The Real Academia Española (RAE), the Spanish-speaking world’s language authority, is finally rolling out the welcome mat for the word “Spanglish” (or espanglish, as the term is written in Spanish). The RAE plans to incorporate the word into the 2014 edition of its master reference work known as the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española (DRAE).
The RAE’s decision to finally include the word “espanglish” came about as a result of years of lobbying by the Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española (ANLE), an organization that defines Spanish language standards in North America. In the past, the DRAE neglected to designate terms as specific to U.S. Spanish speakers, but with the growing number of Latinos in the United States, the RAE realized that it could no longer afford to ignore this segment of the population. As such, the next edition of the DRAE will specifically indicate if a term was coined by Spanish speakers in the United States.
While the linguists at ANLE are celebrating the inclusion of “espanglish” in the DRAE, not everyone is pleased about the new addition. Language purists view the existence of Spanglish as threatening. A number of noted Spanish-language writers and academics have made disparaging remarks about the rise of Spanglish, and one linguist in particular warns that the Spanish language as a whole is in danger of devolving into something of a dialect without clearly defined standards.
The highly esteemed academic Antonio Garrido Moraga offered this opinion about Spanglish, “I advocate for Hispanics to learn English and preserve Spanish. Now, if they don’t learn English and they only express themselves in that jumble of Spanish and English, they’re condemned to the ghetto.”
Like it or not, the acceptance of the concept of Spanglish by the RAE opens doors for the inclusion of other Spanish words “made in the USA.” The word “forma” instead of “formulario” (form), “aplicar por” instead of “postularse” (apply for), and “aseguranza” instead of “seguro” (insurance) are just some of the words that are heard daily on the streets of New York, L.A. and other major American cities with a significant Hispanic presence. If Spanglish advocates get their way, these words will soon be gracing the pages of the DRAE as well.
Example of Spanglish: