Colombian Vocabulary and Accents

When I first met my husband, I had just spent 8 months living in rural Mexico. I had a fabulous campesino Mexican accent. When we were married (4 months later), we went to Colombia to spend several months with his family. The first thing I noticed was that my in-laws sounded nothing like my friends in Mexico. While the grammar was the same, they used all kinds of new vocabulary and pronunciation.

For example, my sandia (watermelon) became patilla in Colombia. My mantequilla de cachuate (peanut butter) became mantequilla de maní. And my cachucha (baseball hat) became a gorra. Just to name a few of the differences.

Not only did various vocabulary words change, but the pronunciation of the same vocabulary word on occasion also changed. Like take the word for beans, Mexicans say fri JO les (stress on the JO). My in-laws in Boyacá say FRI jo les (stress on the FRI).

Another big difference that I noticed was that there was a huge variation in accents -- depending on the region of Colombia where you grew up. We did a lot of touring on that first trip -- from Boyacá and Bogotá by car to Manizales, Pereira, Cali. Then by plane to Ipiales in the South. It was pretty amazing to hear the variety (kind of like Mississippi vs New York vs Boston vs California -- you get the idea).

I found this video that helps you hear the different accents. In the video, every person reads the same card, but you can definitely hear the difference between someone from Valle vs Caribe vs Bogota. Check it out:


Lu said…
I love it! I feel the same way. Im Colombiana, but my in-laws are Puertorican, so I've also learned new vocabulary too. I say now "revulu" instead of problemon, "chavos" instead of plata, and "no me chaves!" Instead of "no me jodas!" Thanks for sharing!
Lu said…
Lol, it'so true. Im Colombiana, but my in-laws are Puertorican, so I've learned new vocabulary too. I say now, "chavos, revulu", and " no me chaves" instead of "plata, problemon, no me jodas" Thanks for sharing!

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