All You Need To Know About Spanglish


  • What is Spanglish?

As its name suggests, Spanglish is a cross between Spanish and English. defines Spanglish as: “a variety of English heavily influenced by Spanish, commonly spoken in US Hispanic communities”

  • How does Spanglish work?

Spanglish works in two different ways: Borrowing and Mixing.

Borrowing means inventing Spanish words from English words. For example, “Let’s surfear!” (Let’s surf!).
Mixing means switching between Spanish and English. For example, “Fridays and sábados” (Fridays and Saturdays).

  • How did Spanglish come about?

“Purists may be alarmed, but the fact is that Spanish is changing, as do all living languages.” says Gerald Erichsen,’s Spanish expert.

Speakers of different languages increasingly overlap nowadays so we should not be surprised to find those languages being mixed together as a consequence. The Spanglish concept is not new. In Gibraltar, the tiny British owned territory off the southern tip of Spain, the locals have long spoken Llanito, a mix of Andalusian Spanish and British English.

  • The growth of Spanglish

So great is the interest in Spanglish these days – as it continues to spread across America – that publications are being spawned. There must be a lot of Spanglish words now because a Spanglish dictionary has appeared:

The Official Spanglish Dictionary: Un User’s Guia to More Than 300 Words and Phrases That Aren’t Exactly Espanol or Ingles (available at

But if you think that’s development, how about a book written in Spanglish?!
Yes, reports that in 2015 a Spanglish version of Don Quixote will be published.

And believe it or not, the opening line will be:
“In un placete de la Mancha of which nombre no quiero remembrearme,”

Spanglish is here to stay, so we might as well embrace it. Ilan Stavans, author of a new book, Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language, agrees:
“There are many people out there that speak English, Spanish and Spanglish. It is a language that, to this day, academics [distrust], that politicians only recently have begun to take more into consideration. But poets, novelists and essayists have realized that it is the key to the soul of a large portion of the population.”

  • Classic examples of Spanglish

Check these out!

“Backupear” (To back up a car)
“Pregneada” (Pregnant)
“Updatear”  (To update)
“Linkear” (To link)
“El mouse” (The computer mouse)
“Un email” (An email)

We even have an example of Spanglish in one of the new Speekee videos: “Yogur” (Yoghurt)

Are you a Spanglish speaker? Have you come across any funny Spanglish expressions?

Let me know!

See you next time,


Jim Porter is a co-founder of Speekee, home of the most comprehensive Spanish learning program for children ever to appear online

Jim began his Spanish learning journey in 1990. He has been a language teacher since 1994 and he lives in sunny southern Spain with his two bilingual children. Loves it! More…


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