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Colombian Dialects: El Choquano

written by: Gustavo Lequerica-Calvo•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 11/3/2009

The Choquano is a dialect composed by many local dialects in the Department of the Choco. The dialects which grew with the mix of African and Indigenous languages created a new one, who reflects the tradition and the joy of people of living in a beautiful land by the sea.

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    El Choquano, a dialect with passion and history

    Talking about the dialects of the Choco is to talk about a generalization such as the Costeñol or the Rolo dialects; we speak about one main dialect called Chocoano. This dialect is really interesting, because beside the fast pace of the speech, it is also a mix of the African and Indigenous dialects which were merged to create a new one. In the department of the Choco, the Costeñol is also spoken in some of the territories that are linked with the northern coast territories of Colombia, so effectively there are a wide range of dialects spoken in the Choco beside the main one.

    As in the Costeñol and other Colombian dialects, in the Chocoano is seen the seseo, the yeismo, plus the main linguistic characteristic “The Golpeao", but differently than the rest of the North Coast, (only in La Guajira, there is a different dialect of the rest of the North Coast) because it is spoken more quickly than in the rest of the Departments. The morphologic construction is quite different from the rest of the Spanish because it goes with adjective possessives. The tuteo, a form to use the second person in almost every sentence, makes many people feel that that form of speech can be rude sometimes, but that is only a cultural discomfort from people who do not feel comfortable with the North Coast Spanish.

    The phonetic aspects of the Chocoano include a partial suppression of the letter /s/, giving an inspiration to the sound more during the pronunciation, the letter /x/, as in many places of the coast is turned more into a /h/, and the letter /d/ is inter vocalized and pronounced more as a letter /r/, giving a glottal occlusion in the speech. Probably the only main characteristic in a syntactic way is the double negation, i.e. Yo no hablo ingles no (a literal translation would be I don’t, not speak English); that double negation is not found in other North Coast Spanish communities.