Posted by: janecronin | April 15, 2012

Spanglish


It’s very odd sometimes to hear an English expression “spanishified” out of recognition.  Today I heard someone say “soy un redbull andando”.  I’d have struggled to know what they were talking about anyway, as personally I never touch the stuff, but as it was pronounced “rethbool”, I lost the meaning completely.  Turns out that this person walks a lot, as though they had taken some sort of energy booster.  Okay, I know you can understand that now as you’ve seen it written down, but if you’d just heard it, you’d still be wondering too.

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Responses

  1. Exactly. It alternates between seeming stupid and strangely endearing. Carry on expressing middle-aged viewpoints like that – it’s music to my ears, I was beginning to think it was just me!

    Two examples – firstly, in this weeks Consum magazine (no 55, July-August) on an article about cooking they use an anglicismo in the middle of a Spanish article: it reads ‘tipical spanish’ [sic]. Spell the first word with a ‘y’ and capitalise the second, or (EVEN BETTER) why not just say ‘platos típicos’. They must think it’s trendy to drop a few anglicismos in to the conversation, I suppose. If one replied to such a vacuous young trendy in English, their face might well go blank!

    This year for example I had a student who reads English as though it were Spanish. I’m sure you’ve had them too. In this case, she curiously *tranposes* the ‘d’ and ‘th’ sounds (instead of just not being able to produce one or the other, or both). Imagine, “wreath duh book”… explain again, repeat, etc…

    Happy holidays!

    • Hi Mark. “tipical Spanish” is a real case in point. It’s what the Spanish think that we say about them all the time (when in fact what we say about them all the time is “mañana, mañana”). Here in Murcia they had a disastrous tourism campaign entitled “Murcia no-typical”. I think, but I’m not sure, that they thought “no-typical” was English. Anyway, it was meaningless to Spanish and English alike!

      As for the ending sounds – yes I’ve been there too! One of my little tricks is that if they struggle with the hard “d” at the end of a word, I get them to pronounce it as a “t”. Not perfect, but a lot better than “th”. The same thing works with the final “g”. If you have students who can’t say “pig” “dog” or “bag” without the “g” sounding like the “ch” in “loch” – then make them say it like a “k” – “pik”, “dok” and “bak”. You may not agree, but I’ve found it very effective!

      • Always interesting to hear another point of view – in fact yes I do agree, and in fact we’ve sometimes used that – I suppose it’s the lesser of “two evils”, as it were. What was curious about this case was that the student can produce both sounds, she just says them the wrong way round.

        Regarding the ‘K’ thing the Scottish lochs – yes, another common one. It could cost an “ahm and a lech” in tuition fees for hours and hours of classes to change that entrenched habit. Brings to mind an amusing picture of someone shopping in El Corte Inglés and asking for “a black handback”!


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