As a result of Mexico City's central role in the colonial administration of New Spain, the population of the city included relatively large numbers of speakers from Spain. Mexico City (Tenochtitlán) had also been the capital of the Aztec Empire, and many speakers of the Aztec language Nahuatl continued to live there and in the surrounding region, outnumbering the Spanish-speakers for several generations. Consequently, Mexico City tended historically to exercise a standardizing effect over the entire country, more or less, evolving into a distinctive dialect of Spanish which incorporated a significant number of hispanicized Nahuatl words.
Regarding the evolution of the Spanish spoken in Mexico, the Swedish hispanist Bertil Malmberg points out that in Mexican Spanish, unlike most variations of the other Spanish-speaking countries, it is the vowels which lose strength, while consonants are fully pronounced. Malmberg explains this by the influence of the consonant-complex Nahuatl language through bilingual speakers and placenames. However, there are currently more than 50 native Mexican languages spoken throughout the country and they all contribute to the diversity of accents found all over Mexico. For instance, the tonal or "sing song" quality of some forms of Mexican Spanish derive from some of the indigeneous languages such as Zapotec which, like Chinese, include tonality in their standard form.
In the same regions – most of the interior of Mexico – syllable-final /s/ is rarely weakened; this fact, combined with frequent unstressed vowel reduction, gives the sibilant [s] a special prominence. (Note that this situation contrasts with the situation in the coastal areas, on both the Pacific and the Gulf Coastal sides, where syllable-final /s/ weakening is a sociolinguistic marker, reflecting the tension between the Mexico City norm and the historical tendency towards consonantal weakening that is so characteristic of coastal areas in Spanish America.)
In Northern Mexican Spanish, [tʃ] tends to be replaced consistently by [ʃ].
In terms of the [x] variable, the articulation in inland Mexico is usually [x], as in [kaxa] 'caja' (box). On the coasts the normal articulation is [h], as in most Caribbean and Pacific coast dialects throughout Latin America.
In Spanish, before the conquest of Mexico, the letter "j" was commonly used to denote the sound "sh", particularly with respect to Arabic names and words; for example, Jerez de la Frontera. Today, the "j" would be pronounced as an "h" in English, but hundreds of years ago, it was pronounced as the English "sh"; hence, the origin of the word "sherry" for the famous product of Jerez de la Frontera. "México" was initially spelled to reflect its Nahuatl pronunciation, i.e. "mesheeco", hence one can find Mexico spelled "Méjico" in old documents. As the Spanish "j" was standardized to an "h" pronunciation instead of "sh", the original Nahuatl pronunciation was obscured. The use of an "x" was then more commonly employed, but was still commonly pronounced as an English "h". In all Nahuatl-derived words and place-names, the "x" is properly pronounced as an English "sh", but in Mexican Spanish, continues to be more commonly pronounced as a voiceless velar fricative ([x]).
Vosotros (Second Person Plural, in English "you all"). Vosotros is heard in some regional Central American varieties of Spanish and in Spain. Although it is still taught in school and written in some official documents, it is rarely spoken. Instead "Ustedes" is used for both formal and informal contents.
In each case, the sentence has the sense indicated by the English translation only if the main verb is implicitly understood as being negated.
A departure from Peninsular usage involves using interrogative "qué" in conjunction with the quantifier "tan(to)" :
Note that phenomena relating to bilingualism are likely to be encountered among bilinguals whose primary language is not Spanish or in isolated rural regions where the syntactic influence of indigenous languages has been important historically. One of the most discussed of these phenomena is the redundant use of verbal clitics, particularly "lo", a tendency that is encountered in language contact areas throughout Latin America.
Also, there are a number of words widely used in Mexico which have Nahuatl, Mayan or other native origins, in particular names for flora, fauna and toponymics. Some of these words are used in most or all Spanish-speaking countries, like chocolate and aguacate (avocado), and some are only used in Mexico. An example would be guajolote, for "turkey" (although pavo is also used, as in other Spanish-speaking countries) which comes from the Nahuatl huaxōlōtl. Other examples would be papalote for "kite", from the Nahuatl pāpālōtl for "butterfly"; and jitomate for "tomato" from the Nahuatl xītomatl.
Examples of these terms would be, in requesting repetition of something not understood, the most common response in Central Mexico would be:
Another example is "alcancía" instead of "hucha." Other commonly heard Mexicanisms include the following:
In Mexico, the common word for a cold is gripa instead of gripe. El radio refers to a radio receiver while la radio refers to the means of communication; e.g., Ayer pasaron la noticia por la radio vs enchufó el radio (he plugged the radio in). This difference can be attributed to a shortening of the word: el radio (the radio receiver) remains with the masculine article while la radio refers to la radio-difusora (radio station), hence the feminine article. A swimming pool is an alberca instead of piscina (used in Spain) or pileta (used in South America).
Due to the size of the country, it is natural that a variety of Mexican dialects has emerged. Some of them are clearly distinct from the other varieties (the speech of Mexico City, Tijuana, Yucatán, Nuevo León, Chihuahua, Jalisco, Veracruz, Nayarit, Sinaloa and Sonora, and Chiapas, for example, are easy to tell apart from each other). Differences in usage and vocabulary among the regions are common and, although standard Mexican Spanish is understood by all, sometimes the differences can lead to misunderstandings. Dialects also vary depending on the education, social level and ethnic background of the speaker.
In Mexico, the "-ísimo" is used as a suffix to overstate the original meaning of adjectives; it is equivalent to the Italian/Latin "issimo". For instance, the word "Grande" which means literally big, can be overstated (Grandísimo) therefore meaning "very big". Unlike many Spanish-Speaking countries, it is common in Mexico to overstate the overstated adjective twice or thrice: Grandísimo, meaning "very big", can be overstated again (Grandisisimo) thus meaning "very very big"; and even again (Grandisisisimo) therefore meaning "very very very big".
The suffix "-ote", in Mexico is typically used as the opposite of the diminutive; thus making nouns Bigger, Larger, more Powerful etc. For example, the word "camión" by itself means literally "bus", but when added that suffix, "camionsote" would mean "Big, or Long bus". it can be repeated just like in the case of the Suffix "-ito" and "-ísimo", therefore "camionsotototote" means "very very very big".
The suffix "-Uco" or "-ucho" and its femenin counterperts "-uca" and "-ucha" respectively, is used as a Despective form of a noun; for example, the word Casa, meaning house, can be alterated with that suffix (casucha) to rapidly change the world's meaning to make it more despective, and sometimes offensive; so the word "casucha" is often a shanty, hut or hovel. With the word "madera" (wood), for example, it is often used with the other suffix (-uca)(Maderuca)and it means a rotten, ugly wood.
Other suffixes include, but are not limited to: "-azo" as on "carrazo" which refers to a very pretty car (carro) such as a Ferrari or Bercedes-Benz; "-on" for example "narizón" someone with a large nose (nariz) or "patona", a female with large legs (patas); some others include "-udo" like in the words "narizudo" someone with a large nose (nariz), and "puntiagudo" something with many pointy edges "puntas" (commonly used "Me piqué con el cactus puntiagudo" meaning "I got hurt ewith the pointy cactus"); the prefix "a-" or "-en" used with the suffix "-ado" like in "acamado" or "engentado" meaning someone that is tired of being in bead, and someone that is tired of being in crowds and with many people, respectively.
It's also common to add a ch- to form diminutives, e.g. Isabel => Chabela, José María => Chema, Cerveza => Chela, Concepción => Chonita, Sin Muelas => Chimuela. This is common, but not exclusive, to Mexican Spanish.