continuous Spanish-speaking counties of the modern day United States

Sep 2017
27
Philippines
are there any counties of the modern day United States, that have been CONTINUOUSLY majority, or close to majority, Spanish speaking for the past 350-plus years?

if there are any, I'm not too sure where they, these CONTINUOUS Spanish speaking counties would likely be. I would guess, and it is only a guess, somewhere in Texas and not part of the 1848 Mexican Cession. But really, I have no idea. That is only a guess.

obviously, if such modern-day counties do exist, where a majority, or close to a majority, have spoken Spanish CONTINUOUSLY in all that time, then they are going to be somewhere in the former Spanish Empire, that is now part of the United States. That after it stopped being part of the Spanish Empire, became a part of Mexico and later, part of the United States.

I'm not talking about modern day counties that were FORMERLY majority English speaking, and have now become majority Spanish speaking. That is the more modern era. I'm thinking more along the lines, of CONTINUOUS Spanish speaking areas. Do they exist?

I realise that it's not a very cut-and-dried question. But basically the question is, which modern-day counties, or areas, in the US, have consistently spoken Spanish the most, and for the longest?
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,728
Costilla, Colorado is the longest Spanish speaking community in the U.S.

Mostly because Colorado became a state prior to Arizona and New Mexico while California had very heavy immigration of non-Spanish speakers at various periods interrupting any continuity.

If you want to talk simply length of time then certainly some counties in New Mexico.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,575
Netherlands
If existing, I'm sure is going to be found in New Mexico.
Dont remember where I saw it, but there were indeed some older chaps there who spoke old Spanish, Cervantes style. Similar to Afrikaans and Dutch.
 
Sep 2017
27
Philippines
when Dutch people visit South Africa and hear Afrikaans spoken, they do tend to say it is rather like how they imagine Dutch people spoke in bygone days. Old fashioned, and rather quaint. One fellow told me there, that he was initially taken aback by it, and found it somewhat amusing at first as if me as a British person, suddenly found themselves surrounded by a group of people talking English in the manner of the 17th century.

Afrikaners were so very isolated down there for so long. I would imagine American European dialects, not just Spanish but also French and others are somewhat similar to Afrikaans in that respect.

in the Philippines also of course formerly part of the Spanish Empire and indeed initially administered from New Spain/Mexico, the language closest to Spanish is Chavacano, also something like Afrikaans however not anywhere near as easily intelligible to today's Spaniards as Afrikaans is to Dutch.
 
Last edited:

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,509
If existing, I'm sure is going to be found in New Mexico.
The adjacent San Miguel and Guadalupe Counties in sort of northeastern New Mexico are both about 80% Hispanic and that percentage has not changed much in the last 50 years. It seems likely that both easily qualify as continuously majority Spanish speaking.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,140
Portugal
Dont remember where I saw it, but there were indeed some older chaps there who spoke old Spanish, Cervantes style. Similar to Afrikaans and Dutch.
I recall that one day, in France, me with a bunch of Portuguese young tourist, still during the cold war, begun to talk with a guy that spoke an irreprehensible Portuguese. Totally correct and without any accent. I just thought… he is not Portuguese!!! Nobody talks like that. He seemed a character from “Os Maias”, a 19th century novel. Later he said that he was Polish, and was studding Portuguese in a University in Poland.

when Dutch people visit South Africa and hear Afrikaans spoken, they do tend to say it is rather like how they imagine Dutch people spoke in bygone days. Old fashioned, and rather quaint. One fellow told me there, that he was initially taken aback by it, and found it somewhat amusing at first as if me as a British person, suddenly found themselves surrounded by a group of people talking English in the manner of the 17th century.

Afrikaners were so very isolated down there for so long. I would imagine American European dialects, not just Spanish but also French and others are somewhat similar to Afrikaans in that respect.

in the Philippines also of course formerly part of the Spanish Empire and indeed initially administered from New Spain/Mexico, the language closest to Spanish is Chavacano, also something like Afrikaans however not anywhere near as easily intelligible to today's Spaniards as Afrikaans is to Dutch.
I recall when I was studding some years ago, we had to read a 15th or 16th century document (in Portuguese), and there was an expression there that none of the Portuguese students or even the teacher knew, but there was a Brazilian student that knew the expression because it was still used in a part of Brazil (unfortunately my memory fails to recall what was the expression). In a way the Portuguese in Brazil preserved the expression and the European Portuguese didn’t.

But the creoles are quite different, because they have other grammatical rules, sounds, compression of words and sometimes are a merger of different languages with different rules. For instance, orally, it is hard for me to understand the Portuguese Creole in Cape Verde, or worse the dying Kristang ().

But a Spanish speaker should probably understand more than half of the Chavacano. It also seems to have already many English words.
 

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,149
Canary Islands-Spain
Dont remember where I saw it, but there were indeed some older chaps there who spoke old Spanish, Cervantes style. Similar to Afrikaans and Dutch.
Somewhat. The Neomexican Spanish is a very archaic variant that's true, the region was very isolated from the rest of the empire for two centuries, and then after mid 19th century became cut from the rest of the Spanish speaking world. Mexican inmigration since mid 20th century started to change things again.

But new Mexican migrants and youngs in New Mexico (as far as I know reading on the subject), doesn't speak old Neomexican, but a variant of modern Mexican dialects with strong English influence. The old way to speak is stronger among residents in northern areas of the state, and stronger in rural than urban areas.

Old Neomexian is found among elders over there, in south Colorado as well. Their vocabulary and pronunciation is different to Mexican and young Neomexicans. What I could know about it, it sounds similar to modern Andalusian or South Castile.
 
Aug 2017
48
Tijuana, Mexico
... The Neomexican Spanish is a very archaic variant that's true, the region was very isolated from the rest of the empire for two centuries, and then after mid 19th century became cut from the rest of the Spanish speaking world. Mexican inmigration since mid 20th century started to change things again.

But new Mexican migrants and youngs in New Mexico (as far as I know reading on the subject), doesn't speak old Neomexican, but a variant of modern Mexican dialects with strong English influence. The old way to speak is stronger among residents in northern areas of the state, and stronger in rural than urban areas. ...
I'm an Anglo who speaks Spanish well enough to have taught Spanish conservation classes (many years ago) at the University of Oregon while working on my graduate degree. I have lived in Peru and in Mexico for almost two decades and I have traveled in New Mexico.

What you posted is correct...and an excellent summation of the situation.
 
Last edited: