Spanglish (a portmanteau of the words “Spanish” and “English”) is a name sometimes given to various contact dialects, pidgins, or creole languages that result from interaction between Spanish and English used by people who speak both languages or parts of both languages, mainly spoken in the United States.
It is a blend of Spanish and English lexical items and grammar. Spanglish can be considered a variety of Spanish with heavy use of English or vice versa. It can be more related either to Spanish or to English, depending on the circumstances. Since Spanglish arises independently in each region, it reflects the locally spoken varieties of English and Spanish. In general different varieties of Spanglish are not necessarily mutually intelligible. In Mexican and Chicano Spanish the common term for “Spanglish” is “Pocho”.
Spanglish is informal and lacks documented structure and rules, although speakers can consistently judge the grammaticality of a phrase or sentence. From a linguistic point of view, Spanglish often is mistakenly labeled many things. Spanglish is not a creole or dialect of Spanish because, though people claim they are native Spanglish speakers, Spanglish itself is not a language on its own, but speakers speak English or Spanish with a heavy influence from the other language. The definition of Spanglish has been unclearly explained by scholars and linguists despite being noted so often. Spanglish is the fluid exchange of language between English and Spanish, present in the heavy influence in the words and phrases used by the speaker.
Spanglish is currently considered a hybrid language by linguists—many actually refer to Spanglish as “Spanish-English code-switching”, though there is some influence of borrowing, and lexical and grammatical shifts as well.
The inception of Spanglish is due to the influx of native Spanish speaking Latin American people into North America, specifically the United States of America. As mentioned previously, the phenomenon of Spanglish can be separated into two different categories: code switching, and borrowing, lexical and grammatical shifts. Codeswitching has sparked controversy because it is seen “as a corruption of Spanish and English, a ‘linguistic pollution’ or ‘the language of a “raced”, underclass people'”. For example, a fluent bilingual speaker addressing another bilingual speaker might engage in code switching with the sentence, “I’m sorry I cannot attend next week’s meeting porque tengo una obligación de negocios en Boston, pero espero que I’ll be back for the meeting the week after”—which means, “I’m sorry I cannot attend next week’s meeting because I have a business obligation in Boston, but I hope to be back for the meeting the week after”.