8 junio, 2024

Lexical variants: types and examples

The lexical variants They are the different changes that affect a language according to the different places in which it is spoken, the social context and the time. For example, in Latin America «car» or «automóvil» is used; however in Spain “coche” is used.

These alterations in the way of speaking can occur within the same country, a province, a sub-region of the province and even between groups of inhabitants due to a linguistic agreement between them.

To understand the topic well, you have to understand what the lexicon is. This is the set of words, the vocabulary that makes up a language and that can vary depending on some factors. Among these elements, the different regions in which that language is spoken stand out. By simple extension, dictionaries that include a vocabulary are also called lexicons.

Languages ​​are not rigid structures, they mutate over time and with the use given to it by the different people who speak it. In turn, citizens are determined by their cultural, geographical, temporal and social context; even for his age.

Spanish is one of the five great Romance languages ​​derived from Latin, it is spoken on all five continents, mainly in Europe and America. In total, nineteen countries have it as an official language and there are speakers in many others.

It is estimated that the language is used by around 580 million people in the world. This wide geographical distribution of its speakers means that the lexical variants are many.

Types of lexical variants

Depending on the condition of its variation, there are several types of lexical variants:

geographic variations

Geographical variations, or diatopics, designate the changes that occur within a language due to the geographical distances that exist between the different groups of speakers. Within nearby or adjoining communities there are usually few variations or, in any case, less than between human groups that are very distant from each other.

Such is the case, for example, of the large differences that exist between the Spanish spoken in Spain and that spoken in America. On the other hand, there is the one spoken in the Southern Cone compared to that of the Caribbean countries, whose vocabulary is influenced by Anglicisms.

If we find homogeneous features among the linguistic variations of a region, we call it a geolect or dialect.

temporary variations

Also called diachronic, these refer to the variants that occur in a language over time. They may include not only word changes to designate the same thing, but also spelling or grammatical changes.

The variations are greater the further apart in time the speakers are. They can be clearly observed in ancient texts or documents compared to current ones.

social variations

The social or diastratic variations are those that refer to vocabulary and language changes according to the social group in which each speaker operates.

The way in which the same language is spoken is conditioned by the educational level, the age and the environment in which its speakers live. For example, the differences between the Spanish spoken by a peasant, a young person who lives in a big city, and an academic.

Sociolects or social dialects are the linguistic variations shared by a group of people with the same social status and level of education.

contextual variations

They refer to the variants in the language of the same speaker according to the context in which it is being expressed. This is conditioned by the topic being talked about, the place and the listener or listeners to whom the person speaking is addressed.

Examples of lexical variants

– Avocado (Argentina, Chile) – Avocado (Mexico, Spain).

– Computer (Mexico, Latin America) – computer (Spain).

– Boyfriend (Mexico, Spain) – Pololo (Chile).

– Grapefruit (Mexico) – Grapefruit (Spain, Argentina).

– Beets (Mexico) – Beet (Spain).

– Collective (Mexico) – Bus (Spain).

– Mina (Argentina) – Pretty woman (Mexico).

– Bacano (Colombia) – chulo (Spain) – cool (Mexico).

– Cotton swab (Mexico) – swab (Spain).

– Car (Spain) – Car (Mexico).

– Botanas (Mexico) – appetizer or tapas (Spain).

– Cruda (Mexico) – hangover (Spain).

– Strawberry (Mexico) – Posh (Spain).

– Stroller (Mexico) – Stroller (Spain).

– Chafa (Mexico) – seedy (Spain).

– Chavo (Mexico) – kid (Spain).

– Huarache (Mexico) -flip flops/sandals (Spain).

– Tianguis (Mexico) – flea market (Spain).

– Antro (Mexico) – disco (Spain).

– Reventón (Mexico) – spree (Spain).

– Toothpick, toothpick, toothpick.

– Straw, cigarette, straw, straw.

– I work, I work.

– Jacket, jacket, jacket.

– Talk, talk.

– T-shirt, flannel, t-shirt.

– Skirt, skirt.

– Flip flop, flip flop, sandal.

– Refrigerator, freezer, freezer.

– Dark, dark.

– Red, colored.

– Sandwich, sandwich.

– Bag, sack.

– Pencil, pen, fountain pen.

– Quilt, blanket, blanket.

– Ice cream, snow, popsicle.

– Magdalena, ponqué.

– Lighter, lighter, tinderbox.

– Computer, computer, PC.

– Joke, joke.

– Military, soldier.

– Avocado, avocado.

– Banana, banana.

– Child, baby, boy, boy.

– Hyssop, stick.

– Hook, hanger.

– Police, paco, cana.

– Money, silver, pasta.

– Thief, choro, choro.

– Suitcase, suitcase, flask.


Linguistic variety. (2019). Spain: Wikipedia. Retrieved from: wikipedia.org. Examples of lexical variants. (2018). N/A: Mileexamples.com. Retrieved from: com. lexical variants. (2016). N/A: ClubEssays. Retrieved from: com. Ravnjak, FE (2007). Lexical variations of Spanish. Brazil: Cervantes. Retrieved from: cvc.cervantes.es. Calderón Noguera, DF (2010). Lexical variants of Spanish spoken in Tunja within the framework of the Preseea project: a sample*. Spain: University of La Rioja. Retrieved from: dialnet.unirioja.es.

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