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My wife and I are contemplating a visit to CR, probably next year, and I want to teach her a little Spanish. My University of Chicago Spanish Dictionary says that CR, like Guatemala has a non-standard pronunciation of rr. I just wanted to get some feedback from those living there so I teach my wife to pronounce like the locals. So the question is: Which is more common - to pronounce rr as a rolled r as in Mexico, such as "Costa R-r-r-ica" or with a softer rr that is something like "Costa Zhrica". Obviously it is hard to communicate this in writing, but I hope you understand what I mean. As I recall, the Guatemalan pronunciation is something like pronouncing the "Z" in the word "azure" (or a French "J" as in "Jaques") before the R.

 

Thanks for your response, if you can understand what I am asking!

 

R-r-r-afael

 

aka Zhrafael

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My wife and I are contemplating a visit to CR, probably next year, and I want to teach her a little Spanish. My University of Chicago Spanish Dictionary says that CR, like Guatemala has a non-standard pronunciation of rr. I just wanted to get some feedback from those living there so I teach my wife to pronounce like the locals. So the question is: Which is more common - to pronounce rr as a rolled r as in Mexico, such as "Costa R-r-r-ica" or with a softer rr that is something like "Costa Zhrica". Obviously it is hard to communicate this in writing, but I hope you understand what I mean. As I recall, the Guatemalan pronunciation is something like pronouncing the "Z" in the word "azure" (or a French "J" as in "Jaques") before the R.

 

Thanks for your response, if you can understand what I am asking!

 

R-r-r-afael

 

aka Zhrafael

 

Hola Rafa,

 

The initial 'r' in tico spanish is rolled, not softened.

 

(Actually, in Guatemala the intial 'r' is -or was when I

was there in the late 60s- was pronounced almost like 'sr',

for example 'rosas' = 'srosas'...)

 

The french 'je' [zhuh] sound can be found in tico spanish

in words like 'pollo' where the 'll' is pronounced close to

that you the french 'je'...

 

Where you will find a lot of differences is in the vocabulary

and usage. 'Tú' 2nd pers. sing. is not used very much and

Ud. replaces it, even for close friends. Vos is also used

between close friends: ¿Tú sabes? / ¿Sabe Ud.? / ¿Vos sabés?

It is probably better to stick with the polite form and use Ud.

 

For the 'please' the verb ‘regalar’ is commonly used:

Regáleme dos tíquetes, por favor. (You can always stick that

second 'please' on the end just to be more polite.)

 

There is much in the way of idiom, which seems to always be

changing, heard in Costa Rica. Plus there is the street slang

known as ‘pachuco’ which I (a spanish major) do not understand.

But when you go into a store the clerks will know you are not

from there and tend to use more standard spanish.

 

Ticos like to give nicknames to people, places, and things which

sometimes can make it difficult to know what is being talked about.

San José, for instance is also known as Chepe. Other towns and

their inhabitants all have their own nicknames which I haven’t been

able to memorize yet.

 

But don’t worry. You’ll be okay. Just have fun while you’re there

and you’re bound to learn some tico spanish.

 

¡Pura Vida!

 

Paul M.

==

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Thanks, Paul. You are probably closer than I was, as I think about it, with the 's' sound rather than the 'zh'. It has been over 30 years since I last talked with a Chapin. It is basically letting air flow between the tip of your tongue and palate.

 

I didn't realize that Ticos pronounce ll like the Argentines and Chileans. That's good to know.

 

I am familiar with vos as it is used commonly in Guatemala and El Salvador in place of tu. But from what you say, it is less used in CR. Chapines and Guanacos would only address children and animals as Usted if they were angry with them! Friends and peers would commonly use vos.

 

That's one thing I like about English as different from every other language I know: you don't have to figure out which form of you to use. I'm still mystified as to how you know when to change from Ud. to vos with someone you meet and become friends with.

 

The mystery of language is one thing that makes life interesting.

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