El Spanglish es no muy nice, says language watchdog

14th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

14 October 2004, MADRID - The head of the body which governs what is Spanish said Thursday it will to try to stop the spread of 'Spanglish', the mixture of English and Castilian Spanish.

14 October 2004

MADRID - The head of the body which governs what is Spanish said Thursday it will to try to stop the spread of 'Spanglish', the mixture of English and Castilian Spanish.

The general secretary of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language, Humberto Lopez Morales - himself a Puerto Rican - said it was time to "put a brake on the rise of English" usage within Spanish.

In the firing line are such phrases as lonche (lunch), muy nice, el bus stop, emailear (to e-mail) and even el zip code.

Morales was speaking ahead of next month's Third Congress of Language to be held in Argentina to where the no less than 22 academies which act as guardians to Spanish usage will discuss where the tongue, spoken by half a billion people, is headed.

Representatives of the academies, which included delegations from the United States and the Philippines, met at San Millan de la Cogolla in northeastern Spain to put the final touches to their Panhispanic Dictionary which is due to be unveiled at the Congress.

The delegations presented their dictionary to Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Letizia Ortiz, Princess of Asturias, who gave the work their royal seal of approval.

The head of Spain's Royal Academy, Victor Garcia de la Concha, attended the meeting at what was the home to the Monasterio de Yuso, where the first codex of Latin into Romance - the forerunner of Castilian Spanish - was penned by Tenth Century monks.

The transcript was only discovered seven years ago by a researcher at the Royal Academy of History.

"We are in the home of the language," said de la Concha, who said the object of the exercise was "to confirm our own identity."

The dictionary is set to be published next year to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes' epic oeuvre Don Quixote, considered Spain's greatest literary work.

Despite all the meticulous work being put into the composition of the dictionary and contributor's thoughts on the ever shifting sands of rules of grammar, it is unlikely to be able to halt the rising tide of Spanglish, however.

With Britons flocking to establish a bolthole on Spain's sun-kissed Costas and 40 million Hispanics bombarded daily by a US-American version of the language of Shakespeare north of the Rio Grande, Spanish speakers are having to come to terms with constant linguistic change.

Many common Spanish words are subject to a huge variation in meaning resulting from different usage in Spain itself, as well as Central and South America.

Speakers of lispy Castilian Spanish sometimes provoke gales of laughter on a first visit to Mexico or parts of South America by innocently asking: Donde hay que coger el bus (where do I get the bus)?

With a smirk and often a roll of the eyes, their latino interlocutor will patiently explain, sotto voce, that local custom is to "tomar" el bus and that "coger" has an altogether different and physical, if not downright amorous, connotation.

Spanglish or no Spanglish, such innocents abroad will shortly have a brand new dictionary to render them wise to such gaffes - even if the tome will not fit in the average tourist's pocket or prove to be a definitive version.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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