Thursday, October 18, 2012


“On so-called Spanglish,” by Ricardo Otheguy and Nancy Stern

*The term “Spanglish” implies a blending of two languages - English and Spanish.  The language spoken by Spanish speakers in the U.S. is not a hybrid or a new language.  It is Spanish.

*The term is harmful; it closes the doors to personal and economic opportunities because of the way speakers are looked down upon by those who speak other varieties of Spanish or English.

*The author argues that this term should be disregarded and called either Spanish in the U.S. or popular Spanish in the U.S.  Spanish speakers in the U.S. sometimes do borrow features of English, yet this occurs in all bilingual cultures.

*Studies by Morreno-Fernandez (2007) and Vera (2007) found that a very small percentage of Spanish vocabulary in the U.S. is actually borrowed from English, and instances of code switching among populations labeled as Spanglish speakers were actually very low.   An analysis of morphological, syntactic and lexical features of “Spanglish” proves that the term cannot be justified.

*The term “Spanglish” carries on the contempt for Latin American Spanish speakers that started in the 1940s and 1950s.  Their language was demeaned for not being Castilian Spanish.  Stern and Otheguy argue that the term Spanglish disparages a community of speakers in the same way.

*The main theme in this article is that the term Spanglish is disparaging, misleading, inaccurate, and should not be used.

*Questions: What are the pedagogical implications for college composition teachers within this argument about the term Spanglish?

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