The Colombian Spanish Dialect


The Colombian Spanish dialect is a variation of the Spanish language spoken in Colombia. For other Latin Americans, Colombian Spanish represents a superior form which is more refined, more classical than the ones they actually speak. The Colombian Spanish dialect came to be that way because the Colombian capital of Bogota, even as a Spanish colony, was an important viceroyalty, important enough to acquire its own university for higher learning, as well as other cultural and religious institutions. This meant the arrival of clerics, academics and administrators from Spain, many of whom spoke an educated variety of Spanish. This was important and influential in the development of the Colombian Spanish dialect.

Similarities with Spain

The Colombian Spanish dialect displays many similarities to the Spanish spoken in Spain, as well as in other Spanish colonies. For example, the pronunciation of “j” is centered in the pharynx, the pronunciation of “ch” has a pronounced prepalatal articulation, as in “y,” there is no phonological difference between the pronunciation of “b” and “v,” and there is no difference between “C / Z” and “S.” The dissimilarities between Standard Spanish and the Colombian Spanish dialect are the following: the occlusive consonants /b, d, g/ /b/ (“b” or “v”), /d/ (“d”) and /g/ (“g” or “gu”) in the general Spanish have phonetic changes when pronounced after other consonants, thus becoming fricatives.

This phenomenon is absent from the Colombian Spanish dialect, where the occlusive consonants remain occlusive. In Bogota, the use of the informal “tu” is very limited; even when talking with very close relatives, the pronoun “usted” is used, even though it is typically reserved for formal address in many other Spanish speaking nations. Paradoxically, in intra-family speech, it is common to address the husband as “mijo,” which is an abbreviation for “my son,” and the wife as “mija,” denoting “my daughter.”


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