Spanglish (a portmanteau of the words "Spanish" and "English") is a
name sometimes given to various contact dialects, pidgins, or creole
languages that result from interaction between Spanish and English
used by people who speak both languages or parts of both languages. It
is a blend of Spanish and English lexical items and grammar. Spanglish
is not a pidgin, because unlike pidgin languages,
Spanglish can be the
primary speech form for some individuals. Spanglish
can be considered a variety of Spanish with heavy use of English or a
variety of English with heavy use of Spanish. It can
be more related either to Spanish or to English, depending on the
Spanglish arises independently in each region, it
reflects the locally spoken varieties of English and Spanish. In
general different varieties of
Spanglish are not necessarily mutually
The term was introduced by the Puerto Rican poet
Salvador Tió in the
late 1940s, when he called it Espanglish or Inglañol (from Español +
English, and Inglés + Español, respectively).
Some of these creoles have become recognized languages in their own
right, including the
Llanito language of
Gibraltar and San
Andrés–Providencia Creole of Colombia.
1 History and distribution
2.3 Semantic extensions
2.4 Loan words
3.1 Attitudes towards Spanglish
5 See also
8 External links
History and distribution
In the late 1940s, the Puerto Rican journalist, poet, and essayist
Salvador Tió coined the terms Espanglish (later shortened to
Spanglish) for Spanish spoken with some English terms, and the less
commonly used Inglañol (for English spoken with some Spanish terms).
After Puerto Rico became a United States territory in 1898, Spanglish
became progressively more common there as the United States Army and
the early colonial administration tried to impose the English language
on island residents. Between 1902 and 1948, the main language of
instruction in public schools (used for all subjects except Spanish
language courses) was English. Currently Puerto Rico is nearly unique
in having both English and Spanish as its official languages (but
see also New Mexico). Consequently, many American English words are
now found in the vocabulary of Puerto Rican Spanish.
also be known by different regional names.
Spanglish does not have one unified dialect—specifically, the
Spanglish spoken in New York, Florida, Texas, and
Spanglish is so popular in many Spanish-speaking
communities in the United States, especially in the Miami Hispanic
community, that monolingual speakers of standard Spanish may have
difficulty in understanding it. It is common in Panama, where the
96-year (1903–1999) U.S. control of the
Panama Canal influenced much
of local society, especially among the former residents of the Panama
Canal Zone, the Zonians.
Many Puerto Ricans living on the island of
St. Croix speak in informal
situations a unique Spanglish-like combination of Puerto Rican Spanish
and the local Crucian dialect, which is very different from the
Spanglish spoken elsewhere. The same applies to the large Puerto
Rican-descended populations of New York City and Boston.
Spanglish is spoken commonly in the modern United States, reflecting
the growth of the Hispanic-American population due to immigration.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Hispanics grew
from 35.3 million to 53 million between 2000 and 2012. Hispanics
have become the largest minority ethnic group in the US. More than 60%
are of Mexican descent.
Mexican Americans form one of the
fastest-growing groups, increasing from 20.6 million to 34.5 million
between 2000 and 2012. Around 58% of this community chose
California, especially Southern California, as their new home.
Spanglish is widely used throughout the heavily
other Hispanic communities of Southern California. The use of
Spanglish has become important to Hispanic communities throughout the
United States in areas such as Miami, New York City, Texas, and
California. In Miami, the
Afro-Cuban community makes use of a
Spanglish familiarly known as "Cubonics," a portmanteau of the words
"Cuban" and "Ebonics," a slang term for African American Vernacular
English that is itself a portmanteau of "Ebony phonics."
Spanglish is known as bilingualism/ semi-lingualism. The acquisition
of the first language is interrupted or unstructured language input
follows from the second language. This can also happen in reverse.
Many Mexican-Americans (Chicanos), immigrants and bilinguals express
themselves in various forms of Spanglish. For many,
as a basis for self-identity, but others believe that it should not
Spanglish is difficult, because if the speaker learned the
two languages in separate contexts, they use the conditioned system,
in which the referential meanings in the two languages differ
considerably. Those who were literate in their first language before
learning the other, and who have support to maintain that literacy,
are sometimes those least able to master their second language.
Spanglish is part of receptive bilingualism. Receptive bilinguals are
those who understand a second language but don't speak it. That is
when they use Spanglish. Receptive bilinguals are also known as
productively bilingual, since—to give an answer, the speaker exerts
much more mental effort to answer in English, Spanish, or
Spanglish. Without first understanding the culture and history of
the region where
Spanglish evolved as a practical matter an in depth
familiarizing with multiple cultures. This knowledge, indeed the mere
fact of one's having that knowledge, often forms an important part of
both what one considers one's personal identity and what others
consider one's identity.
Spanglish is informal and lacks documented structure and rules,
although speakers can consistently judge the grammaticality of a
phrase or sentence. From a linguistic point of view,
is mistakenly labeled many things.
Spanglish is not a creole or
dialect of Spanish because, though people claim they are native
Spanglish itself is not a language on its own, but
speakers speak English or Spanish with a heavy influence from the
other language. The definition of
Spanglish has been unclearly
explained by scholars and linguists despite being noted so often.
Spanglish is the fluid exchange of language between English and
Spanish, present in the heavy influence in the words and phrases used
by the speaker.
Spanglish is currently considered a hybrid
language by linguists—many actually refer to
"Spanish-English code-switching", though there is some influence of
borrowing, and lexical and grammatical shifts as well.
The inception of
Spanglish is due to the influx of Latin American
people into North America, specifically the United States of
America. As mentioned previously, the phenomenon of
be separated into two different categories: code switching or
borrowing, and lexical and grammatical shifts. Codeswitching has
sparked controversy because it is seen "as a corruption of Spanish and
English, a 'linguistic pollution' or 'the language of a "raced,"
underclass people'." For example, a fluent bilingual speaker
addressing another bilingual speaker might engage in code switching
with the sentence, "I'm sorry I cannot attend next week's meeting
porque tengo una obligación de negocios en Boston, pero espero que
I'll be back for the meeting the week after"—which means, "I'm sorry
I cannot attend next week's meeting because I have a business
obligation in Boston, but I hope to be back for the meeting the week
Calques are translations of entire words or phrases from one language
into another. They represent the simplest forms of Spanglish, as they
undergo no lexical or grammatical structural change. The use of
calques is common throughout most languages, evident in the calques of
Arabic exclamations used in Spanish.
"to call back" → llamar p'atrás (volver a llamar)
"It's up to you." → Está p'arriba de ti. (Depende de ti.)
"to run for governor" → correr para gobernador (presentarse para
Semantic extension or reassignment refers to a phenomenon where
speakers use a word of language A (typically Spanish in this case)
with the meaning of its cognate in language B (typically English),
rather than its standard meaning in language A. In
usually occurs in the case of "false friends" (similar to, but
technically not the same as false cognates), where words of similar
form in Spanish and English are thought to have like meanings based on
their cognate relationship.
English basis and meaning
Spanglish word in standard Spanish
application (written request)
application (of paint, etc.)
to check (verify)
to map (rare)
to yield, to produce a profit
to watch out
An example of this lexical phenomenon in
Spanglish is the emergence of
new verbs when the productive Spanish verb-making suffix -ear is
attached to an English verb. For example, the Spanish verb for "to eat
lunch" (almorzar in standard Spanish) becomes lonchear (occasionally
lunchear). The same process produces watchear, parquear, emailear,
Loan words occur in any language due to the presence of items or ideas
not present in the culture before, such as modern technology. The
increasing rate of technological growth requires the use of loan words
from the donor language due to the lack of its definition in the
lexicon of the main language. This partially deals with the "prestige"
of the donor language, which either forms a dissimilar or more similar
word from the loan word. The growth of modern technology can be seen
in the expressions: "hacer click" (to click), "mandar un e-mail" (to
send an e-mail), "faxear" (to fax), "textear" (to text message), or
"hacker" (hacker). Some words borrowed from the donor languages are
adapted to the language, while others remain unassimilated (e. g.
"sandwich"). The items most associated with
Spanglish refer to words
assimilated into the main morphology. Borrowing words from English
and "Spanishizing" them has typically occurred through immigrants.
This method makes new words by pronouncing an English word "Spanish
style", thus dropping final consonants, softening others, and
replacing certain consonants (i.e., M's, N's, V's) with B's.
"Líder" (leader) – considered an established Anglicism
"Lonchear/Lonchar" (to have lunch)
"Taipear" (to type)
"Troca" (truck) – Widely used in most of northern Mexico as well
Spanish street ad in
Madrid humorously showing baidefeis instead of
the Spanish gratis (free).
Baidefeis derives from the English "by the face"; Spanish: por la
cara, "free". The adoption of English words is very common in Spain.
Fromlostiano is a type of artificial and humorous wordplay that
translates Spanish idioms word-for-word into English. The name
fromlostiano comes from the expression From Lost to the River, which
is a word-for-word translation of de perdidos al río; an idiom that
means that one is prone to choose a particularly risky action in a
desperate situation (this is somewhat comparable to the English idiom
in for a penny, in for a pound). The humor comes from the fact that
while the expression is completely grammatical in English, it makes no
sense to a native English speaker. Hence it is necessary to understand
both languages to appreciate the humor.
This phenomenon was first noted in the book From Lost to the River in
1995. The book describes six types of fromlostiano:
Translations of Spanish idioms into English: With you bread and onion
(Contigo pan y cebolla), Nobody gave you a candle in this burial
(Nadie te ha dado vela en este entierro), To good hours, green sleeves
(A buenas horas mangas verdes).
Translations of American and British celebrities' names into Spanish:
Vanesa Tumbarroja (Vanessa Redgrave).
Translations of American and British street names into Spanish: Calle
del Panadero (Baker Street).
Translations of Spanish street names into English: Shell Thorn Street
(Calle de Concha Espina).
Translations of multinational corporations' names into Spanish:
Ordenadores Manzana (Apple Computers).
Translations of Spanish minced oaths into English: Tu-tut that I saw
you (Tararí que te vi).
The use of
Spanglish has evolved over time. It has emerged as a way of
conceptualizing one's thoughts whether it be in speech or on paper.
The use of
Spanglish is often associated with an individual's
association with identity (in terms of language learning) and reflects
how many minority-American cultures feel toward their heritage.
Commonly in ethnic communities within the United States, the knowledge
of one's heritage language tends to assumably signify if one is truly
of a member of their culture. Just as Spanish helps individuals
identify with their Spanish identity,
Spanglish is slowly becoming the
poignant realization of the Hispanic-American, especially
Mexican-American, identity within the United States. Individuals of
Hispanic descent living in America face living in two very different
worlds and need a new sense of bi-cultural and bilingual identity of
their own experience. "This synergy of cultures and struggle with
identity is reflected in language use and results in the mixing of
Spanish and English."
Spanglish is used to facilitate communication
with others in both worlds; "...code-switching is not merely a random
phenomena but rather a complex system composed of a variety". While
some individuals believe that
Spanglish should not be considered a
language, it is a language that has evolved and is continuing to grow
and affect the way new generations are educated, culture change, and
the production of media. Living within the United States creates a
synergy of culture and struggles for many Mexican-Americans. The hope
to retain their cultural heritage/language and their dual-identity in
American society is one of the major factors that lead to the creation
Attitudes towards Spanglish
This section is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay
that states a editor's personal feelings about a topic.
Please help improve it by rewriting it in an encyclopedic style. (June
2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Speakers of standard forms of Spanish may at times denounce Spanglish
as a corrupted dialect. In fact,
Spanglish is not about necessarily
assimilating to English—it is about acculturating and
Spanglish has variously been accused of
corrupting and endangering the real Spanish language, and holding kids
back, though linguistically speaking, there is no such thing as a pure
or real language. Presently, "Spanglish" is still viewed by most
as a rather derogatory and patronizing word to its community because
it seems like a "bastardized language". In reality,
Spanglish has its
own culture and has a reputation of its own.
It is commonly assumed that
Spanglish is a jargon: part Spanish and
part English, with neither "gravitas nor a clear identity", says the
author of Spanglish and proponent of Spanglish, Ilan Stavans.
Use of the word
Spanglish reflects the wide range of views towards the
mixed language in the United States. In Latino communities, the term
Spanglish is used in a positive and proud connotation by political
leaders. It is also used by linguists and scholars promoted for
use in literary writing. Despite the promotion of positive use of
the term by activists and scholars alike, the term is often used with
a negative connotation. People often refer to themselves as 'Spanglish
speakers' if they do not speak Spanish well. The term
also often used as a disparaging way to describe individuals that do
not speak English fluently and are in the process of learning,
assuming the inclusion of
Spanglish as a lack of English fluency.
H.G.Wells, in his 1933 future history The Shape of Things to Come,
predicted that in the twenty first century English and Spanish would
"become interchangeable languages".
Yo-Yo Boing!, the first
Spanglish novel by Giannina Braschi, a Puerto
Rican writer based in New York City; the work debuted in 1998.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, a
Dominican-American writer, creative writing professor at Massachusetts
Institute of Technology and fiction-editor at Boston Review.
Mexican WhiteBoy, a 2008 novel by Matt de la Peña
The 2009 novel Super Extra Grande by the Spanish author Yoss is set in
a future where Latin Americans have colonized the galaxy, and
Spanglish is the lingua franca among the galaxy's sentient species.
The use of
Spanglish by incorporating English and Spanish lyrics into
music has risen in the United States over time. In the 1980s 1.2% of
songs in the Billboard Top 100 contained
Spanglish lyrics, eventually
growing to 6.2% in the 2000s. The lyrical emergence of
way of Latin-American Musicians has grown tremendously, reflective of
the growing Hispanic population within the United States.
Mexican rock band Molotov, whose members use
Spanglish in their
American progressive rock band The Mars Volta, whose song lyrics
frequently switch back and forth between English and Spanish.
Ska punk pioneers Sublime, whose singer
Bradley Nowell grew up in a
Spanish speaking community, released several songs in Spanglish.
Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll), a Colombian
singer-songwriter, musician, and model.
Sean Paul (born
Sean Paul Ryan Francis Henriques), a Jamaican singer
Ricky Martin (born Enrique Martín Morales), a Puerto Rican pop
musician, actor, and author.
Pitbull (born Armando Christian Pérez), a successful Cuban-American
rapper, producer, and Latin Grammy Award-winning artist from Miami,
Florida that has brought
Spanglish into mainstream music through his
multiple hit songs.
Enrique Iglesias, a Spanish singer-songwriter with songs in English,
Spanish, and Spanglish;
Spanglish songs include
Bailamos and Bailando.
Rapper Silento, famous for his song "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)",
recorded a version in Spanglish.
Puerto Rican writer
Giannina Braschi wrote the
Spanglish comic novel
Yo-Yo Boing! (1998).
Chicano performance artist
Guillermo Gómez-Peña uses Spanglish
Ilan Stavans, sociolinguist, a world authority in Spanglish.
Germán Valdés, a Mexican comedian known as
Tin Tan who made heavy
use of Spanglish. He also dressed as a pachuco.
Piri Thomas, a
Nuyorican writer poet, known for his memoir Down These
Pedro Pietri, a
Nuyorican poet and playwright.
Caló (Chicano) a
Mexican-American argot, similar to Spanglish.
Languages in the United States
List of English words of Spanish origin
Llanito (an Andalusian Spanish-based creole unique to Gibraltar)
Portuñol, the unsystematic mixture of Portuguese with Spanish
Spanish language in the United States
Spanish dialects and varieties
Category:Forms of English
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Current TV video "
Nuyorican Power" on
Spanglish as the Nuyorican
language; featuring Daddy Yankee, Giannina Braschi, Rita Moreno, and
Spanglish – the Language of Chicanos, University of California
What is Spanglish? Texas State University
Cameroon Pidgin+French+English Camfranglais
Italian+Spanish+French+Arab Sabir †
Hebrew+Aramaic+Spanish+Arabic Judaeo-Spanish, Haketia
Chinese+Mongolian+Tibetan Wutun language
Hebrew Heblish, Yeshivish
Japanese Engrish, Wasei-eigo, Bonin English
Spanish Spanglish, Llanito
Yiddish Yinglish, Yeshivish
Hebrew Judeo-Arabic languages, Haketia
South Sudan local languages Juba Arabic
Berakpu Babalia Creole Arabic
Greek Cypriot Arabic, Cappadocian Greek
English Chinglish, Chinese
Mongolian+Tibetan Wutun language
Uyghur Hezhou language
Inter-topolects Linghua, Shaozhou Tuhua
Tai E language
Hmongic Maojia dialect
Santa Tangwang language
Malay+Javanese Baba Malay, Betawi
Malay Betawi, Petjo
Occitan Meridional French
French Sign Language
American Sign Language Bolivian Sign Language, Thai Sign
Language, Philippine Sign Language, Malaysian Sign Language
Portuguese Hunsrik (when Portuguese-influenced)
Turkish Cappadocian Greek, Cypriot Arabic
Arabic languages Judeo-Arabic languages
Aramaic languages Judeo-Aramaic languages
Iranian languages Judaeo-Iranian languages
Romance languages Judaeo-Romance languages
Spanish Judaeo-Spanish, Haketia
English Heblish, Yinglish, Yeshivish
Tatar Karaim, Krymchak
Spanish Cocoliche, Lunfardo
Portuguese Macaronic Portuguese
Croatian Fiuman dialect
English Engrish, Wasei-eigo, Bonin English
Portuguese Dekasegi Portuguese
Malay Manado Malay, North Moluccan Malay, Ambonese Malay
Chinese Baba Malay
Malay trade and creole languages
Chinese Baba Malay
Sinhalese+Tamil Sri Lankan Malay
Javanese Manado Malay, North Moluccan Malay, Ambonese Malay
Makassarese Makassar Malay
Italian languages Macaronic Portuguese
Japanese Dekasegi Portuguese
Gallo-Italic languages Talian (when Portuguese-influenced)
Hunsrückisch German Hunsrik (when Portuguese-influenced)
Bantu languages Cafundó dialect (cupópia), Gira da
Pequeno Português †
Southeast Asian languages Macanese Patois
Ukrainian Surzhyk, Balachka
English Runglish* Chinese Kyakhta
English Spanglish, Llanito
Italian languages Cocoliche, Lunfardo
Gallo-Italic languages Chipilo
Hebrew Judaeo-Spanish, Haketia
Belarusian West Polesian
English Canadian Ukrainian
Russian Surzhyk, Balachka
English Heblish, Yinglish, Yeshivish
Scots Scots Yiddish
Hispanic and Latino American groups in the United States
Creoles of Louisiana
New York Latino English
New Mexican Spanish
Ethnic and religious groups
Related ethnic groups