Tamara Marie

Exploring The African & Indigenous Roots of The Spanish Language in Latin America & The Caribbean

In the language learning community, the Spanish language is generally understood as fitting into one of two very broad categories: Peninsular Spanish from Europe and Latin American Spanish. The problem with this classification is that it ignores the diversity that developed within the Spanish language as it traversed the globe. The goal of this presentation is to give insight into how history and culture shaped the Spanish language as it arrived in the West, including its interaction with both the Africans that were taken with it and that of the native people of the Caribbean and Central and South America that were already there when the Spaniards arrived. We’ll examine the African and indigenous roots that influence the Spanish spoken in Latin America to this day, and explore the richness of the language’s Caribbean dialects which are often overlooked or labeled as “improper” Spanish.

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  • AnnamariaA says:

    Lovely! Thank you!

  • Klara says:

    Thanks, loved the presentation! Especially your anecdotes and learning about different places, traditions, histories and the origins of words. Though I do have to say as a multicultural European I kind of skipped through much of the first part, as much of the remarks about diversity, humility and avoiding generalizations seemed evident to me (as opposed to, I presume, an American audience?).
    Language is inherently diverse, and Spanish is no exception, nor is European Spanish, as shown already by the fact that Andalusian Spanish was and is different from “standard” Madrid Spanish. (not to mention all the languages in Spain that are not Spanish!)
    Language can also vary within the same country, of course. Even once you learn about “Colombian Spanish”, for example, you’re still not there yet: I have a dear friend from Cali, Colombia, who taught me that whereas most of Colombia uses two words for “you” (usted/tu), in Cali “vos” also exists! He uses “usted” for most people, “vos” for informal contexts/friends and “tu” only for his mother, girlfriend, children and pets…

  • cmia11 says:

    Hello, I’m from France. Actually my first Spanish teacher was from Peru and I have great friends from Mexico and Chile and it was also obvious how different the languages were. However, I learnt so much more from that presentation, thank you so much!

  • Alesia says:

    I got on the Sisters Only mail list after it was mentioned at the Women In Language conference. Nice to get to know a bit about one of the people behind it! This is the history we should’ve been taught in school! I’m dying to hear these other stories though!

  • says:

    I enjoyed this very much, Tamara. Great to listen to you again.

  • Gracias, Tamara! And thank you for discussing the issues with the term “Latin American Spanish”! 🙂

  • Garysqo says:

    Good to hear you Tamara!!!! abrazos!
    Muy buena presentación! aprendí muchas cosas.

  • Jhony Andrade says:

    Gracias Tamara! Saludos de Ecuador

  • AudreyG says:

    Hi Tamara, what’s your podcast?

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