November 14, 2007

Speaking like a Boricua

Sorry for the long pause between posts, this will be updated regularly once I really get it started. I've been putting off this post for a while because it's one of the most important ones.

Puerto Rico shares several attributes with Caribbean Spanish in general. These include:

  • S /s/ > j /h/ or nothing
This is absolutely vital for understanding Puerto Rican Spanish. Basically, any "s" at the end of a syllable turns into the same sound as "h" in English. Thus, ¿Cómo estás? becomes ¿Cómo ejtáj? (or just ¿Cómo 'táj?), español becomes ejpañol, etc. Also, ¿Qué es eso? (used often in PR; not sure about other places) sounds more like ¿Qué jeso?.
Also keep in mind that occasionally the s can be completely left out, but I think this is more Dominican than Puerto Rican.
  • D /d/ is dropped to make dipthongs

This is mostly used with adjectives: cansao (or cansá), aburrío (or aburría), enfogonao (or enfogoná--this means angry, by the way). B can also be dropped in speech, as in "Dia'lo" instead of "Diablo"

  • J /x/ > /h/ (English h)

None of those Spanish jotas for Puerto Rico! It sounds identical to the H in English.

  • Final R /r/ > /l/

This doesn't ALWAYS happen. Basically, r's at the end of a syllable sound like l's. This mostly occurs in verbs, like estar (ejtal), buscar (bujcal), etc. Notice you can't use this with words like hablar, because it sounds strange.

And the change that is unique to Puerto Rico is...

  • RR > /x/ (as in Spanish j)

This isn't used very often anymore, and if you use it you'll sound really jíbaro (to be explained later!). But you'll still hear it occasionally. Therefore, arroz becomes axój (or ajó', if you prefer to think of it like that).

And that's it!

I tried looking for a video to show this off, particularly with English or Spanish subtitles, but it's a little difficult. I'm sure I'll find something soon and when that happens I'll pass it along.

1 comment:

Bea said...

Oh my god, that video idea sounds awesome! I should totally do that! :-D