There can be no doubt that Cuban Spanish is a very rich form of the language which has developed over countless centuries. As a Romance language, Spanish evolved from Latin and over time has incorporated numerous words from other languages, including Arab, English and French. The language we now know as Spanish is nothing but the result of the heterogeneous mix that has taken place in Cuba, the Americas and around the world.
To be able to talk about the Cuban Spanish it is important to understand something of Cuba’s rich history, which contrary to popular belief doesn’t begin with the “Spanish discovery,” but long before that, with the first aboriginal settlements. From the first inhabitants Cubans inherited several words still in use today and which give color to the language, most commonly in reference to culinary traditions, customs and expressions that identify Cuba.
More recently across Latin America, musical trends have brought with them new words and phases that have found themselves inserted into the popular language after winning the hearts of younger generations. Whilst reggaetoneros do their best to upset the rules of language, Cuba’s educational institutions and families have dedicated themselves to its linguistic preservation.
Ironically language professionals across Cuba, have assumed the arduous task of refuting the myth that Cubans do not speak Spanish “properly.” Of course, like anywhere, when walking though the gritty streets of Havana Vieja it is not uncommon to hear slang like “asere, qué bolá”. Moreover, some very specific regions have the tendency of substituting L’s for R’s in spoken language. However by and large the quality of Spanish spoken in Cuba is extremely high. This quality of language a result, firstly of the highest literacy rates in Latin America and secondly the level of university education enjoyed by a large part of the population.
Cuba has a very proud linguistic history and has contributed to the Spanish speaking world many famous writers, poets and philosophers. Indeed, universities across Latin America teach the works of Cuban literature masters who have continued to develop the language brought to them by Europeans some 500 years ago.