Posted by: janecronin | July 5, 2011

Class accent – does it exist in Spanish?


I recently read an interesting sentence, talking about English speech:  “Accent is the con-man’s first resource”.   

For various historical reasons “accent” has become facet of the English language with identifies people according to their class and education as well as the region they come from.

This is not the case in Spain.  There is of course more or less educated speech, meaning variations in grammar or a range of vocabulary, but apart from that, there is no such thing as “class accent”.  People of all walks of life and levels of  society speak with regional accents without fear of being “labelled” in any other way than being from a certain place.  This means there is no need to “put on” accents either, an activity also typical of English speakers.

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Responses

  1. Our friends who live in Oviedo in the Asturias say there is a clear distinction in both dialect and accent. They have a second home in Los Narejos where they spend many months throughout the year enjoying the warmth (I call it furnace heat myself) that they do do not experience in Oviedo very often!

    They say the Murciana dialect & pronunciacíon is as bad as they have ever come across and there does not seem to be any understanding of other peoples´ accents where they are concerned.

    I have to say that as an ex-pat living for the past 12 years here, Murciana Spanish is almost like double Dutch (if you pardon the comparison) but I know that is no excuse for not speaking Spanish better!!! Sheila

  2. I can certainly sympathize with your friends from Oviedo. I had the same sort of shock when I moved from Asturias to Murcia. I have a neighbour who still speaks in grunts as far as I’m concerned, although I can now recognize the grunts a little better.

    Having said that there are some interesting Asturian accents around, with “u” replacing “o” and “e” replacing “a”. The cows (las vacas) in the Ribadesella/Ariondas area are “les vaques” (I suppose the spelling changes too). I once heard “lu quier” instead of “lo quiere” – that was in the more eastern part of Asturias. Inland they also do strange things to word order like: “regalóme” instead of “me regaló”. I’m not suggesting you mention this to your Asturian friends, it’s just for information!

  3. Asturianu is a language that is separate from and predates the Spanish Language.

    • Hi Pepe,

      That is quite true, although here I am talking about the accent some Asturians have when speaking Castilian Spanish.

  4. My grandparents on both sides were from Asturias. Yes there is a bit of dialect on Castilian when spoken by an Asturian. Example, they would pronounce the words “abuelo” or “abuela” “uelu” and “uela” leaving off the “a” and “b”.


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