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Running head: Spanglish

Spanglish Daniel Aburto UTEP

Spanglish

Abstract Language is the human capacity of using a system for communication. Human language has the properties of productivity, recursitivity and displacement (Silvia Betti 2011). Do pure languages exist? It can be said that pure languages do not exist. Everything changes and nothing stays the same, as the quantity of immigrants comes to live in the United States, is a way of adaptation. The combination of several languages simultaneously is a hybrid language and is a type of adaptation; the most popular hybrid langue in the United Sates is Spanglish. There are several views on this matter, some favor it and others disapprove. On a survey conducted in the UTEP, students had to answer a series of questions regarding the topic of Spanglish: What is Spanglish? What are the positive and negative effects of using Spanglish? In which regions is Spanglish mostly used? This article is intended to answer questions from both sides point of view and look at the effects of this communication system.

The United States has always been a country of many cultures, religions and

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languages from all around the world, but as foreigners come to live in the United States, they tend to mix their past cultures with the new American culture. Often times what occurs is that immigrants inadvertently, combine their native language with English; this mixture of languages is known as the Hybrid language. Most borders between countries have the phenomena of creating these Hybrid languages. For instance, the most popular hybrid language in the United States has become Spanglish. Spanglish is the mixture of the Spanish and English language. Even though Spanglish is very commonly spoken in mostly in the United States, it is not a language that everyone approves of. These issues are explored through the following questions: 1. What are the negative and positive social effects of Spanglish? 2. Which region is Spanglish mostly used and is it spreading? 3. Why do people speak Spanglish? 4. Could Spanglish be predominant over traditional Spanish or English in the United States, what is the future of Spanglish? People have different views on Spanglish. Some favor this way of speaking and others disapprove of Spanglish. Some people believe that this hybrid language is beautiful, expressive and unique allowing the combination of two languages and having the ability to create their own culture. It is in fact very popular, in an article from an International Journal of Bilingalism, written by Ricardo Otheguy (2011) as well as other Spanglish speakers believe that Spanglish is the Spanish of the United States. Still, others see hybrid languages as peculiar and insulting to the initial language. However these are both just opinions over the topic of whether speaking Spanglish a bad or good social practice. These questions are purposed with the intent of uncovering

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through various resources, why hybrid language occurs and whether it is an acceptable linguistic practice. Spanglish is not a new trend that has happened over the last few years. This hybrid language has been in the United States for over a hundred years now. Spanglish is a language that has been developing since 1848, when Mexico sold a large amount of land to the United States. This action caused many Mexicans to become immigrants in their own land. Silvia Betti (2011) explains that the people who lived during that event were being forced to participate in becoming American, learning the Americans ways of life and language. While Mexicans did assimilate, they did not want to completely change who they were. The Mexicans still wanted to retain some of their past identity. Since the new Mexican-Americans did not wanted to leave who they were behind, but had to become American, Mexicans began to speak English but added Spanish words in order to do so, (Silvia Betti 2011) creating a sort of unique coding. For example brecas is a mixture of breaks and frenos, parquear means to park the car, which was derived from the action to park, and was added the suffix ear, to make it a verb in Spanish. Also lonche is a Spanglish term for lunch, when, in Spanish, it is called almuerzo. Russo Valerie (2007) What are the positive and negative effects of speaking Spanglish? Many people who are against Spanglish find it as a negative connotation because of the complex terms it provides. Like the examples above, Spanglish is a complex language because even if the listener knows English and Spanish, it can be difficult to understand some of the Spanglish vocabulary words being used. People argue that Spanglish is more of a coding language therefore it is difficult for everyone

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to understand. Researchers over the subject of code-switching like Ana Zentella, a central figure in the study of United States Latin varieties of language socialization, believe that code switching contradicts definitions or mixes them with other definitions. This is a natural linguistics phenomena in bilingual communities, proclaimed Montes-Alcala. Ramon Avalos, a representative for the Second International Congress of the Spanish Language of Valladolid and the rest of native Mexicans (not Chicanos) believe it is wrong since Chicanos are not really speaking a true language and it is viewed as an absurd and pathetic way to speak, many people see it as a lower-class type of lingo, and a corrupted version of the original language. Either you speak Spanish or English. A view made by Criado (2004) is that speaking more than one language is always beneficial but once people begin conjoining individual English and Spanish words together, its just confuses the person you are talking to and make the speaker look uneducated. In a survey, conducted on the UTEP campus, students were interviewed with a series of four questions. One of the questions was, What are positive or negative effects of using Spanglish? Surprisingly, there was a higher rate of people answering that Spanglish had no positive effects. Mainly, what the people being interviewed answered was that Spanglish can be hard to comprehend and it is not a fluid language. It is because the speaker using Spanglish confuses the listener, and can effect your professional world by looking uneducated,(Luz Oriola, 2013). Also, 76% out of the 50 people interviewed stated that Spanglish is not a proper language, which was interesting living in a city were 82 % of the population is Hispanic, according to the census of 2010, and intend to speak Spanglish (US Census Bureau, 2012). The rest of

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the 24% said that Spanglish was positive mainly because it showed diversity, creating a mixture of cultures and assimilation of native Spanish speakers into America. Llan Stevens, author of Spanglish: Making of a New American Language, (2003) speaks to the value of Spanglish, Spanglish is a creative way of saying, I am an American and I have my own style, my own taste, my own tongue. Many U.S. citizens believe that immigrants are of a lower class, and inadequate to be trusted on important, high standard jobs. Speaking Spanglish gives a negative image for Chicanos as coming across as ignorant, uneducated, and incapable of speaking a language in the proper manner, it is because of this that Americans view them as lacking intellect and incapable of becoming a sophisticated person. These views of Chicanos prevent them from becoming people of high stature, or earn a high position in life in the United States. That is why Spanglish should be contained from spreading to more people since it is affecting the way of life for them. Not only is Spanglish making their lives more difficult, but it is also making more race stereotypes against Hispanics such as being illiterate and lazy. Therefore making it harder for people growing up in these Spanglish communities, to prove wrong these stereotypes, and succeed in life. In which region is Spanglish mostly spoken and why? Even though people know that Spanglish is not a formal language, people use it every day. Especially in areas such as California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas, places near the border, which have the largest Hispanic population where Spanglish is mostly spoken. It is estimated that 37 million people speak Spanish in their homes (U.S. Census Bureau 2012) primarily because Chicanos, Hispanics who live in the United

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States, live on those areas. Since two different cultures are so close, being separated only by a border, its logical that people will mix cultures. People do tend to forget some words from their first and second language, and it becomes easier to say they word you dont remember from the other language. This is how a person begins to speak in a hybrid language. A common mistake nothing more, but some people who make that mistake dont do anything about it and later on becomes a habit of conjoining the two languages. As the population of Hispanics grows in the US, so is the language of Spanish. According to the United States Census Bureau of 2011. 52 million of the population is Hispanic and the numbers continue to increase. Not only is the language of Spanish growing because of immigrants, but also because parents who want their children to learn Spanish. Those parents are not actually teaching their children standard Spanish. Those parents, being used to the sort of Spanglish that they hear around them is what they are teaching their children. Since those kids did not learn how to speak standard Spanish, they begin to speak it as if it is normal since that the way they have been talking all of their lives, and as immigrants come and hear Spanglish everywhere they go, they to begin talking in such a way. If this phenomenon keeps occurring Spanglish will spread around the United States at a rapid rate. Will Spanglish be predominant over speaking Spanish or English in the United States? At this point in time, it is impossible to predict whether Spanglish will ever evolve into a full-fledged language. Through the survey there was an equal amount of people saying that Spanglish will surpass the English language and the other half was

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saying that there is no way that Spanglish will be the new language of the United States. Even though it is said the population of Hispanics in 2025 will be the dominant race in the United States (US Population Projection, 2008), see diagram figure 1, no one can really tell if Spanglish will be the official language of this country. (Figure 1)

From the survey given people were arguing from what they observe in the borders Spanglish has definitely become the most spoken language in those areas but English is still the leading language in places such as business, meetings or professional facilities. There might be more Hispanics living in the United States than any other race but English will forever be the most spoken language of the US and people still have to learn the native language that is spoken in the United States. English is still an essential and vital component of American life and culture. English is spoken in all government institutions, educational systems, and media; even on television English is used on mostly all big businesses and with all official purposes. Veronica Buchanan gave her opinion on the survey explaining that Spanglish will not become the main language spoken in the United States because it is not an official language (its a made up language created by Chicanos), and it is not formally taught in American schools. Another good point seen from one of the answers in the survey was English is the

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main language spoken around the world. Basically every country tries to teach English since its the dominant language in the world English is taught at Mexican schools so about 12% of the Hispanics that come to live in the United States come already knowing English (Census.gov, 2012) and those who do not know how to speak English eventually learn. Before making assumptions, it is important to note that as Spanish increases and Hispanic population grows so do Spanglish and the majority of the population will speak Spanish but that would be in personal spaces such as their homes. And those very same people will also know how to learn English because in order to be a citizen of the United States it is required to have the ability to read, write and speak English, (Immigration Law Center, uscis.gov). One thing for sure is that English will forever be the main language spoken in the United States. In what situation do people use Spanglish to communicate? Now, another point is, why is the large amount of people who speak Spanglish, speak it when they know it is not an formal language accepted by everyone? People know that this hybrid language is not a formal or adequate way to talk, and that is why no one ever talks to a man or woman of stature, such as a boss, a doctor, an architect or a lawyer in Spanglish. So why do they do it? After reviewing the answers on the survey given at UTEP most people claimed they speak Spanglish because it is fun. I enjoy speaking Spanglish its funny for me and my friends talk in both languages, exclaimed Karen Aguilar a student at UTEP. People find it amusing talking this way but they know in which types of situations to speak as such. Communicating with friends, family and basically in a comfortable environment such at the park or a party. Also there are those situations that pertain not speaking Spanglish. People know to either

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speak Spanish or English but not both whenever talking to a person who is at a higherlevel class. People know when to use Spanglish and when not to use it so they wont be judged and be viewed as using Spanglish because they lack the vocabulary and education in Spanish to adapt to the changing culture around them, (Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria)(1997) Therefore Spanglish speakers are viewed as inferior, and in most cases Spanglish speakers are viewed as inferior for the very same thing because Spanglish makes them look with lack of vocabulary. Should we stop cultures from clashing and creating hybrid languages? Do hybrid languages dissertate the uniqueness and beauty of the original language? Since the upcoming generations learn the way they speak by their parents, and people surrounding, in order to stop the Spanglish from spreading, one of the only options is to incorporate schools to carry bilingual classes till certain grade, to make sure children learn, both proper English and proper Spanish. Besides that option, it all lies within the way people speak at home, the local lingo, the slang. So, unfortunately there are not many options to put a halt to this, and it will keep growing along with the growth of foreigners in the country. The only few options to solve this problems would be to make people strictly speak English in their offices and maybe even have seminars over the topic of speaking English. The United States is home to many cultures and within those cultures a blend of languages occurs. This blending forms hybrid languages in which Spanglish became the most popular hybrid language in the country. In order keep both their old and new cultures, Hispanics decided to combine both the languages to create a new identity. Through the use of cross switching and false friend synonyms, the use of Spanglish

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has come into question by many people. Critics say it exemplary of an extremely low class status. Lack of education can be seen by the poor mastery of both the English and Spanish languages, making speakers a hard target for high-earning jobs. The mixing facilitates communication, however, and has become an omnipresent part of culture in the vast Texas border regions. It is a new breed of slang used by a vast majority of Mexican-Americans that has increasingly gained popularity. It is seen as the new in form of speaking. Measures must be taken to ensure that our young generation can speak this language in a way that is socially acceptable, yet know enough or understand enough, to thoroughly master both languages and inhibit the spread of this low class form of speaking. This can be achieved through the use of education and preventive measures.

Reference:

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Ilan Stavan. (2003) Spanglish, A new American Language. Barcelona. Published:Harper Collins. Betti, Silva.(2011) El Spanglish En Los Estados Unidos: Estrategia Expresiva Legitima?. Lenguas Modernas, Issue 36, p 33-35. Otherguy, Ricardo; Stern, Nancy. (2011) On so called Spanglish. International Journal of Bilingualism, Vol 15 (Issue 1), p 85-100. Passel, Valerie; Cohn, DVera. (2007). U.S Population Projections:2005-2050. Pewhispanic.org. Retrieved www.pewhispanic.org/2008/02/11/us-populationprojections-2005-2050/ Russo,Valerie (2007) Spanglish mini-glossary. Literanista.net. Retrieved: www.literanista.net/2007/07/sanglish-mini-glossary.html. Ana, Zentella.(1997) Growing up Bilingual: Puerto Rican Children in New York. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. p 323. Hernandez, Compoy; Juan, Manuel. (2005) Spanglish: The making of a new American language. Spanish in Context, Issue 1, p 113-158. Criado, M.J. (2004) Perceptiones y actitudes en torno la lengua espanola en Estados Unidos. Migraciones Internacionales, Issue 2, p 123-158. Gonzalez, Roberto. (1997) Is Spanglish a Language?. The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, .2013 US Census Bureau. (2012, August 6) Hispanic Heritage Month. (CB12-FF.19). Washington, DC 20233.

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