Sunday, August 28, 2011

Se Hábla Spanglish

There's a difference between speaking English and Spanish and speaking Spanglish. The first option involves speaking two languages and the second involves mixing the the two.  Spanglish has really become its own new language, with its own set of vague, weird rules. Spanish-speaking Americans have created an entire sub-culture. And some things that we say can only be interpreted by Spanglish speakers themselves.

Sometimes it's taking an English verb and putting them into Spanish grammar:
   * "Voy a 'catchear' el bus." (I'm going to take the bus.)
   * "Vamos a 'tanear'."  (Let's tan.)
   * "Tenemos que 'parquear' ahí." - (We have go park there.)

Or a sudden switch of language.
   * "Pero take it easy, no te estreses mucho, you can do it." (Text from my mom.)
   * "Quiero watch un poco de TV."
   * "I'm going to ir a la escuela."

Excerpt from Stavans' book.
My question is (in true Spanglish style) ¿Porqué do we do this? Ilan Stavans tries to answer this question in his book, Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language. It all has to do with retaining the hispanic identity, adapting to a new one, and simply making life easier. Most of the made up words and frases result from our brains picking out what is easier to say. 

NPR produced a very interesting piece called "Spanglish, A New American Language" in 2003 about Stavans' book. My 'favorito' part of the story is a quote from Stavans: "Latinos are learning English. That doesn't mean that they should sacrifice their original language or that they should give up this in-betweeness that is Spanglish." 

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