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What is Dominican Spanish?

(Leer en español)

The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean country with a distinct culture, history, and diverse population.

Dominicans are known for speaking fast and loudly. The Spanish spoken in the Dominican Republic is unique in the way people speak, the vocabulary, and colloquial expressions that are used.

The Disappearing Letter “D”

One of the distinct characteristics of Spanish spoken in the Domincan Republic and other Caribbean islands is omitting the letter “D” in spoken language.  When the letter “D” appears between two vowels, Dominicans generally do not pronounce it.

For example, instead of saying “enamorado” (in love), they would say “enamora’o” and instead of “cansado” (tired), they would say “cansa’o.”  In general, any word ending in “…ado” will sound like “…a’o”.

Swallowing the Letter “S”

Another common characteristic of Dominican Spanish pronunciation is swallowing the letter “S.”  Generally, the letter “S” is not pronounced.  This is noticeable at the end of words, but also applies to the “S” letter or sound at the beginning in the middle of some words as well.

The word “pescado,” for example, pronounced “pe’ca’o” (recall the disappearing letter “D” also).  “Está” generally just becomes “‘ta,” and “tienes” is pronounced “tiene.”  It may seem like the “tú” (you, informal) conjugation of verbs is mixed up with “usted,” but it is the way the words are pronounced rather than a grammatical error.

Word Order Changes

It is not uncommon to hear a Dominican greet you “¿Cómo tú e’tá?” instead of “Cómo estás tú?”  The change in word order may be confusing if you learned Spanish in a school, but this is a common greeting.