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Is it important for young children (4 or 5 years old) in a Spanish language immersion program to be exposed to more than one type of Spanish language accent? If the child only hears one accent for the first two years of learning Spanish, will that make it hard for the child to comprehend and/or adjust his/her own accent later when exposed to other accents?

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I suspect this question would be better answered on Linguistics, as it's not really about Spanish--unless you're asking if Spanish is somehow unique in this regard. – Flimzy Feb 8 '13 at 0:10

I don't think so.

I think a firm grounding in one variety of Spanish is important. I also think that the decision between European vs. Latin American Spanish is important very early on, as the differences are more pronounced and there's more of a dividing line there. But at the end of the day, I think learning the fundamentals and "standard" pronunciation is most important, while a person who dedicates themselves to learning the language will pick up the proper (as in appropriate for where they live) regional color and dialect afterwards anyway.

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Either of the downvotes care to expand a little? I'm not sure what was downvote-worthy in my answer and I'd like to discuss it. – Frank Feb 7 '13 at 14:20
+1 for your laconic but accurate answer to both questions by the original poster: "I don't think so". – Albertus Feb 7 '13 at 15:48

May be, but in spite of strong accent differences, Spanish people can understand perfectly accents from any part from Spain or from American countries. A child from Madrid understand without problem the Mexican "Chapulin Colorado" series, as well as any children program from the Andalusian TV "Canal Sur" with a strong "seseo".

The problem exist when the supposed "Spanish" is not really Spanish with a particular "habla", but some kind of marginal urban jargon, a strong dialect of some isolated rural areas, or it is plenty of localisms, or when people speak quickly without vocalizing. And IMO all of this should be avoided in an immersion program. Using only words understandable in any Spanish country, the accent does not matter.

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+1, but "degraded Castilian" sounds pejorative. I think it could be omitted without affecting the meaning. – Dr. belisarius Feb 5 '13 at 13:15
Digamos entonces dialecto, pero sin ánimo de ofender, te advierto que en realidad lo que hablamos ambos es un latín muy degradado. :-D – Fran Feb 5 '13 at 19:15

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