A customer emailed me a link to an interesting article online about the “Colombian accent” becoming “big business” in dubbing movies and TV series, working in call centers, etc. Because it is so easy to understand Colombian Spanish. Here’s the link to the article about Colombian accents:
But before you go read the article, first I want to point out a few things that the article mentioned:
– Colombian Spanish is the most “neutral” in the entire world.
– Mexican Spanish has been heavily influenced by the Aztec Indians who spoke Nahuatl.
– An influx of Old World immigrants helps explain why the Argentine accent sounds faintly Italian.
– And that the Spanish of Colombia is the “purest” of Spanish. Even “purer” than the Spanish spoken
in Spain which has been, and still continues to be heavily influenced by Arabs or Muslims.
Before I give you the link, I want you to know that the title of the article is somewhat misleading:
“Cashing In On The Colombian Accent”
The title suggests that there is only one accent in Colombia. A better title would have been . . . “Cashing In On The Colombian Rolo Accent”
A Rolo is a person from Bogotá, Colombia – Colombia’s capital. And most (but not all) of the Colombian “novelas” or soap operas are recorded in Bogotá.
This is what I have personally observed about Colombian accents . . .
A Rolo accent is completely different from a Paisa (Medellín) accent. In my opinion, the Rolo accent sounds rather “flat.” And the Paisa accent is more song-like.
The people from Colombia’s Atlantic coast or “Costeños” also have an accent that is completely different from other Colombians. The Costeños cut letters off of some words and their accents sound somewhat like the Dominican or Puerto Rican accents that I used to hear in Nueva York (New York).
When I traveled to Cali, Colombia they also had a different accent.
And the people from the Pacific coast of Colombia in the Chocó department – who are descendents of African slaves – also have a distinct accent. Besides being perhaps the poorest department of Colombia, Chocó is the only department in Colombia to have coastlines in both the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.
Although I have never been to Chocó, I have met lots of Colombians from Chocó who now live here in Medellín and I have had lots of experience listening to their accents. I eat in a lot of fish restaurants here in Medellín and it is very common for the fish restaurants here to have a “dueño” (owner) and “empleados” (workers) from Chocó. And “pescado” (fish) happens to be one of my favorite Colombian “platos” (dishes).
Chocó is also known for “La observación de ballenas jorobadas” (humpback whale watching).
(Besides “humpback,” “jorobado” also means “hunchback” as in The Hunchback of Notre Dame or in Spanish: “El Jorobado de Notre Dame.”)
By the way, several Colombians from Chocó told me they came to Medellin after massive displacement occurred in Chocó when “la guerrilla” or FARC seized control from local paramilitaries and indiscriminately killed many civilians in the process there.
And when I traveled to Colombia’s Caribbean Islands, San Andrés and Providencia (which are actually closer to the Nicaragua than Colombia), I also noticed that the people there also had a distinct accent. Most of the people living on these islands were not from the mainland of Colombia. And although they all spoke Spanish fluently, when they spoke Spanish, their accents reminded me of the Panamanians who I had met in the Panamanian “barrio” (neighborhood) in Brooklyn, New York and who were mainly from Panama’s canal zone – and who were descendents of Jamaicans and other West Indians who went to Panama as part of the Canal’s original labor force.
I also noted that the language and culture of San Andrés and Providencia, Colombia had been heavily influenced by Jamaican or Rastafarian culture – Which was apparent in their their music, clothing, food, etc. Besides speaking Spanish, they also spoke Patois like Jamaicans. In fact, they seemed more comfortable speaking English and Patios than when speaking Spanish. At times in San Andrés and Providencia, Colombia I felt as if I was still living in one of my old “barrios” (neighborhoods) of the north west Bronx, New York, which is a predominantly Jamaican neighborhood.
So far that’s 6 completely different Colombian accents that I have indentified. And I am sure
that there are many more.
And if I were to travel to the part of Colombia that is surrounded by the Amazons, I would also find
that the Colombians there, many of them who are indigenous people, also have a distinct accent.
So I just wanted you to be aware that there isn’t just one Colombian accent as many of the “novelas” suggest or as the title of the following article suggests.
Here’s the link agian to the article about Colombian Spanish accents: