What Types of Spanish Are Spoken in the U.S.?

[ 0 ] November 10, 2015 |

By Sarah-Claire Jordan

Spanish in the United States by countyIt’s no secret at this point that Spanish spoken by a large number of people in the U.S. It just happens to be the second most spoken language in the U.S., with 45 million speakers, native and non-native, throughout the country. In terms of geography and history, it makes sense that there would be so many Hispanics living in the U.S., as Mexico borders it to the south, and the Caribbean has a handful of Spanish-speaking islands. A lot of the land that is now California, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and other southwestern states used to be part of Mexico, and the language and culture persevered in many cases.

The fact that the U.S. is a country largely made up of immigrants should account for the rest of the Spanish speakers. Here are the most common varieties of Spanish spoken in the U.S.:

1. Mexican Spanish

Mexican Spanish accounts for about 10 different varieties of the language, actually, all from different parts of Mexico. Due to the proximity of Mexico and its history with the U.S., it becomes clear why this is the most commonly spoken type of Spanish in the U.S. Over half of the Spanish speakers in the U.S. are of Mexican heritage, and the standardized dialect of Spanish that is used in most of the U.S., which includes what is taught in schools. Mexican Spanish is mostly spoken in the southwest, including Texas and California, as well as Chicago.

2. Caribbean Spanish

Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Panamanian, Venezuelan, and some varieties of Colombian Spanish are all considered Caribbean Spanish. Most of these varieties of Spanish are actually based on Andalusian Spanish, as most of the original colonists of those areas hailed from the Andalusia region of Spain. You can also hear African linguistic and cultural influences in these varieties, due to the slaves that were brought over to work in those areas. Caribbean Spanish is spoken in New York City, Miami, and other major cities on the east coast.

3. Central American Spanish

The varieties of Spanish spoken in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, are all considered Central American Spanish. These types of Spanish are all grouped together, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a great amount of variation from one country of origin to another. Just like in other Hispanic countries, this all depends a lot on what kind of indigenous groups live (or lived) on those lands. The slang of each country can be a good way to see the influence of indigenous languages.

Spanglish could also be added to this list, but, as it isn’t really a dialect of Spanish, maybe it shouldn’t be. There are also many people of Hispanic heritage who are just learning the language of their origins, and so may speak a bit differently from native speakers. All of these things considered, it is still astounding to see so many dialects and varieties spoken in our country.

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