From Academic Kids

For the Adam Sandler movie, see Spanglish (movie)

Spanglish, a portmanteau of the words Spanish and English, 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 StatesMexico 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 Panamanians, 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. Linguists usually find the term Spanglish to be too juvenile to utilise as a technical term. The term is also inaccurate in describing code switching because the language usually changes between words and not between syllables.

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 just about to get up.")

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:

  1. The word carpeta exists in the Spanish language, and it derives from the French word "carpette", and this from the English word "carpet". It has changed its original meaning from "folder" to carpet. Still, before it had changed its meaning through an English influence, it had held its original meaning of 'carpet' in some countries.
  2. Another example of word borrowing is chequear that indeed comes from the English verb "to check", and replaces the Spanish verbs "verificar" or "comprobar". Chequear is now an accepted Spanish word.
  3. In Spanish aplicación means "use of" or "appliance"; the word has been now used for a job or a school application, where instead it should be used the word solicitud. --The Spanish word 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.
  4. 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 and very common in people from Puerto Rico.

Calques from Spanish to English also occur. The following examples are from northern New Mexico:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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 bien. Pero tuve problemas parcando mi carro this morning."
  • Mark: "Sí, I know. Siempre hay problemas parcando in la area at this time".

See also

External links


de:Spanglish es:Spanglish fr:Spanglish pl:spanglish


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools