NPR article on Spanglish

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Thu Feb 26 13:31:49 UTC 2004

Spanglish, A New American Language

Book Documents English Words with a Spanish Twist

Morning Edition audio

Web Extra: Ilan Stavans discusses why he included a Spanglish translation
of 'Don Quixote' in his book. Hear him read an excerpt.

'Spanish: The Making of a New American Language', by Ilan Stavans

Sept. 23, 2003 -- A car ad on a Spanish-language radio station in New York
mixes directions in Spanish with the phrase "quality-checked certified
pre-owned vehicles." A sign in Springfield, Mass. warns young Latinos: "No
Hangear" -- don't hang out on this corner. Spanglish -- a cross between
Spanish and English -- it seems, is everywhere. NPR's Bob Edwards talks
about the language mix with Ilan Stavans, author of a new book, Spanglish:
The Making of a New American Language.

Stavans, professor of Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst
College, says Spanglish changes so fast it's hard to pin down. His book
includes a Spanglish dictionary. Some examples: "Backupear" is to back up
a car, "yarda" is yard, "pregneada" is pregnant. Though Spanglish has been
around for some time, some people worry that it will corrupt the English
language. But Stavans says its use can be inspiring.

"There are many people out there that speak English, Spanish and
Spanglish. It is a language that, to this day, academics [distrust], that
politicians only recently have begun to take it more into consideration.
But poets, novelists and essayists have realized that it is the key to the
soul of a large portion of the population."

"Latinos are learning English," he says. "That doesn't mean that they
should sacrifice their original language or that they should give up this
in-betweeness that is Spanglish. Spanglish is a creative way also of
saying, 'I am an American and I have my own style, my own taste, my own

A Selection of Spanglish
aerobica (ay-RO-bi-ka) -- dynamic female.
averaje (a-ve-RAH-je) -- average.
boila (BOY-lah) -- heating appliance, boiler.
carpeta (kar-PE-tah) -- carpet.
chopin (TCHO-peen) -- 1.Shopping center mall. 2. n., going shopping.
deiof (dey-OF) -- day off.
frizer (FREE-zer) -- refrigerator.
grocear (gro-SEAR) -- to acquire groceries.
jonron (khon-RON) -- home run.
lonche (LONCHE) -- 1. midday meal. 2. food served to guests at event.
marqueta (mar-ke-tah) -- supermarket.
pari (PA-ree) -- a party.
ruki (ROOH-kee) -- novice.

>>From Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language (Rayo, an imprint of

Related NPR Stories

April 19, 2002: 'Living in Spanglish'

May 12, 2002: Spanglish in Washington, D.C.

Feb. 18, 2003: Spanish-Language Programming on the Rise

Sept. 30, 2002: 'Talk of the Nation': Latino/Hispanic Identity

Dec. 2, 2002: The Debate over Bilingual Education

April 26, 2000: A College Course in Spanglish

NPR's Intern Edition: Spanglish in Schools?

Jan. 22, 2003: U.S. Latino Population Rises

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