Talk:Puerto Rican Spanish

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"is spoken so poorly no one can understand it..."[edit]

Am I the only one who takes offense to this statement? It is the least subjective line I've ever read on any Wiki. I've never had any problem communicating with people from other countries and I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and only moved away from there very recently. There are times when I may use a word somebody doesn't understand without noticing (for example, "guiar" in the context of driving, not guiding), but as soon as somebody asks me what I said I quickly use a word they'd recognize ("manejar" or "conducir"). We all have our slip-ups but it's not the lowest of lows in Spanish. Our vocabulary actually parallels official Spanish more than others', while our pronounciation is mostly geared towards saying things as quickly as possible, we know for sure how they are correctly pronounced and written.

Claiming there is such a thing as a "normal Spanish variant" is preposterous. Spanish is Spanish and the main thing we differ in is pronounciation and the rhythm of our speech. I've spoken with Argentinians, Colombians, Mexicans, Dominicans, Ecuatorians, Cubans... and in all cases it was just a matter of getting used to their accents. Answa (talk) 19:38, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Variants of Hispanic English and Spanglish[edit]

I'm under the impression that there are also Puerto Rican varieties of Hispanic English and Spanglish.

So far, I know far more about the Spaniards than I do about the Puerto Ricans. Gringo300 05:38, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

  • You're right, and I'll do my best to address those, somehow. However, it is an extensive topic. The term "Spanglish" was coined by a Puerto Rican, and yet most Spanglish known to Americans has (rather logically) a Mexican/Chicano twist to it. OTOH, Latino English spoken by Puerto Ricans is a topic that has to be developed carefully. I've tried to start with the most basic reference to it: that for Goleta English... Demf 17:14, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
I'll add a little note to that: There are two definitions of the term "Spaniard"- a nationality and an ethnicity. In the above comments, I meant Spaniards by ethnicity. Gringo300 (talk) 21:18, 28 August 2013 (UTC)


I removed the following text string:

REDIRECT TO Spanish dialects and varieties

--Dpr 03:24, 8 September 2005 (UTC) The real Puerto Rico Spanish comes from Spain. It is pure castillian language approved by the Real Academia del Lenguaje Castellano. The Puerto Rico English comes from England. Both languages are tought in Public and Private schools. It happens in North America and Latin America by slangs, coloquialism and the different socio-economical groups.

Just an observation the topic you are trying to address is very sensitive. It can be taken in a derrogatory manner for both english and spanish speaking persons. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:06, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

So much missing[edit]

Why are all the examples in CAPS? Almost none of the linguistic information here is unique to Puerto Rico, so why is this even an entry? This should be part of the Caribbean Spanish page. Moreover, no mention of the Erre/RR [ɾ] to Jota/J [x] switch often done in the Puerto Rican Spanish variant (e.g. rice with beans arroz con habichuelas becomes ajo cong habichuela). Citations also needed for your inferences.

  • I beg to differ. Merely because the topic has not been developed fully (and it is a hard topic to develop, since there's definitely a need for very specific technical info that is mainly the realm of linguists and social studies types) does not mean that it deserves to be deleted. We do agree that it needs to be developed further, however. Besides the basic Spanish language grammar and vocabulary common to everyone who speaks decent Spanish, Puerto Rican Spanish is not at all like that of either Cuba (heavily influenced by Asturian and Galician immigration) or the Dominican Republic (where the Taino and archaic Spanish influences are more pronounced); the accents are different, the influences are not dosed equally for those that are indeed common to the three countries, and are quite different when they do vary. In this article there's no mention about Andalusian influences in Puerto Rican Spanish, for example (I dare to theorize that the Puerto Rican accent is, say, 40% Canary Islander, 25% that of Seville and environs, 25% African, and perhaps the rest a mix of Taino, American English, and other European influences). What you just mentioned above is quite probably a Corsican contribution to Puerto Rican Spanish (believe it or not; a fricative r tends to point more to French than to Spanish, but in Corsica its pronunciation is a bit more sharp), which is more evident in southwestern Puerto Rico, the original settling ground for many Corsicans. Let's keep this, but let's also give it time to rise... Demf 17:14, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
  • While you raise many good points, I think your assertion that Puerto Ricans and Cubans and Domincands sounds "nothing" alike is quite absurd. The differences in their accents are quite miniscule to almost non existant. most of the words used in the article are also used in Cuba (im guessing the dominican republic too but I've never been there), maybe with a little variation (it says Puerto Ricans say Jíbaro for the campesinos of Puerto Rico, which sounds very close to the Cuban word for the same, Guajiro). The carribean spanish page is sorely lacking and it would be nice to have either a comprehensive one, or a seperate page for Cuban spanish. I dont feel personally qualified to start it but it would be nice, and I would certainly contribute to it if it existed.
You make some bold claims in the previous paragraph, yet you don't support them with evidence. Lack of NPOV rears its ugly head here... 18:57, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
I have a related point; if there are no objections I would like to remove "NA'MA" and so forth. That section is supposed to be for lexical peculiarities of Puerto Rican speech, which this obviously is not. Phonetic peculiarities had already been covered in another section. Also, if I recall there were a couple of entries in that section which may have belonged there but were spelled in ways presumably designed to evoke the Puerto Rican accent; this practice is infamously unhelpful for the lay reader and of course not the professional practice in linguistics.

While most academic sources, and even the DRAE lists Puerto Rico as indeed having lexical differences and usages, this is a encyclopedia, not a book of lists. While due to the limited audience academic books on the topic are hard to come by, they are indeed available. Maria Vaquero published such a study, and so have others. So I do think the anonymous poster is wrong to minimize the academic views on the differences.

But we are wrong in continuing to publish and add anecdotical, unverifiable, and in general bad quality information to this page. While the page itself is needed, it cannot continue to be in this state of disrepair. I will start to delete all unverifiable information, and verify sources. The article as it stands looks like a second year college paper, and a bad one at that because no sources are cited.

For example, the whole stuff on "Canarian Spanish" is subject to quite a lot of academic debate: Sephardic Jews among others described themselves as "Canarios" to disguise their lack of "Spanish" accent.

If it doesn't get fixed we will have to make deep cuts. I am ashamed of this page.--Cerejota 06:43, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Well actually Dominican Spanish is actually more African influenced than it is Taino. I would say as whole Caribbean Spanish is like this:

  • Puerto Rican Spanish = Heavily Canarian and Analusian Spanish but with some Taino-Arawak sounds and words with very little African influence but many words.
  • Cuban Spanish = Canarian Spanish with influences from Northern and Eastern Spanish dialects from Spain with some Taino and African words.


I have John Lipski's Latin American Spanish with me, which discusses some of the most notable features (as of the early 1990s or so) of the dialects of each country in Latin America. When I have more time in the next few days, hopefully I'll be able to clean up this article a bit and cite some stuff. Cleanup will be...difficult, though. I'll do what I can! Hopefully! --Miskwito 22:35, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

This will be a much welcome effort. This page is needed, and some of the information is relevant and verifiable, but a lot is hearsay, and original research. If only I had time...--Cerejota 06:29, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

I think it is apparent how unprofessionally written this article is, especially the last section showing some of the meanings of the Puerto Rican dialect. I will come back later to help clean it up. --Dgcaste 09:35, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Conflicts with this page[edit]

After reading the article and the above comments I think I can point out some problems with this article:

First, the list of vocabulary mixes all of the words that are from all influences are included on the list, as well as words that are just the way people pronounce the words whether or not they are influenced by other words from Africa, Tainos, etc. Also, so many examples are not needed, not to mention that not all explanations don't seem accurate nor well stated and of course as everyone has noted there are no citations/references for any of them.

Second, I think there needs to be a separate section on particular pronunciation of the Puerto Rican Spanish (possibly titled Phonology). While it has some similarities with the Spanish from Cuba and the Dominican Republic, a person (at least one from Puerto Rico) can clearly tell the difference from a Cuban, Dominican or Puerto Rican accent. So I disagree with the statement that the differences "are quite miniscule to almost non existent". While it is true that all three cultures have many similarities (the mere fact that all three countries were under Spanish rule at one point is enough), there are still notable differences in each speech and thus the reason why there are three separate articles on each of these variations of Spanish.

A comment on the example given:

"rice with beans arroz con habichuelas becomes ajo cong habichuela"

I do not think this is an accurate representation of the "rr" since "ajo" is actually another word in Spanish (meaning "garlic") but it is a very true peculiarity in the language which I think should definitely be mentioned in the article and is currently missing. --Madgirl 15 (talk) 10:12, 5 January 2008 (UTC)


I'm afraid I have to take issue with this entire article. I know that it is a pervasive misapprehension in the United States that Spanish has many "dialects" throughout the world, but this is simply not true. All the details of variations in pronounciation, and the idiosyncratic words which sometimes appear in everyday Puerto Rican speech, are indeed true as described in the article. But I must emphasize that these phonological variations are trivial, do not denote a true "dialect," and are mainly used in casual, careless speech, much like stateside Americans may use "ain't" and ungrammatical constructions such as "could have did" and "should have went." (The latter two are particularly common, almost universally used, actually, in the region of northwest Florida and southern Alabama, where I reside.)

You would not hear words like "pa" for "para," or r's pronounced as l's in a university lecture, or in a serious news broadcast, for example. Nobody would use such careless language in a job interview, or other formal occassions. Furthermore, the language as written is exactly Spanish and nothing else. It's hardly a dialect if the written form is indistinguishable from the root language.

There are many words that are peculiar to Puerto Rico. Some obvious examples are "guagua" for bus, china (which means "chinese woman") for orange (the fruit, not the color), and "Zafacon" for garbage can (actually a corruption of the English term "safety can."). However, it is important to note that the formal Spanish terms for those items, "autobus", "naranja", etc. are all recognized and used at times also in common speech. The Puerto Rican terms are more common, but are added to the language, they do not supplant the formal Spanish terms.

Much is made also of "spanglish" and other nonsensical notions of how Puerto Ricans speak. It is true that there is a tremendous English influence in Puerto Rico, since it is part of the United States. Thus, many times English words are used, such as "truck" for "camion." Once again, the Spanish word is not lost, and often used, but the English words are sort of thrown in for convenience, as is the habit of attaching a Spanish ending on to an English word, such as "parkear" for "estacionar" (meaning to park a car). Once again, this is just plain sloppy and incorrect speech, NOT A DIALECT OR ANOTHER LANGUAGE, and is recognized as such by all who occassionally indulge in its convenience in informal speech, including this writer. Nobody in his right mind would use such language in a formal occassion, in a serious magazine or journal article, in a book or lecture setting, in short, in any situation where one felt that attention to precise speech was required. It is careless slang pure and simple, and everybody knows it, and nobody is foolish enough (except for stateside Americans) to think it's a separate or distinct language.

Puerto Ricans can speak to any Spanish speaker from any country in the world without a trace of difficulty, and the language is identical. Regional slang and idiosyncratic regional vocabulary are trivial variations and don't interfere with comprehension any more than a person from Alabama would be bewildered because a milk-shake is a "cabinet" in Connecticut. I am in fact a native Spanish speaker from Puerto Rico, I've traveled, and communicated with Spanish speakers in most Latin American countries, and spent time in Spain. I know for a fact, Spanish is Spanish, I don't speak a "dialect," and there is no communication barriers between Spanish speakers anywhere. I recommend that this article be re-titled or revised to reflect that it deals with regional language variations, and that the foolish word "dialect" be removed from it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cd195 (talkcontribs) 17:18, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

I second the motion. It should be removed. Puerto Rican Spanish is NOT a dialect. I can easily understand people from Spain, and most Central and South American countries. "Variation" or an equivalent to this should be placed instead.--Madgirl 15 (talk) 21:51, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

As a person from Colombia and having lived in Florida for about 9 years, I can argue against the above opinion that "Puerto Ricans can speak to any Spanish speaker from any country in the world without a trace of difficulty". When I first moved to FL, it took a couple of years (and living with a boyfriend of PR origin) for me to grasp the Spanish they were speaking, otherwise I would have to ask him to translate or to speak slowly. More to the point, there is what is considered by many linguists and scholars to be an English dialect, African American Vernacular English, which may give credence to the "dialect" argument (or it may not, just a thought). Also, there is a Wikipedia article on Caribbean Spanish which explains the change of sounds mentioned earlier, namely "arroz con habichuelas"-->"aXó cong abichuela" (the X being the aspirated J mentioned above). I found that explanation to be very representative of the Puerto Rican Spanish I became accustomed to and have heard from Caribbean Colombians.日本が愛してるよ! (talk) 10:37, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

More on "dialect"[edit]

If you are Colombian and have difficulty understanding a Puerto Rican, I suggest any of the numerous excellent hearing-aid devices now available. As a matter of fact, Colombian speech is much more similar to Puerto Rican speech than other Latin American accents. As a Puerto Rican, I can usually easily tell if a person speaking Spanish to me is Mexican or Argentinian, but a Colombian sounds pretty much like the Spanish in Puerto Rico. I can't imagine what the person who wrote the above comment can possibly be referring to. She arrives to the US from Colombia and needs a translator to speak to a Puerto Rican? Give me a break! That's ridiculous! Either you are exaggerating for the sake of dramatic emphasis, or you are not a native Spanish speaker, or you have a serious hearing impairment. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cd195 (talkcontribs) 05:52, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

I disagree with you on this. I am Puerto Rican and you are not referring to Colombians in general. You are referring to those that live on the coast like Baranquilla. They consider themselves Carribean as they had pretty much the same settlers from Spain as we did. Their Spanish is very different from lets say someone from Medellin. They speak a more Castillian Spanish. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:02, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

I am speaking of broad linguistic differences, and you are speaking of trivial local variations in colloquial speech. These are two very different things. So-called "Castillian" Spanish is neither a dialect, a separate language, nor "very different" from so-called "Caribbean" Spanish. If you are Puerto Rican, born and raised, and speak Spanish as your first language, you CANNOT tell me that "seseo" throws you for a loop, and that you can't understand someone from Medellin because he might say "vos" instead of "tu" or "usted." Geez, quite feeding this insane myth that Spanish has dialects and a Puerto Rican can't speak to a Spaniard! And you a Puerto Rican, for Pete's sake! Shame on you! (talk) 17:25, 4 August 2012 (UTC)


See Puerto_Rican_accents for discussion on possible merger.--el Aprel (facta-facienda) 20:51, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

I know this request is almost a year old, but is it all right if I can help with the merge? --Daniel Blanchette 02:44, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
Sure, go ahead. - Caribbean~H.Q. 03:11, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

'Accent: Features' needs revision[edit]

According to it, syllable final s -> h & any r -> χ, but at the same time it gives [las muˈheɾeh] instead of [lah (...)] & 'Puelto Rico' instead of '... [χ]ico' (whatever way it may be spelt without using IPA). When I tried to make it coherent, it was deemed bordering on vandalism by Ubiquity, apparently not a Spanish speaker himself either. (talk) 21:57, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

I am very sorry I mistook your efforts for vandalism. At the time, it didn't look right to me, but now I understand. I restored the change and removed the vandalism notice from your talk page. ubiquity (talk) 09:55, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
Never mind, thank you! (talk) 16:10, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Pure original research[edit]

This article sound as pure Original Research. It has been tagged as "in need of sources" since 2007, to no avail. I'll be doing some heavy clean up on it soon. Material that is not supported by reliable sources will be removed. We may end up with a stub, what can be good for a fresh, more cautious, new beginning. --damiens.rf 14:37, 6 August 2014 (UTC)