Updated on June 13, 2010
Uruguayos speak Spanish right?
Spanish Uruguayo is a little different then what you are probably used to hear unless your from the Southern Cone region of South America. At first I questioned whether they were really speaking the Spanish as familiar words became undetectable in the accent.
Do you want to know the secret? Here it is, all “y” sounds become “sh” sounds. The sound is usually similar to the “s” in “measure.” That means that the the word in this post’s title is pronounce Urugua-sh-os. Think of all of the words that you know in Spanish that this affects. Yo, llamo, parilla, and ella will never sound the same again. A typical dialog with an Uruguayo is so filled with “sh” sounds that it will make your unaccustomed head spin.
After a week in Uruguay I started to get used to the new sound. My limited Spanish vocabulary has even adapted to use this pronunciation. It is actually easier to say many words this way. Which brings me to another way that Spanish Uruguayo is different than what I was used to.
Many words are shortened so that they can be spoken even faster. One would think they took lessons from us Americans in how to butcher a language. Esta bien often becomes ‘ta bien. I once heard buenos noches turn in to buen noch. It isn’t the Spanish you learned in class, but it’s becoming music to my ears or so I keep telling myself. Maybe one day soon the music will start making sense.