Today is the second part of the post about the different accents in Spanish. To make this easier we can divide the theme between Latin American accents and the Spanish accent with its regional variants. In this post we are going to focus more on why there are these changes in pronunciation on both continents.
We can say that the differences in language and pronunciation are due, in short, to make the post easier to understand, to the influence of the native languages of America and of what is known as colonial delay (a term created by the linguist Marckwardt)
Starting with the colonial delay, this is based on the idea that the linguistic innovations that occurred in the metropolis did not reach the colonies, so those words that were no longer used in the metropolis continued to be used in the colonies. An example of this is the voseo, which we talked about in another previous post. Today in Spain no one speaks using the word “vos“. It is something archaic that could be seen in period movies, but which is extinct from day to day speech.
Later we also found the influence of the native languages of the areas, and the reason is that when the Spanish colonizers arrived, Spanish had very little acceptance by the Native Americans. It was the Catholic Church that, through the creation of schools, established Spanish as the main language. But this did not prevent many words from continuing to be used, many words that have penetrated the Spanish language. For example, “chicle” (chewing gum), “caucho” (rubber), “cancha” (court), “tucán” (toucan), etc. And it also influenced the accent that Latin American speakers possess.
Although all this does not explain one of the main differences between the two accents and it is the seseo (pronunciation of the letter c and z as the letter s) of Latin American speakers. The main argued cause by linguists is that it was due to the number of Andalusians, the region of Spain where seseo exists, in the colonization of Latin America. This could explain why it is so widespread in South America while in Spain the pronunciation of s, z, c is perfectly differenciated in the vast majority of regions.
To take an example, in Spain the word zapato (shoe) the “z” is pronounced as th, while in South America it is pronounced as an s.