WHAT IS SPANGLISH?

Spanglish is a hybrid "language" made up from Spanish by introducing English terms instead of translating them or by using wrong translations. With more than 35 million of Latin Americans, the United States is one of the most important region of Hispanic origin population in the world. Through the coexistence of Spanish with English is born spanglish.

Some Latin Americans of the U.S.A. characterize themselves for being monolingual, ones of them use Spanish and another ones English, but the majority live in a bilingualism in which it dominates a language on the other one. This situation of contact between Spanish and English is creating influences in both directions and is giving to an undeniable cultural fusion: the “hispanización” of the United States and the strong “anglosajonización” of the Hispanics. One of the fundamental elements of this fusion has been the mix of the languages Spanish and English, inducing a complex phenomenon, a hybrid language called «spanglish».

Of what consists exactly spanglish? The linguists indicate that it is a code-switching or a changing code, that means, an alternation of both languages when speaking, with few rules and many variations of kind of lexical, and morphologic, syntactic and even discursive.

Incorporated in the mass media (radio and television programs, magazines and newspapers), as well as in films and music, and becoming an authentic literary movement, spanglish is any more only an oral phenomenon.

The impact that has supposed spanglish has aroused numerous controversies with respect to if Spanish or English can lose their purity and if spanglish is a legitimate language.

In a meeting celebrated in Spring 2001 in the Cervantes Institute of New York, Odón Betanzos, president of the North American Academy of the Language, described spanglish as "deformed and altered mixture", whereas Ilán Stavans, of the Amherst College, presented it as a "new language", result of the creativity of a demographic sector in transition between cultures and languages.