The Spanish spoken in Cuba (and Latin America) differs from the Spanish spoken in Spain. For example, the formal second person plural USTEDES is used for both formal and informal conversations; USTEDES replaces the informal second person plural VOSOTROS. Another characteristic of Latin American Spanish is that the letters “C” and “Z” are pronounced like S, while in Spain “C” and “Z” are pronounced differently. They are pronounced like TH, as in THANK YOU.
In Spanish Caribbean countries such as Cuba, Venezuela, the Caribbean territory of Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Puerto Rico, our spoken Spanish is similar and thanks to the expressiveness of our people, it is not too difficult for foreigners to understand us.
Other aspects of Cuban Spanish:
Grammar: We use the simple past tense (pretérito) more frequently than the present perfect (pretérito perfecto) to describe actions in the recent past, as in the following examples:
- Desayuné temprano (Cuba).
- He desayunado temprano (Spain).
Pronunciation: Although Caribbean Spanish is closer to the Spanish spoken in Andalucia (Southern Spain), Canarian and Caribbean variants are more alike. We also have a tendency to pronounce “Englishisms” like pyjamas and jersey closer to the English pronunciation. “J” is pronounced like Y in yellow, while in Spain it is pronounced “H” as in house (or even stronger, as the German “CH”).
Pronunciation in Spain
Pronunciation in Cuba
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”.
Pronunciation in Cuba
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
We teach Spanish according to books written by Spanish authors willing to use a rather more international Spanish including our own Cuban approach.