The Royal Academy of the Spanish Language announced last week that it had finally accepted and included the word “Espanglish” in its prestigious dictionary. The recognition is a welcome change by the Academy, which for decades failed to acknowledge the vernacular spoken by millions of Hispanics in the United States.
The U.S. Latino community at 52 million strong and growing-should feel proud of their Spanglish, or “Espanglish” as the Academy chose to spell the name of our particular hybrid of español and English.
The emergence and embrace of Spanglish is by no means a rejection of Spanish, or a disregard for “proper” speech. The wider acceptance of Spanglish is rather a moment to say with delight: We are a reality, we speak English, español, and Spanglish, and we have more pressing problems to concern ourselves with than defending a distinct expression that is as valid as any other form of castellano used around the globe.
The Academy also included the word “United-Statesism” to refer to words originated by Spanish-speakers in this country -another important recognition of the relentless language dynamic that shapes speech for the world’s second largest Hispanic community.
Español is our pride and the thread that connects Latino communities throughout the United States. In spite of long discrimination against Spanish-speakers, the language remains vibrant here. And the inevitable verbal mutations that accompany diversity and cultural syncretism enhance -not dilute- our identity.
In New York, Latinos may prefer to buy a “Metrocard para el subway”, “llevar los niños al daycare” o get their hair done “in el beauty.” And through it all, we remain faithfully Latino.