- Puerto Rican Spanish
Puerto Rican Spanish ("español puertorriqueño" IPA|/ɛs.pa.'ɲol pwɛɾ.to.ri'kɛ.ɲo/ or /ɛʰ.pa'ɲol pwɛl.to.ʁi'kɛɲo/ or /ɛʰ.pa'ɲol pwɛl.to.xi'kɛɲo/) is the Spanish language as characteristically spoken in
Puerto Ricoand by millions of people of Puerto Rican descent living in the United States of Americaand elsewhere. [ [http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hispanic/ASEC2004/2004CPS_tab1.2a.html U.S. Census, The Hispanic Population in the United States: 2004 Detailed Tables, Section I, Table 1.2] ] It belongs to the group of Caribbean Spanishvariants.
When the Spanish settlers colonized Puerto Rico in the early 16th century, many thousands of
Taínopeople lived on the island. Taíno words like "hamaca" (meaning “hammock”) and "hurakán" (meaning "hurricane") and "tobacco" came into general Spanish as the two cultures blended. Puerto Ricans still use many Taíno words that are not part of the international Spanish lexicon. The Taino influence in Puerto Rican Spanish is most evident in geographical names, such as Mayagüez, Guaynabo, Humacaoor Jayuya.
African slaves were brought to the island in the 16th century. Although 31 different African tribes have been recorded in Puerto Rico, it is the Kongo from Central Africa that is considered to have had the most impact on Puerto Rican Spanish.
panish and European influences
Since most of the original settlers of
Puerto Ricobetween the 15th and 18th centuries came from Andalusia, the basis for most of Puerto Rican Spanish is Andalusian Spanish(particularly that of Seville). For example the endings -ado, -ido, -edo often drop intervocalic /d/ in both Seville and San Juan: hablado > hablao, vendido > vendío, dedo > deo (intervocalic /d/ dropping is quite widespread in coastal American dialects). Seville Spanish is also the source of the merger of phonemes /s/ (coSer) and /θ/ (coCer) that are both pronounced /s/ in much of Andalusia and generally in all Latin America dialects. This merger is called 'seseo' and makes pairs like cocer/coser, abrazar/abrasar, has/haz, vez/ves homophonous. Another Andalusian trait is the tendency to weaken postvocalic consonants, particularly /-s/: 'los dos > lo do, 'buscar' > buhcá(l). Pronouncing "l" instead of "r" is also a trait of Puerto Rican Spanish that has its origin in southern Spain. Canarian Spanish(from the Canary Islandsoff the coast of Western Saharain Africa) also made a contribution to Puerto Rican Spanish as many "Canarios" came in hopes of establishing a better life in the Americas. Most Puerto Rican immigration in the early 19th century involved Canary Islands' natives, who, like Puerto Ricans, had inherited most of their linguistic traits from Andalusia. Canarian influence is most present in the language of those Puerto Ricans who live in the central mountain region, who blended it with the remnant vocabulary of the Taíno. Canarian and Caribbean dialects share a similar intonation which, in general terms, means that stressed vowels are usually quite long. Puerto Rican and Canarian Spanish are strikingly similar. When visiting Tenerifeor Las Palmas, Puerto Ricans are usually taken at first hearing for fellow-Canarians from a distant part of the Canary archipelago.
Later in the 19th century other Spanish immigrants from
Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, Asturiasand Galicia plus other European settlers -- mostly from France(including Corsica), Italy, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, and even some overseas Chinese -- settled in Puerto Rico. Words from these regions and countries joined the linguistic stew.
United States Influences and Puerto Rican Spanglish
Spanish-American Warof 1898, United Statesforces conquered Puerto Rico. The United States Armyand the early colonial administration tried to impose the English language on island residents. Between 1902 and 1948, the main language of instruction in public schools (used for all subjects except Spanish-language courses) was English, to such an extent that many neighboring Hispanophonecountries considered Spanish to have been altogether forgotten in Puerto RicoFact|date=August 2008 (which did not happenFact|date=August 2008). Consequently, many American English words are now found in Puerto Rican vocabularies. Although English has had a fluctuating status as a second official language of the Island, depending on the political mood of the time, from "La Fortaleza" (the governor's palace). The majority of Puerto Ricans today do not speak English at home. Spanish "remains" the mother tongue of Puerto Ricans, regardless of their political views.
Many third and fourth generation Puerto Ricans who live in the United States borrow English words or phrases in mid-sentence in a phenomenon called "
code-switching", more commonly characterized as "Spanglish". Puerto Rican writer Giannina Braschipublished the first Spanglish novel, Yo-Yo Boing!, in 1998, a book that represents the " code-switching" linguistic experience of Latino immigrants in the United States.
Puerto Rico has representation in the Royal Spanish Academy (
Real Academia Española) and has its own national academy along with all the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America.
Puerto Rican Lexicon
List of Puerto Rican slang words and phrases
Spanish dialects and varieties
ources for further studies
last = Navarro Tomás
first = Tomás
title = El español en Puerto Rico: Contribución a la geografía lingüística de Hispanoamérica
publisher = Universidad de Puerto Rico
location= Río Piedras
year = 1948
Phonology and Phonetics:
last = Alemán
first = Iris
series= Tesis de maestría.
title = Desdoblamiento fonológico en el español de Puerto Rico.
publisher = Universidad de Puerto Rico
location = Río Piedras
year = 1977
last = Figueroa
first = Neysa L.
others= Héctor Campos, Elena Herburger, Alfonso Morales-Front y Thomas J. Walsh
title = An acoustic and perceptual study of vowels preceding deleted post-nuclear /s/ in Puerto Rican Spanish.
publisher = Cascadilla Press
location = Somerville
edition= Papers from the 3rd Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, ed.
series= Hispanic Linguistics at the Turn of the Millennium
year = 2000
last = López Morales
first = Humberto
title = Estratificación social del español de San Juan de Puerto Rico.
publisher = Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
year = 1983
last = Medina-Rivera
first = Antonio
title = Variación Fonológica y Estilística en el Español de Puerto Rico.
series = Tesis doctoral
location = University of Southern California
year = 1997
last = Valentín-Márquez
first = Wilfredo
title = Doing being boricua: Nacional identities and the sociolinguistic distribution of liquid variables in Puerto Rican Spanish.
publisher = University of Michigan.
location = Ann Arbor
year = 2006
* [http://www.acaple.org/ Real Academia Española de Puerto Rico]
* [http://www.cervantesvirtual.com/FichaObra.html?Ref=19973 López Morales, Humberto: Arcaismos lexicos en el espaňol de Puerto Rico]
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