ECTACO Info | It’s official – Spanglish seems here to stay

by: The New Mexican,

Hard to believe, but Spanglish — that hybrid of English and Spanish that nuevo mexicanos and other Americans speak every day — has only now become official. The Royal Spanish Academy, arbiter of the Spanish language, has made it so by announcing it will add the word Espanglish as an entry in the 2014 edition of the Dictionary of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language.
Here in New Mexico, folks didn’t need the imprimatur of the Academy to speak Spanglish — people have been switching between the languages, turning English words into Spanish and peppering sentences with both since the Americans came here back in the 19th century. (Vamos al lonche, anyone?) The Academy, however, frowns on what it sees as any dilution of Spanish, including Spanglish, and for years had ignored the reality of Spanish’s changing nature in the New World.
Supporters of Spanglish — who see its vibrancy as the future of the language, especially in the United States — have been lobbying for its recognition from the mother country. But even in admitting awareness of Spanglish, the Academy thrust a barb, defining Espanglish as speech “used by some Hispanic groups in the United States, in which they mix deformed elements of vocabulary and grammar from both Spanish and English.” Hardly. While learning a language properly — either Spanish or English or both — is essential, the fluidity of a changing language doesn’t mean it’s “deformed.” Spanglish can be a bridge for Spanish-speaking immigrants to begin the journey to the English-speaking world, or a way for speakers of either language to communicate through the mix of both tongues. It’s easy to understand such words as parquear, the Spanglish way to indicate parking a car, as opposed to estacionar.
Even better news for Spanish speakers in the United States is the announcement that the Academy’s dictionary also will include the term “United-Statesism,” to refer to words originated by Spanish-speaking people from the U.S. The North American Academy of the Spanish Language has been pushing for greater recognition for what it calls “Spanish of the United States” as just another dialect of the mother tongue. Slowly, the recognition is coming. Recognized, ignored, loved or hated, Spanglish is only going to become more widespread across the country. In New Mexico, it’s just another way of communicating. We knew that, even without Academy recognition.

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