Spanglish

Spanglish is exactly what the word implies; the blending of an English word with a Spanish word (e.g. lockiar, crackio, lonche, magazines, washeteria.) This “pidgen” language is not unique to Mexicans (Mexican-Americans) in Texas. It’s a “dialect”, if you will, that evolves in many countries (e.g Spain & U.S.A)

Often times people confuse Spanglish to what linguist call “code-switching”. Code-switching es cuando alguien uses English y Spanish in una oracion. Many of my students have done this as they try to express a thought. I encourage them to start and finish a sentence in one language. I provide them with strategies such as asking, “How do you say ______ in English?, in the middle of a sentence in order to get used to speaking in one language, along with developing their vocabulary.

Another one of my research interests revolves around individual’s identity with the language(s) that they speak. As educators we must be sensitive to how students identify with the language they are learning/acquiring and the language that they speak.
For instance, my experiences as a bilingual educator in schools where there are a majority of minority students have exposed me to various dialects and accents. I have observed that many times children are unaware that they are in fact speaking a dialect, like African-American Vernacular English or with an accent whether they are Anglo, Latino, or African-American. I have had to phrase questions in the classroom in order to help all children realize that they are all learning Standard American English.

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One thought on “Spanglish

  1. Cay says:

    I recall an interesting experience I had as a child. While growing up, we repeatedly moved from Central Texas to South Texas (the valley). On one of these occasions, I moved to a small town that was very close to the border for the 5th grade. At this point, I was used to speaking Spanish at home and English at school. I quickly learned that I needed to learn/use Spanglish if I was to make any friends, so I did. When I moved to another school the next year, I had to retrain myself to use English in complete sentences again. I find it interested how children adapt to different situation they encounter.

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