Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks, right?



Back by popular demand, here is free-agent-to-be Corey Walz’s second guest post on redanglespanish. He can be reached at cwalz@ou.edu.  



















True, both are “Cerveza” (I’m a 5th year college student… I know cerveza.). But phonetically speaking, one of these is not spelled correctamente.


Cerveza (thayr-BAY-thah) is Spanish Spanish.

Cerveza (sayr-BAY-sah) is Mexican Spanish.



This is my point. The lenguas are diferente. Just as English from England and English from the ole US of A are different. Just as English from North Dakota and English from N’awlins are different. Despite most people’s general understanding of multiple dialects within a single language, this cerveza diferencia has posed some problems for me.


For example… here in Chicago, Mexican Spanish is the predominant lengua.  After living in Spain, I speak Spanish Spanish. Now Mexican Spanish-speakers make fun of me (even though I speak the original Thpanith, cough…) because I say Cerveza wrong. Among other things.


Another difference is Vale (BAH-lay). This term is used frequently in Spain to say “OK?” Let me give you an example…. OK, here’s one: So I’m driving along with my novia and she’s giving me the play-by-play – direcciónes – once my bumper leaves the garage… and every 200 feet after that. Now… I’m not listening. I have the attention span of a 6-month-old Yorkie. She knows this. When she’s done, she asks “Okay?”


In Spain Spanish, we’d say “¿Vale?” However, in Mexico “vale” is not used much. Mexican Spanish might say ¿’ta bien?  meaning  “You good?” (For the record: when offered directions from other humans, I typically just say, “Yeah, yeah, thanks… I got it.” Then I promptly get lost.)


These are just two differences. There are many more, the most colorful examples of which are more R-rated than I am willing to explain on this platform. But buy me a cerveza and we’re on….


What’s the point?


Know your audience. Don’t assume because they are speaking Spanish they are Mexican. Or whatever. The speaker could be Puerto Rican, Peruvian, Chilean, Argentinian, Spanish, or many other nacionalidades. Each has a distinct dialect.


Pay attention to the cultures you are interacting with.

Don’t be ignorant.

Respect people.



Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it.

If you didn’t, you’re wrong.



Want proof?



Spain is in the finals of EURO 2012.

¡Viva España!










Categories: Jobsite Leadership

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