Salvadoran Spanish is geographically defined as the form of Spanish spoken in the country of El Salvador. The Spanish dialect in El Salvador shares many similarities to that of its neighbors in the region, but it has its stark differences in pronunciation and usage. El Salvador, like most of Central America, uses voseo Spanish as its written and spoken form, similar to that of Argentina. Vos is used, but many Salvadorans understand tuteo. Vos can be heard in television programs and can be seen in written form in publications. Usted is used as a show of respect, when someone is speaking to an elderly person.
Phonetics and phonology
Pronouns and verb conjugation
"Vos" is the dominant second person singular pronoun used by many speakers in familiar or informal contexts. Salvadoran Vos comes from Medieval Gothic Spain, and was brought to El Salvador by militaristic Spaniards who owned the land. Its counterparts are French Vous, Portuguese Vós. Voseo is most commonly used among people in the same age group in addressing one another. It is common to hear young children address each other with "vos." The phenomenon also occurs among adults who address one another in familiar or informal contexts. "Vos" is also used by adults in addressing children or juveniles. However, the relationship does not re-occur when children address adults. Children address adults with "usted;" regardless of age, status or context. The conservation of Voseo in Salvadoran Spanish was thanks to El Salvador's ties to the United States and Great Britain. When El Salvador became independent, it discontinued to have trade links with Spain unlike other tuteo countries. El Salvador's main trading partners were the United States and Great Britain, thus Spain did not influence El Salvador's language anymore as Spain changed to tuteo. In turn English words influenced El Salvador's spanish and voseo was conserved.
"Usted" is the formal second person singular pronoun in Salvadoran Castilian. "Usted" is used in addressing foreigners formally, for acquaintances, and in business settings. Unlike nearby Costa Rica, "usted" is not the dominant second person pronoun for addressing a person.
"Tú" is hardly used; the use of tú is limited strictly to foreigners. It is used in addressing foreigners familiarly and when writing correspondence to foreigners (again in familiar contexts).
- Aaron, Jessi Elana (University of Florida) and José Esteban Hernández (University of Texas, Pan-American). "Quantitative evidence for contact-induced accommodation: Shifts in /s/ reduction patterns in Salvadoran Spanish in Houston." In: Potowski, Kim and Richard Cameron (editors). Spanish in Contact: Policy, Social and Linguistic Inquiries (Volume 22 of Impact, studies in language and society, ISSN 1385-7908). John Benjamins Publishing, 2007. Start page 329. ISBN 9027218617, 9789027218612.