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Spanglish: Popular myths and linguistic reality. Gerald F. Murray Dept. of Anthropology University of Florida. Definition of the term Spanglish. It is a popular term, not a scientific term.

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spanglish popular myths and linguistic reality

Spanglish: Popular myths and linguistic reality

Gerald F. Murray

Dept. of Anthropology

University of Florida

definition of the term spanglish
Definition of the term Spanglish
  • It is a popular term, not a scientific term.
  • Refers generically to linguistic behaviors on the part of Spanish speakers whose Spanish demonstrates different forms of influence from English.
three separate phenomena that are often called spanglish
Three separate phenomena that are often called “Spanglish”
  • Code switching between Spanish and English in the same sentence or conversation.
  • Importation (and adaptation) of English vocabulary items into Spanish.
  • Calques: literal translation of English terms using existing Spanish terms but giving them a meaning they do not have in Spanish
code switching example
Code-switching example

Leaving a recorded message.

“Hi, Marta. This is Pablo. ¿Cómo va todo? Oye, te quería preguntar, are you free this evening a eso de las ocho? There’s a movie on campus que me parece que va a ser muy interesante. If you can join me, me das una llamadita. Call me mejor on my cell phone, que voy a estar afuera. Hope to hear from you. No me dejes de llamar.”

code switching observations
Code switching observations
  • In principle, each segment can be “pure English” or “pure Spanish”.
  • Usually done by fully bilingual people when talking to other bilinguals.
  • What is the purpose or function? Why don’t people simply talk in one of the languages?
  • Many possible reasons:
    • An appreciation of bilingualism.
    • A desire to demonstrate one’s bilingualism.
    • A desire to compliment the other person as a bilingual as well.
    • A desire to establish solidarity as two bilinguals
vocabulary importation and adaptation
Vocabulary importation and adaptation
  • Heard from a beggar in San Juan: “Amigo, regálame una cuara que quiero comprarme una dona.”
  • Heard from a child in Spanish Harlem: “Un nene se cayó del rufo.”
  • Heard from another child in Spanish Harlem. “Mi mamá me regaló un co braun para Crijma.” (“Dímelo en español.” “Pero eso es español.”)
analysis of vocabulary importation
Analysis of vocabulary importation
  • Often there is a common word in Spanish (e.g. Donut). But it may be simpler to use the English word.
    • Cuara rather than peseta.
  • Often there is no word in Spanish. E.g. “email”. You can create a phrase “mandar por correo electrónico”. But it may be simpler to say imelear.
analysis of vocabulary adaptation
Analysis of vocabulary adaptation
  • The word is adapted phonologically. “Coat” becomes co. Rufo w. trilled r.
  • The word is adapted morphologically. A gender ending is placed on it, particularly with shorter words.
  • The word is adapted syntactically. The adjective braun follows co, as in Spanish.
adaptation of nouns
Adaptation of nouns
  • A gender marking vowel is added when the English word
    • (a) is short, and
    • (b) ends in a consonant or cluster that cannot end a word in Spanish
    • Rufo, marqueta, furnitura, yarda, troca.
  • If the word is long or ends in a way permitted in Spanish, no ending may be added
    • pari, imel, internet, swing, mánayer, yins (jeans), fríser
  • These appear to be guidelines, not hard and fast rules.
    • Tique, not tiqueta (ticket), ganga.
english verbs made spanish by ear
English verbs made Spanish by “-ear”
  • Most common adaptation is to append “-ear” to the root, on the model of “pelear” or “rodear”, “trapear”.
    • Chequear, cliquear, parquear, liquear (leak), melear, imelear, mopear, pompear, cuitear (quit a job), taypear (type), molear (shop in the mall), esquipear, estartear.
  • Sometimes a simple “ar” is appended.
    • Rentar, puchar (push)
calques retranslated english spanish cognates
Calques: Retranslated English – Spanish cognates
  • A calque is a word that exists in Spanish but is used in a sense that is not usual in Spanish
    • Aplicación, grosería, marqueta, carpeta, ponchar, rentar, luz (semáforo), llamar para atrás.
translating into standard spanish
Translating into standard Spanish
  • I was doing my income taxes on my day off when the faucet started to leak. I had to mop up the water from the carpet and dry the furniture. I called the manager of the building, but he still has not called me back.
  • Estaba preparando mi formulario de rentas internas en mi día libre cuando la pluma del fregadero empezó a gotear. Tuve que recoger el agua de la alfrombra y secar los muebles. Llamé al gerente del edificio pero todavía no me ha devuelto la llamada.
translating into spanglish
Translating into Spanglish
  • I was doing my income taxes on my day off
  • Taba haciendo mi income-tax en mi deof
  • when the faucet of the sink started to leak.
  • cuando la foseta del sink empezó a liquear.
  • I had to mop up the water from the carpet
  • Tuve que mapear el agua de la carpeta
  • and dry all the furniture.
  • y secar toa la furnitura.
  • I called the manager of the building
  • Llamé al mánayer del bildin
  • but he still has not called me back.
  • pero toavía no me ha llamao p’atrá.
myth of the mish mash
Myth of the mish-mash
  • Myth 1: Spanglish is a mish-mash of English and Spanish. It is neither English nor Spanish
  • Fact 1: Spanglish is a dialect of Spanish.
    • It is fully Spanish in terms of the basic phonology, morphology, and syntax
    • The influence from English is in terms of vocabulary borrowing.
    • The items borrowed, however, are fit into the above-mentioned Spanish structures
myth of linguistic contamination
Myth of linguistic contamination
  • Do borrowed vocabulary items “enrich” or “contaminate” a language?
  • Has English been “contaminated” or “enriched” by French and other foreign loanwords.
english examples
English examples
  • The “burritos” of Taco Bell.
  • Peace Corps Volunteers in the Dominican Republic: The people in my campo plant platanos and yuca on their parcelas.
example of english
Example of English

My uncle, aunt, and cousins are really my favorite relatives. They constantly invite me to elegant and expensive restaurants. They encourage me to inspect the entire menu before deciding on a selection. I generally order beef or poultry but occasionally I prefer a vegetarian plate.

the english passage retranslated
The English passage retranslated

My father’s brother, his wife, and their children are great folks. I love the places where they always take me to eat. They tell me to take my time, find out from the waiter being cooked, and ask for whatever I want. I almost always ask for a hamburger or fried chicken but sometimes I ask for a meal that doesn’t have any meat in it.

analysis of the two passages
Analysis of the two passages
  • In the first passage every single noun and verb has been imported into English from French.
  • In the second passage every word is of Germanic origin, with no borrowings.