Sunday, May 9

Language, dialect, geolect and socio-dialect: does anyone really speak Spanish?

  • Irene Hernández Velasco
  • Special for HayFestivalArequipa @ BBCMundo

More than 480 million people have Spanish as their mother tongue, according to statistics. And yet, strictly speaking, no one speaks it. At least not in its purest form.

Just make a phone call to check. Some Spanish speakers will answer “hello”, others will say “tell me”, there will be someone who picks up the phone and says “good”, who answers with a brief “yes”, who will reply with a “let’s see” …

We all speak Spanish, yes, but not exactly the same Spanish. We do it with different cadences and rhythms, with different accents and with its own features.

And the same happens with those whose mother tongue is Portuguese, German, Greek, French, English, Icelandic, Basque, Russian, Chinese, Catalan or any other language.

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