment.

/bw/ often becomes /gw/,[31] especially in more rural speech, such that abuelo and bueno may be pronounced as agüelo and güeno. In addition, /gw/ is often assimilated to /w/.[32]

Speakers from the Yucatán, especially men or those who are older, often pronounce the voiceless stops /p, t, k/ with aspiration.[33]


Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a

Like most Spanish dialects and varieties, Mexican Spanish has five vowels: close unrounded front /i/, close rounded back /u/, mid unrounded front /e/, mid rounded back /o/, and open unrounded /a/.[34]

A striking feature of Mexican Spanish, particularly that of central Mexico, is the high rate of reduction, which can involve shortening and centralization, devoicing, or both, and even elision of unstressed vowels, as in [ˈtɾasts] (trastes, 'cooking utensils'). This process is most frequent when a vowel is in contact with the phoneme /s/, so that /s/+ vowel + /s/ is the construction when the vowel is most frequently affected.[35][36][37] It can be the case that the words pesos, pesas, and peces are pronounced the same [ˈpesəs].[citation needed] The vowels are slightly less frequently reduced or eliminated in the constructions /t, p, k, d/ + vowel + /s/, so that the words pastas, pastes, and pastos may also be pronounced the same [ˈpasts].


Mexican Spanish is a tuteante form of the language (i.e. using and its traditional verb forms for the familiar second person singular). The traditional familiar second person plural pronoun vosotros—in colloquial use only in Spain—is found in Mexico only in certain archaic texts and ceremonial language. However, since it is used in many Spanish-language Bibles throughout the country, most Mexicans are familiar with the form and understand it. An instance of it is found in the national anthem, which all Mexicans learn to sing: Mexicanos, al grito de guerra / el acero aprestad y el bridón.

Mexicans tend to use the polite personal pronoun usted in the majority of social situations, especially in Northern Mexico. In the north, children even address their parents with usted.[29]

In rural areas of Sonora, Chihuahua, Durango, Jalisco, Guanajuato, and Tlaxcala, many people use a number of distinct non-standard morphological forms: 2nd person preterite verb forms ending in -ates, ites, imperfect forms such as traiba, creiba instead of traía, creía 'brought, believed', a merger of -ir and -er verb conjugations such that 'we live' is vivemos instead of vivimos, verb roots other than haiga (instead of haya) with non-standard /g/ such as creigo 'I believe' for creo, an accent shift in the first person plural subjunctive forms váyamos instead of vayamos 'we go', and a shift from -mos to -nos in proparoxytonic third person singular verb forms (cantaríanos instead of cantaríamos 'we sing'). These same verb forms are also found in the traditional Spanish of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.[38]


Central Mexico is noted for the frequent use of diminutive suffixes with many nouns, adverbs, and adjectives, even where no semantic diminution of size or intensity is implied. Most frequent is the -ito/ita suffix, which replaces the final vowel on words that have one. Words ending with -n use the suffix -cito/cita. Use of the diminutive does not necessarily denote small size, but rather often implies an affectionate attitude; thus one may speak of "una casita grande" ('a nice, big house').

When the diminutive suffix is applied to an adjective, often a near-equivalent idea can be expressed in English by "nice and [adjective]". So, for example, a mattress (Spanish: un colchón) described as blandito might be "nice and soft", while calling it blando might be heard to mean "too soft".

In some regions of Mexico, the diminutive suffix -ito is also used to form affectives to express politeness or submission (cafecito, literally "little coffee"; cabecita, literally "little head"; chavito "little boy"), and is attached to names (Marquitos, from Marcos; Juanito, from Juan—cf. Eng. Johnny) denoting affection. In the northern parts of the country, the suffix -ito is often replaced in informal situations by -illo (cafecillo, cabecilla, morrillo, Juanillo).

Frequent use of the diminutive is found across all socioeconomic classes, but its "excessive" use is commonly associated with lower-class speech. [citation needed]

The augmentative suffix -(z)ote is typically used in Mexico to make nouns larger, more powerful, etc. For example, the word camión, in Mexico, means bus; the suffixed form camionzote means "big or long bus". It can be repeated just as in the case of the suffixes -ito and -ísimo; therefore camionzotototote means very, very, very big bus.

The suffix -uco or -ucho and its feminine counterparts -uca and -ucha respectively, are used as a disparaging form of a noun; for example, the word casa, meaning "house", can be modified with that suffix (casucha) to change the word's meaning to make it disparaging, and sometimes offensive; so the word casucha often refers to a shanty, hut or hovel. The word madera ("wood") can take the suffix -uca (maderuca) to mean "rotten, ugly wood".

Other suffixes include, but are not limited to: -azo as in carrazo, which refers to a very impressive car (carro) such as a Ferrari or Mercedes-Benz; -ón, for example narizón, meaning "big-nosed" (nariz = "nose"), or patona, a female with large feet (patas).


It is common to replace /s/ with /tʃ/ to form diminutives, e.g. IsabelChabela, José MaríaChema, Cerveza ("beer") → Chela/Cheve, ConcepciónConchita, Sin Muelas ("without molars") → Chimuela ("toothless"). This is common in, but not exclusive to, Mexican Spanish.


Typical of Mexican Spanish is an ellipsis of the negative particle no in a main clause introduced by an adverbial clause with hasta que:

  • Hasta que me tomé la pastilla se me quitó el dolor. (Until I took the pill, the pain did not go away.)[4]

In this kind of construction, the main verb is implicitly understood as being negated.

Mexico shares with many other areas of Spanish America the use of interrogative qué in conjunction with the quantifier tan(to):[4][39]

  • ¿Qué tan graves son los daños? (How serious are the damages?) (Compare the form typical of Spain: "¿Hay muchos daños?" (Is there a lot of damage?))
  • ¿Qué tan buen cocinero eres? (How good a cook are you?) (Compare Spain's "¿Eres buen cocinero?" (Are you a good cook?))

It has been suggested that there is influence of indigenous languages on the syntax of Mexican Spanish (as well as that of other areas in the Americas), manifested, for example, in the redundant use of verbal clitics, particularly lo. This is more common among bilinguals or in isolated rural areas.[4]

Mucho muy can be used colloquially in place of the superlative -ísimo, as in:

  • Este tipo de tratamientos son mucho muy caros (That type of treatment is really expensive.)[4]

Mexican Spanish, like that of many other parts of the Americas, prefers the preposition por in expressions of time spans, as in

  • "Fue presidente de la compañía por veinte años" (He was the president of the company for twenty years)—compare the more frequent use of durante in Spain: "Fue presidente de la compañia durante veinte años."

A more or less recent phenomenon in the speech of central Mexico, having its apparent origin in the State of Mexico, is the use of negation in an unmarked yes/no question. Thus, in place of "¿Quieres...?" (Would you like...?), there is a tendency to ask "¿No quieres...?" (Wouldn't you like...?).


Mexican Spanish retains a number of words that are considered archaic in Spain.[40]

Also, there are a number of words widely used in Mexico which have Nahuatl, Mayan or other native origins, in particular names for flora, fauna and toponyms. Some of these words are used in most, or all, Spanish-speaking countries, like chocolate and aguacate ("avocado"), and some are only used in Mexico. The latter include guajolote "turkey" < Nahuatl huaxōlōtl [waˈʃoːloːt͡ɬ] (although pavo is also used, as in other Spanish-speaking countries); papalote "kite" < Nahuatl pāpālōtl [paːˈpaːloːt͡ɬ] "butterfly"; and jitomate "tomato" < Nahuatl xītomatl [ʃiːˈtomat͡ɬ]. For a more complete list see List of Spanish words of Nahuatl origin.

Other expressions that are common in colloquial Mexican Spanish include:

  • ahorita: "soon; in a moment". Literally "right now". E.g. Ahorita que acabe, "As soon as I finish (this)". Considered informal.
  • bronca:[dubiousdiscuss] "fight" or "problem". Literally "aggressive woman or girl, or wild female animal". Commonly used among young people.
  • bronco: "wild, untame". E.g. leche bronca: "unpasteurized milk".
  • camión: "bus"
  • caray: darn.
  • carnal: "brother" or "bro"
  • chafa: cheap, of bad quality.
  • chavo (chava); chamaco (chamaca); chilpayate: "a child, teen, or youngster". Also huerco (huerca), morro (morra), and plebe are used in northern Mexico. All these terms except chilpayate are also found in their diminutives: chavito, chamaquito, huerquito, morrito. Considered informal.
  • chequear/checar: "to check (verify)"
  • chichi(s): "breast(s)". From Nahuatl chīchīhualli [tʃiːtʃiːwɑlːi]. Considered informal.
  • chido: "cool, attractive, fun, etc." A variant common in the Northwest is chilo, sometimes spelled and pronounced shilo.
  • chingadera: "trash; crap". Considered vulgar. Derived from chingar.
  • cholo: In northern Mexico, equivalent to the English term gangsta; in the rest of Mexico, equivalent to the Spanish term pandillero ("hooligan", "gang member"), which refers to young slum-dwellers living in conditions of extreme poverty, drug dependency, and malnutrition.
  • durazno: "peach"
  • En un momento: "Just a minute", "Hold on a second", etc. Literally "in a moment".
  • escuincle: "a bratty child" or "squirt". From Nahuatl itzcuīntli [it͡skʷiːnt͡ɬi], "dog".
  • Este...: a filler word, similar to American English "um, uh". Literally, "this". Also used in other countries.
  • gacho: messed-up
  • güero: a fair-haired or fair-skinned person. Derived from a term meaning "egg white".[41][42]
  • güey, wey or buey: "dude", "guy" (literally, "ox"). As an adjective, "dumb", "asinine", "moronic", etc. Not to be confused with "Huey" from the Aztec title "Huey Tlatoani", in which "Huey" is a term of reverence.
  • hablar con: "to talk with (on the telephone)". Used in place of the standard llamar.
  • jitomate: red tomato, in contrast to tomatillos.
  • macho: "manly". Applied to a woman (macha): "manly" or "skillful". From macho, male.
  • mamón: stuck up, arrogant. Considered vulgar.
  • menso: dumb, foolish. Euphemistic in nature.
  • naco: "a low-class, boorish, foolish, ignorant and/or uneducated person". Pejorative.
  • órale: (1) similar to English "Wow!" (2) "Okay". (3) Exclamation of surprised protest. Abbreviated ¡Ora! by low-class people in their uneducated variety. May be considered rude.
  • padre: used as an adjective to denote something "cool", attractive, good, fun, etc. E.g. Esta música está muy padre, "This music is very cool." Literally, "father".
  • pedo: "problem" or "fight". Literally "fart". Also, in a greeting, ¿Qué pedo, güey? ("What's up, dude?"). As an adjective, "drunk", e.g. estar pedo, "to be drunk". Also the noun peda: "a drunken gathering". All forms are considered vulgar for their connection to pedo, "fart".
  • pelo chino: "curly hair".[43] The word chino derives from the Spanish word cochino, "pig".[43] The phrase originally referenced the casta (racial type) known as chino, meaning a person of mixed indigenous and African ancestry whose hair was curly.[43] Sometimes erroneously thought to be derived from Spanish chino, "Chinese".[43]
  • pinche: "damned", "lousy", more akin to "freaking". E.g. Quita tu pinche música de aquí. ("Take your lousy music from here"). As a noun, literally, "kitchen assistant". Considered vulgar.
  • popote: "drinking straw". From Nahuatl popōtl [popoːt͡ɬ], the name of a plant from which brooms and drinking straws are made, or the straws themselves.[citation needed]
  • rentar: "to rent"
  • ¿Cómo la ves?: "What do you think about it?" Literally "How do you see it?"
  • ¡Híjole!: An exclamation, used variously to express surprise, frustration, etc. From hijo de... ("son of a..."). Also ¡Híjoles!.
  • ¿Mande?: "Beg your pardon?". From mandar, "to order", formal command form. ¿Cómo? (literally "How?"), as in other countries, is also in use. The use of ¿Qué? ("What?") on its own is sometimes considered impolite, unless accompanied by a verb: ¿Qué dijiste? ("What did you say?").
  • ¿Qué onda?: "What's up?". Literally, "What's the vibe?".
  • valer madre: to be worthless. Literally "to be worth (a) mother".

Most of the words above are considered informal (e.g. chavo(a), padre, güero, etc.), rude (güey, naco, ¿cómo (la) ves?, etc.) or vulgar (e.g. chingadera, pinche, pedo) and are limited to slang use among friends or in informal settings; foreigners need to exercise caution in their use. In 2009, at an audience for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Mexico and the Netherlands, the then Crown Prince of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, made a statement to the audience with a word that, in Mexican Spanish, is considered very vulgar. Evidently oblivious to the word's different connotations in different countries, the prince's Argentine interpreter used the word chingada as the ending to the familiar Mexican proverb "Camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente" (A sleeping shrimp is carried away by the tide), without realizing the vulgarity associated with the word in Mexico. The prince, also unaware of the differences, proceeded to say the word, to the bemusement and offense of some of the attendees.[44]

Similar dialects[edit]

New Mexico Spanish has many similarities with an older version of Mexican Spanish, and can be considered part of a Mexican Spanish "macro-dialect".[45] The small amount of Philippine Spanish has traditionally been influenced by Mexican Spanish, as the colony was initially administered from Mexico City before being administered directly from Madrid. Chavacano, a Spanish-based creole language in the Philippines, is based on Mexican Spanish. To outsiders, the accents of nearby Spanish-speaking countries in northern Central America, such as El Salvador and Guatemala, might sound similar to those spoken in Mexico, especially in central and southern Mexico.

Influence of Nahuatl[edit]

The Spanish of Mexico has had various indigenous languages as a linguistic substrate. Particularly significant has been the influence of Nahuatl, especially in the lexicon. However, while in the vocabulary its influence is undeniable, it is hardly felt in the grammar field. In the lexicon, in addition to the words that originated from Mexico with which the Spanish language has been enriched, such as tomate "tomato", hule "rubber", tiza "chalk", chocolate "chocolate", coyote "coyote", petaca "flask", et cetera; the Spanish of Mexico has many Nahuatlismos that confer a lexical personality of its own. It can happen that the Nahuatl word coexists with the Spanish word, as in the cases of cuate "buddy" and amigo "friend", guajolote "turkey" and pavo "turkey", chamaco "kid" and niño "boy", mecate "rope" and reata "rope", etc. On other occasions, the indigenous word differs slightly from the Spanish, as in the case of huarache, which is another type of sandal; tlapalería, hardware store, molcajete, a stone mortar, etc. Other times, the Nahuatl word has almost completely displaced the Spanish, tecolote "owl", atole "cornflour drink", popote "straw", milpa "cornfield", ejote "green bean", jacal "shack", papalote "kite", etc. There are many indigenismos "words of indigenous origin" who designate Mexican realities for which there is no Spanish word; mezquite "mesquite", zapote "sapota", jícama "jicama", ixtle "ixtle", cenzontle "mockingbird", tuza "husk", pozole, tamales, huacal "crate", comal "hotplate", huipil "embroidered blouse", metate "stone for grinding", etc. The strength of the Nahuatl substrate influence is felt less each day, since there are no new contributions.

  • Frequently used Nahuatlismos: aguacate "avocado", cacahuate "peanut", cacao "cocoa", coyote "coyote", cuate "buddy", chapulín "chapulin, chicle "gum", chocolate "chocolate", ejote "bean", elote "corn", huachinango "huachinango", guajolote "turkey", hule "rubber", jitomate "tomato", mayate "Mayan (used for people of African descent)", mecate "rope", milpa "cornfield", olote "corn husk", papalote "kite", petaca "flask" (per suitcase), piocha "goatee", zopilote "buzzard."
  • Moderately frequent Nahuatlismos: ajolote "axolotl", chichi "boob" (for female breast), jacal "shack, hut" xocoyote "youngest child", tecolote "owl", tianguis "street market", tlapalería "hardware store", zacate "grass."
  • Purépechismos or Tarasquismos: huarache "sandal", jorongo "poncho", cotorina "jerkin", soricua, tacuche "bundle of rags" (slang for suit), achoque "salamander", corunda pirecua.
  • Other non-Mexican indigenismos: arepa "flatbread corn", butaca "armchair", cacique "chief, headman", caimán "alligator", canoa "canoe", coatí "coati", colibrí "hummingbird", chirimoya "custard apple", naguas "rags", guayaba "guava", huracán "hurricane", iguana "iguana", jaguar "jaguar", jaiba "crab", jefén "jefen", loro "parrot", maguey "agave", maíz "corn", mamey "mammee", maní "peanut", ñame "yam", ñandú "rhea", papaya "papaya", piragua "canoe", puma "puma", tabaco "tobacco", tapioca " yuca "cassava."

Influence on phonology[edit]

The influence of Nahuatl on phonology seems restricted to the monosyllabic pronunciation of digraphs -tz- and -tl- (Mexico: [aˈt͡ɬantiko] / Spain : [aðˈlantiko]), and to the various pronunciations of the letter -x-, coming to represent the sounds [ks], [gz], [s], [x] and [ʃ]. In the grammar, one can cite as influence of Nahuatl the extensive use of diminutives: The most common Spanish diminutive suffix is -ito/-ita. English examples are –y in doggy or -let in booklet.[46][47] It can also be cited as influence of Nahuatl the use of the suffix -Le to give an emphatic character to the imperative. For example: brinca "jump" -> bríncale "jump", come "eat" -> cómele "eat", pasa "go/proceed" -> pásale "go/proceed", etc. This suffix is considered to be a crossover of the Spanish indirect object pronoun -le with the Nahua excitable interjections, such as cuele "strain."[48] However, this suffix is not a real pronoun of indirect object, since it is still used in non-verbal constructions, such as hijo "son" -> híjole "damn", ahora "now" -> órale "wow","¿que hubo?" "what's up?" -> quihúbole "how's it going?", etc.

Although the suffix -le hypothesis as influence of Nahuatl has been widely questioned; Navarro Ibarra (2009) finds another explanation about -le intensifying character. The author warns that it is a defective dative clitic; instead of working as an indirect object pronoun, it modifies the verb. An effect of the modification is the intransitive of the transitive verbs that appear with this -le defective (ex. moverle "to move" it is not mover algo para alguien "to move something for someone" but hacer la acción de mover "to make the action of moving").[49] This intensifier use is a particular grammatical feature of the Mexican Spanish variant. In any case, it should not be confused the use of -le as verbal modifier, with the different uses of the pronouns of indirect object (dative) in the classical Spanish, as these are thoroughly used to indicate in particular the case genitive and the ethical dative. In what is considered one of the founding documents of the Spanish language, the poem of Mio Cid written around the year 1200, you can already find various examples of dative possessive or ethical.[50]

Influence of English[edit]

Mexico has a border of more than 2,500 kilometers with the United States, and receives major influxes of American and Canadian tourists every year. More than 63% of the 57 million Latinos in the United States are assumed as of Mexican origin.[51] English is the most studied foreign language in Mexico, and the third most spoken after Spanish and the native languages taken together.[52] Given these circumstances, anglicisms in Mexican Spanish are continuously increasing (as they are also in the rest of the Americas and Spain), including filmar "to film", béisbol "baseball", club "club", coctel "cocktail", líder "leader", cheque "check", sándwich "sandwich", etc. Mexican Spanish also uses other anglicisms that are not used in all Spanish-speaking countries, including bye, ok, nice, cool, checar "to check", fólder "folder", overol "overalls", réferi "referee", lonchera "lunch bag", clóset "closet", maple "maple syrup", baby shower, etc.[53][54]

The center of Hispanic Linguistics of UNAM carried out a number of surveys in the project of coordinated study of the cultured linguistic norms of major cities of Ibero-America and of the Iberian Peninsula. The total number of anglicisms was about 4% among Mexican speakers of urban norms.[55] However, this figure includes anglicisms that permeated general Spanish long ago and which are not particular to Mexico, such as buffete, náilon "nylon", dólar "dollar", hockey, rimel, ron "rum", vagón "railroad car", búfer "buffer", and others.

The results of this research are summarized as follows:

  • Nouns are more likely to be loaned from English than other parts of speech.
  • Anglicisms in general use: O.K. (oquéi), bistec "(beef) steak", bye (bai), chequera "checkbook", clic "click", basquetbol "basketball", bate "baseball bat", béisbol "baseball", box(eo) "boxing", cláxon "horn", clip, clóset "closet", clutch, coctel "cocktail", champú or shampoo (shampú), cheque "check", DJ (diyei, disk jockey), romance, smoking or esmoquin, exprés "express", football (futból), gol "goal", hit, jonrón (homerun), jeep, jet, van, nocaut or knockout, líder "leader", náilon or nylon, overol "overalls", panqué "poundcake", pay "pie", pudín "pudding", baby shower, rating or ráting, reversa "reverse", rin (rim), round (raund), set, shorts, show, strike (stráik or estráik), suéter "sweater", pants, tenis (tennis shoes), thinner, super "super market", fólder "folder", tenis or tennis, vóleibol "volleyball", vallet parking, and güisqui or whisk(e)y.
  • Frequent Anglicisms: bar, bermudas (for Bermuda shorts), birra "beer", sport (type of clothing), switch.
  • Moderately used Anglicisms: barman "waiter", King/Queen size, grill, manager, penthouse, pullman, strapless, ziper or zipper.

Some examples of syntactic anglicisms, which coexist with the common variants, are:

  • Using the verb apply/applying. ("Apliqué a esa universidad", I applied to that university, instead of "Postulé a esta universidad", I applied to this university)
  • Using the verb to assume with suppose. ("Asumo que sí va a ir a la fiesta", I assume he is going to the party, instead of "Supongo que sí va a ir a la fiesta", I guess he will go to the party)
  • Using the verb access with access to. ("Accesa a nuestra página de internet", Access our website, instead of "Accede a nuestra página de internet", Access our website).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ISO 639-2 Language Code search". Library of Congress. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  2. ^ Similar to Central American Spanish in border zones and on low-class speakers.
  3. ^ "CIA World Fact Book - Mexico". Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. 4 March 2022. Archived from the original on 21 March 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Mackenzie, Ian (1999–2020). "Mexican Spanish". The Linguistics of Spanish. Archived from the original on 20 August 2021. Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  5. ^ Torres Garca, Alejandro A. (2014). "¿Voseo en México?: Breve perspectiva del voseo en Chiapas" [Voseo in Mexico?: Brief perspective of the voseo in Chiapas] (in Spanish). Retrieved 9 March 2016 – via Scribd.
  6. ^ Cotton & Sharp (1988:155)
  7. ^ Lipski, John M. (2011). "Socio-Phonological Variation in Latin American Spanish". In Díaz-Campos, Manuel (ed.). The handbook of Hispanic sociolinguistics. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 72–97. doi:10.1002/9781444393446.ch4. ISBN 9781405195003.
  8. ^ Not to be confused with the poet Bertil F. H. Malmberg.
  9. ^ Malmberg (1964:227–243); rpt. Malmberg 1965: 99–126 and Malmberg 1971: 421–438.
  10. ^ Lipski (1994:238)
  11. ^ Lope Blanch (1967:153–156)
  12. ^ Clasificación de Lenguas Indígenas – Histórica [Classification of Indigenous Languages – Historical] (PDF) (in Spanish), Mexico Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática, p. 2, archived from the original (PDF) on 9 September 2016
  13. ^ a b Lope Blanch (2004:29)
  14. ^ a b Hualde, José Ignacio; Carrasco, Patricio (2009). "/tl/ en español mexicano. ¿Un segmento o dos?" (PDF). Estudios de Fonética Experimental (in Spanish). XVIII: 175–191. ISSN 1575-5533.
  15. ^ "División silábica y ortográfica de palabras con "tl"". Real Académia Española (in Spanish). Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  16. ^ Montaño-Harmon, María Rosario (1 May 1991). "Discourse Features of Written Mexican Spanish: Current Research in Contrastive Rhetoric and Its Implications". Hispania. 74 (2): 417–425. doi:10.2307/344852. ISSN 0018-2133. JSTOR 344852.
  17. ^ Canfield 1981.
  18. ^ Lipski (2008), pp. 86
  19. ^ a b Parodi, Claudia (5 January 2001). "Contacto de dialectos y lenguas en el Nuevo Mundo: La vernacularización del español en América" (PDF). International Journal of the Sociology of Language (149). doi:10.1515/ijsl.2001.022. ISSN 0165-2516.
  20. ^ This same phoneme is rendered with a non-IPA symbol ⟨y⟩ by many authors, including Canfield and Lipski, using the RFE Phonetic Alphabet. In IPA, it stands for the close front rounded vowel. The IPA symbol ⟨j⟩ is also inappropriate for this sound - see Martínez Celdrán, Eugenio (2004), "Problems in the Classification of Approximants", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 34 (2): 201–210, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001732, S2CID 144568679.
  21. ^ Canfield (1981:62)
  22. ^ Peña Arce, Jaime (2015). "Yeísmo en el español de América. Algunos apuntes sobre su extensión" [Yeísmo in the Spanish spoken in America. Some notes on its extension]. Revista de Filología de la Universidad de la Laguna (in Spanish). 33: 175–199. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  23. ^ Lipski, John M. (2016). "Dialectos del Español de América: Los Estados Unidos" (PDF). In Gutiérrez-Rexach, Javier (ed.). Enciclopedia de Lingüística Hispánica (in Spanish). Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. pp. 363–374. doi:10.4324/9781315713441. ISBN 978-1138941380.
  24. ^ Lipski (1994:223–225, 227–228, 230)
  25. ^ Lipski (1994:224)
  26. ^ Brown, Esther L.; Torres Cacoullos, Rena (January 2002). "Que le vamoh aher? Taking the syllable out of Spanish /s/ reduction". University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics. 8 (3).
  27. ^ Brown, Dolores (1993). "El polimorfismo de la /s/ explosiva en el noroeste de México". Nueva Revista de Filología Hispánica. 41 (1): 159–176. doi:10.24201/nrfh.v41i1.928. JSTOR 40299214.
  28. ^ López Berrios & Mendoza Guerrero 1997, cited in Bills & Vigil 2008
  29. ^ a b "Características del español hablado en México | Voces | Unidad 4: México | Acceso". acceso.ku.edu (in Spanish). Retrieved 22 March 2022.
  30. ^ Marden 1896, section 42.
  31. ^ Marden 1896, sections 27, 30.
  32. ^ Marden 1896, sections 48, 52.
  33. ^ Michnowicz, Jim; Carpenter, Lindsey (3 December 2013). "Voiceless stop aspiration in Yucatan Spanish: A sociolinguistic analysis". Spanish in Context. 10 (3): 410–437. doi:10.1075/sic.10.3.05mic. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  34. ^ Lastra, Yolanda; Butragueño, Pedro Martín (25 February 2015). "Chapter 3. Subject Pronoun Expression in Spanish: A Cross-Dialectal Perspective". In Carvalho, Ana M.; Orozco, Rafael; Lapidus Shin, Naomi (eds.). Subject Pronoun Expression in Oral Mexican Spanish (1st ed.). Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. pp. 39–58. ISBN 9781626161702. Retrieved 13 October 2021 – via Google Books.
  35. ^ Canfield (1981:61)
  36. ^ Cotton & Sharp (1988:154–155)
  37. ^ Lope Blanch (1972:53)
  38. ^ Sanz, Israel; Villa, Daniel J. (1 September 2011). "The Genesis of Traditional New Mexican Spanish: The Emergence of a Unique Dialect in the Americas" (PDF). Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics. 4 (2): 417–442. doi:10.1515/shll-2011-1107. S2CID 163620325. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  39. ^ Kany, p.330
  40. ^ Mackenzie, Ian. "Varieties of Spanish" (PDF).
  41. ^ "GÜERO". Etimologías de Chile - Diccionario que explica el origen de las palabras (in Spanish). Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  42. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe (1888). History of the Pacific States of North America: California pastoral. A.L. Bancroft & Company. p. 529.
  43. ^ a b c d Hernández Cuevas, Marco Polo (June 2012). "The Mexican Colonial Term "Chino" Is a Referent of Afrodescendant". The Journal of Pan African Studies. 5 (5).
  44. ^ "Spanish quote gets prince into trouble". DutchNews.nl. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  45. ^ Bills & Vigil 2008, pp. 14–17.
  46. ^ "Spanish diminutives: "pequeño" "pequeñito" or "pequeñito" "pequeñín"". Practica Español. 9 July 2019.
  47. ^ Dávila Garibi, J. Ignacio (1959). "Posible influencia del náhuatl en el uso y abuso del diminutivo en el español de México" [Possible influence of Nahuatl on the use and abuse of the diminutive in Mexican Spanish] (PDF). Estudios de Cultura Náhuatl (in Spanish). 1: 91–94.
  48. ^ López Austin, Alfredo (1989). "Sobre el origen del falso dativo -le del español de México" [On the origin of the false dative -le of Mexican Spanish]. Anales de Antropología (in Spanish). 26: 407–416.
  49. ^ Ibarra, Navarro (2009). Predicados complejos con le en español mexicano [Complex predicates with le in Mexican Spanish] (PDF) (Doctoral thesis) (in Spanish). Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
  50. ^ Satorre Grau, Javier F. (1999). Los posesivos en español [Possessives in Spanish]. Cuadernos de Filología: Anejo XXXV. Universitat de València. pp. 65–69.
  51. ^ Sulbarán Lovera, Patricia (6 February 2019). "Mexicanos en Estados Unidos: las cifras que muestran su verdadero poder económico" [Mexicans in the United States: the figures that show their true economic power]. BBC News Mundo (in Spanish).
  52. ^ Noack, Rick (24 September 2015). "The future of language". The Washington Post.
  53. ^ Carrizales, Katie Suzanne; Tinoco, Elsa Marisol Olmos (2016). "LA INFLUENCIA DEL INGLÉS EN EL ESPAÑOL DE MÉXICO" [THE INFLUENCE OF ENGLISH ON MEXICAN SPANISH]. Jóvenes en la Ciencia (in Spanish). 2 (1): 1757–1762. ISSN 2395-9797.
  54. ^ de Alba, José G. Moreno (1981), Salazar, Roque González (ed.), "Observaciones sobre el español en la frontera norte de México", La frontera norte, integración y desarrollo (1 ed.), El Colegio de Mexico, pp. 85–94, doi:10.2307/j.ctv26d8jg.8, ISBN 978-968-12-0059-6, JSTOR j.ctv26d8jg.8, retrieved 22 March 2022
  55. ^ Spitzova, Eva (1991). "Estudio coordinado de la norm lingüística culta de las principales ciudades de Iberoamérica y de la Península Ibérica: Proyecto y realización" [Coordinated study of the cultured linguistic norm of the main cities of Ibero-America and the Iberian Peninsula: Project and realization] (PDF). Sborník Prací Filozofické Fakulty Brnenské Univerzity (in Spanish).


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Jergas de habla hispana—A Spanish dictionary specializing in dialectal and colloquial variants of Spanish, featuring all Spanish-language countries including Mexico.
  • Latin American Spanish—This is the universal and somewhat arbitrary name that is given to idiomatic and native expressions and to the specific vocabulary of the Spanish language in Latin America.
  • Güey Spanish—Mexican slang dictionary and flashcards.
  • Mexican Spanish slang—Several hundred words of Mexican slang and English meanings.