Puebla is a cultural and historical city, also known as “Puebla de los Ángeles,” or the capital of the Baroque. It is located in East-Central Mexico. Because of Spanish influence during the Colonial period, this city has amazing architecture and culture. Puebla is also a state with many universities, making it a reunion point for people from all over. Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP) is a very good university and one of the most important in Mexico. It’s common to see students from different states and other countries in this institution.
Identifying a Poblano by his voice results in a challenge for newcomers, but in fact, all people from Puebla have similar ways of speaking. Poblanos have their own style when they communicate to each other. It is well known that these people use many diminutives while they have a conversation. Another characteristic that not only Poblanos have, but also Chilangos (or people from Mexico City) is the singsong in their tongue. This accent is common in people who live in the center and south of Mexico.
The representative way of speaking from Poblanos is part of their culture. This common accent is called acento cantadito, and it is something that most Poblanos cannot notice, but it lets people around the world identify them. According to Professor Edgar Alberto Madrid Servín, a specialist in linguistics from Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (AUM), this unique way of speaking relates to a process called “circumflex intonation.” This consists in a rising pitch accent, associated with the nuclear accented syllable followed by a fall at the end (Madrid, as cited in Martínez, 2017). In addition, Poblanos use the circumflex and downward patterns in different situations, while they speak in a common conversation.
Evidently, during Colonialism we acquired a new language, and this has evolved for several years. For sure, Mexicans learnt new words and vocabulary with the influence of the Spanish. Before the “conquest,” our indigenous cultures already had their own languages, but these were influenced by Spanish. On the other hand, each culture and country has its own tone and accent; that is why our Spanish in Mexico is different from Castilian.
Another characteristic distinct to Puebla is the use of diminutives. I live in a town nearby called Huejotzingo. Local people in Huejotzingo and other regions near Puebla City tend to use diminutives. Instead of saying a name as it is, they add an “ito/a“: for example “Pedro” beomes “Pedrito,” or “Rosa” to “Rosita”. They also use expressions like “maestrito” for teacher, “niñito” for a child, “mamita” for mother. The use of diminutives is very common, and it is not related to a social class; they use these expressions as a way of affection and respect to someone.
In the City of Puebla, meanwhile, there are some people who tend to speak fresa, or snobby. This is common in private schools, where high society students go to receive an education. Fresa language is not always impolite, but it is a trait of rich people. It consists in the use of expressions like “osea” or “wey,” a word that is used to refer to someone. “Wey” can be considered a swear word in other contexts, but in snob style, it is not offensive. It depends on the zone you visit to hear the snob style, but most of this language is used in fancy parts of Puebla–like Angelópolis or Sonata.
Nowadays, in some parts of Puebla, mostly in rural and indigenous communities, people preserve their native language. These indigenous languages are Nahuatl, Totonac, Otomi, Popolaca, Mixtec and Mazateco. Natives use their own language, and they also speak Spanish. One interesting thing is that some governmental institutions have been working to conserve indigenous languages. For example, officials are trying to educate children by having them taught in their original languages. Evidently, not all teachers speak indigenous languages. In that case, they learn the local languages, or they teach in Spanish.
As I have explained, Puebla has a mix of cultures and communities. Since indigenous languages, snob style, or the use of diminutives, all these styles are essential for Poblanos. I would say that the most representative characteristic is the singsong. This results in a variety from Spanish, which differ in contrast to other parts of Mexico. I am pretty sure that to understand all these peculiarities from Poblanos, people should listen to conversations. It becomes more interesting for other people who come to Puebla to visit or study. In the end, students who come for an exchange, get words and expressions for their own language. This is why multiculturalism and diversity are essential in a global community, with citizens with a global vision and critical thinking.