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Transcript of Spanglish
Does Spanglish have its own rules?
Is it simply code-switching (jumping back and forth between two or more languages in one conversation) between the two languages, or are there concrete rules to decipher Spanglish from other forms of language mixture?
¿Why are we
interested en eso?
1. to categorize Spanglish linguistically
2. to observe the linguistic constraints of Spanglish
3. to discuss the social impacts of Spanglish
So, what is Spanglish?
An interlanguage is a language that is formed at the border of two countries. The interlanguage argument, however, loses its edge in this linguistic battle when examples of non-bordering cities like New York and Miami are mentioned. These cities have huge populations of Hispanic communities, and the Spanish language is ubiquitous. The lack of a border between these states and a Hispanic country may lead one to wonder if Spanglish is, indeed, a true interlanguage.
A Pidgin Language?
A pidgin language is a language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common. Spanglish seems to fit this category except for one thing: the fact that the English speakers rarely use Spanish words to communicate with Spanish-speakers. Most of the code-switching (switching between two languages in one conversation) is performed solely by the Spanish speakers.
A Creole Language?
A Creole language is a "stable natural language developed from the mixing of parent languages. Creoles differ from pidgins in that creoles have been 'nativized' by children as their primary language." Many second generation Hispanic children are exposed primarily to Spanglish at home, making this their native language in which this dialect is mostly understandable by standard monolingual Spanish speakers. Does Spanglish, however, have a grammar different from both Spanish and English, or is it simply a mixture of the two?
Perhaps the easiest, least controversial definition for Spanglish would be this:
an anglicized Spanish dialect that, with time, can become a pidgin or even a Creole language.
Spanglish is mostly spoken by children who are fluent in English, but who speak to their mono-lingual Spanish-speaking parents in a mixture of the two languages. Rarely is Spanglish spoken by people raised by English-speaking parents.
English words change their orthography and pronunciation, and no longer retain their non-Spanish identity
calques (phrases borrowed from languages by literal translation), syntactic idioms, and various other expressions that are seen as a new type of Spanish emerging under English influence
For example, rather than using the traditional Spanish phrase “Voy a pensar en eso,” a Hispanic who is thoroughly familiar with English syntax might say “Le daré pensamiento a eso,” which, because of word choice and syntax, may not make sense to a monolingual Spanish speaker
The extensive use of English lexical items occurring in their original form in otherwise Spanish utterances
slang phrases (what's up, whatever, etc.)
technology (el iPod, el facebook, etc.)
untranslatable words/phrases in English (field trip)
English words get assigned masculine or feminine articles
Infinitive verbs endings are added to English verbs to make them easy to conjugate in Spanish
boss becomes "el bos"
market becomes "la marqueta"
teenager becomes "el/la tinager"
to park becomes "parquear"
to flunk becomes "flunkear"
to text becomes "textear"
Spanglish has its own dialects, and is different in different parts of the US. Spanglish is also generally spoken more in the US than in Spanish-speaking countries (other than Puerto Rico).
Linguists tend to not refer to Spanglish as a whole, because it is an ambiguous term. They prefer to simply refer to portions of Spanglish as what they are: code-switching, vowel shifts, pronunciation changes, combining of the grammars of English and Spanish, and vocabulary that is adopted or borrowed or made in the new "language."
His first type of Spanglish is observed in people who are raised in an environment where both languages are used with nearly equal frequency. Ardila states that “Spanglish Type I speakers frequently act as native speakers of both languages." They speak English better because it was their school language, but code-switching between the two languages is common.
Ardila divides Spanglish into two categories using different criteria. He chooses to explore what types of people are most likely to speak Spanglish as a preferred language.
In this type of Spanglish, the grammatical and morphological aspects of each language are consistent with the language being spoken, with the exception of a few abnormalities within phrases and calques. In general, this form of Spanglish is fully understandable to native English speakers.
Ardila’s second type of Spanglish can be observed in native Spanish speakers who have lived many years in the United States. These speakers borrow a significant number of words from English, but not without imperfections. The irregularity of English phonology, pronunciation, and morphology in the language of these speakers may make their version of Spanglish difficult for monolingual English speakers to understand.
One such speaker of Spanglish may refer to a tinager (teenager), which is technically an English word, but the pronunciation makes it nearly impossible for a monolingual English speaker to understand.
For both of these groups of people, the functional language is neither Spanish nor English but a mixture of both.
Ilán Stavans claims that speakers of Spanglish “are no longer fluent in the language of Cervantes but have also failed to master that of Shakespeare.” This creates a generation of individuals who are fluent in neither English nor Spanish, but are “semi-lingual in two languages."
On the other hand, Ana Celia Zentella calls Spanglish a "sign of linguistic dexterity." She says that it is "like a train car able to run on two tracks at the same time, shifting from one to the other at the appropriate time. It's a skill that is often misunderstood."
Native Spanish-speakers often see Spanglish as a threat to their language, because their children grow up being unable to speak fluent, intelligent Spanish. However, this stems from the fact that most of their children are schooled in English, making it their primary language among their peers. In Spanish-speaking countries, Spanish has no threat of being overtaken by any other languages.
Because Spanglish is generally spoken by people who have spent many years in the United States, the dominance of English has no reason to feel threatened, for the effects of English upon Spanish are what create the need for Spanglish, not vice versa.
Perhaps the only answer that will satisfy those worried about the future of the Spanish language is...
¡Que será será!
There are 3 basic
types of code-switching
1. Intersentential switching occurs outside the sentence or the clause level (i.e. at sentence or clause boundaries)
2. Intra-sentential switching occurs within a sentence or a clause
3. Intra-word switching occurs within a word, itself, such as at a morpheme boundary.
There is an academic debate over whether Spanglish is the creation of new language or the destruction of Spanish. Some Spanish speakers will argue that Spanglish is a polluted version of Spanish. They see Spanglish as a corruption of a language, one that has allowed Americanized culture to force itself into a beautiful language.
Others will argue that it is the natural evolution of a language. It is not at all uncommon for languages to adopt words from other languages. While Spanglish does take the fusion to a new level, is that really a bad thing?
Perhaps because of the existence of the Real Academia Española, those on the Spanish side of the debates seem much more fervent than those arguing on the English side. Their motto is that language should be "Limpia, fija y da esplendor."
Linguistics of Spanglish
The equivalence constraint claims that code-switching is allowed where the grammars of Spanish and English coincide.
There are some important syntactic constraints on code-switching.
Equivalence Constraint Example: “The student brought the homework para la profesora.” is grammatical, because both languages place the prepositional phrase in the same place,after the object, in the sentence.
The object clitic (pronoun or determiner) constraint relates to the equivalence constraint, as it deals with coinciding grammars, and claims that the clitic must be in the same language as the verb and in the position required by the language of that verb.
Object Clitic Constraint Example: “Yo lo bought.” and “I it bought.” are both ungrammatical.
The noun phrase constraint claims that no switching occurs between a noun and a modifying adjective that follows this noun.
Noun Phrase Constraint Example: “El hombre old está enojado.” is ungrammatical whereas switching between the determiner and the rest of the noun phrase that follows or between an adjective and a noun that follows form grammatical sentences, such as “El old man está enojado.”
The free morpheme (something that can stand alone as a word) constraint claims that a switch may not occur between a bound morpheme (something that appears only as a part of words that cannot function independently) and a lexical form (something that represents actual word forms) unless the lexical form has been integrated into the language of the bound morpheme.
Free Morpheme Constraint Example: This constraint prohibits combining the Spanish bound morpheme “-eando” with the lexical form “run” in English to try to form “runeando” which would mean "running."