Honduras – Spanish Language and Culture
(It was formerly known as “Spanish Honduras” in order to differentiate it from British Honduras, which is now Belize)
Population: 7.5 million
Area: 112,492 km² (43,433 sq miles)
Currency: Lempira (HNL)
National Holiday: 15th of September
Calling Code: + 504
Time Zone: GMT -6
GDP: Total – US$ 15.288 billion (2010)
Per Capita – US$ 1,912
The Spanish Language in Honduras
Honduran Spanish holds many similarities with Spanish spoken in both El Salvador and Nicaragua. Spanish from Honduras has some influence from local languages as well as some Afro-Antillean languages and is characterized by a high use of slang and local argot. ‘J’ and ‘s’ are aspirated, they can be pronounced as softly as the ‘h’ in English or might not be pronounced at all.
Special words and expressions
- catracho – Hondurans (coined by Nicaraguans)
- yo ando a pincel – I don’t have a car, I am walking
- ando con filo – I am hungry
- ahí los vidrios – see you (there)
- sos torcido – you have bad luck
- yo ando hule – I’m broke
- a vos te saca la jícara – he/she is flattering you
- está hecho a medio palo – it is half made
- no puedo, tengo que chambear – I can’t, I have to work
- bolulo – bread roll
- ando a la trucha a comprar un fresco – I’m going to the corner store to buy a soft drink
- se fondeó – He fell asleep
- se le subió el indio a la cabeza – he got very angry
- calamucano – drunk
- alero – friend
- ¡que relajo! – what a mess!
- él es muy pistudo – He is very rich
- birra – beer
Articles about Hondurashere.
Other languages spoken
- There are 10 individual languages listed in Honduras. Some of the Amerindian languages include Garifuna, Miskito, Tol and Pech.
- Bay Islands English– over 10,000 people speak an English-based Creole along the Caribbean shore of Honduras. It shares similarities with Belizean Creole language.
- Arabic – there is a large Arabic population living in Honduras, most of them are of Palestine descent (over 150,000 inhabitants). They are fully integrated in the country and played an important role in the country’s economic development. Today there are over 40,000 Arabic speakers in the country.
- Other important immigrant groups that have maintained their language are Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) and Armenians.
Spanish dialects and variations
- The Spanish spoken in Tegucigalpa is the norm for Honduran Spanish; however this Spanish has many influences from more rural forms of Spanish due to strong migrations to the city.
- Northern Honduran coastal Spanish has developed with influences from the British (that occupied the surrounding area), local tribes, as well as the large population of people of African descent. In some cases in the north, Spanish is only spoken as a second language.
- Spanish in the interior of the country has a less pronounced accent. The aspiration of ‘s’ , for example, is less pronounced.
Geography and Climate
Honduras has most of its coast in the north on the Caribbean sea and small opening to the Pacific in the south through the Gulf of Fonseca. The interior of the country is made up of tropical lowlands and mountains where the weather is temperate to cool and marked by a rainy and dry season. The tropical north is much hotter and has rainfall year-round.
History & Politics
Colonization was difficult for the Spaniards because of local resistance as well as rival European forces in the Caribbean. In the 17th century the northern coast of Honduras was taken by the British and controlled up until 1860. Honduras only became fully independent and sovereign in 1840 and thereafter quickly became dominated economically and influenced politically by the United States, whose interests lay in banana exports with companies such as the Standard Fruit Company and the United Fruit Company. US backed anti-Sandinista forces were based in Honduras to bring down neighboring Nicaragua’s Marxist government. In 1988, the right-wing Honduran government was declared guilty of human rights violations against Honduran citizens. In 1998 Honduras was hit by hurricane Mitch, greatly affecting the economy.
¿Sabías qué….? ‘Lluvia de Peces’ (Fish rain) is a natural phenomenon that allegedly occurs in the Yoro region of the country between May and July. It happens once or twice a year and it is said that after a 2–3 hour storm hundreds of live fish are found flopping around on the ground.
Freedom of the press is guaranteed by the constitution in Honduras but there are strong laws on defamation that restrict topics. Violence against journalists is rated high in Honduras, and corruption and censorship are prevalent, causing the accuracy of news reports to be questioned. All news agencies are privately owned and concentrated in the hands of influential political figures and powerful businessmen.