Blog: Hablas Spanglish? – December 1, 2011

Hola amantes de la cultura Latina! This is Karina, an intern for Conectando Latinos. I am currently a Senior at Saint Mary’s College of California and only a semester away from graduating with a BA in Communication. I look forward to writing weekly blogs about interesting topics existing within the Latin Community and assisting in planning fun and engaging events for all of you to partake in!

According to dictionary.com, Spanglish is “Spanish spoken with a large admixture of English, especially American, words and expressions.” Those of us who have ties to Latin American countries yet live in the United States know exactly what Spanglish means, what it sounds like, and who frequently uses this sort of “dialect.” Everyone has a different form of speaking and understanding it. For example, someone from California will not speak Spanglish in the same manner as someone from say, New York. The tones and mannerisms are completely different due to one’s environment, cultural heritage, and how far along the line they are to their ancestors back in their country of origin.

One would use Spanglish in an informal setting, with family or friends, and only those of which obviously comprehend both the English and Spanish language.  Some are strictly against the use of Spanglish. They believe it pollutes both the Spanish and English language. In their eyes these two languages should remain separate entities. The same people who believe this, believe that speaking Spanglish automatically makes you less of a Latino because you are not speaking the pure form of your mother tongue.

However, some immigrants find it easier to integrate into any given society by blending the two. Spanglish might even build a sense of community amongst people living in a particular area.

The blending of words and mixing of languages within sentences is not to be confused with being bilingual. A bilingual person can completely change which language they speak and be proficient at it without throwing English, or any other language in the mix.

In my opinion, people have the right to do as they please however, I would not advocate for the use of Spanglish. I was always told by my parents: “si vas a hablar en español, habla en español, si vas a hablar en ingles, habla en ingles, nunca los mezcles.” It is just how I was brought up. They frown upon those who use Spanglish too often, they call them “pochos,” however this term goes into a whole different discourse.

Examples of Spanglish include: Parquear, Lonche, Surfear, Chequear, amongst others.

What are your thoughts on Spanglish?