Value of Hybrid or Blended English Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Spanglish is a combination of Spanish and English, with each of these two languages having more or less of an influence on the final product depending on the circumstances. The speech of Spanghlish users involves them bringing together the two languages and creating a dialect that is not native to the country they inhabit. Spanglish is widely used in Hispanic communities in North America, as they prefer it as an intermediary dialect assisting them to connect with the English-speaking community.

Living in two cultures can have a strong impact on a person, as he or she gradually comes to switch back and forth between cultural values promoted in each of these respective environments. This is perfectly demonstrated by individuals speaking Spanglish, taking into account that they need to concentrate on adopting attitudes that enable them to improve their relationship to both English and Spanish-speaking communities.

Although Spanish plays an integral role in American tradition, it is typically excluded from official speech or documents in the U.S. Most individuals speaking the language rarely get to write it. "As a result, Spanish is more informal, fluid, and subject to change and experimentation." (Stacy 458) Spanish speakers thus prefer using their own language while in English-speaking environments. When they feel that they need to adapt they are likely to take English words and use them alongside Spanish expressions. A Spanglish phrase can involve English words being adopted directly, English words being considered on account of how they provide an easier way to put across a message, or English verbs being given Spanish forms.

Salvador Tio and the term 'Spanglish'

Puerto Rican journalist Salvador Tio is largely considered to be responsible for coming up with the term 'Spanglish' (its Spanish equivalent is espanglish) in a newspaper article that was published in 1952.

Tio -- who certainly considers himself the inventor of this word (an opinion largely shared by others in Latin America) -- was concerned about what he felt to be the deterioration of Spanish in Puerto Rico under the onslaught of English words, a situation that led him to wage a campaign against it with a series of polemical and satirical articles over the course of more than half a century. (Lipski 41)

Tio was afraid that currents such as Spanglish posed a serious threat to Spanish language as spoken by Puerto Ricans. He acknowledged the fact that it was perfectly normal for foreign words to pervade Spanish and that this process occurred throughout the whole last millennium. However, he considered that Spanglish was a whole new concept -- one that would lead to a degenerate form of Spanish taking over Puerto Rico. Tio's presence in the U.S. fueled his vision of Spanglish as something with a negative impact on the Spanish culture in Puerto Rico, as he practically came to consider that the dialect seriously damaged people's ability to understand Spanish as a pure language.

Following a similar process or hybridization, although a combination of more than two languages, as is the case for Spanglish, Papiamento is a common language in the Caribbean and is the official language in Aruba and Curacao. Going to the roots and getting rid of what he considered to be an exaggerated, in his analysis of the language, Tio concluded that it was a degenerate form of Spanish. This influenced him to consider that Spanglish would similarly come to have a negative impact on Spanish as it was spoken in Puerto Rico. Even if his efforts to track the process of formation and explain the consequences of using Spanglish are impressive, Tio's tendency to put across his own version of the dialect can be confusing at times. He was primarily concerned about emphasizing the fact that Spanglish is harmful and he did not hesitate to fabricate information in order to persuade Puerto Ricans in particular to get engaged in fighting bilingual behaviors (Lipski 42).

Spanglish in Chicano literature

In addition to Tio, many other scholars observed Spanglish advancing and conquering new territories. Some actually seized the opportunity and used it with the purpose of introducing more realism into their writings. "The manner in which a person communicates suggests something about her identity in relation to ulterior motives, prospective audience, and ethnic background." (Betz 18) Chicano writers promote Spanglish as a dialect that derived from Chicano English and that holds a series of cultural values on its own.

Chicano writers acknowledged how Spanglish could be used in order to highlight a sense of pride. It could represent a community that was neither English nor Spanish. As a consequence, many came to use it widely with the purpose of making a statement: the idea that there was also a Spanglish community in addition to a Spanglish dialect and that this respective group needed to get a better place in society (Betz 18).

Sandra Cisneros' novel "The House on Mango Street" provides a complex portrayal of Spanglish and of those speaking the dialect. Hispanics who are born in the U.S. often encounter difficulties finding their personal identity. They struggle to adapt to the American environment while also acknowledging their roots as people with families whose roots arose from a Spanish cultural environment. The main character in Cisneros' book, Esperanza Cordero, is torn between the English she learnt in Catholic school and in Chicago in general and her background as a person in a Spanish-speaking community. As the storyline advances, Esperanza feels more and more detached from her community and tries to connect with English-speaking individuals that live in areas other than the Chicano neighborhood.

The moments when Esperanza quotes other characters provide readers with a better understanding of Spanglish and the degree to which it affects communities in the U.S. Esperanza is raised in a community that normally speaks Spanish, but she refuses to adopt it as her main medium of expression. From her perspective, there are numerous reasons why it would be better for her to use as many English words as possible instead of sticking to Spanish. One of the best examples she provides with regard to this idea involves how she sees her name in both languages. "In English my name means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means sadness, it means waiting. It's like the number nine. A muddy color. It is the Mexican records my father plays on Sunday mornings when he is shaving, songs like sobbing." (Cisneros 10)

Esperanza dismisses her Spanish identity but she accepts the fact that she will never truly be able to abandon her background. This demonstrates the degree to which cultural values have led to the creation of Spanglish. Thus, people who believe that they do not need to choose a particular 'side' adopt this dialect in order to be able to integrate into the social order more effectively.

The protagonist's struggle to become a part of the U.S. community almost makes her want to forget about her past. However, the fact that she was raised in a Spanish-speaking environment makes it very difficult for her to do so and she is left with the only option of speaking Spanglish. This dialect is thus also used because of people's bilingual character, not solely because they are proud with regard to their background.

The end of Spanish/English?

There is a general feeling among Hispanic communities in the U.S. concerning how factors like Spanglish can actually damage people's ability to understand their cultural identity. These respective individuals are apparently influenced to believe that it would be in their best interest to adapt to the U.S. environment and that this can only be achieved by abandoning parts of their language and some of their cultural values. "From strong supporters to fatalists foreseeing the end of Spanish (and/or English), everybody has an opinion about it, and few remain indifferent." (Montes-Alcala 97)

Spanglish in the context of code-switching

There are numerous Hispanic individuals in the U.S. And this means that a great deal of interactions takes place between this community and the American English-speaking community. Spanish is unofficially the second language in the U.S. This makes it possible for someone to understand why Spanglish has come to be a widely discussed topic during recent years. The dialect has practically become more and more common to the point where Hispanics use it casually and practically consider it to be an intriguing alternative to both English and Spanish. While many scholars have expressed concern about the impact that Spanglish can have on English and Spanish alike, as spoken on the American continents, the reality is that there is nothing exceptional about this dialect gradually becoming more popular (Montes-Alcala 97).

While Spanglish is used for diverse reasons and while Chicano writers in the past saw it as a means to express themselves more effectively, it recently started to see significant progress as more and more young people in the Southwest started to consider it fashionable. "Several radio stations broadcast in Spanglish, writers use it, Hispanic rappers combine it with Ebonics (Black American speech) and…

Sources Used in Document:

Works cited:

Betz, Regina M., "Chicana "Belonging" in Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street," Retrieved November 23, 2013, from

Canas, Alberto, "Spanglish: The Third Way," Retrieved November 23, 2013, from

Cisneros, Sandra, "The House on Mango Street," (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2004)

Johnston, Bethany, "Code Switching as Spanglish," (GRIN Verlag, 14 Jan 2011)

Cite This Essay:

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