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11 Jan 2017

Ask a Mexican: Why Do Other Spanish-Speakers Put Down Mexican Spanish?

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Dear Mexican: Why is Mexican Spanish so maligned by the rest of the Hispanic world (even Dominicans!)? It doesn’t make any sense to me, but am I making a mistake in learning Mexican-accented Spanish?

No Puedo Usar Accentos

Dear I Can’t Use Accents: Have you ever talked to Colombians? At some point, they inevitably say that their Spanish is the best in the world, that someone from the Real Academia Española said it was so, and therefore, it’s true. While I like Colombians (they’re as happy and drunk and angry as us Mexicans, and they gave the world cumbia), that’s an urban legend as preposterous as the one that maintains the husband of a jealous lover murdered Javier Solís.

It’s true that the rest of Latin America trashes Mexican Spanish for supposedly being lower-class than other Spanish varieties, but EVERYONE trashes everyone’s Spanish. Argentine Spanish gets mocked for being wannabe Italian; Cuban and Puerto Rican Spanish gets grilled for being lightning-fast garble. Peruvian Spanish is supposedly too soft-spoken; Central American Spanish is considered backwater for their continued use of voseo (the second person singular pronoun vos).

Even Mexicans make fun of each other’s Spanish. Guadalajara natives are notorious for saying “O, sea” (the fresa version of “I mean, like”); rural folks are ridiculed as sing-song chúntaros. Mexico City is so large that two Spanishes are ascribed to it: the matter-of-fact tone of capitalinos (the rich) and the hilariously vulgar babadas of the chilangos (the poor). And all Latin Americans trash indigenous folks for not even knowing Spanish, period.

So learn Mexican Spanish—that’s the one the majority of Latinos in the U.S. speak, anyway. And my vote for the best Español? Chilean Spanish, cachai?

Dear Mexican: A dear friend of ours has married a Mexican man, who is now our dear friend. They have invited us to his sister’s wedding in Mexico.

By North American standards, we barely know her. We would love to go, but we want to be sure that it is appropriate. What is expected of an acquaintance in this circumstance?

Vivacious for Vallarta

Dear Gabacho: You do realize Mexico is part of North America, right? Let’s start with knowing basic geographical facts about the host country before visiting it. It’s pendeja gabachas like you who make hotel workers continue to shove toothbrushes up their culos, then take pictures of that ass affront with the smartphone you left in your room while you’re getting drunk at the pool bar from your fifth Adios Mother Fucker.

Dear Mexican: I was wondering: What the origin is of so many Mexican-food restaurants having the word “Agave” in it?

#3 Combo, Extra Sour Cream

Dear Gabacho: “So many”? Betcha more Mexican restaurants get named for the owner’s hometown/home state, or tacos, or they use a -berto’s suffix than there are restaurants using “Agave.” But the word offers a fascinating insight into the history of Mexican-food restaurant aesthetics.

They started getting named after the mother plant of tequila back in the 1980s, during the Southwestern cuisine craze. Back then, chefs overloaded on Southwestern signifiers—agave paintings and silhouettes of howling coyotes and Kokopelli, mostly—to advertise their “authenticity,” much like modern-day taquerías bump Vicente Fernández on the jukebox, or mariscos spots employ waitress who follow the gospel of #chichischrist and #nalgamedios.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

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