On “Castilian”

Notes toward my next piece of public writing (this was the last).

People think Spanish in Mexico is a separate and inferior language and that “Castilian” is a rarefied, literary thing. Really, what we call “Spanish” is all Castilian, and it can be spoken in different dialects and speech registers, like English. It became “Spanish” when Castilians took over the Peninsula and imposed their language, and then took that language to America. So if you know something you call Spanish, it’s Castilian–if it were Catalan, Valenciano, Galician, or another language of Spain, you’d surely know that. People who look down on “Mexican Spanish” are only showing their provincialism, prejudice, and ignorance: yes, there are working-class dialects, like the ugly English those who look down upon Mexican Spanish usually speak, but Mexico, the largest Spanish speaking country in the world, also has a couple of Nobel prizes in literature, major anchor people speaking literate Spanish to the globe, huge publishing houses, world class universities, etc., and everyone is speaking in accents that are likely identifiably Mexican, AND THEY ARE SPEAKING CASTILIAN.


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