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Spanglish is a name used to refer to a range of language-contact phenomena, primarily in the speech of the Hispanic population of the USA, which is exposed to both Spanish and English. These phenomena are a product of close border contacts or large bilingual communities, such as along the United States–Mexico border, in Florida, especially Miami, and in New York City. It is also quite common in Panama, where the 96 year American Control of the Panama Canal has influenced many aspects of society (including Pan-Americans, more commonly referred to as "Zonians ") "Spanglish" can also refer to the typical errors made by native speakers of one language learning the other. However, Spanglish can also exist in areas far from borders, where English phrases caught in movies, television or music become mingled in regular speech.
The word "Spanglish" is a popular name for these phenomena, but not a technical one. Linguists refer to the various phenomena involved in "Spanglish" by a variety of terms: code mixing , code switching, loanwords, language contact, and more generally, bilingualism.
Spanish and English have interpenetrated in any number of ways. For example, a bilingual fluent speaker speaking to another bilingual speaker may indulge in code switching and utter a sentence such as: "I'm sorry I cannot attend next week's meeting porque tengo una obligación de negocios en Boston, pero espero que (because I have a business obligation in Boston, but I hope that) I'll be back for the meeting the week after." Often, Spanglish phrases will use shorter words from both languages as in, "ya me voy a get up" (as opposed to "ya me voy a levantar" or "I'm going to get up soon.")
More common than that are word borrowings from English into Spanish, using false cognates with their English sense, or calquing idiomatic English expressions. Some examples:
- The word carpeta exists in standard Spanish, meaning "folder", but in the USA it is common to see it used to mean "carpet". This is a straight borrowing of an English word.
- Another example of borrowing is the word chequear/checar, "to check", instead of the Spanish word "verificar"
- The word "parcar" is often used for parking, while "parquero" means parking garage, replacing "estacionar" and "estancionamento'"
- The word carro "car", replaces the standard Spanish coche.
- The word bus "bus" replaces the standard Spanish autobús.
- The word aseguranza "insurance" replaces standard Spanish seguro (cognate to English "secure"). The Spanglish noun aseguranza is formed from the verb asegurar ("to insure") in a way that calques how the English noun "insurance" is formed from the verb "insure".
- In standard Spanish aplicación means "effort"; the word for a job or a school application is solicitud; that is, Spanish aplicación and English "application" are false cognates. Using false cognates with their English sense, like using Spanish aplicación in the sense of English "application", is another form of Spanglish.
- The expression llamar para atrás is calqued literally from English "call back"; compare standard Spanish devolver la llamada ("return the call"). This is an example of calquing an idiomatic English phrase into Spanish.
Calques from Spanish to English also occur. The following examples are from northern New Mexico:
- Many verbs are given indirect objects that don't have them in standard English. A notable example is "put": "She puts him breakfast on the couch!" or "Put it the juice" (turn on the power). This corresponds to the use of Spanish poner and meter with the pronoun le(s).
- One can "get down" from a car instead of "getting out" of it. This translates Spanish bajarse, to descend, to dismount, to get out of a vehicle.
In Mexico and the southwestern U.S., people who speak Spanglish are called pochos. "Broken" Spanish, heavily influenced by English, is called mocho, which literally means "mutilated" or "amputated".
A short Spanglish conversation:
- Anita: "Hola, good morning, como estás?"
- Mark: "Good, y tú?"
- Anita: "Todo bién. Pero tuve problemas parcando mi carro this morning."
- Mark: "Sí, I know. Siempre hay problemas parcando in la area at this time".
- Inglés de escalerilla (Spanish Mediterranean coast)
- Languages in the United States
- Yanito (Gibraltar)
- Computer Spanglish, including terms like "hacer un backup" and "loopear".
- Ilán Stavans Don Quixote de La Mancha, First Parte, Chapter Uno (Spanglish translation)
- Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language, Ilán Stavans , ISBN 0060087765
- The Dictionary of Chicano Spanish/El Diccionario del Español Chicano: The Most Practical Guide to Chicano Spanish. Roberto A. Galván. 1995. ISBN 0844279676.
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