I am proposing Spanglish as the Official Language of the USA and the international applications are boundless.
There are several studies that have tried to define the parameters of “Spanglish” a dialect of Spanish that is generally described as a mixture of Spanish and English and which is presumably used by the Spanish-speaking communities in the USA. Since any language can become a prestige dialect I suggest Spanglish be adopted as the Official Language of the USA. We could use all the symbols and icons of the internet and presto, that would be the beginning of Spanglish as the official language here on PR.com.
For a long time the use of Spanglish has been controversial but since not many people really know what they are talking about I decided to take on the subject head on. I want to caution the reader that I am not a linguist and that I do not defend the use of Spanglish outside the USA.
Why? Because in recent years the use of Spanish and English has commingled and a new language, a natural language has emerged. Although it is a major controversial issue for both the Anglo and Spanish speakers, it is a mayor headache for the teachers and they hate the new language. There is widespread antipathy and negative attitude towards its use, which (according to Edna Acosta Belen):
“creates feelings of inferiority and alienation for those who allegedly use it. Speaers of a non-defined mixture of Spanish and English are judged as ’deficient’ or ’sloppy’ speakers of Spanish and/or English, and are often labelled “verbally deprived” “alingual” or deficient bilinguals because supposedly, they do not have the ability to speak either Spanish or English well.”
Pero no es cierto! Spanglish has many rules, it has a grammar, and there are lots of dictionaries created by the speakers of Spanglish, one only needs to do a little research and vola! There are vocabulary lists, jokes, and plenty of people chatting in Spanglish all over the ciberworld. (Happy Hunting and do not forget to share!).
We must remember that this is a language issue shared by more than 40 million Spanglish-bilinguals in the USA, even the people who are new in the USA hear and pick up the vocabulary in a matter of weeks. One can hear la troca, la breika (for the emergency brake in the car). Then there are those who love to play with Mexican neologismos, those words created with the intention of an “albur” (words with double meaning), one of my favorites in going to the supermarket to buy “groceries” (a false cognate). What about those phrases “You should of seen him, he almost had a heart-a-taco.”
We would seriously like to discuss this issue with the intention of providing a real alternative to those fabricated languages proposed by those who have no idea that we have one, a natural language, that is already spoken by a good part of the bilingual population, over 40 million in the USA.
Now we can argue about the cultural, sociological or educational implications with those concerned with the defense of Spanish or English,. A language issue which does not pertain exclusively to Puerto Ricans or even Mexicans. Those Cubans of the second and third generation are comfortable with Spanglish, many gringos who are exposed to it on a daily basis have at least a receptive competence of Spanglish. Central and South American natives who are new arrivals pick it up so naturally that they are surprised when I tell them that they are not speaking Spanish nor English, but Spanglish.
The problem is that people who came to this country from various groups of European immigrants came from countries where there was not much traffic, after you got here, there was not much ebb and flow, in the sense of people moving back and forth on a regular basis, but that is not what happens to the Spanglish-bilinguals. Things are different now, they have to deal with Monolingual English speakers, Monolingual Spanish speakers and often find those Spanglish speakers all over the USA, it is the dialect of preference in the good old USA.
The establishment of ethnic communities within this country created a situation of cultural contact and hence of language contact, according to Acosta-Belen.
“As part of the adaptation to the new setting, the immigrant began to undergo a process of enculturation (loss of his own culture), and of acculturation (adoption of the dominant culture of the society).”
It is well known that the ethnocentric foundations of American society have always encouraged the “melting pot” ideology. Making the immigrant conform to the standard (Anglo norm) cultural values of the society has been prevalent in (the US) throughout its history as a nation. Immigrants have perceived the adoption of the dominant society’s cultural and linguistic behavior as a ladder to social mobility which also brought the accompanying loss of important aspects of their native culture. In many instances linguistic acculturation, in this case mastery of English, to the detriment of the native language, became a major part of the immigrant’s accommodation to a new and different way of life.”
Now, because of the proximity of our countries to the USA, and because of the Global economy and the race to the bottom (economics of Neo-liberalism) there is a big change, it boils down to the fact that there are lots of Spanish speakers constantly coming in and joining the vast majority of Spanglish bilinguals.
It is no longer necessary to have to conform to linguistic acculturation, in our case mastery of English goes without saying, English is everywhere but because of race, class and national origin discrimination, we no longer have to give up our native language. We can live in the US, and pardon my Spanglish, (my mother was in the US for 35 years but never learned to speak English, that, como dice Pedro Pietri, is Intelligence!). And we no longer need to accommodate to a new and different way of life since the “American Dream” is gone and the race now is to the bottom of the economic ladder. Yes, the US has caught up with Puerto Rico, there are lots of professionals that cannot find jobs. There is no doubt that there are more people competing for the bottom of the barrel, not just us poor ethnics who have always been at the bottom of the pecking order: Puerto Ricans, American Indians and poor Mexicans. All thanks to outsourcing and International Trade with China and India the US is fast becoming a colony of China, they have dug themselves into a deep hole in the ground. The worst part is that when you have dug a hole, and you know you are in a hole, don’t keep diggin’, the first thing to do is stop diggin’!
P.S. Ask me why not learning to speak English in the US if you are a Puerto Rican reflects intelligence? I will be happy to explicate!
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