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Learning Yucatecan Spanish

Spanish Yucatecan

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#1 VivianePB

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Posted 11 January 2015 - 11:13 PM

I don't know if this has been mentioned before, but in case some of you want to push your Spanish learning up a notch and know the language specific to the Yucatan, there is a Yucatecan Spanish dictionary that has been out for a while. The 5th edition came out in 2013 and can be found on Amazon at http://www.amazon.co...n/dp/0988433753. According to this review, physical copies are (or were) also available in Mérida: http://hamacapress.com/dictionary

 

I recently bought the Kindle version and it seems pretty exhaustive, at 119 pages. There was a hotel clerk last month who suggested that I start learning some slang, and I could barely understand what he was telling me when he started speaking it on purpose. Hopefully, this dictionary should help.





#2 Dave_in_Ont

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 12:39 AM

Yucatan Spanish is a different dialect than even Cancun Spanish, in my experience.

 

Kinda like....

 

Quebec French is very different than New Brunswick French, Northern Ontario French and Manitoba French. I am not fluent in French, but bilingual friends and relatives who have travelled with me have commented on the difficulties that they had understanding those different dialects.


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#3 VivianePB

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 01:22 AM

I haven't had too much trouble understanding the locals so far in Mérida and Celestun. I guess I was lucky enough to not come across many "Yucatanisms". Perhaps it's a matter of being used to hearing different accents and dialects. North Americans can watch European movies and TV shows and still understand despite the differences in language.



#4 Jardinero

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 01:27 AM

I kinda agree with Dave regarding French spoken in Canada.

 

Coming from Quebec City, allow me to give you my own explanation. We all have a common basis which in many ways is the French language spoken when Louis XIV was living. In Quebec City (not Montreal), we speak the real old French. In the Maritimes it's the same French but each word is pronounced as if you had some hot potatoes in your mouth, while in Northern Ontario (every piece of land west of Ottawa and Toronto) it's French with a mouthful of nickel coins and in the western provinces it's either wheat of oil. From the moment we hear this sound, we all respond with our rallying call : "Passes-moi en une" (Pass me one). After a six-pack each, we either all understand what the other has to say or don't give a damn and keep smiling.

 

By the way from what part of Canada do you come from?


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#5 VivianePB

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 01:48 AM

Is Quebec City French really that different, Jardinero? I only noticed a difference when hearing certain words pronounced, ike "poteau".

 

I live in Montreal but my family is from the south shore, near the American border.

 

See, one of the differences between me and "my kind" is that I've never been a fan of malt beverages. But if it's made with grapes or 20%+ alcohol, bring it on!



#6 CoyoteMan

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 08:22 AM

I can't speak to how accurate or comprehensive the dictionary is, but it is the most entertaining dictionary I've ever read. You can read it like a book. Many of the examples of usage are hilarious.


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#7 doble

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 11:31 AM

The Spanish used in the Yucatan is somewhat different than usage in DF or other parts of Mexico and certainly the rest of Latin America - it evolved separately because Yucatan was relatively remote and distanced from the rest of Mexico. (even wanting to separate from Mexico several times). It is also very different from modern Castilian Spanish - and perhaps has its roots to Spanish from a century or two ago.

 

From what I understand it is not so much the colloquialisms specific to the Yucatan but rather word usage and grammar.

 

It has been compared to French based languages spoken in France, various areas of Canada, and some of the former French colonies such as Senegal and Haiti and especially Cajun French.  - Likewise English spoken in the UK (many dialects and accents) and that language in former colonies - such as southern US, Jamaica, India, Pakistan etc.

 

One really has to listen carefully when conversing/listening to one of the other dialects. I have found that several cervezas or lots of demon rum can make me fluent in any language I choose!!!



#8 VivianePB

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 12:10 PM

I've traveled throughout Mexico from the Northeast to the South and noticed a difference in mentality in the Yucatan. Some still say that they don't consider themselves as Mexicans. The general impression that I got was that they were more introverted/quiet and respectful than in the more Northern parts. Perhaps I would find a similar attitude if I were to visit Guatemala.

The dictionary actually explains the different word usages, so that should be helpful.



#9 YolistoKhaki

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 01:34 PM

Yucatan Spanish is a different dialect than even Cancun Spanish, in my experience.

 

Kinda like....

 

Quebec French is very different than New Brunswick French, Northern Ontario French and Manitoba French. I am not fluent in French, but bilingual friends and relatives who have travelled with me have commented on the difficulties that they had understanding those different dialects.

===============================================

 

and Creole French (my heritage) vs Cajun French - both in South Louisiana and still sharply divided socially.  My Granddaddy Laborde was literally on the floor laughing when all 13 of his grandchildren took "French" in school. ... and now, we have Canadian expats in Arnaudville and they have "French classes"...  and we have the French Table (covered dish dinner) once a month where nothing but French is spoken.... its mostly elderly Cajuns and Canadians so "whose French?" is up for grabs.



#10 Joanne

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 03:32 PM

When our kids were in French Immersion in elementary school, their report cards would praise their "excellent accent" which was code for saying they sounded Parisian vs Quebecois or any other variant of Canadian French.  I remember teachers being snotty about each other's accents and abilities in French. In the end, one child ended up relatively fluent and still is and the other not so much.


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#11 VivianePB

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 03:49 PM

In Quebec (and French Canada in general,) there is also the educational and socioeconomic backgrounds that need to be taken into account. Print media, universities, documentaries and "serious" TV shows use Standard Canadian French, which I think can be understood by most French speakers. The challenge comes with understanding "the average man on the street" or person without a college degree, who will tend to use more joual and anglicisms and make several grammatical mistakes without realizing it.



#12 Jardinero

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 11:03 PM

Is Quebec City French really that different, Jardinero? I only noticed a difference when hearing certain words pronounced, ike "poteau".

 

I live in Montreal but my family is from the south shore, near the American border.

 

See, one of the differences between me and "my kind" is that I've never been a fan of malt beverages. But if it's made with grapes or 20%+ alcohol, bring it on!

___

 

Not really that different. Montrealers roll their 'R's like pirates. LOL

 

Same for me, I prefer Bordeau wine to beers. BTW, wines here are not expensive compared to prices we pay in Quebec and some are really great.


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#13 Balam

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 11:09 AM

The best way to learn to speak and listen "yucatecan" spanish is talking with native speakers of "yucatecan" spanish, remember "La práctica hace al maestro"
 
Practice, practice, practice.

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#14 BeauGeste

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 02:04 PM

Just ordered three speaking mayan spanish books from Amazon, including the one linked above,  Curious to see how much it differs from *traditional* spanish.



#15 Anvil

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 09:03 PM

I had to learn Panamanian Spanish after having spoken Ecuadorian Spanish.  The slang in the province of Chiriquí, Panamá is very different.  I'm looking forward to learning a new dialect!  ¡Meto!



#16 YolistoKhaki

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 10:56 PM

Do ya'll know Jim Smiley? Whenever a conversation comes up about geographic and cultural differences in languages, I always think of Jim and this old thread on Yolisto

I am a French Canadian-French Creole by heritage and culture... not a drop of Cajun blood - neither Jim Smiley... I just love that thread - he was apoplectic... LOL



#17 TravellingRae

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 01:56 PM

I learned Castilian Spanish and then started to pick up some Sinaloan Spanish idiosyncrasies when I lived in Mazatlán. Now, I'm trying to wrap my heard around Yucatan peculiarities. Thankfully, I have help! The owners of the house I'm minding know two wonderful guys who do repairs for them who have come by several times in the last month. They only have a bit of English, so we communicate in Spanish and they are very generous with teaching me new words. Well, I hired them yesterday to help me move some furniture. Lots of things went wrong and one kept dropping things on his foot, so I got quite the lesson in Yucatecan "mala palabras." They were shy about it at first, apologising for their "rudeness," but once I told them how educational I found their bad fortune, they were more than happy to make sure I got a proper lesson.  :D







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