[Sca-cooks] The Castillian Accent

Craig Daniel teucer at pobox.com
Tue Aug 2 18:36:34 PDT 2011

On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 6:45 PM, Suey <lordhunt at gmail.com> wrote:
> As for the lisp, try Catalan, not Castillian. I find it most insulting that
> Americans cannot distinguish between a Catalan accent and a Castillian
> accent. Its like confusing an Argentian for being a Chilean or a Bostonian
> for being a native of Charlotte, Virginia.

Right, most of Latin America (and Andalucia) has seseo and Spain gets
made fun of for the "lisp"-like ceceo, when in fact Castilla is mostly
a region that has neither, preserving a two-way distinction among the
four phonemes* that merged into /s/ in Latin America and /T/ in small
parts of Spain. But there are many Latin Americans who use
"castellano" (in that context) to mean "peninsular Spanish" - just as
many less geographically astute people in the US refer to Wales as
part of England, equally incorrectly. (It's also like calling everyone
from the US a "yankee" - which I am very adamantly not, thank you very
much, though I'll happily claim the short form "yank" by virtue of
being a soccer fan.)

*apical /s/, apical /z/ (only found between vowels), laminal /ts/,
laminal /dz/. The original voicing distinction was lost in all accents
by 1700, and was at least beginning to disappear by 1500 and quite
possibly significantly earlier; it's also the same process that merged
/Z/ and /S/. In most peninsular accents the apical sounds became
interdental, while in some they became laminal instead. The affricates
have also become fricatives in all modern pronunciations; I'm not sure
of the chronology of that part off the top of my head, but by 1200 the
apical-laminal distinction was apparently perceived as more salient
than the fricative-affricate distinction (hence why loanwords from
Arabic originals with laminal /s/ in them tended to show up as laminal
/ts/ rather than apical /s/, such /sajjid/ > Mozarabic /sidi/ > old
Castilian /tsid/)

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