The spanglishisation of America

There are 55.3 million people of Hispanic descent in the United States (17.3% the total population) — in 1980, it was only 6.5%.

It is estimated that by 2050, Hispanics will total 29% of the population (127 million people) As the majority of these people speak Spanish as their first language, what affect will this have upon language within the USA?

Spanish could form part of everyday America, appearing on street signs, food packaging or television channels.

Currently, only 25% Americans can hold a conversation in a foreign language and this will increase as Hispanics get better at English and English speaking Americans get better at Spanish. This is already shown to be holding true, as 43% of Americans aged between 18–29 can speak another language.

This data shows that there is an ever increasing number of Americans who are bilingual in both Spanish and English. As a result, the popularity of ´Spanglish´ is on the rise. No, not that awful Adam Sandler movie, but the use of Spanish and English within the same sentence or even the same word.

A great example of Spanglish found in everyday American language is the word “Washatería”, which originated in New York as another way to say launderette. This takes the English word ‘wash’ and combines it with ‘ería’, which, in Spanish, describes a place where something is done or sold.

This terminology is spreading across the States, into places such as Miami and Texas. Many more Spanglishisations such as this are likely to be created in the coming years with the burgeoning Latino population.

The rise of Spanglish can also be seen with the adoption of Spanish words into English and English words into Spanish. Whereas English words such as sanduche (sandwich) have been around in Spanish for a long time, recently words for new sports and technological terms such as fútbol (football), internet and webcam have made their way into the Spanish language. And Spanish words words such as fiesta and chilli con carne are now commonplace in English.

So, in the USA, the increase in the Spanish speaking population is going to have a major impact upon language. English is increasingly influenced by Spanish and Spanish is increasingly influenced by English

This will result in more mezclas (mixes) with Spanglish!

Perhaps one day will we see a US president make their inauguration speech in both English and Spanish!

Image copyright: Fotolia