New Mexican English

  • GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I am not sure I understand your question. It is much like the English spoken in any other state in the area. I doubt very much that you would fnd the English there is different in any really noticeable way from the English spoken in Arizona, or Colorado, or Utah.


    Senior Member
    There are some two million residents in the state. A great many are immigrants from cold weather states. It would be frivolous--and wrong--to assume a single pattern of spoken English there. Between a fourth and a third of the populace speak Spanish in the home, and approximately one in twenty speak a Navajo language at home. The extent to which this bilingualism influences spoken English for those people should be a matter of interesting speculation.


    Glasgow, Scotland - English
    Can anyone tell me the characteristics (phonological, lexical, grammatical...) of English as spoken in the US state of New Mexico?
    I have no real idea on the differences. However, I would venture a guess that it is insignificant from a linguistic perspective. It would, at most, be classified as a regional accent as opposed to a distinct dialect. Given that assumption is true, then there is no difference other than some regional slang and local pronunciation due to the social/cultural heritage of the area. All the rules for AE would still apply even if local usage breaks them.


    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    All the speculation aside, I decided to let my fingers do the walking:

    One person's opinion [see comments here]:
    There is a very distinctive New Mexico accent- influenced by Spanish, Dine, and other NA dialects, and it isn't a twangy Texas derivative-it's really quite different and sing-songy.
    This book mentions a "New Mexico accent that was part old Mexico and part Texas."

    A wikihow page titled "Talk With a Northern New Mexico Accent" existed but has now been deleted. "You're not from around here, don't you?" might have been suggested as an example in the "discussion" adjunct to the file.

    There seem to be several reference online to a New Mexico accent, sometimes described as "twangy."


    Senior Member
    Here's another web page with a sample of a New Mexico accent:

    Although there might be various local accents, local vocabulary and local common idioms, I don't think it's enough to be called a dialect. There are slight variations all over the U.S., even in the same town, but we're a pretty homogeneous lot when it comes to the basics of our version of English, in my experience. (I may be inviting the wrath of others by saying this, but our differences are nowhere near the differences in Spanish in different regions of Spain, for example.)


    New Member
    I found this thread on a google search, hence the 2 year delay in response. I've lived in New Mexico for three summers.

    There is a distinct English accent of the hispanic/native peoples that live in Northern New Mexico. This accent is particularly evident in small towns... I'm thinking Espanola, Youngsville, Pojoaque, etc.

    It is not merely "English with a Spanish accent"... it sounds more like a cross between a Spanish accent and a Midwest or Southern accent.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    I wonder, though, if this is any different from the accent of hispanic people living in Pueblo, Colorado, for example. I don't think it's specific to New Mexico.
    Indeed. The history of that area is fascinating since many of the ethnic groups there trace their heritage back not only long before New Mexico became a state in 1912 but to the conquistadors themselves. This is particularly true of Alamosa in Colorado's San Luís Valley.

    I doubt that using an artificial political designation of state boundaries to identify accents of ethnic groups is accurate.


    Yes, there is a different "'Spanish"' spoken by some people here in NM. As sdgraham has pointed out that it is a dialect that has roots as far back as the conquistadores. I not a linguist but have read a few articles about differences in the Spanish spoken all over the state, it's an interesting subject. Wiki has some good stuff:

    I love to ask spanish speakers here what they call a turkey. Responses vary, some call it "gallina de la tierra"(chicken of the earth), some use the mexican-indian word "guajalote" and others call it "el turquillo".


    New Member
    Southwestern American English
    Being from southern New Mexico myself, I can tell you that the dialects of New Mexico are similar to the surrounding states, though there are some distinctions.

    I say "dialects" plural, not "dialect" singular, because the dialect varies from one part of New Mexico to another. For example, in the eastern edge of New Mexico, the accent is distinctly Southern, no different from the dialect of the adjoining Texas Panhandle. You could think people from this area were from Arkansas or Kentucky. In the northern part of the state, the dialect has a definite Midwestern influence, resembling the dialect of Colorado.

    In south-central New Mexico, where I am from, the dialect could be considered to resemble the dialect of northern New Mexico, but with less Midwestern influence, and some Southern elements (though these elements are subtle; you would never think we were from the South). Our accent may in many ways sound like the Rocky Mountain region to the north of us. However, we are known to use Spanish words in our speech (especially when describing the delicious foods that our state is known for) and generally, native speakers of our dialect can easily speak these words with a perfect Mexican-Spanish pronunciation. For example, we would say "chile" as "CHEE-leh", not as "chilly" the way most Americans would. We would also pronounce "enchilada" as "en-chee-LAH-thah" rather than as "en-chuh-LAH-duh".

    Other than these minor exceptions, our dialect would not be too different from the southern Californians that form the majority of our actors/actresses, and are easily found on TV and motion pictures.
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