Translation and Colombian Spanish

December 18th, 2015

Colombia has a wide variety of dialects, all differing in syntax, semantics, intonation, and morphology.

Translation and Colombian Spanish | One Hour Translation

Colombia has a wide variety of dialects, all differing in syntax, semantics, intonation, and morphology. The dialects of the Southern Andes are quite similar to those of all the Peruvian and Ecuadorian mountain regions; while the Northern dialects share similarities with other Caribbean countries.

Origins of these dialects can be found initially in the Amerindian, Muisquismos, and African languages; but later they absorbed many British English and French influences. Today we see a predominance of words with North American origin, whose spelling is adopted from the Spanish language.

José Joaquín Montes Giraldo, is a renowned Colombian linguist and researcher in the dialectology field. He suggests that Colombian dialects should be classified into two major areas –

  • The continental-interior super dialect; and
  • The coastal-island super dialect; which includes the Pacific Coast and the Caribbean coast.

The Caribbean is comprised of the Cartagena, Guajiro, Samarium and Caribbean interior side dialects. Then, within the Pacific Coast group we have the Meridian and Northern variations. This classification has the following specific distinction - the Caribbean coast is characterized by the use of , while the Pacific Coast alternates between the use of vos and .

Some Unusual Colombian Spanish Translation Characteristics include –

  • Using the second-person plural pronoun. Similar to other Spanish-speaking countries it’s considered archaic to use the vosotros pronoun, and for this reason usted is used in formal situations and is used in informal conversations.

            In Bogotá, however, it’s the exact opposite, where the use of is not common at all,        and the pronoun usted is generally used, even in conversations with one’s own family        members. So even though the use of vos isn’t as common in other countries, like          Argentina, it’s used in some regions.

  • Use and abuse of diminutives: the most striking thing is the use of adjectives, prepositions and gerunds - not diminutive suffixes such as nouns. They can all be close together, and abbreviated.
  • Colloquial expressions: these words were initially used in big city neighborhoods, but today they’re generally understood by everyone. Some examples of colloquial expressions include –
  • oso: translates to ‘shame’
  • mata: translates to ‘plant’
  • chévere: translates to ‘fun’
  • aburrido: translates to ‘sad’
  • sardino: translates in Spanish to ‘young person’.

It’s common knowledge that Colombians love their own language. The following are some opinions from language authorities –

  • According to Victor García de la Concha, Director of the Real Academia Española, 2005: ‘Colombia has the glorious tradition of language developed, because from the moment of their Independence, their national heroes have been concerned with developing it.’
  • According to the Director of the Academia Mexicana, José Moreno de Alba: ‘There’s not one dialect of Spanish that’s said to be better than another. I think that the Spanish Colombian tradition is more due to the fact that they have developed the study of language.’
  • According to Reinhold Werner  and Gunther Haensch, authors of the Nuevo Diccionario de Colombianismos, 1993: ‘Probably in no other Spanish-speaking country has there been so much excellent linguistic work written about Spanish lexicon within its own borders as in Colombia by Colombians.’

It’s not just the coffee that’s exquisite and unique in Colombia; it also the Spanish.

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