Through illegal immigration, English is trying to colonize world languages, especially the variety of Spanish spoken in the Iberian Peninsula. English words are coming in illegally, taking over the jobs of native words which are being displaced. The native Castilian vocabulary is protesting to the cry of: “Illegal English words, go home!”
English is the most taught language in the world and has become important in trade, business, science, politics, law, health and sports. The influence of English is seeping into all world languages by means of vocabulary, idiomatic expressions and vogue slogans. No country and no language are safe from being embattled by the attacks of English words that push their way into everyday vocabulary, especially the parlance of the young.
English sells, of course, and that is why advertising companies would rather use an English word instead of a native, local one, because it sounds trendy, catchier, snobbish… whatever. With portable Internet, we can all have instant access to what is happening in the U.S. in real time, right now, this very instant. Internet is teeming with English words eager and willing to colonize other tongues.
Whatever we may say, the United States is very fashionable and chic, even among those, especially in Muslim countries, who parade their “hate-America” slogans, with plenty of spelling mistakes, while sporting blue jeans, and carrying hamburgers in their pockets, munching on hot dogs, drinking Cokes, and saying “okay” all the time. It is an undeniable fact that the American tongue and culture is a worldwide fad.
Laertes tells us in Hamlet, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” sound advice that the English language has not heeded, being both an avid borrower and a patient lender. Peninsular Spanish has taken advantage of this weakness of English in order to borrow from it at its heart’s content. Peninsular Castilian is a sucker for American sounds and words.
Un pack de seis cervezas is a six-pack. If the price seems steep, the Spaniard will exclaim ¡uau! (wow), instead of ¡caramba! or another more down-to-earth Spanish exclamation, which would sound old fashioned to youngsters.
Spanish homes no longer have recibidores or vestíbulos but halls, (pronounced, and sometimes written as jols.) After the hall you will be shown el living, the living room, which is certainly much more stylish than salón or even cuarto de estar. I guess that the economically depressed have cuartos de estar and the well-to-do enjoy livings, but pronounced leebeens, as Tom Wolf would write.
The word muy has been replace by súper among young people: súper dificil, súper bonito, súper caro, súper gordo, súper grande… doing away with the suffix –isimo: carísimo, gordísimo, grandísimo. Supermercado has been around for years, of course.
In stores you will be advised to keep el ticket (also spelt tike or tique), the sales slip, in this case.
The official dictionary gives us the following definition: “Emparedado hecho con dos rebanadas de pan de molde entre las que se coloca jamón, queso, embutido, vegetales u otros alimentos.” This is a sándwich, but a bocadillo is a “panecillo partido longitudinalmente en dos mitades entre las cuales se colocan alimentos variados.” Do not make the mistake of ordering a sándwich if you want a bocadillo. This is slicing it thin, especially because there are emparedados also.
English in Spain, and in Europe, is hip, trendy, modish and has become all the rage with young people who wish to be and feel in, not left out. Naturally problems arise in the rush to incorporate words at all cost. If an American woman in Madrid wishes to buy pantyhose she will have to ask the saleslady to tell her where pantys are, and if she wishes to purchase panties she will have to ask for braguitas, not bragas, even if she wears size 100. Some men in Spain wear slips for underwear (pronounced sleeps), meaning briefs, while others, the older crowd, prefer calzoncillos, trunks.
At restaurants people order steak (pronounced steek), and if you try to pronounce the word right, the waiter will think you are a hopeless snob, and worse still, he will not understand. You may try your luck with filete.
Fitness, jogging, catering, trainer, trainee, mascara, aftershave, brushing, stop… are all illegal, undocumented English words that have immigrated into the Spanish language and are here to stay, and there is little anyone can do about it. The Spanish Language Police (SLP) is overwhelmed and unable to control this phenomenon. The European Union is going to call a Language Summit in order to set up barriers and laws that will keep the “alien transgressors” at bay, outside its borders.
All the Academies of the Spanish Language in the world do not seem to understand the seriousness of this matter, and continue discussing trifling points of grammar, oblivious to the dangers posed by these foreign words that may change our way of life.
As I am a patriot, I throw my arms up in despair, flag in hand, while I exclaim in my poor Latin: O tempora, O mores! (A bit of pedantizing is good for the soul at times).