So, this really only applies to Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile….we’ll see what Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Columbia have in store.
En serio (seriously), they say the accents are different everywhere, and they ARE…Argentina & Uruguay are actually basically the same. The ‘ll’ sounds like a ‘sh’ (as in llamar), and the ‘y’, also many times sounds like a ‘sh’ (as in ayer). It was really difficult catching onto this, because it makes so many words sound different, you actually think they really are not the same words. It makes you realize how many words in Spanish have a ll or a y in them. After about 3 weeks, I started to acclimate, but surprise, I left for a new accent… Another oddity was instead of saying ‘tu’ for you, they say ‘vos’, but it is not related to vosotros at all, it is merely a replacement word.
Then, when you get to Chile, they get rid of all that sh stuff, which is great because I can understand the words again, but they throw in a bunch of new words and drop the s on a lot of words. In fact, they call Spanish here ‘castellano’. Instead of ‘si’, sometimes they’ll say ‘Sipo’, and ‘nipo’ for no. They’ll say ‘cachai’ all the time, which is similar to ‘entiende?’(get it ?). Really, every third sentence, cachai, cachai, cachai… It’s funny, the Argentinians say they can’t even understand the Chileans sometimes. I was forewarned about Chilean Spanish before I even made it there by Uruguayans & Argentinians.
I just tell everyone I’m from California and they immediately know that the Spanish I learned is from Mexico. In a mercado in Santiago the other day, a guy asked where I was from, I said San Francisco, and he says in English ‘Oh, California, so you must-a speak-a Espanol!’.
That’s about it…I’m going to take a week of more advance classes in Bariloche, Argentina next week to practice more complicated tenses and irregular verbs. Other than that, just need to keep expanding my vocabulary by reading the newspaper and asking questions. I’ll sill be screwed in group rapid fire Spanish for some time, but it’s a slow and steady process.
Suprise, another Christo! This one towers above Santiago:
Santiago from above (smog and dust enshroud the city because it is surrounded by mountains):