Spoonary wrote:In all the time I have been studying Spanish, I have, almost exclusively, focused on peninsular Spanish, having been taught this variety of the language throughout my formal education. I then started watching Spanish TV and listening to podcasts from Spain. Therefore, the Spanish I speak - my pronunciation and vocabulary choice - has always been essentially Spanish.
However, the more time I spend with my Argentinian tutor, watching/listening to media from Argentina and learning all manner of Argentine vocab and turns of phrase, the more chance this has of influencing the way I speak Spanish. I don't see any problem with this; in fact, I am having a great time enriching my vocabulary use and knowledge of Spanish as the widely-Spoken language it is. Plus, I don't think my 'language core' (to use Luca Lampariello's term) will be affected; I can't see myself switching to using seseo and voseo any time soon.
The problem arises when I start to think about aiming for some sort of 'near-native' level of Spanish proficiency. Can I really do that if half the words I use are Spanish and half of them Argentinian or from some other country? Does it really matter, given that I am not living in a country where Spanish is spoken natively and I am definitely still English, no matter how good my Spanish gets?
I dunno, what do you guys think? Has anyone had any experience diversifying or completely changing the Spanish (or any other language) accent/dialect they use?
I guess these are the things I think about when I can't sleep.
Other than a Colombian tutor I worked with for a few years, almost all of my Spanish has been of the Mexican kind. As many already know, I decided in January that I would take the DELE exam, which means I have no choice but to expose myself to Castilian Spanish.
During the last 7-8 weeks, 90% of my Spanish input has been from Spain. I have noticed that I will occasionally pronounce something like a Spaniard, although this is something really easy to correct and not a big problem at all. I have made a conscious effort to learn to understand as many Spanish words and phrases as I can, but I have no intention of ever using those words in my own speech. As a matter of fact, if I learn a new phrase from Spain, I make sure I look up the Mexican or Latin American equivalent right after. If I add words or phrases to Anki, anything 100% Spaniard only gets a Spanish -> English card, meaning that as long as I can recognize the word of phrase I am good. Everything else (especially Mexican words) gets a Spanish -> English card and an English -> Spanish card. In other words, I must produce and recognize the word.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with mixing and matching words from different dialects. I know many people who do this with English and it is never a problem. The only reason I choose not to do this with my Spanish is because many of the people I use Spanish with at work, tend to have very basic levels of education. Some of them speak heavy Spanglish (to the point that they occasionally know the Spanglish word for something, but do not know the English or Spanish version). Communication is key in my line of work, and the consequences of not understanding somebody can be deadly or have negative consequences. I can't afford to have somebody misunderstand me or have to think about a word I said that they didn't understand. I find that keeping everything as "Mexican as I can" is very helpful when communicating with people, and helps me from confusing myself. After all, 99% of the people I speak Spanish with are from Mexico.
Unlike James29 (who undoubtedly has a higher level of Spanish than me), I never trick people into thinking I'm a native speaker. I talk, and everyone (except for one taxi driver I had in Colombia) assumes I learned Spanish in Mexico or with the help of Mexican professors/tutors/media. (The taxi driver in Colombia thought I was Puerto Rican or had Puerto Rican parents lol). I do have a darker complexion and when I worked retail near the Mexican border, people would automatically talk to me in Spanish assuming I was of Mexican decent.