Spanglish, like the famous carne asada fries at Lolitas, is a marriage made en el cielo. As the United States and Mexico continue to blend cultures in our magical and unique San Diego–Tijuana borderlands, Spanglish is less of a novelty and more of a way of life. Besides, mixing English and Spanish together, is … como se dice… helpful.
Some puristas argue that speaking Spanglish is unprofessional and call those who speak it “pochos,” claiming that it is a result of an Americanization or loss of culture.
What they are not accounting for is that some words that exist in Spanish do not translate well or at all in English and vice versa.
Bilingual speakers transition from Spanish to English daily. It is hard to transition from one language to another, so Spanglish is a way to gap a language chasm. Many borderlands students grew up in a household where only Spanish is spoken and mastered English in classrooms and work. Others have been raised in bicultural casas where one parent might be fully American while the other is fully Latino.
It is not easy preserving Spanish perfectly in an English-dominant culture. Mixing English in their Spanish is as normal as breathing and as natural as life itself to the racially blended people of Latin America and Southern California.
Spanglish is being used mas y mas as our cultures continue to blend. A student’s playlist may have Drake and Banda El Recodo.
Many insist that Spanglish is ruining and disrespecting English and Spanish, but it actually honors both. Besides, it is used primarily in casual settings with friends and family.
Spanglish is often called slang, but that is a faulty comparison. Most of the words are mainstream Spanish or English words, mixed and matched as needed. The phenomenon, by the way, exist in Canada and the Northern U.S. were French and English blend, and in Catalonia where Spanish and French mix.
Spanglish is giving legitimacy. It is even used in English courses at Southwestern College. English 116 uses “The Latino Reader,” a book that highlights Latino writers that use Spanglish to further express their feelings in their poems and stories.
Spanglish will keep developing. This new and dynamic idiom is here to stay. It does not deserve to be treated as a plague or an abomination. It is an essential tool for those maneuvering through the melting pot that is America.