Michael Everson
Tue, 4 Jun 2002 18:41:32 +0100

At 11:42 -0500 2002-06-04, wrote:

>  >Well "t=FA" is used in the second person singular in Mexico, but "vos"
>>is used in Colombia. So which is "American Spanish"?
>The idea -- at least, as I understand it -- is that, e.g. if you've got
>content that doesn't even contain the semantic that requires one to choose
>between "t=FA" and "vos", then that content is equally good (all other thin=
>being equal) for both Mexican and Colombian audiences.

Computers speak to "you" all the time.

>In that situation,
>people want to be able to label that content so that it is ambiguous with
>regard to Mexican vs. Colombian (vs. Guatemalan vs. Argentinan etc)
>distinctions -- but they still want to maintain a distinction from Spain.

"They"? Can we see some actual content? I am not sure this category 
is really valid. There are dialects in Spain which have many 
similarities with American Spanish.

Back to computers talking to "you". In Spain you will have t=FA/usted 
in the singular and vosotros/ustedes in the plural, where the other 
distinction is familiar/polite. In Mexico the options are t=FA/usted in 
the singular, ustedes in the plural; in Argentina the options are 
vos/usted in the singular, ustedes in the plural; in Chile, the lower 
economic classes use vos. The verb used with vos differs from 
"standard" Spanish as well. In Colombia some people only use the 
polite forms usted/ustedes -- even to cats and dogs.

Then there are all the lexical differences, which too are often 
national. The Mexican "ahuacate" 'avocado' is "palta" in the Andes -- 
both local indigenous words. 'Bus' is "cami=F3n" in Mexico, "camioneta" 
in Guatemala and El Salvador, "chiva" in Panama, "autob=FAs" in 
Colombia, "colectivo" in Argentina, "micro" in Chile, and "guagua" in 
Cuba. In Spain, "cami=F3n" is a lorry or truck (!) and the word for 
'bus' is "autob=FAs" and "=F3mnibus".

What is being encoded here? The seseo? In that case, European Spanish 
in Andalucia shares that feature.
Michael Everson *** Everson Typography ***