The Lexical Features Of The Spanish Language In The Mexican State Of Oaxaca


The article deals with the lexical features of the Spanish language in the framework of dialectology based on the material of the Mexican national variant of the Spanish language and its territorial dialect of the state of Oaxaca. There are significant changes in the lexical composition in the dialects of Mexico. The Mexican speech has local features in different regions of the country. Sometimes these differences are so significant that residents of different states do not understand each other at the level of individual words and expressions. The choice of this dialect is due to the lack of work in the Spanish studies. This state is interesting for its ethnic composition, as it has the highest percentage of Indian population in the country. The analysis of lexical discrepancies was carried out through a survey of native speakers, research of scientific literature and Internet resources. The article concludes that it is necessary to continue the study of the Oaxacan dialect within the Mexican national variant of Spanish.

Keywords: SpanishMexican national variantOaxacalexical features


Spanish provides great opportunities for learning due to its huge territorial spread. The spread of the Spanish language outside the Iberian Peninsula led to the emergence of a large number of its variants.

According to Vinogradov (1994), the global form of existence of the Spanish language is the interethnic Spanish form, followed by national forms or variants (for example, the Mexican variant of Spanish, Cuban, Argentine, Pyrenean, etc.). Almost each of these variants has its own dialects and speech.

The Mexican national variant of Spanish is a type of Castilian language spoken in Mexico. The Mexican language has local features in different regions of the country (Smirnova, 2006).

Problem Statement

The object of study is the Spanish language of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The state of Oaxaca is located in the south of the country. Almost 53% of all Indians of Mexico live in Oaxaca (Oaxaca State Statistics, 2018). As a result, Indian languages ​​influence Spanish in the region.

The relevance of the topic is due to the lack of development of problems of dialectology in Spanish studies.

Works devoted to the analysis of lexical units (LU) predominate in Mexico. Thus, H. Lope Blanch studied dialects in various states of Mexico. Based on the geographical distribution of 25 LU, he identified 17 dialect zones in Mexico (Lope Blanch, 1970).

In the works on regional differences in the Spanish language in Mexico, the following states are well studied: Veracruz, Jalisco, Distrito Federal (Henríquez Ureňa, 1938), Tabasco, Yucatan (Lope Blanch 1970).

Garza’s (1967) research was conducted directly in the state of Oaxaca. First it was the Thesis "Phonetic and lexical characterization of the speech of the city of Oaxaca, then the work "Phonetic and lexical characterization of the speech of the city of Oaxaca" was published.

The list of works devoted to the dialect features of the Spanish language of the Mexican state of Oaxaca is small. It should also be noted that the data obtained as a result of the above-mentioned studies date back to 1933-1987. This information may be considered outdated to some extent.

Research Questions

Are there local features in the Spanish language of Oaxaca?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to analyze the vocabulary in the state of Oaxaca and compare the use of vocabulary in this state with the speech of residents of the capital.

Research Methods

The study analyzed the speech of local residents collected by testing and interviewing informants of different age and social groups (40 people). The study also used the following resources: films, media, works of Oaxacan authors, folk folklore (50 sources).

A method of direct observation and analytical description of language facts, a comparative method of interviewing informants, and the use of the global Internet are used in the study.


There are changes in the lexical composition in the dialects of Mexico. Overall, according to studies conducted, the speech of Oaxacans is marked by a large number of words inherent in the official style at all social levels. Oaxacans in colloquial speech use words not peculiar to this style. Here are some examples:

1. ... Aquípuedes solicitar (request) un café. (pedir, encargar (mex.)) – Here you can order coffee. (Recording)

2. ... Les expliqué ampliamente (widely, extensively) a los señores... (detalladamente (mex.)) – I explained them in detail. (Record)

3. ... Y pues, a través de mis hermanos surgió la ideas, se generó (generate, create) ... (desarrollarse (mex.)) – and so, the brothers had an idea that was further developed. (Recording)

4. ... Ellos están concientes (be aware) de que entran los cazadores ilegales por venados (saber (mex.)) – They know that illegal deer hunters are infiltrating... (Record)

5. ... Concienciar a niños y adultos para que cuidemos todo que mantiene aves y maníferos. (educar (mex.)) –... To educate children and adults so that we take care of what gives life to birds and mammals. (Record)

There is also a preference for using English loanwords instead of Spanish variants: confort (oax.) – comodidad (mex.) – convenience; degradación (oax.) – disminución (mex.) – reduction; monitorear (oax.) – vigilar (mex.) – follow; generarse (oax.) – hacerse (mex.) – make, equip; depositar (oax.) – poner (mex.) – to lay (eggs); conservación (oax.) – mantenimiento (mex.) – maintenance.

Here are examples of using English loanwords:

1. Tenemos que tener el animal el major confort posible. – "we must provide maximum comfort for animals". (Record)

2. Provocacierta degradación de recursos. – "This leads to a reduction in resources." (Record)

3. Nos cuesta muydifícil de monitoriarlo . – " it is very difficult for Us to control." (Record)

4. Se generó el espacio con la sombra – - " a place in the shade was arranged." (Record)

5. La mariрosita deposita is sus huevitos. "Butterflies lay eggs." (Record)

The questionnaires were compiled with tables of phrases, and expressions collected in the state of Oaxaca to confirm the above research and conclusions, which, in our opinion, did not correspond to the norm of the Mexican national variant. A survey was also conducted among residents of the capital, where informants were asked to enter their own variant in the table or correct the proposed statements.

The lexical structure of the state of Oaxaca uses a large number of loanwords from Indian languages: nana (oax.), madre, mamá (méx) "mother"; tata (oax.), padre, papá (méx) "father"; micho (oax.), gato (méx) "cat"; bucu (oax.), espuma (méx) "foam"; totopo (oax.), tortilla tostada (méx), "flatbread".

Sometimes these differences are so significant that residents of the same country do not understand each other, i.e., being people of the same nationality, with the same culture, they feel like foreigners in communication, at the level of understanding individual words and expressions.

Here are some examples:

1. No te espantes chovi , es solo un chintete bravo . (oax.) "No te asustes sobrino , solamente es una lagartija enojada "(mex.) – "Don't be scared, nephew, it's just an angry lizard." (Record)

2. Mamá, el zanate se robó mis chinunis . (oax.) "Mamá, la urraca se robó mis juguetes " (mex.) – Mother, the magpie stole my toys! (Record)

3. Pon las memelas en la jaba para que no se entiesen . (oax.) "Pon las tortillas en la canasta para que no se enfríen "(mex.) – "Put the tortillas in the basket so they don't get cold." (Record)

4. "Ya sal de las enaguas de tu madre". (oax.) A common saying to define animmature person."Ya sal de las faldas de tu madre". (mex.) - "Be tied to someone's apron strings (cling to a woman's apron strings)" (Proverb)

5. El tambo se quedó a vivir en la casita del cacalote . (oax.) "El pájaro carpintero se quedó a vivir en la casita del cuervo "(mex.). – "the Woodpecker settled in the Raven's nest". (Recording)


Summing up the above, we can make some generalizing observations. Spanish in the territory of the Mexican state of Oaxaca has local characteristics. The language of Oaxaca residents differs from the Mexican standard at the level of vocabulary. Words and expressions that have local specificity are widely used by the local population, regardless of their scope and social affiliation. It can be argued that this state is marked by the formation of its territorial norms at the level of vocabulary.

As a result of the obtained data, the prospects for continuing the study of the Oaxacan dialect within the Mexican national variant of Spanish are seen.


  1. Garza, C. B. (1967). Phonetic and lexical characterization of the speech of the city of Oaxaca (Thesis). UNAM.
  2. Henríquez Ureňa, P. (1938). Data on the popular speech of Mexico. BDH. IV.
  3. Lope Blanch, J. M. (1970). The dialectal areas of Mexico. Delimitation project. NRFH 19.
  4. Oaxaca State Statistics (2018). [electronic resource]. Mode of access:
  5. Smirnova, I. V. (2006). Spanish on the territory of the Mexican state of Tabasco (Doctoral Dissertation). Moscow.
  6. Vinogradov, V. S. (1994). Lexicology of the Spanish language. Higher school.

Copyright information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

About this article

Publication Date

08 December 2020

eBook ISBN



European Publisher



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




Linguistics, modern linguistics, translation studies, communication, foreign language teaching, modern teaching methods

Cite this article as:

Smirnova, I. V., Orlova, S. N., & Clemente-Smirnova, S. D. (2020). The Lexical Features Of The Spanish Language In The Mexican State Of Oaxaca. In V. I. Karasik (Ed.), Topical Issues of Linguistics and Teaching Methods in Business and Professional Communication, vol 97. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 108-111). European Publisher.