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When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a people to improvise new words to catch and crystallize

the new realities of a new land; to give birth to a new vocabulary endowed with its creators irrepressible shapes and textures and flavors; to tell tales taller and funnier than anyone else had ever thought to before; to establish a body of literature in a national grain; and to harmonize a raucous chorus of immigrant voices and regional lingoesthen this truth becomes self-evident: that a nation possesses the unalienable right to declare its linguistic independence and to spend its life and liberty in the pursuit of a voice to sing of itself in its own words. Richard Lederer

(From Topics in Spanish lexical dialectology: back to basics by Andre Moskowitz in Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference of the American Translators Association, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A., November 5-8, 2003. Scott Brennan, comp. American Translators Association, 2005. 287-343. The original publication from the Proceedings included illustrations that unfortunately do not appear in this file.)


Keywords: Spanish, regionalisms, terminology, dialectology, lexicography, sociolinguistics. Abstract: This paper presents information on Spanish-language terms that vary by region.1


When giving walking or driving directions to a stranger in Spanish, the usted command doble a la derecha is used and understood throughout the Spanish-speaking world in the sense of turn right and can be considered the international, standard, classic, neutral or unmarked way of saying this. Yet it is by no means the only way. In many countries, other phrases, such as cruce a la derecha, tuerza a la derecha, vire a la derecha or voltee a la derecha, are more common. This paper explains which phrases are most frequently used in the sense of turn right in each Spanish-speaking country, and provides information on usage that varies by region for a series of other miscellaneous items that can be considered a very small part of a native speakers basic vocabulary. Some purists decry usages such as voltee a la derecha for turn right that deviate from the international standard as a blight on the language that should be eradicated (or at least avoided in polite company or serious writing), sometimes arguing that such deviations are a threat to linguistic unity. To many dialectologists, linguists and other diversity enthusiasts, however, cases of divergence from standard or neutral usage are among the most interesting facets of language to study. Yet, in a sense, more regional and more international usages are just opposite sides of the same coin: each exists only in contrast to the other. On a practical level, information 2

on regionalisms can be useful to anyone who communicates with people from other countries or analyzes their language, such as those involved in international business, international relief efforts, the language services sector, or anyone who has a relationship with a person from a different country (especially if communication is conducted primarily, or even partially, in the other persons language or dialect). This is because the more one knows about the ins and outs of a particular countrys local linguistic norm, the greater ones communicative competence in that variety of the language. Although regional variation is the primary focus of this article, aspects of social and contextual variation are also addressed. For example, an explanation is provided when the use of different terms or phrases in a given region is marked by diglossia, that is, when complementary social functions are distributed between two coexisting forms that have the same basic meaning but correspond to different speech registers, generally a more formal, higher-prestige form, and a colloquial or popular, lower-prestige form. Throughout this article, all references to Latin America, Central America, the Antilles, specific nations, and to the gentilicios corresponding to them (adjectives such as Peruvian, Latin American, etc.), refer to the Spanish-speaking areas and communities of these regions. The material presented is catalogued under four general headings: The 3 Rs, Variable Verbs, Moody Morphology and A Few Other Essentials. The title of each section is either the items common equivalent in United States English or a description of the issue in question. A) The 3 Rs (readin, writin and rithmetic): 1) name of the letter b, 2) name of the letter v, 3) name of the letter w, 4) name of the accent mark, 5) division: the way the symbol is read in mathematical expressions such as 10 5 = 2. B) Variable Verbs: 1) hurry (up), 2) turn (right/left), 3) turn around (face the other way), 4) pull (a rope), 5) push (a button): nonstandard verbs, 6) botar: verb commonly used or not? C) Moody Morphology: 1) diminutives of words ending in t + vowel (e.g. gatito or gatico?), 2) gender of chance (masculine or feminine?), 3) gender of radio (the device), 4) gender of riel, 5) gender of sartn, 6) forms of address (t, vos, usted) used by parent when addressing child and child when addressing parent. D) A Few Other Essentials: 1) today, 2) good morning, 3) brown, 4) string / twine, 5) band-aid, 6) styrofoam, 7) cachivaches (regional equivalents). Each section is divided into four subsections: 1) 2) 3) 4) Summary Terms by Country Details Real Academia Regional Review



These subsections present a synopsis of the regional variation of each item by juxtaposing more pan-Hispanic forms with more regional ones, and by contrasting regions where more international or more regional forms are used. 0.2 Terms or Phrases by Country

These subsections consist of lexico-geographic tables in which the terms or phrases used in Spain and the nineteen Spanish-speaking countries of the Western Hemisphere are presented. The countries are listed in (more or less) geographical order, and in some of these subsections the most regionally marked usages appear in boldface. Information was collected, by one or several of the following methods, from native speakers of Spanish who have spent most of their lives in a single Spanish-speaking country: 1) through observation in the countries themselves; 2) by showing informants the item, or a picture of the item, or by giving them a description of the item (sometimes using pantomime) and asking them to give the term or phrase most commonly used in their region for it; and, 3) by asking informants who are highly proficient in United States English to give the equivalents of English-language terms and phrases that are used in their native regions. Informants or respondents were of varying backgrounds and educational levels, although the majority were well educated. The numbers of respondents from each of the twenty Spanishspeaking countries that participated in this study were as follows: eight from Paraguay, between twenty and thirty from Mexico, Cuba, Colombia and Argentina, and between twelve and twenty from each of the remaining fifteen countries. In this section, when the data collected indicated that a single term or phrase is clearly dominant in a particular country, only one term or phrase appears next to the country in question, whereas when the data showed a fair amount of competition between two or more usages, several are listed next to the country with the most common usage appearing first; the one exception is section D4.2 (string / twine), in which the terms are listed alphabetically. In previous articles on Spanish regionalisms by the author2, actual ratios or percentages of respondents answers were listed, but in this paper the most commonly used terms will be presented without the ratios. The advantage of providing the statistics is that the reader can see the actual percentages of the pool of respondents that gave each response. However, since no specific information on the respondents characteristics was offered, these ratios__it can be argued__are of limited use. The advantage of not presenting the statistics is that the readers attention is drawn directly to the authors conclusions, in which many readers may be more interested. 4



In these subsections more detailed information is provided on regional variation, contextual variation, social variation, linguistic attitudes, and spelling/etymological issues. The linguistic convention of placing an asterisk before a term that is nonexistent or clearly incorrect will be used (e.g. the incorrect *ve labial). Some of these subsections have a paragraph entitled A few also said, which lists terms that were given by a small minority of informants from specific countries, typically one to three out of the fifteen or twenty who were queried or observed. Which of these usages occur in many other countries, which are used by numerically important groups in specific countries, and which are highly idiosyncratic (maverick usages) are issues to be resolved by further research. Other subsections have a paragraph called Isoglosses. These paragraphs pose the question of where the linguistic borders or isoglosses of the terms lie. In which cases do these frontiers coincide with the countries geopolitical borders, and in which cases do they occur somewhere within one of the countries? In mapping out a series of imaginary overland routes, one wonders at what point along the trip would most people stop using one term or phrase and start using another. 0.4 Real Academia Regional Review

These subsections present an evaluation of the 2001 edition of the Diccionario de la Lengua Espaola (the Dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy), often referred to here as the Dictionary. Its coverage of the regional usages described in this article is evaluated using the following grading scale: A Corresponding definition, correct regions. This grade is given when the Dictionary defines the term as used in a particular section of this article and correctly indicates the countries and/or regions in which the term is used in this sense. Corresponding definition, incorrect regions. This grade is given when the Dictionary defines the term as used in the section and specifies a region or regions but does not specify them correctly. Its definition either fails to include regions in which the usage occurs or includes regions where the usage does not occur. However, the grade of B is raised to an A if the Dictionarys definition is appropriate, Amr. (Amrica, that is, Spanish-speaking Latin America) is specified in the definition, and the term is used in ten or more (over 50%) of the nineteen Spanish-speaking Latin American countries. Corresponding definition, no regions specified. This grade is given when the Dictionary defines the term as used in the section but does not specify any countries or regions in which the term is used in this sense. In essence, it fails to identify the usage as regional. However, the grade of C is raised to an A if the term is used in at least ten (at least 50%) of the twenty Spanish-speaking countries. 5


No corresponding definition. This grade is given when the Dictionary does not include in its definition of the term a sense that corresponds to the section. Term not in dictionary. This grade is given when the Dictionary does not list the term at all.

The purpose of this evaluation is to expose errors, gaps and inconsistencies in specific definitions in the hope that they will be modified in future editions of the Dictionary so that they accurately describe usage in the Spanish-speaking world from a more international perspective. At the very least, the issues raised should be investigated by the Dictionarys researchers. The same test could be applied to other monolingual and bilingual Spanish-language dictionaries. * * *

There are two general questions the author would like to pose, one addressing nationalist versus internationalist approaches to dictionary content and definitions, and the other dealing with the methodology used to collect data on regionalisms. We can ask the following question regarding approaches to lexicography: Should general monolingual dictionaries of international languages (such as English and Spanish) restrict their coverage to the language of a single national variety, or should they try to be international in scope and attempt to capture the vocabulary and usage of all national varieties of that language? The American lexicographer Sydney Landau not only advocates the nationalist approach, but suggests that it is nearly impossible to give in-depth treatment to more than a single national variety. He believes dictionaries should focus on one national standard, and indicate that this is their intent in the preface, and possibly even in the title of the dictionary (for example, by titling a work Dictionary of Australian English rather than Dictionary of the English Language). If, in the past, British dictionaries, and to a lesser extent American dictionaries, could assume that the language they represented was simply English, without qualification, those days are gone. Not only do these dictionaries, quite naturally, give special attention to the variety that their audience uses and mainly encounters, but the defining vocabulary (in linguistic terms, the metalanguage) employs the particular variety as well... Even dictionaries that trumpet their international coverage reflect a single variety of English in their metalanguage and can give only a superficial treatment to other varieties. Although most of the differences between American and British English are known, economic considerations preclude giving the amount of space that would be required in an American dictionary for adequate coverage of British English, and vice versa. Neither Americans nor British are that interested in the minutiae of each others varieties, especially if that means omitting information relating to their own variety. Other varieties have not been as fully studied as British and American English and may be in the process of rapid change; there is even less likelihood 6

that they will be represented adequately in British or American dictionaries. Therefore, all English dictionaries should acknowledge, either in their titles or in their prefatory matter, what variety of English they represent, or at least which variety is primary, even if their variety happens to be one used by many more speakers as a mother tongue than as a second or foreign language. I do not think American dictionaries will find this especially traumatic, as some American dictionaries, notably in the ESL [English as a second language] field, already use American English in their titles to distinguish them from dictionaries based on British English. For the British, whose appreciation of their language is proprietary and deeply felt as part of their countrys history, it may be impossible. No one disputes the historical priority of British English; we cannot reasonably expect its speakers to acquiesce to a status merely equivalent to every other. But whether they acknowledge it or not, their brand of English is no longer the single standard by which all other varieties are measured. (Landau, 15-16.) Landau claims that costs and space limitations make it impossible for American dictionaries to give adequate coverage of British English, and vice versa. However, one may ask, how extensive a coverage is adequate? An argument can be made that room should be found in unabridged or even college dictionaries to include usage differences for nouns, adjectives, verbs (and the other parts of speech that go with them) well beyond common equivalences such as lift-elevator, lorry-truck, take a decision-make a decision, and attitude to-attitude toward. Landau also states that neither Americans nor British are very interested in the minutiae of each others varieties, but how interested are most Americans or British in the minutiae of their own varieties? The answer probably depends on what one means by minutiae: the more obscure the term or item, the less general interest. Clearly, American dictionary editors believe that Britishisms such as lift and lorry are of enough interest to Americans to warrant their inclusion, since most American dictionaries cover these usages. Landaus discussion of the need to take a nationalist approach to dictionary writing focuses primarily on the American and British dictionary markets, but what about those of smaller English-language countries such as Jamaica and New Zealand? Can a dictionary maker in one of these countries afford to disregard other varieties of English, especially British or American usage? Assuming Landaus arguments are valid for English, are they equally applicable to Spanish, a multi-national language that is the native language of a majority of speakers in many small countries but few large ones? In terms of media impact, Mexico and Spain (and to a lesser extent Colombia, Venezuela and Argentina) are the big kids on the block in the Spanish-speaking world, but their linguistic influence beyond their borders is generally less than that of Britain and the United States within the English-speaking world. One notable exception is the telenovela, a type of melodramatic television series. Many of these, particularly ones from Mexico, are broadcast throughout the Spanish-speaking world (and are shown in dubbed form in many non-Spanish-speaking countries as well). However, in part because these programs are directed at an international market, the 7

language used in them is often more deregionalized than that found in British or American television series, thereby reducing the number of regionalisms that their audiences are exposed to. Thus, while large numbers of Mexicans might be interested in buying an exclusively or primarily Mexican-oriented dictionary, it seems much less likely that a Honduran Spanish Dictionary which generally disregarded other varieties would be economically viable. Also, many dictionary users from Spanish American countries have a cultural and linguistic attachment to Spain, and are interested in the minutiae of Peninsular Spanish. At a minimum, they want to know whether a particular word is in the Spanish Royal Academy Dictionary for otherwise its legitimacy is suspect. Because of the strong cultural and commercial ties that exist between Spain and Latin America, many Spaniards may be interested in some of the details of Latin American Spanish as well. Turning now to the methodology used in this study, the following question arises: Is it reasonable to rely on speakers reports of their own usage rather than obtaining the data without speakers being aware that they are the subject of a linguistic study? The sociolinguist William Labov and others have stated that speakers reports of their own usage are unreliable: [I]t seems to be virtually impossible to rely on speakers reports of their own usage or of their attitudes to usage, so that we cannot easily find out what people actually think. Linguists and social psychologists who have investigated popular attitudes have found that peoples overt claims about language are inaccurate and often contradict their own actual usage. As Labov... points out, speakers often err in the direction of standard usages when they respond to field-workers questions about their own usage: they do not reliably report on what they use themselves... The fact that speakers have knowledge of variants and also knowledge of the social values attached to them means that speaker reports tend to indicate social stereotypes rather than personal or community values. (Milroy, 18.) This phenomenon has been described as the observers paradox: [I]n order to observe and study the kind of language used spontaneously in a range of situations, we need good quality recordings. Yet if we try to obtain these using the traditional research instrument of an interview, we define the situational context and so distort the object of our observation. Since an interview is in itself a recognisable speech event, a linguistic observer with a tape-recorder is liable to find his data limited to a single, rather careful style. (Milroy, 127.) However, it has not been demonstrated that speakers reports of their own usage are uniformly and universally unreliable. Labovs studies, and many of the studies of researchers who cite this theory, involved phonological or morphosyntactical variables, rather than strictly lexical variables. Does the observers paradox apply equally to lexical variables (the study of which, 8

incidentally, does not require a tape recorder)? If it is true that respondents try to provide information that conforms to standard usages when responding to field-workers questions about their own usage, which standard do they attempt to imitate, an international standard (in cases where such a thing exists), or their own regional standard? Presumably, speakers can only imitate a standard they are familiar with and that exists, and given the divergent data collected in this study from different countries, it would appear that, if the respondents were consciously or subconsciously tailoring their responses, it was in the direction of their own regional standards. Since the primary goal of this study is to determine what these regional standards are, the methodology used here should prove to be effective, if invalid from a theoretical linguistic standpoint. Certainly the task of catching sufficient numbers of people from all twenty Spanish-speaking countries in the act of using all of the regional language addressed in this article in spontaneous conversation would be difficult if not impossible. It is worth noting that many of the respondents interviewed in this study took considerable pride in knowing (and claiming to use) regional, popular and nonstandard variants, in addition to having a command of more pan-Hispanic forms. To determine the extent to which the information presented in this article is accurate, further research will need to be conducted on the same topics using more surreptitious means of data collection and, perhaps more importantly, by openly testing much larger numbers of speakers having a much wider range of ages, backgrounds and educational levels.

THE 3 Rs (readin, writin and rithmetic)

A1 A1.1

B (the name of this letter) Summary

In Spain, the letter b is generally called be (with no qualifier) in all contexts. In Latin America, in contrast, the name used depends on the speech register being used, and the speakers country of origin, socioeconomic class and age: be grande and be larga are the principal middle-register terms, be de burro is the low-register term, and be labial and be bilabial are high-register terms. Unlike the middle-register words, the high- and low-register terms exhibit little if any regional variation. The diglossia that exists in Latin America with respect to this item is largely absent from Spain. A1.2 Middle-Register Terms by Country (4 terms) be be grande be grande be grande 9



be grande be grande be grande be larga, be grande be alta, be larga, be be larga, be grande be be alta, be grande be larga, be grande, be be grande, be larga be grande, be larga be grande, be larga be larga be larga be larga be larga



General: Section A1.2 above lists the middle-register terms, but how wide a swath this middle register encompasses in each region is a question that warrants further study. In Spain, be corresponds to practically all registers, whereas in Latin America the middle ground covered by be grande, be larga, etc. expands and contracts, and is displaced up or down, depending on the region and speech community. The same applies to the middle-register terms for v presented in section A2.2. Be: In Spain, be ([be]) refers specifically to the letter b whereas in much of Latin America [be], when spoken, is ambiguous as it can refer to either b or v. Many Latin Americans routinely use the ambiguous [be] when referring to both letters. The reasons for this are not entirely clear, but may be partly due to the fact that good spellers know whether most words are spelled with a b or a v (and perhaps believe specification is unnecessary), and poor spellers would just as soon gloss over the subject (or avoid it entirely). Semi-literate people, when shown a word spelled with a b or v and asked if it is spelled correctly, may answer, No, con la otra [be] (literally, No, with the other b/v). Be de burro: Many educated Latin Americans consider be de burro (and other similar, somewhat comical and unflattering variants such as be de buey, be de bobo, etc.) to be nonstandard and use them primarily for humorous effect, for example, to mock someone who has misspelled a word (spelling it with a v instead of a b or vice-versa). However, there is evidence to suggest that in the Antilles, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica many educated speakers use be de burro as their everyday word for this letter and this term may carry less social stigma and less of a humorous load than in other parts of Latin America. Asking an illiterate person whose last name is Montalbn or Montalvn a question such as Cmo se escribe su apellido, con ve de vaca o con be de burro? may be an exercise in futility as it assumes that the person knows how the words vaca and 10

burro are spelled. Are linguistic attitudes toward be de burro, be de buey and other similar variants uniform throughout Latin America, or are they regionally weighted? Be labial and be bilabial: Be labial and be bilabial are erudite terms used by Latin Americans who wish to sound highly educated; many indicated that they are terms they were taught to use in school, but would rarely use in everyday conversation. However, a majority of educated Bolivians in this study claimed that be labial is their normal, everyday word for b. Whether or not this is really true is a question for further study, but the fact that many more Bolivians aspire to use be labial suggests a different linguistic attitude toward the term. There are also Latin Americans who try to appear more erudite than they really are and commit errors such as *be labidental (for b). Age differences: A Costa Rican woman born in 1968 made the following comment in 2003: New generations are now taught in school to say be (for b) and uve (for v) and this is what some young people now use. However, I say be grande and ve pequea, and my moms generation says be de burro and ve de vaca. If from each region large numbers of persons having similar educational levels are compared, what variation will be found based on age differences? A few also said: Be alta (Spain, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Bolivia), be de bola (Costa Rica), be de Bolvar (Venezuela), be de bueno (Panama, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico), be grande (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Paraguay), be larga (Puerto Rico, Venezuela). How common is be alta in countries other than Cuba and Venezuela? A1.4 Real Academia Regional Review

Be (A), be alta (A or C?), be bilabial (F), be de burro (F), be grande (F), be labial (F), be larga (A). Dictionary definitions: b, Segunda letra del abecedario espaol y del orden latino internacional, que representa un fonema consonntico labial y sonoro. Su nombre es be, be alta o be larga; be1, Nombre de la letra b; be alta and be larga, be1. The Dictionary should define be bilabial, be labial, be grande and be de burro as all are frequently used in Latin America. Since in theory any word beginning with a b can be used to create a name for the letter, how common should the name have to be in order for it to be included in the Dictionary? Examples include be de buey, be de bobo, be de Bolivia and be de Bolvar. The issue is complicated by the fact that some of these terms appear to be used more often in specific regions. For example, be de Bolvar is probably used in Venezuela more than in any other country. (Por algo se llama la Repblica Bolivariana de Venezuela.)


A2 A2.1

V (the name of this letter) Summary

In Spain, the letter v is generally called uve in all contexts. In Latin America, in contrast, the name used depends on the speech register being used, the speakers country of origin, socioeconomic class and age: uve, ve corta, ve chica and ve pequea are the principal middleregister terms, ve de vaca is the low-register term, and ve dental and ve labiodental are highregister terms. Unlike the middle-register terms, the high- and low-register terms exhibit little if any regional variation. The diglossia that exists in Latin America with respect to this item is largely absent from Spain. A2.2 Middle-register terms by Country (4 terms plus variants) uve ve chica, uve ve pequea, ve chica ve pequea, ve chica ve pequea, ve chica ve chica, ve pequea, uve ve pequea, uve uve, ve chica, ve corta uve, ve corta, ve chica ve corta, ve chica uve, ve corta, ve chica ve pequea, ve chica ve pequea, ve corta, ve chica, uve ve chica, ve pequea ve chica ve chica, ve corta ve corta ve corta ve corta ve corta




Uve: Uve is the term used in Spain, while in Latin America school teachers and others have often attempted to impose its use on students, for the most part unsuccessfully. However, uve does appear to be used frequently in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba and Puerto Rico. Several Costa Ricans and Nicaraguans indicated that young people are now systematically taught uve in schools and tend to use it more than ve + modifier forms,


whereas for people born prior to 1965, only the latter forms are used. Is this the case? Is the use of uve increasing and spreading in Latin America? Ve chica / ve chiquita / ve pequea: Ve chiquita, which can be considered a variant of ve chica, was given by respondents from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Cuba, Venezuela and Colombia. Are ve chica and ve chiquita used in free variation in certain regions, or are there regional, socioeconomic and/or contextual preferences between the two (for example, ve chiquita = less formal, ve chica = more formal)? Where ve pequea and ve chica are both frequently used, is the former considered more formal than the latter? Ve dental and ve labiodental: These terms, and variants such as ve labidental, ve bucodental and ve dentilabial, are erudite words used in Latin America by those who want to sound highly educated (as is the case with be labial and be bilabial for the letter b). One also hears (and reads) Sancho Panza-type errors such as *ve labial, *be vilabial and *ve semilabial for v. In the case of Bolivia, a significant minority of educated respondents in this study claimed that ve dentilabial is their normal, everyday word for v. Ve de vaca: Ve de vaca is considered nonstandard by many educated Latin Americans, but for many others it is their standard, everyday word for v. However, it carries less stigma and less of a humorous load than be de burro (b). A few also said: Uve (the Dominican Republic, Uruguay), uve de Valencia (Spain), uve de vaca (Panama, Puerto Rico), ve baja (Spain, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela), ve corta (Costa Rica, Venezuela, Peru), ve chica (Costa Rica, Uruguay), ve pequea (Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Peru), ve de Vctor (Venezuela), ve de Victoria (Puerto Rico), ve de Venezuela (Venezuela). Opinions regarding appropriateness of different names for b and v: There are almost as many opinions on which names for these letters are better and which are worse as there are Spanish speakers. Perhaps the most famous was offered by Joan Corominas, the etymologist and historical linguist, who voiced his disapproval of all names for v other than uve in the following comment: Aunque olvidada por la [Real] Acad.[emia], esta denominacin [uve] es la ms usual en Madrid y en muchas partes de Espaa, dentro de la zona de lengua castellana1; no se conoce en la Arg., ni generalmente en Amrica, si estoy bien informado. Sin embargo, merecera que se generalizase para desterrar la denominacin ambigua ve, las ridculas ve corta y ve baja y la infundada ve labiodental, que privan en las repblicas americanas y en alguna parte de Espaa... 1En cataln y en portugus, como en los dems romances, se dice ve, y no hay ambigedad en estos idiomas que la distinguen fnicamente de la b. (Corominas, vol. 4, pg. 659.) To what extent is his censure of names other than uve reasoned and logical, and to what extent is it a product of his own bias in favor of the form most commonly used in Peninsular Spanish? A2.4 Real Academia Regional Review

Uve (C), ve baja (C), ve corta (A), ve chica (F), ve chiquita (F), ve dental (F), ve dentilabial (F), ve de vaca (F), ve labidental (F), ve labiodental (F), ve pequea (F). 13

Dictionary definitions: v, Vigsima quinta letra del abecedario espaol, y vigsima segunda del orden latino internacional, que representa un fonema consonntico labial y sonoro, el mismo que la b en todos los pases de lengua espaola. Su nombre es uve, ve, ve baja o ve corta; uve, Nombre de la letra v; ve, ve baja and ve corta, uve. The Dictionary should define ve dental, ve dentilabial, ve labidental, ve labiodental, ve chica, ve chiquita, ve pequea, and ve de vaca since all of these terms are frequently used by Latin Americans. Should it also define terms such as ve bucodental, ve de Valencia, ve de Venezuela, ve de Vctor and ve de Victoria that are used less often but are still somewhat common?

A3 A3.1

W (the name of this letter) Summary

Doble ve or doble u are used throughout Latin America (with competition between the two terms in several countries). Ve doble is used in three South American countries and Spain has unique usages that are not commonly found in any other country. A3.2 Terms by Country (5 terms) uve doble, doble uve doble u doble ve doble ve, doble u doble ve doble ve, doble u doble u doble u doble ve doble u doble u, doble ve doble ve doble u, doble ve doble ve ve doble, doble ve ve doble, doble ve ve doble, doble ve doble ve doble ve doble ve





Spain: Uve doble is considered more correct and, among educated speakers, also appears to be more common than doble uve. Doble u vs. doble ve: In Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic, doble u has minimal competition from doble ve, if any. In Puerto Rico and Colombia, there is competition between the two names: doble u is used more frequently and doble ve enjoys higher prestige. In El Salvador and Nicaragua, doble ve is used more often than doble u and is also more prestigious. In all countries where doble u is used, there are some who frown upon its use because they believe it is an anglicism, a calque of the English word for w (double u). Among people who are aware of both variants, those who use doble ve tend to have a negative attitude toward doble u, whereas those who use doble u tend to have a neutral attitude toward doble ve. A few also said: Doble u (Honduras), ve ligada (Bolivia). A3.4 Real Academia Regional Review

Doble u (B), doble uve (F), doble ve (A), uve doble (C), ve doble (C). Dictionary definitions: w, f. Vigsima sexta letra del abecedario espaol, y vigsima tercera del orden latino internacional, usada en voces de procedencia extranjera... Su nombre es uve doble, ve doble o doble ve...; doble u, f. Mx. uve doble; doble ve, f. uve doble; uve doble, f. Nombre de la letra w; v doble, f. w; ve doble, f. uve doble. All names for w that are common in some country should be listed, and the definition of this letter should read, in pertinent part, ...Su nombre es doble u, doble uve, doble ve, uve doble o ve doble... The following terms should be defined as follows: doble u, f. Col., C. Rica, Mx., Pan., P. Rico y R. Dom. Nombre de la letra w; doble ve, Nombre de la letra w (with no regional specification); ve doble, Bol., Par. y Per. Nombre de la letra w; uve doble and doble uve, Esp. Nombre de la letra w.

A4 A4.1


Acento and tilde are universal synonyms understood by educated speakers everywhere. However, in everyday language, acento is used more often than tilde in fifteen countries. A4.2 Terms by Country (2 terms) acento, tilde acento tilde, acento acento, tilde 15



acento, tilde acento, tilde tilde tilde acento, tilde acento, tilde acento acento tilde tilde, acento acento, tilde acento acento acento, tilde acento, tilde acento



General: Some Spanish speakers consider tilde, when used in the sense of accent mark, to be more formal than acento. However, acento grfico, acento gramatical and acento ortogrfico (accent mark) are even more formal and technical terms as they are in specific contrast to acento prosdico (spoken stress). Tilde: Tilde is predominantly feminine almost everywhere it is commonly used. However, all respondents from Uruguay (as well as one or two from Panama, Colombia and Bolivia), indicated that tilde is masculine. A4.4 Real Academia Regional Review

Acento (A), tilde (A?). Dictionary definitions: acento, 2. Tilde, rayita oblicua que en la ortografa espaola vigente baja de derecha a izquierda de quien escribe o lee. Se usa para indicar en determinados casos la mayor fuerza espiratoria de la slaba cuya vocal la lleva, p. ej., cmara, smbolo, til, all, sali; y tambin para distinguir una palabra o forma de otra escrita con iguales letras, p. ej., slo, adverbio, frente a solo, adjetivo; o con ambos fines a la vez, p. ej., tom frente a tomo; l, pronombre personal, frente a el, artculo; tilde, amb. Virgulilla o rasgo que se pone sobre algunas abreviaturas, el que lleva la , y cualquier otro signo que sirva para distinguir una letra de otra o denotar su acentuacin. U. m. c. f. [Usado ms como femenino] The definition of tilde is much broader than sense two of acento, but perhaps tilde should include a separate sense of accent mark like the definition of acento grfico__m. acento (|| rayita oblicua que baja de derecha a izquierda)__so that it will be clear to the Dictionary user that tilde can be a synonym of acento. Also, in the definition of acento, the example of slo, adverb, as distinguished from solo, adjective, is given when, in fact, the Dictionary itself does 16

not currently make this distinction in its own language; it spells the word solo without an accent mark when used as an adverb. Like most spelling reforms, this one is not without controversy. DIVISION SYMBOL (How to say expressions such as 10 5 = 2) Summary

A5 A5.1

Dividido entre is more common than dividido por in most countries. Dividido with no preposition is commonly used in four countries, and Ecuador has a unique usage that is not common in any other country. A5.2 Phrases by Country (5 phrases plus variants) (dividido) entre, dividido por (dividido) entre (dividido) entre (dividido) entre (dividido) entre (dividido) entre, dividido por (dividido) entre, dividido por (dividido) entre (dividido) entre, dividido por (dividido) entre (dividido) entre, dividido por (dividido) entre dividido, dividido por, (dividido) entre, dividido en (dividido) para (dividido) entre (dividido) entre dividido dividido dividido dividido por




Dividido entre vs. dividido por: Where there is competition between the two phrases, dividido entre is used more frequently than dividido por in almost all countries, but the latter is considered more formal than the former. Some consider dividido entre to be incorrect when used to express mathematical formulae, but acceptable in phrases such as dividido entre las cinco personas. Dividido entre is often abbreviated to entre, e.g. diez entre cinco igual (a) dos. 17

Dividido: An example of dividido used with no preposition is diez dividido cinco igual (a) dos. One Guatemalan said that some young people in her country are now using dividido with no preposition (although she herself and the vast majority of Guatemalans queried in this study said they used dividido entre or entre). Is preposition dropping in this phrase an innovation that is spreading to regions of the Spanish-speaking world in which it was not used previously? Colombia: Colombia is the one country in which four different phrases are used: dividido, dividido por, dividido entre or entre, and dividido en. Which Colombians say which phrases? Ecuador: Dividido para is often shortened to para, e.g. diez para cinco igual dos. A few also said: Diez partido cinco (Guatemala), dividido en (El Salvador), dividido por (Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina). A5.4 Real Academia Regional Review

Since the Dictionary provides no guidance on how to say mathematical expressions such as 10 5 = 2 (under the verb dividir or under any of the prepositions entre, por, etc.), it gives no information on this items regional variation. Should it?


B1 B1.1

HURRY UP! Summary

Aprate is commonly used in almost all of Latin America. Spain, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico have phrases that are not common in any other country. Note: For the sake of brevity, and assuming the situation to be a command given to a friend or same-generation relative (rather than, for example, to a stranger or to a group of several people), the phrases listed in section B1.2 below are given only in the t and/or vos forms, not in the usted, ustedes or vosotros forms. Even in this limited situation, however, there are regions where people tend to address friends and relatives as usted (e.g. interior Colombia, aprese, aprele). B1.2 Phrases by Country (10 phrases plus variants) date prisa aprate, ndale, crrele, aprale, rale apurate/aprate 18



apurate/aprate apurate/aprate apurate/aprate apurate/aprate aprate aprate date pronto, date rpido avanza, aprate aprate aprate/apurate, aprale/apurale aprate aprate apurate/aprate apurate/aprate apurate/aprate apurate aprate



General: Muvete, or movete in voseante regions (move it), is used universally as a more informal, aggressive and often ruder equivalent of aprate. Dale also seems to be widely used: Is this phrase part of General Spanish? Spain: Date prisa is the standard, everyday phrase used in the sense of hurry up, but apresrate and apresrese are used in more formal language. Who in Spain uses aprate and/or apura in the sense of hurry up and what are the connotations of these phrases vis--vis date prisa (i.e. more/less familiar, more/less insistent)? Mexico: ndale (the t form) is more common than ndele and ndenle or ndenles, but the usted and ustedes forms are also used. The same applies to crrele (crrale and crranle or crranles are also used), but rale, which does not derive from a verb, is an invariable expression (i.e. there is no *rele, *renle nor *orenles). What are the speech registers and connotations of ndale, crrele and rale in Mexican Spanish? When used in the sense of hurry up, are these phrases more or less equivalent to General Latin American Spanish aprate, are they closer in meaning to slangy phrases such as socale (Costa Rica) or metele (River Plate region), or are they somewhere in between? Byele (the t form) and bigale (the usted form) are reportedly used by uneducated people in the sense of hurry up in San Luis Potos, Jalisco and Michoacn (and elsewhere?), but it is unclear what the etymology of these phrases is; perhaps they derive from the verb huir, to flee. El Salvador, Honduras & Nicaragua: Aligerate and aligerale (and aligrate and aligrale) are also used in the sense of hurry up. Dominican Republic: Aprate is also used, but less often than date pronto or date rpido. Venezuela: In some western regions of the country voseo is used (see section C6.3).


Paraguay: Guaran phrases and their approximate equivalents include pyae and pua he py (hurry up), pua eke (make it fast), and nike (move it). Informal phrases: The following phrases are informal, slangy (and potentially offensive) equivalents of aprate: chale bola (Venezuela), metele and metele pata (Uruguay, Argentina), ponele/ponle (Costa Rica), socale/scale (Costa Rica; other variants include soc/soca, socala/scala and soc la tuba/soca la tuba). B1.4 Real Academia Regional Review

ndale (A or D?), aprale (F), aprate (A), avanza (B?), crrele (F), date prisa (C), date pronto (F), date rpido (F), rale (F). Dictionary definitions: ndale (defined under andar), expr. coloq. Mx. U. para animar a alguien a hacer algo; ndele (defined under andar), Col. y Mx. expr. coloq. ndale; apurarse, 4. Apremiar, dar prisa. En Amrica, u. m. c. prnl. [usado ms como pronominal]; avanzar, 5. Per y P. Rico. Darse prisa; darse prisa, fr. coloq. Acelerarse, apresurarse en la ejecucin de algo. ndale and ndele are defined under andar, but aprale and aprele, etc. are not defined under apurar and ought to be. In addition, the definition of ndale needs to be considerably expanded as the phrase has many senses in Mexican Spanish including Please, Come on!, Go for it!, Be a sport!, Way to go!, Exactly! and Youre welcome. Oftentimes the phrase has no specific meaning but is merely used to add emphasis and/or enthusiasm: examples include ndale, qu bien te ves!, ndale, ganaste!, ndale, hazlo por favor (pleading), and ndale, no te atrevas! (challenging, goading). Is avanza used in Peru in this sense as the Dictionary claims? Darse prisa is defined under prisa with no regional specification (Esp.), but darse pronto and darse rpido are not defined under pronto or rpido, respectively, and should be with the appropriate regional specification (R. Dom.). Why is darse prisa defined as colloquial usage? Date prisa seems to be standard, rather neutral usage compared to colloquial phrases such as muvete and the more formal apresrese.

B2 B2.1


Doble a la derecha and doble a la izquierda are used everywhere and can be considered General Spanish phrases. However, in many countries another verb or locution is used more often than doblar. For ease, and assuming the situation to be one in which someone is giving directions to a stranger (rather than to a friend or a group of several people), the commands listed in section B2.2 below are given only in the usted form, not in the t, vos, ustedes or vosotros forms. Even


in this limited situation, however, there are regions in which people often address strangers as t or vos (e.g. dobla and dobl in the Antilles and Argentina, respectively). B2.2 Phrases by Country (11 verbs/verbal phrases plus variants) tuerza, gire, doble d vuelta cruce, d vuelta cruce, d vuelta, vyase doble, d vuelta doble, cruce, d vuelta doble gire, doble, vire doble doble vire, coja, doble cruce, doble voltee vire voltee, doble doble doble doble, gire doble, gire doble




General: Where doblar and another verb or phrase are commonly used, there is often diglossia, with doblar occupying the higher-register position and the other verbs or phrases occupying lower-register positions. For example, in Venezuela and parts of Central America, some consider cruce a la derecha to be less formal than doble a la derecha while others believe the former phrase is nonstandard or simply incorrect. A few also said: Coja a la derecha (Spain, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Colombia), d vuelta a la derecha (Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Chile), gire a la derecha (Mexico, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Chile; is gire a la derecha universal?), haga una derecha (El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Bolivia), tome la derecha (Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Chile), tire a la derecha (Spain), tuerza a la derecha (Colombia, Peru, Bolivia), vyase a la derecha or vaya a la derecha (Spain, Venezuela), vire a la derecha (Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Chile), voltee a la derecha (Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Puerto Rico, Venezuela). Some respondents from Spain, Uruguay and Argentina indicated that gire a la derecha is used 21

more in giving driving directions while the other phrase (tuerza a la derecha or doble a la derecha) is used more in giving directions to a pedestrian. B2.4 Real Academia Regional Review

Coger (D), cruzar (D), dar (D), doblar (A), girar (C?), hacer (D), ir (D), tirar (C?), tomar (A), torcer (C), virar (D), voltear (B), vuelta (D). Dictionary definitions: doblar, 11. Pasar a otro lado de una esquina, cerro, etc., cambiando de direccin en el camino. U. t. c. intr. [Usado tambin como intransitivo] Doblaron a la otra calle. Dobl a la derecha; girar, 6. Desviarse o cambiar con respecto a la direccin inicial. La calle gira a la derecha; tirar, 30. Dirigirse a uno u otro lado. Al llegar a la esquina, tire usted a la derecha; torcer, 7. Dicho de una persona o de una cosa: Desviar la direccin que llevaba, para tomar otra. El escritor tuerce el curso de su razonamiento. U. t. c. intr. El camino tuerce a mano derecha. U. t. c. prnl. [Usado tambin como pronominal] El coche se torci hacia la cuneta; virar, intr. Mudar de direccin en la marcha de un automvil u otro vehculo semejante; voltear, 6. Ven. doblar la esquina. Doblar is the standard General Spanish phrase and all regional synonyms should be cross-referenced to it with the appropriate regional specifications. For example, this sense of cruzar could be defined as El Salv., Guat., Nic. y Ven. doblar (|| cambiar de direccin). Cruc a la derecha and that of voltear as Chile, Col., Guat., Mx., Pan., Per, P. Rico y Ven. doblar (|| cambiar de direccin). Volte a la derecha.

B3 B3.1

TO TURN AROUND (face the other way) Summary

Darse la vuelta and/or darse vuelta are used everywhere, but in many countries other phrases such as voltearse, virarse or volverse are used more often than darse (la) vuelta. B3.2 Phrases by Country (5 verbs/verbal phrases plus variants) darse la vuelta, volverse, girarse voltearse, darse (la) vuelta voltearse, darse (la) vuelta voltearse, darse (la) vuelta voltearse, darse (la) vuelta voltearse, darse (la) vuelta volverse, darse (la) vuelta, voltearse voltearse, darse (la) vuelta, girarse, virarse virarse, darse (la) vuelta, voltearse virarse, voltearse, darse (la) vuelta virarse, voltearse, darse (la) vuelta 22



voltearse, darse (la) vuelta voltearse, darse (la) vuelta, girarse voltearse, darse (la) vuelta voltearse, darse (la) vuelta darse (la) vuelta darse (la) vuelta darse vuelta darse vuelta darse vuelta, girarse



General: Some Spanish speakers from different countries indicated that saying grate might indicate that the person should turn 90 degrees ( turn), whereas date la vuelta would generally mean turning 180 degrees (doing an about-face). As one Spaniard put it, T te puedes girar un poco, pero darte la vuelta un poco suena raro. Do some speakers use different phrases to make finer distinctions in meaning such as turning ones head back vs. turning completely around (turning entire body)? What are Spanish speakers attitudes toward the use of the different phrases and how do these attitudes vary by region? Variants: When used in the sense of turn around, the reflexive forms (las formas pronominales) of the verbs and verb phrases__voltearse, darse vuelta, darse la vuelta and girarse__are generally much more common than the nonreflexive forms__voltear, dar vuelta, dar la vuelta and girar. Only the reflexive forms virarse and volverse were offered by those who indicated these verbs (no one said virar nor volver is used in the sense of turn around/face the other way), but an equal number of Mexicans in this study used voltear and voltearse. Darse vuelta appears to be more common than darse la vuelta in El Salvador, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, whereas in Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay darse la vuelta seems to be more common. In Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Peru, the data collected were inconclusive (they indicated a fair amount of competition between darse vuelta and darse la vuelta). B3.4 Real Academia Regional Review

Dar (la) vuelta (D?), girar (D?), virar (D), voltear (B), volver (C). Dictionary definitions: volver, 27. Girar la cabeza, el torso, o todo el cuerpo, para mirar lo que estaba a la espalda; voltear, 9. Mx. y Ven. Girar la cabeza o el cuerpo hacia atrs. U. t. c. prnl. Regional specifications need to be added to the definition of volver (C. Rica and Esp.), and those of voltear must be considerably expanded to Col., C. Rica, Cuba, Ecuad., El Salv., Guat., Hon., Mx., Nic., Pan., Per, P. Rico, R. Dom. y Ven. Alternatively, voltears regional specifications could be Am. Cent., Ant. [Antillas], Col., Ecuad., Mx., Per y Ven. in order to 23

save some space, or simply Am. even though this would be an overgeneralization. Another alternative would be to include no regional specification for this sense of voltear(se) on the grounds that this usage is common in over half the Spanish-speaking world (in at least 14 countries to be specific). Which approach is preferable?

B4 B4.1

TO PULL (pull a rope, pull open a door) Summary

Jalar/halar are the most commonly used verbs in fifteen countries (jalar more in spoken language and halar more in educated written language), tirar de and/or tirar in four countries, and Paraguay and Nicaragua have highly regional usages. B4.2 Verbs/Phrases by Country (4 verbs/verb phrases plus variants) tirar de jalar jalar jalar jalar jalar, guiar jalar jalar/halar halar/jalar halar/jalar halar/jalar jalar/halar jalar/halar jalar jalar jalar estirar tirar de, tirar tirar de, tirar tirar, tirar de




Spain: Tirar de is the dominant expression in most regions of Spain, but jalar/halar may be used in some regions in certain contexts. If so, where? In Andaluca? (See section B4.4 below.) Also, is the verb estirar (which in General Spanish has the closely related


meaning of stretch) commonly used in Spain, or some regions of Spain, in the sense of pull? Nicaragua: Some consider guiar to be nonstandard when used in the sense of pull. Are there differences in meaning, register, or situational context between jalar and guiar? Jalar vs. halar: In all countries where jalar and halar are used, there are those who look askance at the use of the former. However, there is evidence to suggest that in the Antilles, and to a lesser extent in Panama, Venezuela and Colombia, jalar is more stigmatized and less accepted than in the other countries where the two verbs are used. In the Antilles, many educated people__perhaps a majority__consider jalar to be uneducated and low-class, whereas in Mexico, most of Central America, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, jalar is generally accepted in spoken language and even in many forms of written communication. Signs on doors, however, often say Hale rather than Jale even in countries where jalar enjoys considerable acceptance. (Tire is what appears on this type of sign in non-jalar/halar countries, and sometimes in jalar/halar countries as well, although some of the signs may be imported.) In countries where jalar and halar are used, what are Spanish speakers attitudes toward the two verbs and how do these attitudes vary by region? Tirar vs. tirar de: In the educated speech of Argentina and Uruguay, tirar de is more common than tirar in the sense of pull, whereas in Chile tirar is more common. Isoglosses: If you took a trip between the cities indicated below, at what point would most people stop using one verb in the sense of pull and start using a different verb? Lima to Santiago de Chile (jalar>tirar), La Paz to Asuncin (jalar>estirar), La Paz to Buenos Aires (jalar>tirar de), La Paz to Santiago de Chile (jalar>tirar), Asuncin to Buenos Aires (estirar>tirar de). B4.4 Real Academia Regional Review

Estirar (D), guiar (D), halar (B), jalar (A?), tirar (C), tirar de (C). Dictionary definitions: halar, 2. And., C. Rica, Cuba, Hond., Nic., Pan. y Ven. Tirar hacia s de algo; jalar, tr. coloq. halar (|| tirar de un cabo). || 2. coloq. tirar (|| hacer fuerza para traer); tirar, 24. Dicho de personas, animales o vehculos: Hacer fuerza para traer hacia s o para llevar tras s. Halar is defined with regional specifications, but not jalar, which is defined in sense one in terms of halar. Are we to suppose, then, that the use of jalar is also regionally marked? If so, in what regions did the Dictionary mean to indicate that jalar is used? If not, why define a General Spanish word in terms of a regionalism? Also, in the definition of jalar, why gloss the word halar with the explanation (|| tirar de un cabo) since cabo is a marked term (the Dictionary lists it with a maritime contextual specification), rather than defining jalar as halar (|| tirar de una cuerda) as cuerda is an unmarked, General Spanish term? If the Real Academia is implying that in Spain jalar is used specifically in a maritime setting (i.e. by sailors), it should indicate this in the definition. Since jalar/halar are used in many more countries than tirar or tirar de, an argument can be made for defining tirar (de) in terms of jalar/halar rather than vice versa. The definition of 25

jalar is divided into two senses, tirar hacia s de algo and hacer fuerza para traer, but what is the difference between them, if any?

B5 B5.1

TO PUSH (A BUTTON): popular, nonstandard (low-prestige) verbs Summary

Apretar, oprimir, presionar and pulsar are the standard terms used by educated speakers everywhere, although perhaps not everywhere with equal frequency. Apretar is generally more neutral usage whereas oprimir, presionar and pulsar tend to be considered more technical and/or formal. The verbs dar and tocar are also used in this sense somewhat informally (e.g. darle al botn, tocar la tecla). However, in many countries there is a popular, nonstandard (lowerprestige) usage, a verb that is used in the sense of push a button alongside the standard verbs and which, in many cases, is more common in everyday language. B5.2 Regional/Popular Verbs by Country (7 verbs) no regional/nonstandard verb found puchar, apachurrar apachar puyar puyar empujar estripar empujar no regional/nonstandard verb found empujar? empujar no regional/nonstandard verb found espichar aplastar no regional/nonstandard verb found no regional/nonstandard verb found no regional/nonstandard verb found no regional/nonstandard verb found no regional/nonstandard verb found no regional/nonstandard verb found




General: The social stigma attached to the regional/nonstandard usages listed in section B5.2 above is not uniform. For example, many Colombians from the Department of 26

Cundinamarca and Costa Ricans indicated that espichar and estripar, respectively, are considered low-class or incorrect and some claimed they do not use them. Educated and/or upwardly mobile women from these countries appear to be particularly averse to using them. In Guatemala and Ecuador, on the other hand, apachar and aplastar, respectively, are widely used by educated speakers and carry much less social stigma than espichar and estripar in their respective countries. Puyar in Honduras and El Salvador are also censored though apparently not as much as estripar and espichar. What regional and popular verbs are used in the countries listed above with no regional/nonstandard verb found and what is their level of acceptance? Mexico: Which Mexicans use puchar and which use apachurrar in the sense of push? Less educated Mexicans from certain regions, norteos, ones who have lived in the United States? Colombia: Espichar seems to be particularly common in the popular speech of Cundinamarca and apparently is not used in many other regions of the country. A few also said: Hundir (Panama, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia). B5.4 Real Academia Regional Review

Apachar (A), apachurrar (D), aplastar (D), empujar (D), espichar (D), estripar (D), puchar (F), puyar (D). Apachar is defined as 3. Guat. Pulsar un botn. Which of the above terms should be defined with speech-register specifications such as coloq. (colloquial), vulg. (popular/vulgar), or malson. (vulgar)? BOTAR: is this verb commonly used in the sense of to throw out or not? Summary

B6 B6.1

Botar is commonly used in the sense of to throw out everywhere except Spain, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina. B6.2 Botar = throw out: commonly used or not? no yes, but less common than tirar yes, but less common than tirar yes yes yes yes yes yes 27



yes yes yes yes yes yes yes no no no yes



Spain, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina: The verbs tirar and/or echar are commonly used in the sense of to throw out. Countries other than Spain, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina: The verb botar is commonly used in the sense of to throw out, to kick out and other related senses (though less so in Mexico and Guatemala). Isoglosses: If you took a trip between the cities indicated below, at what point would most people stop using botar in the sense of throw away and start using primarily tirar and/or echar? La Paz to Asuncin (botar>tirar/echar), La Paz to Buenos Aires (botar>tirar/echar), Santiago de Chile to Buenos Aires (botar>tirar/echar). B6.4 Real Academia Regional Review

The Dictionary defines botar, without regional or other usage specification, as tr. Arrojar, tirar, echar fuera a alguien o algo which suggests that botar is commonly used in the senses of throw out/throw away and kick out in Peninsular Spanish. While this is directly contradicted by the data collected in this study, its respondents were largely middle-class and upper-middle-class people from large cities. In Spain, is botar commonly used in the general sense of throw out in all regions and in all walks of life, as the Dictionarys definition implies, or is it used more in certain regions, in certain contexts, and/or among certain sectors (e.g. by sailors throwing something overboard)? The same questions can be asked with respect to the River Plate region.



C1 C1.1


The -ito diminutive is the predominant suffix for words ending in t + vowel (e.g. gatito, patita, momentito, Albertito) everywhere except Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, and possibly a few regions of Spain where the -ico diminutive (e.g. gatico, patica, momentico, Albertico) is more common. Note: In section C1.2 below, gatito/gatico is used as the example. C1.2 Suffixes for final t + vowel words by country (2 suffixes) gatito, gatico gatito gatito gatito gatito gatito gatico, gatito gatito gatico gatico gatito gatico gatico gatito gatito gatito gatito gatito gatito gatito




Spain: Although the vast majority of Spaniards in this study said they used gatito, patita and momentito, two respondents, one from Murcia and one from Navarra, stated they use gatico, patica and momentico. To the extent that words ending in t + vowel, and words in general, take the -ico diminutive in certain regions of Spain such as Andaluca, Aragn, 29

Murcia and Navarra (see definition of -ico in section C1.4 below), what are the differences in meaning, connotation or register between gatito and gatico or hermanito and hermanico? In these regions, do the -ico forms serve as a class, age or rural marker? Specifically, do older, more rural and less educated people use the -ico forms more often than younger, urban and more educated people? Costa Rica: Costarricenses (Costa Ricans) are popularly called ticos (especially by Central Americans) because they often use the -ico suffix with words ending in t + vowel (e.g. gatico). In fact, however, there is social stratification in Costa Rica with regard to the two suffixes: With words ending in t + vowel, the -ico diminutive is used more by older, rural and less educated people, and the -ito diminutive more by younger, urban and middleand upper-class people. Linguistic attitudes also play a role. For example, upwardly mobile women are more likely to use -ito diminutives than men of their same social class. And some upper-class men (including yuppies), who would like to think of themselves as real Costa Ricans, may consciously or subconsciously choose to say gatico. What is certain is that, for Costa Ricans, the use of words like gatico vs. gatito is a social and identity marker to a much greater extent than it is in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Colombia where -ito diminutives for words ending in t + vowel are relatively rare and -ico diminutives are more or less standard usage. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Colombia & Venezuela: Forms such as gatico, patica and momentico are much more widely used than gatito, patita and momentito. There is, however, linguistic insecurity in some circles surrounding the -ico forms and statements such as Nosotros decimos gatico, pero lo correcto es gatito are not uncommon. Some from these countries claim that there are meaning or register differences between gatito and gatico: that gatico is colloquial whereas gatito is more formal, that a gatito is a smaller kitten than a gatico, or that gatito is a kitten that is referred to in a more affectionate way. However, no independent evidence (i.e. contrastive usage) was found to corroborate any of these claims. Still others said they generally use the -ico forms except for un momentito as they consider it to be more refined than un momentico. Would some people from these countries generally say espere un momentito (usted command) to a person they did not know well, but espera un momentico or esprate un momentico (t commands) to friends? Calentito/calentico vs. calientito/calientico: In many Spanish-speaking countries, perhaps in a majority, the terms calientito or calientico are much more common in everyday speech__for example, when referring to the temperature of food or water__than calentito or calentico. Yet many educated Spanish speakers do not accept the diphthonged forms and insist that calentito or calentico are the only correct ones. Is the level of acceptance that calientito and/or calientico enjoy uniform throughout the Spanish-speaking world or does this vary by region? If it varies diatopically, where are calientito and calientico generally accepted by educated speakers, and where are they social markers? In which, if any regions, do most speakers spontaneously say phrases such as una comida rica y calentita and where would most say una comida rica y calientita? The difficulty in resolving such issues is that in rapid speech the audible difference between calentito and calientito is sometimes hard to perceive. It is also possible that many of those who object 30

to calientito, write calentito, and may try to say calentito, but often end up saying calientito. Thus some may use calientito in spoken language and calentito in written language. However, if most people say calientito or calientico, why shouldnt these forms be accepted as legitimate in both spoken and written language? Caliente > calientito or calentito is similar to other derivations of diphthonged base forms in which the stressed syllable changes in the derived form. Compare it to the following derivations: viejo > viejito (*vejito is not a grammatical form); bueno > buensimo or bonsimo, Puerto Rico > puertorriqueo or portorriqueo (where both derived forms are possible, the meaning is the same, but the registers may be different). Another interesting minimal pair is enterrado (buried) vs. entierrado (dirty, soiled). Other diminutive forms: Several women in this study (mostly from Spain) indicated they use un momentn, un poquitn, and other -n forms in addition to momentito and poquitito, etc. What groups use momentn, and how is its use distinguished from that of momentito/momentico? The -illo diminutive, which in most varieties of Spanish is derogatory, is commonly used as a nonderogatory diminutive in parts of Mexico and Central America, but its frequency of use, meanings and connotations (vis--vis -ito and/or -ico) need to be investigated. For example, some Mexicans have indicated that un poquillo refers to a smaller amount than un poquito, and have described cases of lexicalization, such as un platito (a small plate) vs. un platillo (prepared food, a dish), in which diminutive suffixes, when attached to given words in certain contexts, result in a specific meaning that is different from the effect these suffixes normally create. (In Mexican Spanish, as in all varieties of the language, platillos, in the context of classical music, still refer to cymbals and platillos voladores still mean flying saucers.) Isoglosses: If you took a trip between Bogot and Quito, at what point would most people stop saying gatico and start saying gatito? There is anecdotal evidence that, unlike most Colombians, pastusos (Colombians from the city of Pasto, or from anywhere in the southern border department of Nario) say gatito. It would not be surprising if the dividing line lay somewhere in southern Colombia, rather than in the adjacent Ecuadoran province of El Carchi, since Nario was historically part of Ecuador. C1.4 Real Academia Regional Review

-ico (B), -ito (A). Dictionary definitions: -ico, suf. And., Ar., Mur., Nav., Col., C. Rica, Cuba y Ven. Tiene valor diminutivo o afectivo. Ratico, pequeica, hermanico. A veces, toma las formas -ececico, ecico, -cico. Piececico, huevecico, resplandorcico. En Colombia, C. Rica, Cuba y Venezuela, solo se une a radicales que terminan en -t-. Gatico, patica. Muchas veces se combina con el sufijo -ito. Ahoritica, poquitico; -ito3, suf. Tiene valor diminutivo o afectivo. Ramita, hermanito, pequeito, callandito, prontito. En ciertos casos toma las formas -ecito, -ececito, cito. Solecito, piececito, corazoncito, mujercita. R. Dom. needs to be added to the regional specifications for the definition of -ico, and to the description of countries in which -ico only gets attached to radicals ending in t.


C2 C2.1

CHANCE: masculine, feminine, or word seldom used? Summary

Chance is generally masculine everywhere except Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile (where it is feminine to the extent the word is used), Spain (where the word is rarely used), and Peru (where the situation is unclear). C2.2 Masculine, feminine, or do not use the word chance? do not use masculine, do not use masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine feminine, do not use, masculine masculine do not use, feminine feminine feminine do not use, feminine




General: In all countries where chance is widely used in informal language, there are those who object to its use and deny that it is even a word in Spanish. Statements such as no se dice chance, se dice oportunidad are common everywhere. Spain: A few Spaniards indicated that they use chance in a humorous, imitative way because of the influence of Latin American telenovelas, but the vast majority said they do not use chance. Mexico: While chance is clearly masculine in Mexico, many respondents in this study indicated they do not use the word. Are peoples attitudes in Mexico toward chance different from the attitudes that exist in other countries where chance is commonly used? 32

Peru: The respondents queried in this study were split almost evenly between una chance (feminine) un chance (masculine) and do not use. What percentage of Peruvians use chance as a masculine word, what percentage use it as a feminine word, what percentage do not use the word at all, and what are the characteristics of each group? Paraguay & Chile: Respondents from these two countries were split fairly evenly between feminine and do not use. To what extent is chance used in Paraguay and Chile? Reasons for two different genders of chance: Why is chance masculine in some countries and feminine in others? In Uruguay and Argentina, is chance feminine because the word was incorporated there directly from French and people were conscious of its origin and feminine gender in French? In countries where chance is masculine, did it enter Spanish by way of English and not directly from French, and then become a masculine word because loanwords that do not end in a are generally incorporated into Spanish as masculine words? Compare, for example, the opposing forces that have created initial competition between el internet / la internet and el (worldwide) web / la (worldwide) web, terms which have been incorporated into Spanish as both masculine and feminine nouns: masculine because they are loanwords that do not end in a, and feminine because many of the Spanish speakers who first used these words in the 1980s and 1990s knew English and knew that net and web can mean red and telaraa, respectively, both feminine words. A Spanish-language internet search conducted in mid 2003 of el internet / la internet and el web / la web resulted in thousands of hits for both masculine and feminine forms, but the latter were about twice as numerous as the former. C2.4 Real Academia Regional Review

Chance is defined as (Del fr. chance). amb. Oportunidad o posibilidad de conseguir algo. No tiene chance para ese cargo. Should the Dictionary specify chances preferred genders in specific countries, and should the etymology read (Del fr. chance, o del fr. chance por va del ingl. chance)?

C3 C3.1

RADIO (the device): masculine or feminine? Summary

When used to refer to the device, radio is generally masculine everywhere except Spain, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile (where it is generally feminine) and Peru and Bolivia (where el radio and la radio compete). C3.2 Radio (the device): masculine or feminine? feminine masculine masculine 33



masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine, feminine feminine, masculine feminine feminine feminine feminine



Peru & Bolivia: In Peru, twice as many respondents stated that radio (in the sense of device) was masculine as those who stated it was feminine, whereas in Bolivia the opposite was the case. Is radio predominantly masculine in Peru and predominantly feminine in Bolivia, or is there considerable competition between el radio and la radio in both countries? Radio in the sense of radioemisin or la emisora: The overwhelming majority of respondents from all countries indicated that radio, when used to refer to the broadcast or the station, is feminine. However, the respondents were largely middle- and upper-middle-class persons and in many cases it was clear to them that the information was being solicited in a test situation. However, some of those who indicated el radio for the device also indicated el radio for the station/broadcast; none of those who said la radio for the device said el radio for the station/broadcast. The distinction between the device, the broadcast and the station is sometimes hazy, for example, in a phrase such as escuchar el/la radio in which one listens to all three. Note that in dialects (or sociolects) in which radio = device is masculine, and radio = station/broadcast is feminine, el radio has a different meaning from la radio, whereas for other speakers la radio or el radio can refer to both the device and the station/broadcast. C3.4 Real Academia Regional Review

Radio is defined as (Acort.[amiento]) amb. coloq. radiorreceptor. Should the Dictionary indicate where radio (when used in the sense of the device) is predominantly feminine and where it is predominantly masculine? Also, can radio in this sense currently be 34

considered colloquial usage? Is not radio in fact standard usage and radiorreceptor uncommon in any but the most formal and/or technical language? Indeed, radiorreceptor may soon be archaic usage, if it is not already so.

C4 C4.1

RIEL: masculine, feminine, or word seldom used? Summary

Riel is predominantly masculine everywhere except Ecuador and Bolivia where it is generally feminine. In Puerto Rico the two genders may be in competition. C4.2 Masculine, feminine, or do not use the word riel? masculine, do not use masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine masculine, do not use masculine do not use, masculine, feminine masculine masculine feminine masculine feminine masculine masculine masculine masculine




Spain & Cuba: The vast majority of Spaniards and Cubans queried indicated that riel is masculine, but several from both countries stated that they do not use this term at all. Of these, some indicated that they use el ral or el rail whereas others said they use words such as el ferrocarril, el carril, la lnea del tren, la va del tren, etc. Still others said they use riel for curtain rod and ral for railroad track. According to Corominas, when the railroad was introduced in Spanish-speaking countries, the English word rail was 35

adopted in Spain to refer to railroad tracks, and was generally pronounced ral, whereas in Mexico and Peru (and elsewhere in Latin America?) the Spanish word riel was used in this sense instead of the English word because it sounded like rail/ral and because of its related, already existing senses (Corominas, vol. 4, pg. 13). Puerto Rico: Respondents were evenly divided in their opinion on whether riel is masculine, feminine or not used. Of those who do not use the word, some said it is because there are no longer any trains in Puerto Rico while others said they use some other word or phrase (ferrocarril, va del tren, etc.). Is riel predominantly masculine, feminine or seldom used in Puerto Rico? Ecuador & Bolivia: Why is riel predominantly feminine in these two countries? Is it because riel was always masculine in Spain, but based on the analogy of other words ending in -iel, such as hiel, miel and piel (which are feminine in General Spanish), some Ecuadorans and Bolivians began applying the feminine gender to riel and this usage somehow became predominant? If so, how did this come about? Or is it because, at some point in the past, riel was once used as a feminine noun in some regions of Spain (perhaps at one point el riel and la riel were in competition), and its use as a feminine noun in Ecuador and Bolivia is an archaic usage__an archaism from the perspective of the rest of the Spanish-speaking world__that has survived to the present day in these two countries? This assumes that the Dictionarys etymology of Spanish riel is correct, that is, that it comes from Catalan riell which, in turn, comes from Latin regella (see section C4.4 below). The Diccionario Crtico Etimolgico de la Lengua Castellana makes no mention of riel ever having been used as a feminine noun in any variety of Spanish (Corominas, vol. 4, pg. 13). C4.4 Real Academia Regional Review

Riel is defined as (Del cat. riell, y este del lat. regella). m. Barra pequea de metal en bruto. || 2. Carril de una va frrea. The Dictionary indicates that riel is a masculine noun without comment or caveat. Should the Dictionary say the word is masculine in its gender specification, and then in the body of the definition state En Bol., Ecuad. y P. Rico, u. c. f. [usado como femenino]? Or should it indicate the word is amb. in its gender specification? The Dictionary defines ral and rail as Carril de las vas frreas without any regional specifications. Should Cuba y Esp. be specified in the definitions regional specifications?

C5 C5.1

SARTN: masculine, feminine, or word seldom used? Summary

A certain degree of competition between el sartn and la sartn exists in most if not all regions of the Spanish-speaking world. However, in educated speech (el habla culta), the word appears to be more often masculine in Mexico, most of Central America, the Antilles, Colombia, 36

Ecuador and Bolivia, and more often feminine in Spain, Peru, Paraguay and Argentina. In Uruguay and Chile there appears to be strong competition between el sartn and la sartn. C5.2 Masculine or feminine? feminine masculine masculine less common, masculine, feminine less common, masculine less common, masculine masculine masculine, feminine masculine, feminine masculine masculine, feminine masculine, feminine masculine, feminine masculine feminine masculine feminine masculine, feminine feminine masculine, feminine




General: Some respondents from many countries indicated that they say both el sartn (masculine) and la sartn (feminine), or were unsure of the words correct gender. Even in regions where the masculine gender is predominant, many respondents claimed that they try to say la sartn, that they should say la sartn, or that the feminine form is really the correct one. In addition, a number of those who indicated they generally use the masculine form stated that they use the feminine form in the expression tener la sartn por el mango. How do attitudes toward the gender of this word vary among educated speakers from different regions of the Spanish-speaking world, and what are the regional, age, and social-class preferences within each country? Spain: The overwhelming majority of those interviewed in this study were under the age of fifty and indicated la sartn, but two said that el sartn is used by older Spaniards. Corominas states that el sartn is the predominant usage in Asturias, but this statement was published in the 1950s (Corominas, vol. 4, pg. 159). El Salvador, Honduras & Nicaragua: In these countries, other terms are used in the sense of frying pan more often than sartn: cacerola (El Salvador, Honduras); cazuela 37

(Nicaragua); fridera (Honduras, the Oriente region of Guatemala); paila (Nicaragua); sartena (El Salvador, ceramic pan, generally with two small handles, orejas, rather than one long handle). Some Nicaraguans indicated that a sartn is a small paila, and some Hondurans indicated that a sartn is a small fridera. Panama, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela & Colombia: In this study, more people from these countries said el sartn than la sartn, but not significantly more, and several said they use both genders or were unsure. What is the situation in these countries? Uruguay & Chile: Respondents were split almost down the middle with regard to the gender of sartn. Argentina: The respondents in this study were nearly unanimous in indicating la sartn, but the vast majority were middle-class and upper-middle-class Argentines, under the age of fifty, from Buenos Aires, Rosario, or other major cities. One indicated that her elderly mother used el sartn (although she herself says la sartn). However, Corominas states that the masculine gender is absolutamente general en la Arg. (Corominas, vol. 4, pg. 158-159). Who currently says el sartn in Argentina? C5.4 Real Academia Regional Review

Sartn is defined as f. Recipiente de cocina, generalmente de metal, de forma circular, poco hondo y con mango largo, que sirve para guisar. En muchos lugares de Amrica y Espaa u. c. m. [usado como masculino]. Since sartn is masculine in well over half the Spanish-speaking world, it should be defined as amb. [ambiguo] Recipiente de cocina... rather than prescribing that the word be feminine. Should the Dictionary go further and give specific information about where sartn is predominantly masculine and where it is generally feminine or just indicate amb.? The Dictionarys vague description of sartns regional distribution (En muchos lugares de Amrica y Espaa) is not particularly useful, but perhaps it is the best that can be done given that both genders are used to some extent in most if not all regions. To turn the matter on its head, one can argue that the other alternative would be to define sartn as a masculine noun and then state, En Espaa y algunos lugares de Amrica u. c. f.

C6 C6.1

FORMS OF ADDRESS (parent-to-child and child-to-parent) Summary

The forms of addressusted, t or vospeople use to address their parents and those used by parents to address their children vary according to factors such as state of mind, age, socioeconomic class, region and family tradition. In some countries, people who are older, rural, and of a lower socioeconomic class are more likely to use a nonreciprocal form of address (parent addressing child as t or vos and child addressing parent as usted), and people who are younger, urban, and of a higher socioeconomic class are more likely to use a reciprocal form of address (parent and child each addressing the other as t, vos or usted). 38

Note: What is presented below in section C6.2 are typical forms of address used in normal communication (i.e. not when people are angry or upset) by middle- and upper-class speakers under the age of 50 from the capitals and other large cities of the respective countries. Forms that children use in addressing their parents are listed first in initial capital letters, and forms that parents use in addressing their children are listed second, after the hyphen, in all lower-case letters. C6.2 Parent-Child Forms of Address by Country T - t T - t Usted - t/vos/usted Usted - t/vos/usted Usted - t/vos/usted Usted - vos Usted/Vos - usted/vos Usted/T - t T - t Usted/T - t T - t T - t Usted/T/Vos - usted/t/vos Usted/T/Vos - t/vos T - t Usted/T/Vos - t/vos Vos - vos Vos/T - vos/t Vos - vos Usted/T - usted/t




General: The forms of address most often used by the lower socioeconomic classes and by people from places other than the major cities were not studied here and may differ considerably from those listed above in section C6.2. Nor is the issue of the different verb morphologies (conjugations) that are used in the different regions in combination with the pronouns t and vos addressed here, such as the out-of-the-ordinary t sabs, vos sabes and vos sabs, in addition to the ordinary t sabes and vos sabs. For an excellent, yet succinct discussion of the use of vos in Latin America, see John Lipskis El espaol de Amrica, chapter 5, La variacin social en el espaol de Amrica (pgs. 159-162, the section entitled Estudio de un caso: el uso de vos).


Venezuela: The reciprocal T - t paradigm between parent and child is the norm among the middle and upper classes in the cities of central and eastern Venezuela, but other forms of address that include vos and usted may be common in parts of western Venezuela such as the state of Zulia and the Andean region. Colombia: Parent-child forms of address show great regional variation, as do forms of address in general within Colombia: in the Costa (Atlantic Coast) region, T - t is common; in Western Colombia, where vos is used, Usted - vos and Vos - vos, as well as Usted - usted are used; in Bogot, T - t is often heard among middle and upper-class persons; and in many parts of interior Colombia, Usted - usted is common (e.g. in the department of Santander). Peru: The parent-child form of address paradigm for middle- and upper-class people from Lima is T - t, but what is the paradigm in cities of the Peruvian Sierra (highlands), such as Huancayo, Ayacucho and Puno, or in northern cities such as Trujillo, Chiclayo and Piura? The majority of respondents queried on this issue were limeos. Chile: Many lower- and working-class Chileans use a special pronoun-less voseo (see Lipski, pg. 161). Reciprocal/nonreciprocal, formality/informality: One way of categorizing regions is to ask whether parent-child forms of address among middle- and upper-class urban people are generally reciprocal (T - t, Vos - vos or Usted - usted), or often nonreciprocal (Usted - t or Usted - vos). Parent-child forms of address among these groups are by and large reciprocal in Spain, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina, whereas in Central America, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and possibly Chile, nonreciprocal paradigms have, to a considerable degree, resisted the general trend toward greater reciprocity between parents and children. Many of the countries in which nonreciprocal parent-child forms of address are predominant are also countries in which people tend to go from using usted to using t or vos much more slowly and under a much narrower range of circumstances, places such as Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and most of Central America. The Dominican Republic is a notable exception, a country in which strangers often establish a tuteante relationship quickly (if not instantaneously), yet many people address their parents as usted. Uniformity within countries and linguistic change: There is evidence to suggest that a generational erosion of nonreciprocal forms of address between parents and children may be taking place in regions where they have traditionally been dominant, particularly in large urban centers. In other words, in traditionally nonreciprocal countries there are now many families in which people born between 1955 and 1975 address their parents as usted, but their children address them, and their grandparents, as t. Which countries parent-child forms of address are more stable and monolithic, and which show a higher degree of social, regional and/or generational fragmentation?



D1 D1.1

TODAY Summary

Hoy is universal, but hoy da is also commonly used in the sense of today in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile. D1.2 Terms by Country (2 terms) hoy hoy hoy hoy hoy hoy hoy hoy hoy hoy hoy hoy hoy hoy, hoy da hoy da, hoy hoy da, hoy hoy hoy hoy hoy, hoy da




Hoy da: Some from Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile claim hoy da is more emphatic than hoy. Others say the two are equivalent, or that they generally use only one of the two forms. Why is the use of hoy da in the sense of today an essentially Andean phenomenon, one that occurs in what are often thought of as the core Andean countries? Is this usage an archaism that survived in this region?



Real Academia Regional Review

Hoy (A), hoy da (D). Hoy da is defined under hoy as ~ da, u [usado] ~ en da. locs. advs. En esta poca, en estos das que vivimos and is defined under da as hoy ~, u hoy en ~ (|| en el tiempo presente). In the definition of hoy da, the additional sense of Bol., Chile, Ecuad. y Per. hoy (|| en este da) needs to be added. What does the Dictionary mean by usado in ~ da, u [usado] ~ en da? Does this mean that hoy da is used in the sense of hoy en da, or that hoy en da is used more often than hoy da in the sense of nowadays? The Dictionary should not use abbreviations that its users can not reasonably be expected to understand.

D2 D2.1


Buenos das is universal, but buen da is also commonly used as a greeting in Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina. D2.2 Terms by Country (2 terms) buenos das buenos das buenos das buenos das buenos das buenos das buenos das buenos das buenos das buenos das buenos das buenos das buenos das buenos das buenos das buenos das, buen da buen da, buenos das buen da, buenos das buen da, buenos das buenos das





Buen da: The use of buen da as a greeting (in the sense of good morning) appears to be somewhat less common in Bolivia than in Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina, but in all four countries buen da is less formal than buenos das. For example, a person from one of these countries might say buen da to a friend or co-worker (assuming he or she does not say hola, qu tal or some other informal expression), whereas a teacher entering a classroom will invariably say buenos das (at which time all students are supposed to stand up). Thus, in these four countries buenos das occupies a higher speech register than buen da: there is diglossia with respect to this item. Is buen da commonly used as a greeting in countries other than Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina (for example, in some areas of Peru or Chile)? Why is the use of buen da concentrated in the River Plate region? D2.4 Real Academia Regional Review

Buen da (B), buenos das (A). Dictionary definitions: buenos das, expr. U. como salutacin familiar durante la maana; buen da, expr. Arg. y Chile. buenos das. Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay need to be added to the regional specifications of buen da and Chile may need to be removed. The phrase buenos das is not an inherently informal or familiar greeting and therefore should not be defined as a ...salutacin familiar... but simply as a ...salutacin... since in General Spanish buenos das has informal counterparts such as qu tal but no formal equivalent; in the River Plate region buenos das tends to be slightly formal.

D3 D3.1

BROWN Summary

Caf is the most commonly used term in ten countries, and marrn in seven or eight. Panama, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Colombia have highly regional usages. D3.2 Terms by Country (6 terms plus variants) marrn caf caf caf caf caf caf chocolate 43



carmelita, marrn marrn braun/brown, marrn marrn caf, marrn, rap, carmelita caf marrn caf marrn marrn marrn caf



General: The color that was tested was a medium shade of brown (neither a very light brown, nor a particularly dark brown). To what extent can the different regional Spanish terms listed in section D3.2 above be considered generic equivalents of English brown? Cuba: Carmelita is the predominant term in Havana, but there is some evidence to suggest that marrn may be more common than carmelita in the Oriente (eastern Cuba). Puerto Rico: Some stated that brownpronounced and sometimes written braunis used more often in spoken language whereas marrn is more frequent in written language. To what extent is this true? Colombia: Caf is the predominant term in the interior of the country, but in the Costa rap and marrn are more common. In the Costa, rap seems to be more common in Cartagena and points west, while marrn appears to be more common in Barranquilla and points east. Some Colombians indicated that carmelita is a generic term for brown and others said it is a lighter shade of brown than caf. In the different regions of Colombia, what are the meanings and usage frequencies of caf, marrn, rap and carmelita? Peru: The overwhelming majority of Peruvians in this study indicated that marrn is the generic term for brown. However, a small minority said they used caf, and of these two indicated that caf is a different shade of brown (one said caf is darker than marrn, another said caf is lighter). What distinctions, if any, do Peruvians make between marrn and caf? Isoglosses: If you took a trip between the cities indicated below, at what point would most people stop using one term for a generic brown and start saying another? San Jos to Panama City (caf>chocolate), Panama City to Bogot (chocolate>rap>marrn>caf), Caracas to Bogot (marrn>caf), Quito to Lima (caf>marrn), Lima to La Paz (marrn>caf), Lima to Santiago de Chile (marrn>caf), La Paz to Asuncin (caf>marrn), Buenos Aires to Santiago de Chile (marrn>caf), Havana to Santiago de Cuba (carmelita>marrn). The trips from Lima to the capitals of Perus surrounding Spanish-speaking countries would be especially interesting because this is the only region in which marrn is flanked on three sides by caf. 44

Plural forms: In the regions where the respective words for brown are used, how do attitudes vary with regard to the acceptability of plural forms such as the following equivalents of brown shoes? Zapatos de color caf, zapatos cafs, zapatos de color marrn, zapatos marrones, zapatos de color carmelita, zapatos carmelitos, zapatos carmelitas, zapatos de color braun, zapatos brauns. Are expressions such as zapatos cafeses universally censored as nonstandard and uneducated or are they accepted in colloquial speech in some regions? D3.4 Real Academia Regional Review

Braun (F), brown (F), caf (B), carmelita (B), chocolate (D), marrn (C), rap (D). Dictionary definitions: marrn, Dicho de un color: Castao, o de matices parecidos. U. t. c. s. m. [Usado tambin como sustantivo masculino] || 2. De color marrn; caf, 6. adj. Chile, Ecuad., Mx. y Ur. marrn (|| color); carmelita, 3. (Por alus. al del hbito de los carmelitas). Bol., Chile y Cuba. Se dice del color pardo, castao claro o acanelado. All of the above terms, including caf and marrn, should be defined with regional specifications: caf, Bol., Col., C. Rica, Chile, Ecuad., El Salv., Hond., Guat., Mx. y Nic. Castao, o de matices parecidos and marrn, Arg., Col., Cuba, Esp., Par., Per, P. Rico, R. Dom., Ur. y Ven. Castao, o de matices parecidos. Is carmelita commonly used in Bolivia and Chile in the sense of pardo as the Dictionary indicates? No evidence of this was uncovered in this study, nor was any Uruguayan encountered who used caf in the sense of brown.

D4 D4.1


Cuerda is a generic General Spanish term that can refer to string or twine (and also rope), but many countries have other more regional names for these items. Note: In section D4.2 below, the terms corresponding to each country are listed in alphabetical order. D4.2 Other Terms for String and/or Twine by Country (about 15 terms plus variants) cordel, cordn cordn, mecate camo, pita camo, cordel, mecate, pita cabuya, camo, cordel, cordn, mecate cabuya, mecate cordn, camo, manila, mecate cordn 45



camo, cordel, cordn cabuya, camo, cordn, gangorra cabuya, cordel, cordn cabuya, guaral, mecate, pabilo cabuya, cordn, guasca, piola, pita cabuya, piola cordn, pita cordel, cordn, pita lia, pioln pioln, piola cordel, cordn, pioln, piola camo, cordel, lienza, pita, pitilla



General: In addition to cuerda, many Spanish speakers use General Spanish hilo and/or soga modified by qualifiers to refer to string and/or twine such as hilo gordo, hilo grueso, hilo mediano, hilo de atar, soga fina, soga delgada, etc. Also, diminutive forms such as cordelito, cordoncito, mecatillo/mecatito, piolita and soguilla/soguita are used in some regions to refer to strings and/or twines that are thinner than the strings, twines and ropes referred to by the base forms (cordel, cordn, mecate, piola and soga). Spain: Some respondents indicated that bramante is used in the sense of twine. El Salvador: Cabuya refers to a cigarette butt (colilla, pucho). Uruguay & Argentina: Hilo sisal refers to a type of string often used for tying up packages. Cordel and cordn: These terms are used in many countries to refer to some type of string or twine, but how (if at all) do their meanings differ by region? A few also said (for string or twine): Cabuya (Cuba), curricn (Colombia), chaura (Uruguay), hilo pabilo (Panama), lia (Bolivia, department of el Beni), maroma (Argentina), mecahilo (Mexico), pabilo (Peru), sucho (Panama). Rope: In addition to cuerda and soga, which appear to be used everywhere (though not everywhere with equal frequency), the following terms were offered in the sense of rope: lazo (Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia; the term was offered in these countries in the sense of a generic rope, not specifically a lasso or lariat), piola (Paraguay), reata (Mexico). In addition, cabo was offered in the sense of a thick rope (such as one used on ships) by respondents from different countries. Spelling: Because words for string, twine and rope are often used primarily in spoken language, many people are uncertain as to the proper spelling, and the following alternate spellings were offered by quite a few educated individuals: cabulla, laso, pavilo, riata, zoga. (Some would haughtily assert that anyone who uses such spellings can not be considered educated. However, an argument can be made that being a good speller is only one of many criteria rather than a necessary but insufficient condition.)



Real Academia Regional Review

Cabo (A?), cabuya (B), camo (B), cordel (A), cordn (A), cuerda (A), gangorra (F), guaral (A), hilo (A), lienza (D), lia (D), manila (B), mecate (A), pabilo (A), piola (C or D?), pioln (B), pita (B), pitilla (A), soga (A or D?). Dictionary definitions: cuerda, Conjunto de hilos de lino, camo, cerda u otra materia semejante, que torcidos forman un solo cuerpo ms o menos grueso, largo y flexible. Sirve para atar, suspender pesos, etc... || 13. cordel; cabo, 13. Mar. Cuerda (|| de atar o suspender pesos); cabuya, 4. Am. Cuerda, y especialmente la de pita; camo, 6. Chile, C. Rica y Hond. Bramante de camo; cordel, Cuerda delgada... || 5. And., Bol., Col. y Nic. zumbel (|| cuerda que se arrolla al pen); cordn, Cuerda, por lo comn redonda, de seda, lino, lana u otra materia filiforme; guaral, Ven. Cordel de grosor mediano, hecho generalmente con hilos de algodn o cocuiza, torcidos en dos o ms ramales. || 2. Ven. Cordel para pescar; hilo, Hebra larga y delgada de una materia textil, especialmente la que se usa para coser; hilo bramante, Cordel delgado de camo; lia, ant. lnea. || 2. ant. Hebra de hilo; manila (defined under manilo), Nic. Fibra de camo utilizada como cuerda; mecate, Am. Cen., Mx. y Ven. Cordel o cuerda hecha de cabuya, camo, pita, crin de caballo o similar; pabilo, 3. Ven. Hilo grueso, resistente, poco tramado, hecho de algodn, que se emplea, entre otras cosas, para tejer alpargatas, hamacas o cubrecamas; piola, Cuerda delgada; pioln, Arg., Chile, Mx., Per y Ur. Cordel delgado de camo, algodn u otra fibra; pita, Bol. Cordel de camo; pitilla, Chile. Cordn delgado usado generalmente para envolver paquetes; soga, Cuerda gruesa de esparto. Cuerda is a General Spanish and generic term and its senses one and thirteen should be combined into a single sense which would read simply Conjunto de hilos de lino, camo, cerda u otra materia semejante, que torcidos forman un solo cuerpo largo y flexible. Sirve para atar, suspender pesos, etc...; in other words, the phrase ms o menos grueso should be eliminated. Most of the other terms should then be defined in terms of cuerda with the appropriate thickness and/or material qualifiers and regional specifications. For example, piola could be defined as Arg., Col., Ecuad. y Ur. Cuerda delgada para atar. || 2. Par. Cuerda gruesa para atar. Cabuya could perhaps be defined as Col., Ecuad., Hon., Nic., P. Rico, R. Dom. y Ven. Cuerda delgada, generalmente hecha de camo, fique, henequn, mezcal, pita, sisal, yute u otra fibra natural. Guatemala, El Salvador, Cuba and the Dominican Republic need to be added to the regional specifications of camo. Costa Rica needs to be added to the regional specifications of manila; is manila used in this sense in Nicaragua as the Dictionary indicates? Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Per and Chile (and elsewhere?) need to be added to the regional specifications of pita. How should the Dictionary deal with diminutives such as pioln, pitilla and soguilla that are diatopically marked forms? The Dictionary will also need to define regional expressions that are used with the above words for string, twine and rope. For example, in Venezuela, jalar mecate means to flatter or brownnose and a jalamecate (also called a jalabolas) is a brownnoser.


D5 D5.1

BAND-AID Summary

Tirita is used in Spain and curita (and/or variants such as cura) in Latin America. D5.2 Terms by Country (2 commonly used terms plus variants) tirita curita curita curita curita curita, cura curita curita curita curita curita curita curita, cura curita curita curita curita curita curita (parche) curita




Chile: Parche curita is used more often than curita. A few also said: Bandaid (Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina), bandita (Mexico, El Salvador, Venezuela), cura (Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico), esparadrapo (Puerto Rico), paratrapo (Puerto Rico). D5.4 Real Academia Regional Review

Cura (D), curita (A), parche curita (F), tirita (C). Dictionary definitions: tirita, Tira adhesiva por una cara, en cuyo centro tiene un apsito esterilizado que se coloca sobre heridas pequeas para protegerlas; curita, (De Curitas, marca reg.). f. tirita; tela adhesiva, Arg. esparadrapo; tira emplstica, Ur. esparadrapo.


The Dictionary should include regional specifications for its definitions of tirita (Esp.) and perhaps curita (Am.), include a sense corresponding to band-aid in its definition of cura, and define the term parche curita with a regional specification (Chile). It would make sense to cross-reference tirita to curita rather than the other way around since the latter term is commonly used in eighteen more countries than the former.

D6 D6.1


Most of the common names for styrofoam are used in only one country. D6.2 Terms by Country (over 20 terms plus variants) poliespn, corcho blanco, porexpn unicel duropor(t) durapax estairofn/styrofoam, fon/foam, durapax poropls(t) estereofn fon/foam, estairofn/styrofoam poliespuma corcha (espuma) fon/foam, estairofn/styrofoam anime icopor espumaflex, (es)pumaf(l)n tecnopor, ternopol, poroflex plastoformo isopor espumapls(t) telgopor, tergopol plumavit, aislapol




General: The majority of the words listed in section D6.2 above were originally brand names which, like English styrofoam, have become generic terms. Some Spanish speakers do not use any specific name for the material in question, but instead refer to a styrofoam cup as a vaso trmico and styrofoam balls or chips used for packing as bolas de embalaje. 49

Spain: Corcho blanco sometimes gets reduced to just corcho. Panama: Some pronounce foam with two syllables [fo-AM], and some with one as if it were written fon or fom. Dominican Republic: Corcha espuma is often pronounced as if written colcha espuma, even by educated speakers. Ecuador: Espumaflex is used more in the Sierra (Highland Region), and espumafln (and its variants espumafn, esplumafn, plumafn, pumafn, etc.) are used more in the Costa (Coastal Region). Peru: In more technical language, is there a difference between tecnopor, ternopol and poroflex (i.e. different types of styrofoam)? Paraguay: The use of isopor is the result of Brazilian influence: it is the Brazilian Portuguese word for styrofoam. (Esferovite is the Continental Portuguese term.) Argentina: Some claim that telgopor is the only correct term and that tergopol is a barbarism. However, many of those who gave tergopol were educated Argentines. Chile: A majority of Chileans gave plumavit, but many others offered aislapol. Of those who use both terms, some say aislapol is the same as plumavit, some indicated they refer to two different types of styrofoam, and some say aislapol is a type of styrofoam panel used for insulation. Technical terms: Technical terms include poliestireno expandido, espuma de poliestireno and EPS / e-pe-ese (from the English acronym for expanded polystyrene). Also the English word styrofoam (with various pronunciations) is used by specialists in many Spanishspeaking countries, though nowhere as often as in Honduras, Panama and Puerto Rico. A few also said: Coropl(s) and foropl(s) (Nicaragua), escarcha (Honduras, small pieces of styrofoam = hielo seco), espuma plstica (Uruguay), estiroplano (Ecuador), estiropor (Mexico), hielo seco (Mexico, Panama, the Dominican Republic; especially for the small styrofoam pieces used for packaging), nieve seca (Mexico, the Dominican Republic = hielo seco), polifn (Uruguay), tergopor (Argentina), tergopol, telgopor and tergopor (Paraguay). Spelling: Since the terms presented in section D6.2 above are often used primarily in spoken language, and their pronunciation varies in some cases, many educated speakers are uncertain as to how they should be spelled. The following are some alternate spellings: duraps and durapacks (El Salvador, Honduras), duropor and duroport (Guatemala), espuma flex (Ecuador), espumapls and espumaplast (Uruguay; these derive from espuma plstica), hicopor (Colombia), hieloseco and nieveseca (Mexico, Panama, the Dominican Republic), pluma foam and pluma fom (Ecuador), pluma vit (Chile), poliespn and poliexpn (Spain), porespn (Spain), poroplast, poropls and poropl (Nicaragua), unisel (Mexico). Poliespn and poliexpn derive from poliestireno expandido, which would suggest that poliexpn would be correct, but the spelling poliespn was offered by far more respondents, perhaps because in Spain the letter x tends to be pronounced like an s when it occurs before a consonant. All of these spelling (and in some cases etymological) issues will need to be resolved in order for these terms to be included in Spanish-language dictionaries.



Real Academia Regional Review

Anime (D), corcha espuma (F), corcho blanco (F), durapax (F), duroport (F), espumaflex (F), espumafln (F), espumafn (F), espumapls (F), espumaplast (F), foam (F), hielo seco (D), icopor (F), isopor (F), nieve seca (F), plastoformo (F), plumafln (F), plumavit (F), poliespn (F), poliexpn (F), poliespuma (F), poroplast (F), tecnopor (F), telgopor (F), tergopol (F), ternopol (F), unicel (F). None of the common names for styrofoam is properly defined in the Dictionary, including those used in Spain. What is the reason for this lacuna? Is it because the Real Academia has a disdain for nontechnical names for technical items, or is it a case of ignorance is bliss?

D7 D7.1

CACHIVACHES (odds and ends, stuff, junk) Summary

Most countries have regionalisms that are similar in meaning to General Spanish cachivaches in that they refer to things, stuff, junk, and/or odds and ends, are colloquial and often pejorative, and are generally used in the plural form. D7.2 Terms by Country (over 25 terms) cacharros, trastos, chismes chcharas, triques, chivas, chunches chunches, tiliches, charadas chunches, tiliches, volados, calaches chunches, tiliches, calaches, tarantines chunches, chereques, carajadas, tiliches, calaches, tarantines chunches, chcheres, tiliches, carajadas chcheres, chunches tarecos, trastes, trastos tereques tereques, viejeras, jodiendas corotos, peroles, chcheres, macundales, trastes chcheres, pendejadas, maricad(it)as, trastes, chcoros tereques ? ? ? ? ? cachureos 51




General: How do the meanings of the above terms differ in their respective regions, particularly with regard to: a) the size of the object, b) the level of pejorativeness conveyed by the speaker, and c) the terms speech register such as colloquial or vulgar? Which are more like cachivaches (larger, uglier and more useless), and which are more like chucheras (smaller and cuter)? Mexico: Is tiliche commonly used in Mexico or certain parts of Mexico (southern Mexico?)? El Salvador: Tarantines often refer to pots, pans, plates and other kitchen utensils. Nicaragua: Tarantines often refer to containers. Venezuela: Chcheres is used primarily in Western Venezuela (especially the state of Zulia). Colombia: Chcoros is used mainly in the Costa. Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay & Argentina: What regional equivalents of cachivaches are used in these countries? Very few respondents offered any, but surely some must exist. Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay probably have indigenous terms (in Quechua, Aymara and/or Guaran) that are similar in meaning to cachivaches and are used by Spanish speakers even in primarily Spanish-language utterances. A few also said: Brtulos (Spain), bichos (Venezuela), cochinadas (Guatemala), cojudeces (Peru), cherevecos (Costa Rica), churres (Cuba), desgracias (El Salvador), macundos (Venezuela), mugres (Mexico), muleles (Panama), shmates (Argentina, among Jews, Yiddish term), varas (Costa Rica), vyro re (Paraguay, Guaran term). Also, the term huevadas, sometimes spelled gevadas (and sometimes appearing in the diminutive form huevaditas/gevaditas) is used in Ecuador, Peru and Chile; how, if at all, does its meaning and level of vulgarity vary regionally? D7.4 Real Academia Regional Review

Cacharro (A or C?), cachureo (A), calache (B), carajada (A), coroto (A or B?), chchara (A or C?), charada (D), chchere (B), chereque (F), chisme (C), chiva (B), chunche (F), huevada (B?), jodienda (D), macundal (A), maricada (F), pendejada (D), perol (A), porquera (A or C?), tarantn (A or B?), tareco (A, B or D?), tereque (A, B or D?), tiliche (A or B?), traste (B or D?), trasto (A, C or D?), trique (A), viejera (A), volado (A?). Dictionary definitions: cachivache, despect. Vasija, utensilio, trebejo. U. m. en pl. || 2. despect. Cosa rota o arrinconada por intil. U. m. en pl.; chuchera, Cosa de poca importancia, pero pulida y delicada; brtulos, m. pl. Enseres que se manejan; cacharro, 4. coloq. Aparato viejo, deteriorado o que funciona mal; cachureo, coloq. Chile. Objeto intil. || 2. coloq. Chile. Conjunto variado de objetos desechados; calache, 2. m. El Salv. Utensilio pequeo y viejo. || 3. Hond. Mueble viejo y desvencijado. U. m. en pl.; carajada, C. Rica y Hond. cosa (|| objeto); coroto, m. coloq. Col. y Ven. Objeto cualquiera que no se quiere mencionar o cuyo nombre se desconoce. || 2. coloq. Col. y Ven. Cacharro de la cocina o de la vajilla; chchara, 3. pl. Baratijas, cachivaches; chchere, m. coloq. Col., C. Rica, El Salv. y Ven. trasto (|| cosa vieja). U. m. en pl. || 2. coloq. Col., C. Rica y Ven. Objeto en general. U. m. en pl.; chisme, 2. coloq. 52

Baratija o trasto pequeo; chiva, 2. Ven. Toda prenda de vestir o cualquier otro objeto, por lo comn usado, que se regala, alquila o vende. || 3. pl. Mx. enseres; huevada, coloq. Chile. Cosa, asunto, situacin; macundales, pl. coloq. Ven. enseres; murgano, Col. Objeto intil, antigualla; perol, 2. Ven. Objeto cuyo nombre se ignora, no se recuerda o no se quiere mencionar; porquera, 2. coloq. Cosa vieja, rota o que no desempea su funcin como debiera; tarantn, Am. Cen., Cuba y R. Dom. Cachivache, trasto. || 3. pl. El Salv. Utensilios de cocina; tareco, coloq. Can., Cuba y Ur. trebejo (|| utensilio, instrumento); tereque, Ecuad., Nic., P. Rico y Ven. trebejo (|| utensilio, instrumento). En Ecuador, u. m. en pl.; tiliche, Am. Cen. y Mx. Baratija, cachivache, bujera; traste, 3. And., Am. Cen., Mx y P. Rico. trasto (|| utensilio casero); trasto, Cada uno de los muebles o utensilios de una casa. || 3. despect. Cosa intil, estropeada, vieja o que estorba mucho; trique1, 4. pl. Mx. Trastos, trebejos; viejera, 2. P. Rico. Cosa vieja e inservible; volado, 5. El Salv. cosa (|| asunto, tema). Any of the above terms that can be directly cross-referenced to cachivache, a General Spanish term, should be. The definition could read cachivache (|| cosa, objeto) with the appropriate regional specifications. In order for these terms to be properly defined, the following questions will also need to be resolved by further research: Is coroto commonly used in Colombia? Is chchere used in El Salvador? (Panama needs to be added to chcheres regional specifications.) Why are cacharro, cachureo, coroto, chchere, chisme, huevada, macundales, and porquera defined as colloquial, but not carajada, chchara, chiva, perol and tarantn? And why are some terms defined as nouns that are only used in the plural__with the headword itself a plural noun or with the abbreviation pl. in the definition__while others are listed as mostly used in the plural with the annotation U. m. en pl. [Usado ms en plural]? Is it true, for example, that calaches and chcheres are occasionally used in the singular but never chcharas nor macundales as the Dictionarys definitions imply?

APPENDIX 1: ADDITIONAL TOPICS The following is a small selection of miscellaneous topics in the field of Spanish lexical dialectology. For the most part, only a few informants from each specified country or region have been observed or questioned concerning these issues, and findings are tentative. as soon as. Is there regional variation in the use of apenas, en cuanto and tan pronto como? Apenas and tan pronto como may be perceived as pertaining to a slightly higher register, and en cuanto seems to be much more frequently used in spoken language in many Latin American countries. However, perhaps the phrases are not exact equivalents. In some cases, llmame apenas sepas seems to be more insistent than llmame en cuanto sepas, as if the speaker who used the apenas phrase wanted the other person to call immediately upon finding out the information, whereas the speaker who used the en cuanto phrase wanted to receive the call soon after but not immediately after. What other more regional phrases are there such as tan luego como (Mexico)?


attorney / lawyer. Abogado is the General Spanish term, but in Mexico and Peru, respectively, licenciado and doctor seem to be more common in everyday spoken language, especially when referring to a specific attorney (habl con el licenciado y me dijo...). cap (type of hat with visor). Who says gorra and who says cachucha? cigarette / cigar / pipe. What are the regional preferences for the following items? Cigarette: cigarrillo (most countries?), cigarro (Mexico, parts of the Caribbean Basin, and elsewhere?), pitillo (Spain?), and perhaps other terms (?). Cigar: cigarro, puro, habano, and other terms. Pipe: pipa, cachimba, cachimbo, and other terms. Let us hope that by the year 2100, tobacco products will no longer be part of any languages or dialects basic vocabulary. cold (the common cold) / flu. Catarro and resfriado may be universal synonyms for cold, and gripe a universal term for influenza or cold, but the following are some more regional terms for cold and/or flu: costipado or constipado (Mediterranean Spain, from Cataln, cold); flu (Puerto Rico, flu); gripa (Mexico, Colombia, cold/flu; gripa is also used elsewhere in uneducated speech, but in Mexico and Colombia it is common even among educated speakers); monga (Puerto Rico, flu); quiebrahuesos and quebrantahuesos (Costa Rica, flu); resfro (Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, cold); trancazo (Ecuador, flu). dijiste vs. dijistes. Based on the analogy of second-person singular conjugations for other tenses, such as dices, decas, dirs, digas and dijeras, that in standard Spanish do have wordfinal s, many Spanish speakers use nonstandard second-person singular preterite forms with word-final s such as hablastes, comistes and dijistes. While it is clear that these preterite forms are universally criticized as uneducated and incorrect by educated speakers throughout the Spanish-speaking world, for whom the only correct forms are hablaste, comiste and dijiste, the following questions remain unanswered: In the uneducated speech of each region, how common are second-person singular preterite forms with word-final s such as dijistes? In what regions are these forms so commonplace in the speech of people with a medium level of education that they receive only mild criticism, if any, from most sectors of society? In short, how, if at all, do frequencies of use and attitudes toward dijiste/dijistes, etc. vary by region among different groups? dustpan. Who says pala, who says recogedor, and who says cogedor? each time / every time. Cada vez que... is a General Spanish way of saying this, but in Mexican Spanish cada que... is used quite frequently, and not only in informal language. Is this ellipsis used elsewhere? hambre. When this term is unmodified and used with the definite article (el hambre), its gender is not revealed, but in phrases such as tengo mucha hambre, tengo mucho hambre, or tengo un hambre brbaro, the words gender shows itself to be variable. (Compare el guila, el rea, el hacha, el hada, etc., all of which are clearly feminine, and el calambre, el fiambre, el matambre, etc., all of which are unambiguously masculine.) What, if any, are the regional preferences between masculine and feminine for the word hambre? The Dictionary indicates that hambre is strictly a feminine noun which is clearly not the whole story.


how shall I put it (filler phrase used to express uncertainty). Who says cmo le/te dir, who says cmo le/te dijera, who says other variants, and how are these phrases perceived in different regions by different groups in terms of correctness, refinement, etc.? in the meantime, meanwhile. Mientras tanto and entre tanto are the standard General Spanish phrases, but in some regions other phrases appear to be used much more often in everyday language. For example, in Ecuador hasta mientras is the most commonly used phrase. What other phrases (such as por mientras) are common in other regions? itch / itchiness. In nontechnical language, there appear to be regional preferences among comezn (more common in Spain and the Antilles?), picazn (more common in some South American countries?) and picor (where is this term commonly used?). kick out (a person). Sacar and/or echar are General Spanish terms used in the sense of kick out (remove, make leave), but botar (see section B6) is commonly used in Panama, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia (and elsewhere?). In Mexico and Nicaragua (and elsewhere in Central America?), correr is commonly used as a transitive verb in this sense. However, there is evidence to suggest that there may be a distinction in the way some speakers use correr and sacar/echar as a number of people from these two countries indicated that one says lo correrion del trabajo when a person is fired (lo despidieron, le dijeron que se fuera), but lo echaron del bar or lo sacaron del bar when a person is physically removed (for example, by a bouncer), that is, with the meaning of lo obligaron a salir a la fuerza, a la brava, o a patadas. lo vs. la (in certain phrases). Lo pasamos bien or la pasamos bien? Assuming the phrase has no specific referent (such as la velada or la fiesta that is feminine, or el paseo that is masculine), are there regional preferences between pasarlo and pasarla? Is a la mejor a strictly Mexican Spanish equivalent of General Spanish a lo mejor = maybe, or is a la mejor used elsewhere, in countries other than Mexico? How do attitudes toward these variants vary? morirse de (la) risa vs. matarse de (la) risa. Are there regional preferences between these phrases? In Ecuador, matarse de la risa seems to be the most common in everyday speech, whereas in many other Spanish-speaking countries morirse de la risa or morirse de risa seem to be the phrases most often used. perhaps (quiz vs. quizs). Does the intelligentsia in all Spanish-speaking countries prefer quiz to quizs, or are there places in which quizs is accepted (and even preferred) by all but a small minority of internationally educated or linguistically conservative groups? In which countries is quiz a shibboleth that distinguishes the truly educated from the rest, a sine qua non for being considered cultured by the intelligentsia? In which do those with lower and middle levels of education__for the sake of argument, let us narrow the issue to education in the humanities__prefer quizs, and even consider this term to be more correct than quiz? Where, in contrast, do people with lower and middle levels of education also prefer quiz to such an extent that the use of quiz, in and of itself, is hardly a sign of anything? In short, how, if at all, do attitudes toward quiz/quizs vary by region among different groups?


pinch (verb). Who says pellizcar, and who says peiscar or peizcar (spelling?)? The Dictionary does not list either of the -forms. scratch (verb). For scratch, who says araar and who says aruar? The Dictionary defines aruar as coloq. araar, but in some varieties of Spanish, people use only or primarily aruar. For those who generally use aruar, one can argue that this verb is not any more colloquial than araar is for those who use it primarily or exclusively. What about regional equivalents for scrape (General Spanish raspar), such as rasmillar (Ecuador) and guayar (Dominican Republic?)? size. Tamao (for general dimensions) and talla (for clothing size) are General Spanish terms, but what about regional terms, especially for tamao? Porte (Ecuador, and elsewhere?) and vuelo (Chile, and elsewhere?) are two examples of words that are commonly used in phrases such as un ___ de este porte/vuelo. turn on (a light, an appliance). For lights, lamps, flashlights, etc. prender seems to be much more common than encender in Honduras, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, whereas encender seems to be quite common (perhaps more common in everyday speech than prender) in Spain (many regions), Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Cuba and Bolivia. In countries where prender is more common in everyday speech, encender is considered by some to be more formal and the prestige term. However, some speakers stated they use prender for devices and encender for lights and others indicated the opposite (prender for lights and encender for other appliances). Some Spanish speakers claimed they use neither prender nor encender for turning on radios and other electrical devices, but prefer poner or poner en marcha (puso el/la radio, puso en marcha el aparato). The use of these alternate phrases seems to be particularly common in Spain and Cuba; some Cubans also indicated they use the phrase echar a andar for devices. What, if any, are the regional preferences in the way these verbs are used in these contexts? turn the page (of a book or magazine). Pasar la pgina, cambiar la pgina and dar vuelta a la pgina may be General Spanish phrases that, in many cases, are synonymous, but the following are some more regionally weighted phrases: virar la pgina (Puerto Rico?, Ecuador); voltear la pgina (Mexico, Guatemala?, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru); volver la pgina (Spain, Chile?). unless. Is there regional variation in the use of a menos que and a no ser que, or is it merely a case of uniform diglossia throughout the Spanish-speaking world (a menos que = higherregister phrase and a no ser que = lower-register phrase)? A no ser que seems to be much more frequently used in spoken language in many Latin American countries.


NOTES 1. The author would like to thank Lucrecia Hug and Sharlee Merner Bradley for editing earlier drafts and making a number of valuable suggestions. In addition, he would like to express his appreciation to Andy Klatt and Jacki Noh for going out of their way to put him in contact with many informants/respondents for this study. Last but not least, he would like to thank all of the native speakers of Spanish who generously gave of their time to answer questions on usage. 2. For information on items in other semantic fields whose names in Spanish vary by region, see the following works by Andre Moskowitz: Topics in Spanish lexical dialectology: la ciudad y los fueros. Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference of the American Translators Association, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A., November 6-9, 2002. Ed. Scott Brennan. American Translators Association, 2002. 353399. Topics in Spanish lexical dialectology: folks. Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Conference of the American Translators Association, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., October 31November 3, 2001. Ed. Thomas L. West III. American Translators Association, 2001. 268-301. Topics in Spanish lexical dialectology: kids stuff. Proceedings of the 41st Annual Conference of the American Translators Association, Orlando, Florida, U.S.A., September 20-23, 2000. Ed. Thomas L. West III. American Translators Association, 2000. 328-366. Topics in Spanish lexical dialectology: food and drink. Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of the American Translators Association, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A., November 3-6, 1999. Ed. Ann G. Macfarlane. American Translators Association, 1999. 275-308. Topics in Spanish lexical dialectology: the home. Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the American Translators Association, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, U.S.A., November 4-8, 1998. Ed. Ann G. Macfarlane. American Translators Association, 1998. 221-253. Fruit and vegetable terminology in the Spanish-speaking world: regional variation. Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the American Translators Association, San Francisco, California, U.S.A., November 5-9, 1997. Ed. Muriel M. Jrme-OKeeffe. American Translators Association, 1997. 233-261. Clothing terminology in the Spanish-speaking world: regional variation. Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of the American Translators Association, Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S.A., October 30-November 3, 1996. Ed. Muriel M. Jrme-OKeeffe. American Translators Association, 1996. 287-308. Car terminology in the Spanish-speaking world. Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the American Translators Association, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A., November 8-12, 1995. Ed. Peter W. Krawutschke. American Translators Association, 1995. 331-340. Contribucin al estudio del espaol ecuatoriano. Unpublished M.A. thesis. Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Florida. Gainesville, Florida. 1995. 57

A box of office supplies: dialectological fun The Georgetown Journal of Languages & Linguistics. Vol 1.3. Ed. Richard J. OBrien, S.J. 1990. 315-344.

REFERENCES Corominas, Joan. 1954. Diccionario Crtico Etimolgico de la Lengua Castellana. Bern, Switzerland: Editorial Francke. Green, Jonathon. 1996. Chasing the Sun / Dictionary Makers and the Dictionaries They Made. New York, USA: Henry Holt and Company. Landau, Sidney I. 2001. Dictionaries / The Art and Craft of Lexicography. 2nd edition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Lederer, Richard. 2003. Foreword in Dictionary of Americanisms by John Russell Bartlett. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, New Jersey, USA. Pgs. v-xiv. (Epigraph from pg. v.) Lipski, John M. 1996. El espaol de Amrica. Madrid, Spain: Ediciones Ctedra, S.A. Milroy, James and Lesley Milroy. 1991. Authority in Language / Investigating Language Prescription and Standardisation. London, UK and New York, USA: Routledge. Real Academia Espaola. 2001. Diccionario de la Lengua Espaola. 22nd edition. Madrid, Spain: Editorial Espasa-Calpe, S.A.



John Florio (c. 1553-1625) An Englishman, son of a Florentine Protestant, John Florio was a lexicographer, language teacher, courtier, translator, interpreter, Renaissance scholar and uomo universale. In 1598, he published an ItalianEnglish dictionary entitled A Worlde of Wordes, Or Most copious, and exact Dictionarie in Italian and English which was the first dictionary to introduce nonclassical citations and included slang, obscenities and words from a number of Italian dialects. He is also famous for translating Montaignes Essays and in so doing introduced many new words into the English language including its, conscientious, endeare, tarnish, comporte, efface, facilitate, amusing, debauching, regret, effort and emotion. (Green, 124-134).

Noah Webster (1758-1843) Noah Webster was a teacher, grammarian, essayist, newspaper editor, lawyer, politician, farmer, scientific observer and a highly nationalistic lexicographer who promoted a number of spelling reforms, some of which would become general practice in the United States. Examples include dropping the u in words like honour, substituting k for que in words like cheque, masque and risque, and inverting the French-influenced re in centre, theatre and metre. Other more radical spelling reforms that he proposed did not catch on. Webster believed that Americanisms were a valuable addition to the English language and that people from the United States spoke American English, a separate variety that required a separate dictionary. He spent fifteen years writing the American Dictionary of the English Language, which was published in 1828 (Green, 308-318).