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Nov 11, 2018 07:12
I will analyze the paper by Othegui and Stern. I will use this third entry as a kind of -so to speak- page of 'linguistic' diary given that the article I am going to analyzing links language to identity and talks about the political notion of mixed languages in the context of the Spanish Language in the United States. I would start by making some political statements as in response of the 'Consequences' section of the paper. The opinion that speakers of Spanglish are repudiating Spanish by taking pride in their own ‘third identity’ is arguable, at least as the idea that they shouldn`t do so in consideration that Spanish is a major world language. Should speakers of Bantu or Tagalog give up their own language more happily because they do not speak one of the most important ‘major language’ in the world?
Let`s take a step back and analyze the premises of the article: the authors claim there is no reason for call this language Spanglish because the term conceals the fact that most of the popular features parallel those of the variety of Spanish spoken in Spain or in Latino America. More so over, the term Spanglish recalls some form of hybrid character that such a language doesn`t have; it falsely implies that is mainly influenced by English and finally it separates their speakers from other Spanish speakers in the world.
I am not completely in agreement with these statements and with the reasons given by the authors. It is true that each national variety of Spanish has popular features characteristic of their communities; but, first, Spanish is not a national language, or widely spoken in most of the United States; second, many features of this language show its status of contact language. The authors quote studies that report the percentage of the borrow words as no superior of 7% or 8%. This may be true, however it is also highly probable that these are high frequency words that appear in many of the daily life contexts. The influence of English is not only remarked by the frequency of these words but by their usage as well. Words as ‘bildin’ or ‘beisment’ are not only simply part of a popular variety of Spanish the same as other borrow words are part of variety spoken in Uruguay or in Argentina. The context in which Spanish is adopted is completely different. In the US immigrant choose to use these words to represent the peculiarity of the experience they are having. As showed in the paper, these words interpreter the mixed feelings of novelty and fear that immigrant experience in a host country and are an attempt to incorporate them in their own language without simply translate them. Translating them would be a betrayal; calling edificio a building could be felt as an impoverishment of the experience that these words express, therefore the immigrants choose a more creative way to integrate them into their first language. These words resist to translation because they have to express the emotion status of mixing feelings that people experience. The same happens with the term Spanglish, which underlines the fact that Spanish language and culture necessarily undergo a contamination with English, as the language of their host country. The same cannot happen in South America where Spanish is the language of those who once colonized the lands and now control the power. Comparing Spanish language situation in the US with that one in South America is obviously misleading. A better comparison would be with other minority languages in the US.