TikTok has become the platform of choice when it comes to contrasting different cultures. Between those who create content to help migrants adjust to a new community and those who try local foods and show how to live cheaply in another country, there are also those who compare languages and even customs and accents.
Paz Morán is Argentine and lives in the United States. In a clip from her Tik Tok profile of hers, she shared how was it that an argentinian friend of hers pronounced the names of some American celebrities in a completely different way than the one she used. As expected, the difference caused grace among the followers.
The actresses Zendaya and Jennifer López, the singers Beyoncé, Selena Gómez, Ariana Grande, Madonna, Doja Cat, SZA and the reggaetonero Daddy Yankee were the chosen by the young woman to challenge her friend, who pronounced several of them changing the sound of the letter “y” to “sh”. Between laughs, both realized the differences in pronunciation of such personalities known throughout the world.
However, some users opened the controversy by commenting that this was not the way some names were pronounced in the South American country: “I recently found out that in Argentina we say bellonce and no Bionce”; “How are you going to say beshonce!”; “No one tells you Zendasha”; “Only she pronounces them like that, I tell them like the Yankee.”
Others shared their experiences: “My Spanish teacher was Argentine, I came home speaking with that accent and my parents were very confused”; “Once I was in a Starbucks in Buenos Aires and they wrote ‘Yári’ on my coffee glass and my name is Jade”; “The way she says Madona sounds like when we Mexicans say McDonald’s.”
In a second exercise, The tiktoker put another Argentinian friend to the test, this time with the pronunciation of places like the Bahamas, Los Angeles, Barcelona, Canada and, as expected, New York was the one that caused the most fun for both of them. She also repeated the exercise with brands and restaurant chains to show the difference.
In many of the comments, users were curious as to why some Argentines pronounced “y” or “ll” with “sh”. According to an article in the BBC, academic linguists consider that it is called “yeísmo rehilado” and is a peculiarity of Rio de la Plata Spanishthat is why it is shared by both Argentines and Uruguayans in certain locations.
There is no consensus on the origin of the pronunciation, but one of the hypotheses put forward by the same medium points out that Spanish in those regions could be influenced by Brazil, in addition to “Galician, Italian and French of the different migratory waves in the 19th and 20th centuries”.
Despite differences between Spanish-speaking regions, specialists insist that it is not language deformations but of regional particularities that have been established over the years and cultural transformations. So there is no correct or incorrect pronunciation and they have even become a way of distinguishing themselves from the rest.