Difference between US-Spanish and ES-Spanish and difference between US-French and FR-French
Thread poster: Sandrine Michelle Elkmann

Sandrine Michelle Elkmann
Local time: 02:52
English
Mar 12, 2015

Dear all,

Does somebody know wether there is a difference between the Spanish language spoken in Spain and the one spoken in the United States?
I really mean US and not South America.

Actually, I also would like to ask you if FR-French is different from US-French (i.e. spoken in Louisiana).

Unfortunately, I cannot find any article about this topic on the Internet.

Looking forward to reading your answers.

Thank you very much in advance!

Best regards

Sandrine Elkmann
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Madeleine Chevassus  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:52
Member (2010)
English to French
from a French native translator Mar 12, 2015

Hi,
I'll just talk about France and North America. I agree there is also Belgian French and Swiss French. European French doesn't exist. On a linguistic point of view, the French language from France is of course the original since Canada, Haïti were "discovered" / "colonized" by France hundreds of years after French Language existed. French from Canada is now an important variant, recognized as an official language; same thing in Haïti where French is the official language.

Have a look at: http://www.francophonie.org; there is an English version.

( International Organisation of La Francophonie)

The new Secrétaire Générale Michaëlle Jean comes from Canada / Quebec and she is originated from Haïti.

I looked at the map and asked the search engine, there is no reference to Louisiana.

If you want to go more in depth in the subject, the International Organisation of La Francophonie is the good entry point.

Madeleine (:

[Edited at 2015-03-12 13:23 GMT]


 

Madeleine Chevassus  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:52
Member (2010)
English to French
French (from a French native translator) Mar 12, 2015

PLEASE DISCARD THIS second answer - Thanks

[Edited at 2015-03-12 13:22 GMT]


 

John Holland  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:52
Member (2012)
French to English
Cajun French Mar 12, 2015

Sandrine Michelle Elkmann wrote:

Actually, I also would like to ask you if FR-French is different from US-French (i.e. spoken in Louisiana).


You might be interested in the following discussion of Cajun French from the site of the Department of French Studies at Louisiana State University:
http://uiswcmsweb.prod.lsu.edu/hss/french/Undergraduate%20Program/Cajun%20French/item49434.html

This Wikipedia page has some interesting info, as well:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cajun_French


 

Beatriz Ramírez de Haro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:52
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
US Spanish Mar 12, 2015

A couple of useful links:

http://www.anle.us/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_language_in_the_United_States

Good Luck
Bea


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:52
Spanish to English
+ ...
"You cannot be serious"... Mar 12, 2015

Sorry for the McEnroe quote, which may be past its sell-by date for our younger colleagues.

The "Spanish" spoken in the USA is well on its way to becoming neither flesh nor fowl (ni chicha ni limoná). There are many differences between the Castilian Spanish spoken in Spain and the many variants spoken all over central and Latin America. I know this only too well, as recently I've been translating financial texts from different countries including Mexico and each one is a little world of its own. Sometimes they coincide and others they don't. And complaints are increasingly being heard from native speakers of Spanish from different countries about the poor level of Spanish spoken by their ex-pats in The US.

So much for "Vive la difference!"

I can't really say much about French, as mine is quite rusty, but I recently watched the movie Monsieur Lazhar and I could understand the Algerians speaking French much more clearly than the French-Canadians...

[Edited at 2015-03-12 17:01 GMT]


 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:52
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
There are difference, but.... Mar 12, 2015

.... on 'speaking terms' (Spanish) we understand each other perfectly well, translating it on paper is a different thing, as already mentioned.

I live in Holland, one of the smaller/smallest countries of the world, and it is more difficult to understand the dialects spoken in my own country, then it is with Spanish worldwide (and I am not even a native Spanish speaking person).

[Edited at 2015-03-12 22:59 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-03-12 23:00 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-03-12 23:01 GMT]


 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 06:22
English to Hindi
+ ...
US-Spanish should be closer to Mexican Spanish Mar 13, 2015

I am no Spanish speaker, nor a French one. But it would seem that the Spanish spoken in the US would be closer to the Spanish prevalent in Mexico as most of the Spanish speakers in the US are likely to be from Mexico. Also, if what has happened with Brazilian Portuguese has also happened with the Spanish in the Americas, then US (or Mexican Spanish) is likely to be very different from the Spanish spoken in Spain.

 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:52
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Geography doesn't seem to make a difference Mar 13, 2015

Balasubramaniam L. wrote:

US-Spanish should be closer to Mexican Spanish

I am no Spanish speaker, nor a French one. But it would seem that the Spanish spoken in the US would be closer to the Spanish prevalent in Mexico as most of the Spanish speakers in the US are likely to be from Mexico. Also, if what has happened with Brazilian Portuguese has also happened with the Spanish in the Americas, then US (or Mexican Spanish) is likely to be very different from the Spanish spoken in Spain.


For the record, it's relatively easy for Brazilians to understand Spanish, while the reverse isn't true. This always puzzled me, until I had the reason explained by a fellow translator, I think from Colombia or Venezuela. While PT has all the sounds used in ES, the latter lacks several sounds frequently used in PT (especially our "z", "ção", "ções").

As a JP language teacher explained to me, when we hear sounds that our ears haven't been trained to differentiate, they sound the same to us. That Japanese man told me that he could be coached for one entire hour, and yet, he wouldn't be able to repeat a phrase in Korean so that a Korean would understand it. Though I heard Polish being spoken every day during 25 years, all those two dozen (?) different hissing sounds are one and the same for me.

My point here is that in spite of the distance, to a Brazilian, Mexican Spanish sounds the closest to Portuguese. On the other hand, the Spanish spoken in our neighbor Argentina is one of the most difficult variants to understand via Portuguese.

In fact, I knew an Argentinean man who had been living in Rio for some 30 years last time I met him. The amazing thing is that when he spoke Portuguese, he sounded like a Mexican movie I had seen on the night before. Go figure!

I've met Spanish-speakers in the USA who came from all Hispanic countries. AFAIK Mexicans are a majority only in Texas and Southern California.


 

Francis Murphy  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:52
Member (2013)
French to English
+ ...
Louisiana French Mar 13, 2015

It would be difficult to cite the differences between Louisiana French and France French. The original French settlers of Louisiana (c. 1762, before the Treaty of Paris of 1763) have been mostly assimilated. "French" speakers represent less than 4% of the population and those speak a variety of French at home that is very simplified, mixed with English words and seldom written. Their education is in US English, with some exceptions for experimental programs trying to revive the language. It could also be said that for all Louisiana French speakers, except for some elderly people, their first language after age six is US English.

It is doubtful that there is a need to translate to or from Louisiana French.

The original "Cajuns" (i.e. 'cadians) came from the French colony Acadia - the present-day Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island -- on the Atlantic coast. The Acadians were expelled in 1755 by the British and allowed to return in 1763, although their original lands were forfeited to the British crown. Some did not return but chose to stay in Louisiana (where they had settled after a short stay in France). Today in Canada, Acadian French is spoken by about 300,000 people in those "maritime" provinces. There are separate French schools for Acadians. The largest number are in New Brunswick, where 32% of the population is French-speaking and 68% English-speaking. The province has English and French as official languages, as does Canada itself. The French taught in all Canadian schools is effectively Standard French, as in France.

Quebec province has 7,000,000 people whose maternal language is French. Quebec French is similar to standard French except for some local words. Written Quebec French is identical, without the spelling differences or grammar differences evident in comparing UK EN to US EN. There are, of course, variations in pronunciation as one finds in English.

People in Canada whose mother tongue is French can easily read Paris French. However, common words as used in advertising may need to be changed to reflect Quebec usage. Most French dictionairies show "Quebecismes" to reflect those differences.

Overall, there are very few people in the USA whose mother tongue is French.

I hope this is helpful. I translate from French (Acadian, Quebec or France) to English (US, Canadian or UK).


 

Tim Friese  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:52
Member (2013)
Arabic to English
+ ...
US-Spanish: A complex entity Mar 13, 2015

Spanish in the US is a large and complex entity.

Variation: as others have said, yes it generally has its roots in Mexico but that varies! Spanish speakers often group with others of the same country or region of origin, and so here in Chicago the Puerto Rican neighborhoods speak differently than the Mexican neighborhoods. Each group has certain professions, politics, etc. that it tends towards and they don't mix all that much with each other.

Influence of English: then there are common English influences among many Spanish speakers in the US. Borrowings like 'troque' and 'lonche' are pretty common, and in principle you could use any English word in your Spanish, so long as you expect others to understand.

Forces of 'purity': however there are new immigrants every day and they generally don't have these Anglicisms, so that's one force pushing away from code-switching.

Importance of work: I've found some words that are very commonly borrowed from English are those that people use at their jobs with their mono-English or English-dominant supervisors, for example "forklift" "pallet" "beds" (in landscaping) etc.

Importance of class: Spanish speakers in the US tend working class and towards certain occupations like machine operators, landscaping, cleaning, restaurants, etc. However, there is another professional class which speaks differently and is in my experience much less open to code-switching.

Source: I've been living, working, and volunteering around Spanish Speakers in the US for some ten years now.


 

Sandrine Michelle Elkmann
Local time: 02:52
English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you vervy much for your very useful answers! Mar 19, 2015

Thank you vervy much for your very useful answers!

 


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