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When speaking about languages, is there really such a thing as Mexican? Is Mexican really so different from the Spanish spoken in Spain?

The differences that exist between the Spanish spoken in Spain and the one spoken in Mexico are no greater than we could find if we compare American and British English. There are without doubt nuisances and colloquialisms that are particular to each country, but deviations similarly exist in regional areas within Mexico, or in Spain, or for that matter in any Latin American country.

As far as Mexico is concerned there are a variety of "lenguas indígenas" or indigenous languages that are spoken, but Spanish remains the official language. The rise of Spanish is of course tied to the Spanish conquest of the New World.

As a result of Mexico City's central role in the colonial administration of New Spain, the population of the city included relatively large numbers of speakers from Spain. Mexico City (Tenochtitlán) had also been the capital of the Aztec Empire, and many speakers of the Aztec language Nahuatl continued to be spoken there and in the surrounding region, outnumbering the Spanish-speakers for several generations.

Consequently, Mexico City tended historically to exercise a standardizing effect over the entire country, more or less, becoming a distinctive dialect of Spanish which incorporated a significant number of hispanicized Nahuatl words.

The Spanish of the Yucatán Peninsula is different from all the other forms of the language, both as far as the intonation and the incorporation of Mayan words is concerned, whilst the Spanish spoken in the areas that border Guatemala resembles the variation of Central America Spanish spoken in that country.

Interestingly those areas were originally part of the Audiencia of Guatemalan and only became part of Mexico after the wars of colonial independence; most of the southern state of Chiapas and Soconusco region did not become part of Mexico until the 1870s.

The migrations that took place in the 19th and the 20th century from Mexico to the United States have caused Mexican Spanish to become the most widely spoken variety of Spanish in the United States of America, except in the East Coast.

The Spanish spoken in the Gulf Coastal areas of Veracruz and Tabasco is also quite distinctive, at least at the level of vernacular speech, as the Spanish spoken there exhibits more Caribbean phonetic traits than that spoken in the remainder of Mexico. With more than a 100 million Spanish speakers, Mexico is numerically, the foremost Spanish speaking country in the world.

Jacob Lumbroso is a world traveler and an enthusiast for foreign languages, history, and foreign cultures. He writes articles on history and languages for and has used Pimsleur courses to learn various languages.

Article Source: Mexican: Is there Really Such a Language?

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