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In this article the controversy surrounding “Spanglish” or the mixing of Spanish and English in the same discourse is discussed. One outspoken proponent of this mixed language is Ilan Stavans who taught a course on Spanglish, translated the first chapter of Don Quixote de la Mancha into Spanglish, and traced the long history of Spanglish in his book Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language. Stavans sees Spanglish as a natural development from two languages coming into contact. Literary critic Roberto González-Echeverría proclaims that Spanglish is a grave danger for Latino culture in the US and impedes their progress in mainstream America. Several prominent linguists respect language change as inevitable but argue different aspects of Spanglish. Otheguy rejects the term “Spanglish” in favor of “popular/colloquial US Spanish”. Zentella rejects Otheguy’s term stating that Spanglish captures the whole US Latino experience in terms of identity, conflict, and oppression. She does not want to deny these experiences. Other debates hinge on whether Spanglish is a language. Prominent linguist John Lipski states that Spanglish is Spanish with a high number of lexical anglicisms.

In 2014 the Spanish Royal Language Academy, a group who governs Spanish language usage and is known for maintaining the purity of the language, will add espanglish to its revered dictionary. This is a step of monumental importance which will be rejected by language purists and seen as a positive step by descriptive linguists who study language as it is used in everyday life. These varying opinions about Spanglish and its validity, usefulness, or its use to the detriment of “standard” Spanish make it a dystopic phenomenon to many and a utopia of linguistic analysis and identity marking for others.


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  • Subject
    • Modern & Classical Languages

  • Event date
    • 1 March 2014

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Keywords