Spanglish. The influence of a giant

Today, iScribo invites you to read and think about Spanglish. A linguistic phenomenon that has caused controversy in many sectors.

Estás ready to read this article? Yes, I know that sometimes it can be hard but let’s understand un poco about what Spanglish or espanglish is.

Spanglish is how some non-standard Spanish spoken in North America are colloquially known in contexts where Spanish and English are in prolonged contact due to group bilingualism.

Spanish and English are two widely spoken languages worldwide. Although these two languages are studied and spoken separately, we cannot ignore a sociolinguistic phenomenon that occurs when bilingual speakers of English and Spanish interact. They do not always choose to conduct the conversation purely in Spanish or English but rather choose a third way: Spanglish.

You may like it or not, but here there is. A hybrid between English and Spanish that linguists don’t know how to classify. There are no rules; It may seem like Spanish with many anglicisms between sentences or English with many Spanish words intertwined. For some linguists, it is simply code-switching, such as switching from a dialect to a standard language or when speaking the formal language and then switching to a more informal use. In many sectors, it tends to bother; for some, it is a sign of a low cultural level, while others say it shows how language is in constant creation. Others observe the phenomenon attentively and without judgment, but let’s start at the beginning: when did people start talking like this?

When did people start speaking Spanglish?

The origin of Spanglish can be seen in the early interactions between Spanish explorers and the indigenous people of the Americas, and later, during the Spanish colonisation of the southwestern United States, the Mexican- American War, and the annexation of territories such as Texas and California. Then, in the 20th century, increased migration and cultural exchange between Spanish-speaking immigrants and English-speaking communities, particularly in urban areas, further boosted the development of Spanish. This was especially true in families where the first generation did not speak English, but their children did.

The Puerto Rican writer Salvador Tió used the term Spanglish for the first time in an article titled “Teoría del Spanglish”, published on October 28, 1948, in the Diario de Puerto Rico. There, he referenced native Spanish speakers who renounced their mother tongue to learn English and immigrate to non-Hispanic countries.

Currently, Spanglish’s influence on popular culture is reflected in social networks, music, and cinema, especially among the younger generations, where it is widely accepted.

Chicano, Tex-mex and Cubonics: living la vida loca

The places where it is most common to speak Spanglish are those in the United States, where there is a large population of Latinos. For this reason, Southern California and Puerto Rico are significant hotspots for Spanglish.

Do you remember Ricky Martin’s song “Living la vida loca”? Well, that’s Spanglish. And Ricky Martin is Puerto Rican; it all makes sense now, right?

Chicano English is often used to refer to the dialect of English spoken by Americans of Mexican origin. Within this is the Texan variant, which is spoken mainly in southern Texas. However, these terms are also used to refer to the Spanglish spoken in these geographical areas, which differs, for example, from that developed by Cuban Americans residing in Miami, whose Spanglish is usually known as the Cubonics language.

What do you think of Spanglish? Is it possible that English and Spanish will merge into a single language and Spanglish will finally be recognised? Would you like that to happen? Share with us what you think of this linguistic phenomenon, whether you like it or not and if you are a user. We would want to know what you think.

Spanglish exists -that is a fact- but we still have English and Spanish. So, if you want to improve your writing in Spanish, take advantage of iScribo, our excellent spelling and grammar correction tool. You will not regret it!

Hasta la vista, baby.

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