spanish language in Cuba

The Spanish spoken in Latin America is not the same as the one use in Spain. Although there are some differences, even  national or regional, communication is not affected. Normally, the formal second person plural USTEDES is used for both formal and informal instead of informal second person plural VOSOTROS. Another characteristic of the Spanish spoken in this continent is that letters C and Z are pronounced like S, while in Spain C and Z are different. They are pronounced  like TH in English, as in THANK YOU.

Other differences are present in the Caribbean area in particular, since in countries such as Cuba, Venezuela, the Caribbean territory of Colombia, Dominican Republic, Panama and Puerto Rico, Spanish is similarly spoken and it is not too difficult for foreign people to understand us due to our expressiveness and gestures,  that makes communication easier.

Cuban Specific Features.

Grammar: a more frequent use of the simple past  tense (pretérito) instead of present perfect  (pretérito perfecto) in actions that happened in recent past, as in the following examples:

Desayuné temprano (Cuba).

He desayunado temprano (Spain).

Pronunciation: the following tendencies prevail.

The pronunciation in the Caribbean area is closer to the way Spanish is pronounced in Andalucia (Southern Spain) but, in general, Canarian and Caribbean Variants are more alike. There is also a tendency to pronounce words or terms of English origin closer to English pronunciation than in Spain, for example: in the words pyjamas and jersey, “J” is pronounced like “Y” in yellow, while in Spain is pronounced similar to “H” in house (even stronger, as German “CH”).

 

Word

Pronunciation in Spain

Pronunciation in Cuba

Pijama

Pijama

Piyama

Jersey

Jersey

Yersi

CD

Ce De

Ci Di

DVD

De Ve De

DI Vi Di

 

People normally eliminate “S” and other final consonants in oral speech: “tú come”, (you eat)  instead of “tú comes”. Besides that,  “S” before “P”, “B”, “T”, “D”, “K”, “G”,  is  aspirated by them, and pronounced like the “H” in “house” in words such as “esperar” or “casco”.

 

Word

Pronunciation in Cuba

Esperar

E(j)perar

Casco

Ca(j)co

Puesto

Pue(j)to

Desde

De(j)de

Final “R” is deformed and pronounced with a sound similar to “N” or a clear “L”. So “amor” (love) becomes “amon” or “amol”. “R” may be assimilated by the following consonant. As a result “verde” (green) becomes “vedde”, “parque” (park) becomes “pacque”.

Vocabulary: in all languages there are regional differences and variants, most of them are related to food, dress, objects, etc. The same happens in both Spain, its autonomous  communities , historical regions and Latin American countries, as well.

Word in Spain

Word in Cuba

Inglés (English)

patata

papa

potato

mandioca

yuca

manioc

batata

boniato

sweet potato

banana

plátano

banana

pomelo

toronja

grape fruit

falda

saya

skirt

cajón

gaveta

drawer

armario

escaparate

wardrobe

autobús

guagua

bus

We teach Spanish according  to books written by Spanish authors willing to use a rather more international  Spanish including our own Cuban approach.

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