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Peruvian Spanish

Peruvian Spanish
Español peruano
Native toPeru
Native speakers
24 million (2014)[1]
2,060,000 as L2 in Peru (2014)
Latin (Spanish alphabet)
Official status
Official language in
Regulated byPeruvian Academy of Language
Language codes
ISO 639-1es
ISO 639-2spa[2]
ISO 639-3
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Dialect map of Peru (in Spanish)

Peruvian Spanish is a family of dialects of the Spanish language that have been spoken in Peru since 1532. There are four varieties spoken in the country, by about 80% of the population.[citation needed] The four Peruvian dialects are Andean Spanish; Peruvian Coast Spanish; Andean-Costal Spanish and Amazonic Spanish.

A 2014 study shows that people in Santiago, Chile, consider Peruvian Spanish the most correct form of Spanish.[3]


The Spanish language first arrived in Peru in 1532. During colonial and early republican times, the Spanish spoken colloquially in the coast and in the cities of the highland possessed strong local features, but as a result of dialect leveling in favor of the standard language, the language of urban Peruvians today is more or less uniform in pronunciation throughout most of the country.[4] Vestiges of the older dialect of the coast can be found in the speech of black Peruvians, which retains Andalusian features such as the aspiration or deletion of final /s/ and the deletion of final /r/. The dialect of Arequipa, Loncco, in its pure form is now extinct, although some elders are familiar with it.

Throughout most of the highland, Quechua continued to be the language of the majority until the mid 20th century. [5] Mass migration (rural exodus) into Lima starting in the 1940s, and into other major cities and regional capitals later on, accompanied by discrimination and the growth of mass media, have reconfigured the linguistic demography of the country in favor of Spanish. The poor urban masses originating in this migration adopted the standardized dialect spoken in the cities, however with traces of Andean pronunciation and a simplified syntax. [00

Peruvian dialects

Andean Spanish

Andean Spanish the most common dialect in the Andes (more marked in rural areas) and has many similarities with the "standard" dialect of Ecuador and Bolivia.

Principal characteristics

The phonology of Andean Peruvian Spanish is distinguished by its slow time and unique rhythm (grave accent), assibilation of /r/ and /ɾ/, and an apparent confusion of the vowels /e/ with /i/ and /o/ with /u/. (In reality, they are producing a sound between /e/ and /i/, and between /o/ and /u/.[6]) Furthermore, the "s" (originally apical and without aspiration) is produced with more force than that of the coast; this is also generally true of the other consonants, at the loss of the vowels. Other distinctive features are the preservation of /ʎ/, sometimes hypercorrective realization of /ʝ/ as [ʎ], and the realization of velar plosives as a fricative [x].

The morphosyntactic characteristics are typical:

  • Confusion or unification of gender and number
A ellas lo recibí bien.. La revista es caro.
  • Confusion or unification of gender and number
esa es su trenza del carlos.
  • Overuse of the diminutives –ito e –ita
Vente aquicito.. Sí, señorita, ahí están sus hijos.
Lo echan la agua. Lo pintan la casa
  • Duplication of the possessives and objects
Su casa de Pepe.. Lo conozco a ella.
  • The absence or redundant use of articles
Plaza de Armas es acá. La María está loca.
Todo caerá en su encima
  • The use of "no más" and "pues" after the verb
Dile nomás pues.
  • The use of the verb at the end of the phrase
Está enojada dice.
  • The use of the simple tense to express the preterite and of the indicative in place of the subjunctive in subordinates.

Peruvian coast Spanish

Coastal Spanish is spoken throughout the coast. It has the reputation (in pronunciation) of being one of the "purest" dialects in all of coastal Latin America because it does not debuccalize /s/ between vowels[is "in syllable coda" what is meant?] and retains the fricatives [x] and [χ].[7][8][9] It is the characteristic dialect as perceived abroad and has the reputation of being the base of "normal" or standard Peruvian Spanish.[10]


  • The vowels are stable and clear.
  • /r/ and /ɾ/ are pronounced clearly, without any fricativization.
  • /s/ is more often laminal than apical, and debuccalized to [h] in front of most consonants (though it is [x] before /k/). It is retained as [s] in final position (as opposed to in Chile or Andalucia).
  • /x/ varies between [x], [χ], and [ç] (preceded by [e] and [i]); it is sometimes [h].
  • Word-final nasals are velar (not alveolar like in Mexico or central Spain).
  • The final /d/ is normally elided, but sometimes devoiced as [t] in formal speech.
  • Yeísmo exists, the phoneme occurring as [ʝ] and [j] interchangeably, and as palato-alveolar [dʒ] in initial position by some speakers.
  • The tendency to eliminate hiatus in word with an -ear suffix.

General Spanish phrases from the Americas are common but there are also phrases that originate in the Lima coastal area, such as frequent traditional terms and expressions; the most ingrained "quechuaism" in common speech is the familiar calato, meaning "naked".

Andean-Costal Spanish

Originated in the last 30 to 50 years with a mixture of the speech of Andean migrants and the speech of Lima. This dialect is the speech that is most typical in the upskirts of the city, but also serves as a transitional dialect between Coastal and Andean Spanish spoken inbetween the coast and the highlands.


Characteristics Example Coastal/Lima Spanish Coastal-Andean Spanish
No assibilation of /r/ and /ɾ/ except in the older generations, but the articulation of these two sounds is weakened, and the final syllable is silent[clarification needed] in internal contexts.
Closed and lax emission of vowels in general.[clarification needed]
Confusion between /e/ and /i/ as well as /o/ and /u/ in casual speech.
Weakening, sometimes to the point of elimination, of the consonant sounds /b/, /d/, /ɡ/ and /ʝ/ when in intervocalic contexts. aguanta [äˈɣʷãŋ.t̪ä] [äˈwãŋ.tä]
dado [ˈdä.ð̞o̞] [ˈdä.o̞]
mantequilla [mãŋ.t̪e̞ˈki.ʝä] [mãŋ.te̞ˈki.ä]
baboso [bäˈβ̞o̞.so̞] [βäˈɤ.sɤ]
Strong pronunciation of "s", or with a weak whistling;[clarification needed] less aspiration before consonants (articulated more like /x/ in front of /k/) asco [ähˈko̞] [äxˈko̞]
Voicing of voiceless consonants. pasajes [päˈsä.xe̞s] [päˈsä.ɣe̞s]
fósforo [ˈfo̞̞.ɾo̞] [ˈfo̞s.βo̞.ɾo̞]
época [ˈe̞.po̞.kä] [ˈe̞.βo̞.kä]
Accelerated speech and with varied intonation based on Andean Spanish.

This dialect has the usual Andean syntactics, like lack of agreement in gender and number, the frequent use of diminutives or augmentatives, loísmo, double possessives and ending phrases with "pues", "pe" or "pue".

As far as the lexicon is concerned, there are numerous neologisms, influences from Quechua, and slang among the youth often heard in the streets.

Amazonic Spanish

This dialect has developed uniquely, with contact from Andean Spanish and the Spanish of Lima with the Amazonian languages. It has a distinctive tonal structure.

Phonetically it is characterized by:

  • The sibilant /s/ resisting aspiration
  • A confusion of /x/ with /f/ (always bilabial)
For example, San Juan becomes San Fan
  • There is occlusion of the intervals /b, d, g/ in tonal ascension with aspiration and lengthening of the vowels.
  • /p, t, k/ are pronounced with aspiration
  • The /ʝ/ tends to become an affricate (as opposed to Coastal Peruvian Spanish)
  • Also, there is assibilation and weak trills.

On the other hand, the syntactic order most recognized is the prefixation of the genitive:

De Antonio sus amigas

There are also disorders of agreement, gender, etc.

Equatorial Spanish

This dialect is spoken in the region of Tumbes.


  1. ^ Spanish → Peru at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ "ISO 639-2 Language Code search". Library of Congress. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  3. ^ Rojas, Darío (2014). "Actitudes lingüísticas en Santiago de Chile". In En Chiquito, Ana Beatriz; Quezada Pacheco, Miguel Ángel (eds.). Actitudes lingüísticas de los hispanohablantes hacia el idioma español y sus variantes. Bergen Language and Linguistic Studies (in Spanish). doi:10.15845/bells.v5i0.679.
  4. ^ Garatea Grau, Carlos (2010). Tras una lengua de Papel. El español del Perú. Lima: Fondo Editorial Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. p. 281. ISBN 978-9972-42-923-1.
  5. ^ Miranda Esquerre, Luis (1998). La entrada del español en el Perú. Lima: Juan Brito/ Editor. pp. 101, 111. ISBN 9972-702-00-6.
  6. ^ Jorge Pérez et al., Contra el prejuico lingüístico de la motosidad: un estudio de las vocales del castellano andino desde la fonética acústica, Lima: Instituto Riva Agüero. PUCP, 2006
  7. ^ Cerrón Palomino, Rodolfo (2003). Castellano Andino Aspectos sociolingüísticos, pedagógicos y gramaticales. Lima: Fondo Editorial Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú y GTZ Cooperación Técnica Alemana. p. 118. ISBN 9972-42-528-2.
  8. ^ Tadeo Hanke, Carácter, genio y costumbres de los limeños, 1801, Concejo Provincial de Lima, 1959, p.50
  9. ^ Rafael Lapesa, Historia de la lengua española, Editorial Gredos, 1981
  10. ^ Hildebrandt, Martha (2003). El habla culta (o lo que debiera serlo). Lima. p. 8. ISBN 9972-9454-1-3.