Originally Posted by ojosazules11
Is it something about being near the ocean? I find young men from the Spanish-speaking Caribbean among the hardest to understand because they talk very fast and swallow their consonants as if they were an essential nutrient! I don't have a problem understanding women from Cuba and the Dominican Republic, but I find that to understand the young men I really have to be watching their faces to catch everything. Normally I have no problem speaking Spanish on the phone, but with one good friend of ours from Cuba I have to keep asking him to repeat himself and slow down because he talks so fast and runs everything together, dropping sounds all over the place.
Yes, there is a Caribbean accent that can be very hard to understand. Spanish-speakers from this region speak very fast, leave off the final "s" on words, and often the pronunciation of "r" and "l" are interchanged. Even the grammar is a bit different from standard Spanish: for example, in questions with a question word, the subject and verb are not inverted (question word + verb + subject), as they are in most variants of the language, but instead go like this: question word + subject + verb. Here is a somewhat technical explanation from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caribbean_Spanish