Lexical And Cultural Variants Of Spanish-speaking Peoples

The lexical and cultural variants of the Spanish-speaking peoples are part of the language and culture adaptations that take place in the towns and regions where Spanish is spoken.

The Spanish language is spoken by more than 500 million people on 5 continents. However, despite the fact that it is the same language, not all Spanish speakers use it in the same way.

The lexical variants refer to the different expressions, words, phrases and voices used in a language to refer to the same thing. Such linguistic features are used by a community of speakers linked to each other by social, geographical and cultural relationships. 

According to this meaning, the use of the lexicon varies from region to region, by virtue of the development of different preferences regarding the use of vocabulary.

Examples of lexical variants in Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela and Spain

– Car

In Mexico and Argentina it is called a car, in Venezuela a car and in Spain a car or a car.

– Bus

In Mexico it is called a truck, micro or microbus. In Argentina it is called colectivo or bondi. In Venezuela it is called camionetica and in Spain it is known as a bus or bus.

– Money

In Mexico it is called lana, varo or bill. In Argentina they say silver or twine. In Venezuela the term silver or real is used, and in Spain it is said pasta.

– Boy

In Mexico it is known as chavo or chamaco. In Argentina it is called kid or boy. In Venezuela it is called chamo or chamito, and in Spain the terms crío, chico or chiquillo are used.

– Travel bag

In Mexico they say flask. In Argentina it is known as a valija. In Venezuela it is called a suitcase and in Spain it is called a backpack.

– Sports shoes

In Mexico they are tennis. In Argentina they say sneakers. In Venezuela it is called a rubber shoe, and in Spain sneakers or booties.

The main cultural variants of the Spanish-speaking peoples

The cultural variants allow us to understand the differences between the cultural configurations, mainly the beliefs and traditions, of the different social groups. 

There are countries such as Mexico, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia with traits of greater influence from the indigenous cultures that inhabited them. In other countries, there is a greater influence of European culture such as Argentina, Uruguay and Chile.

Example of cultural variants in Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela and Spain

The celebration of the Day of the Dead in Mexico is a very important holiday. It takes place on November 1 and 2 of each year. It represents an opportunity for the spiritual encounter with the ancestors and to celebrate life. 

Days before the celebration, the families build altars in their homes and prepare part of the typical banquet that will accompany the Day of the Dead.

On the first day of the tradition they go to the cemetery and throughout the night they decorate the graves of their deceased relatives. On the 2nd, the angels, that is, the deceased children, are celebrated.

Argentina celebrates the “day of all souls”. Although the tradition has been lost, in some regions of the country it takes place on November 2. On this day, families go to the cemetery to visit their relatives and then prepare and share bread and sweets at home.

Venezuela, for its part, does not celebrate the Day of the Dead. In very rare cases, some families visit their deceased in cemeteries.

In Spain, October 31 is a public holiday; therefore, people prepare to visit their dead relatives in cemeteries. It is also customary for churches to give special commemorative masses of the day.

Spanish-speaking towns with the largest population

According to Citypopulation data, these cities occupy the first positions in the ranking of Spanish speakers. From the same it is extracted that Mexico has three cities in the top (Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey). Spain, where the language originates from, only has Madrid as representatives of the nation.

Curiously, in the United States, where Spanish is not an official language, it has two of the cities with the most Spanish speakers (New York and Los Angeles). Most of these speakers are of Mexican origin.

1- Mexico City with 21.5 million Spanish speakers
2- Buenos Aires, 16 million
3- Lima, 9.8 million
4- Bogotá, 9.4 million
5- Santiago de Chile, 7 million
6- Madrid, 6 million
7- Los Angeles, 6 million
8- Guadalajara, 5.2 million
9- New York, 5 million
10- Monterrey, 5 million


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  2. De Miguel, E. (nd). Lexicology. Retrieved on November 28, 2017 from: uam.es
  3. The Day of the Dead in Latin America: its Origin and how it is celebrated. (September 27, 2017). In: notimerica.com
  4. Ueda, H. (nd). Study of the lexical variation of Spanish. Research Methods. Retrieved on November 29, 2017 from: commonweb.unifr.ch
  5. Linguistic variants. (sf). Retrieved on November 28, 2017 from: variantslinguisticas.wikispaces.com

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