(January 8, 2016)—If your family has deep roots in New Mexico like mine, then you’ll know the difference. For most people, specifically people that don’t know the history, the name of our state tells them something different, something completely different. The fact is, it’s a lot more complicated than that and I’ve compiled some information on the subject that will give you a better understanding of why.
New Mexico was one of the first places visited by the Spanish conquistadores Although there is no definite proof it is highly probable that Cabeza de Vaca visited New Mexico in 1536. In 1540 however Coronado visited the country and this may be taken as the first appearance of the Spaniards in the territory. The expedition of Coronado was followed by several unsuccessful attempts at settlement the most important being that of Espejo in 1582. It was in the year 1598 that the first permanent Spanish settlement was made when Juan de Onate with about four hundred men one hundred and fifty of whom were accompanied by their wives and families marched up the Rio Grande and after many hardships and numerous battles with the Indians settled at San Juan de los Caballeros near the junction of the Chama river with the Rio Grande about thirty miles north of Santa Fe.
The Spanish speaking inhabitants who have occupied northern New Mexico since 1598 and permanently since 1692 represented then as we have shown several Spanish dialects ie. Castilian , Andalusian , Northern Spanish dialects of Asturias Leon etc. , Galician , Western Spanish Portuguese dialects. But while historical evidence gives us ample reason to place the sources of New Mexican Spanish in these Spanish dialects yet it is not absolutely conclusive that these were the only sources. In fact it is very probable that in New Mexico as in other parts of Spanish America the dialects represent nearly all the dialects of Spain though of course it is true that not all were everywhere equally represented In our New Mexican studies we shall see that the linguistic facts confirm the historical data but traces of other dialects often appear.
The sources of New Mexican Spanish are to be found then in the Spanish of the 15th and 16th centuries and this will be taken as the basis of our study wherever it is possible. The lack of complete records of the old Spanish dialects and of the modern dialects of Spain and America makes it often impossible to draw definite conclusions It is very probable that many of the changes found in New Mexican Spanish date from the old Spanish period Again the statements of dialectologists both old and modern have been often too general to be of use. A comparison of New Mexican Spanish with the older Spanish of the 14th and 15th centuries as recorded in literature shows many points of similarity and many divergences but it is likely that the differences would diminish if a complete record of the popular Spanish of the old dialects existed. A comparison with modern Castilian also shows many striking differences but here again we must consider carefully the circumstances In the first place the spoken Castilian of the popular sort is not completely recorded and it is very probable that many of the phenomena existing in New Mexican Spanish exist also in the dialects of Castile In the second place modern Castilian cannot be taken as the starting point. Since the 15th century New Mexican Spanish has changed much from the Spanish brought to New Mexico at that time but modern Castilian is also much changed from the Castilian Spanish of the 15th and 16th centuries and it is well to observe that in many instances as we shall see throughout our work modern Castilian has changed a large number of words into forms somewhat different from the older classic Spanish of the 15th and 16th and even of the 17th centuries while New Mexican Spanish and other dialects have preserved many of these classic forms with remarkable tenacity. It is a source of delight to the student of Spanish philology to hear daily from the mouths of New Mexicans such words as agora, ansi, ansina, naidien, traidrd, lamber, ivierno, trujo, escrebir, adrede, cuasi, enteneion, comigo, ay, pus, anque, dende, mesmo, quese (que, es, de) escuro, dijieron, vide, via, veia, etc.
Definition of New Mexican Spanish (Spanish: español neomexicano) is a variant of Spanish spoken in the United States, primarily in the northern part of the state of New Mexico and the southern part of the state of Colorado by the Hispanos of New Mexico. Despite a continual influence from the Spanish spoken in Mexico to the south by contact with Mexican migrants who fled to the U.S. from the Mexican Revolution, New Mexico’s unique political history and relative geographical and political isolation from the time New Mexico was annexed by United States from Mexico has made New Mexican Spanish differ notably from Spanish spoken in other parts of Hispanic America, with the exception of certain rural areas of northern Mexico and Texas.
Speakers of New Mexican Spanish are mainly descendants of Spanish colonists who arrived in New Mexico in the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries. During this time, contact with the rest of Spanish America was limited, and New Mexican Spanish developed on its own course. In the meantime, Spanish colonists coexisted with and intermarried with Puebloan peoples andNavajos. After the Mexican–American War, New Mexico and all its inhabitants came under the governance of the English-speaking United States, and for the next hundred years, English-speakers increased in number.
For these reasons, the main differences between New Mexican Spanish and other forms of Hispanic American Spanish are these: the preservation of forms and vocabulary from colonial-era Spanish (e.g., in some places haiga instead of haya or Yo seigo instead of Yo soy); the borrowing of words from Rio Grande Indian languages for indigenous vocabulary (in addition to the Nahuatladditions that the colonists had brought); a tendency to “re-coin” Spanish words for ones that had fallen into disuse (for example, ojo, whose literal meaning is “eye,” was repurposed to mean “hot spring” as well); and a large proportion of English loan words, particularly for technological words (e.g. bos, troca, and telefón). Pronunciation also carries influences from colonial, Native American, and English sources. In recent years, speakers have developed a modern New Mexican Spanish, called Renovador, which contains more modern vocabulary because of the increasing popularity of Spanish-language broadcast media in the U.S. and intermarriage between New Mexicans and Mexican settlers; the modernized dialect contains Mexican Spanish slang (mexicanismos).