Striking up a conversation in Spanish with the locals at the grocery shop, a market, in a taxi or at a bar always makes the other person wonder where I am from and there have been countless times when someone has just stopped bang in the middle of the conversation to tell me “tienes un acento chistoso” (‘you have a funny accent’). The more reserved Mexican would wait for the appropriate time to tell me “you have a ‘different’ accent”. Obviously, my Latin looks allows me to blend amongst the Mexicans, which is even funnier when a foreigner is shocked to hear my British accent coming out of a supposedly Mexican looking woman. Ha!
Having spent my teens in Ecuador, I was exposed to many Mexican telenovelas where I found that the accent of the actors was a ‘funny’ and certainly an odd one to my ears. Having been exposed to several different Mexican accents during my time living in Oaxaca, I came to realise that most of the time the accents in these telenovelas corresponded mainly to that of a Chilango (someone who comes from Mexico City); and the range of accents is certainly broad here. So far I have heard accents from the Pacific Coast of Oaxaca, Oaxaqueños, Regios (people from Monterrey), Tapatios (people from Guadalajara), Chihuahenses and those from Guanajuato. I must say that the preferred accent so far has been that of Monterrey; although this is limited to the very few Regios I have met and who surprised me with their particular accent. I would have thought of them as being from somewhere else in Latin America! Another factor however is the voice; which can also change the way an accent is perceived particularly with a nice voice…don’t you think?
To conclude, it would appear that we all have ‘funny’ accents compared to one another. No exclusions! Yep, I’m looking at you. You have a funny accent too you know…
By Lucy Navas
Lucy volunteered with En Via for several months as a translator on our tours, and was also instrumental in our business classes – which our borrowers need to complete in order to receive their first loan. Lucy is now travelling through Guatemala before heading back to her native London. We hope to see her again in the future.