Category Archives: Spanglish
When I was a kid I discovered a book at my grandparents’ house called “Sniglets” by comedian Rich Hall. The book explained that a sniglet is “any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should” and was full of humorous made-up examples, such as:
Aqualibrium (ak wa lib’ re um) – n. The point where the stream of drinking fountain water is at its perfect height, thus relieving the drinker from (a) having to suck the nozzle, or (b) squirting himself in the eye.
Cheedle (chee’ dul) – n. The residue left on one’s fingertips after consuming a bag of Cheetos.
Nurge (nerj) v. – To inch closer to a stoplight thinking that will cause it to change quicker.
Purpitation (per pi TAY shun) – v. To take something off the grocery shelf, decide you don’t want it, and then put it in another section.
Shmiddle – (n) The hole in the center of a bagel. “The cream cheese was oozing out from the shmiddle.”
Snargle (snar’ gul) – v. To lessen the visual impact of a horror movie by filtering it through one’s fingers.
After I discovered that book of Sniglets as a kid, I began trying to come up with my own and had a lot of fun doing it. I don’t remember any of the ones I invented back then but I decided I wanted to come up with some today – except I wanted to put a new spin on it. How about Sniglets for Spanish/English bilinguals? Here are a few I thought up.
Sniglets for Latinos
Ranchteza – (ranch-tay-sa – noun) the sadness one feels while listening to classic Mexican Ranchera music that they enjoy but depresses them nonetheless. Example: I love to hear Pedro Infante sing Cu-cu-rru-cu-cú Paloma, but it causes me to feel some major ranchteza.
Bilingaffe – (by-ling-gaff – noun) when a bilingual person unintentionally uses the grammar of their second language when saying something in their native language, resulting in odd speech. Example: The other day when Carlos asked me why I wasn’t eating I said, “It’s that I don’t have hunger” and immediately cracked up laughing because my brain thought “Es que no tengo hambre” but my tongue spoke English – I made a bilingaffe.
Inglespond – (en-glay-spond – verb) when children respond in English even though they’ve been spoken to in Spanish. Example: I asked my daughter “¿Dónde está tu chaqueta?” and she inglesponded, “I left it at school.”
OVNI-plato – (ohv-nee-plah-to – noun) the plate of food one takes home from a party, which usually consists of a styrofoam or paper plate inverted on top of another styrofoam plate and wrapped in foil or plastic wrap. Could contain pastel de tres leches or main dishes such as tamales, carne asada, arroz, & other sides. Example: Hey, Ramón, make sure you bring me home an OVNI-plato from Silvia’s party!
Dulcovery (dools-covery – noun) a piece of candy one finds in the grass, discovered long after the breaking of a piñata. Example: Look at this, dulcovery! I found a Bubu Lubu over by the lilac bush – must be from Estefany’s cumple last week.
Your turn! Leave me some “Sniglets for Latinos” in the comments! Feel free to mix it up – use English and/or Spanish words to come up with your own word!
(Overheard conversation between my two sons yesterday.)
13 year old: Ugh! My hair is being so stupid! It won’t do what I want it to!
10 year old: I hate when I can’t style my hair, too.
13 year old: Ha! I wish I had your hair! You have good hair!
10 year old: Does that mean you think I’m bonito?
13 year old: No, you’re still feo.
10 year old: What?! … Well, you’re feo-er!
13 year old: You’re the más feo del mundo.
10 year old: Well, you’re feo to the luna and back!
You realize how badly you want your kids to be bilingual when you make no attempt to break up the argument but instead smile that they’re insulting each other in Spanglish.
For years my younger son has had the habit of crawling into my lap at the dinner table after he finishes eating. I don’t remember why, how or when this started – I only know that he’s a big 10 year old now with unwieldy limbs, and this tradition is becoming uncomfortable. This is the conversation we had at breakfast this morning.
10 year old: Let me sit with you!
Me: No, ahorita no, this chair isn’t built for two people. La silla se va a quebrar.
10 year old: Por fa? I’ll wash the dishes!
10 year old: I’m not mentira-ing, I really will!
I love his Spanglish, but his Spanish is getting better when he chooses to use it – His bribing skills though, are quite advanced. Check out a post I wrote for SpanglishBaby called, The Lesser Known Dangers of Bribing a Bilingual Child.
There have been plenty of posts such as, “Pass the Vacuum” and other Carlos-isms, which poke fun at Carlos’s English. I also still make fun of him for asking “How many years do you have?” when we first met – So I thought it was only fair for me to write a post about my Spanish mistakes. The one that still makes my cheeks burn red is in the post Most Embarrassing Spanish Speaking Moment, but here are a few words I’ve apparently invented on the path to Spanish fluency.
Quesoso – (pronounced “kay-so-so”) I’m actually proud of this one and have stubbornly used it for years. I call things “cheesy” a lot in English, like, “Oh my gosh, this novela is so cheesy!” … But how do you say “cheesy” in Spanish? I don’t know, so I took the word for “cheese” and added on the appropriate ending.
Afordable – (pronounced “ah-for-dah-blay”) I didn’t know the word for “affordable” in Spanish (“asequible” which I still forget) – so I took a stab in the dark… hey sometimes it works.
Polandia – I was watching a soccer match and Carlos asked me who was playing. I answered “Polandia contra …” (whoever was playing against Poland, I can’t remember.) … Apparently Poland is “Polonia” in Spanish… I still think mine makes more sense.
Tiene un punto – I was trying to say “He has a point” but Carlos says this idiom can’t be translated directly. Oops!
That’s all I can remember for now, but I’m sure there will be more to come.
Sometimes we think of Spanglish as a modern invention – something that the younger generation has created as the Latino population grows in the United States and American culture becomes increasingly popular in Latin America. The truth is, Spanglish has been around a long time. The term, “Spanglish” was first coined by a Puerto Rican linguist named Salvador Tió in the late 1940s. Tió also came up with the word “inglañol” – which is not nearly as popular, (my guess is because it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue the same way.)
While the term “Spanglish” first started being used in the late 1940′s, its roots go much further back to the 1800′s, The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and the 100,000 Mexicans left on the new U.S. side of the border – Mexicans who later became known as “Chicanos.”
Honestly, while I suspected the origins of Spanglish to be something similar to what I found, I wasn’t prompted to research it until recently. Watching I Love Lucy with my little boy before he goes to school is one of my favorite parts of the day. An episode called “Ricky Minds the Baby” aired one morning and in this episode, Ricky tells the story of “Caperucita Roja” (Little Red Riding Hood), to Little Ricky – and he tells it entirely in very charming and amusing Spanglish.
1/18/54: “Ricky Minds the Baby”
I Love Lucy Episode 80 – Filmed 12/3/53
Story: Ricky decides that Lucy deserves a rest, so he offers to take care of Little Ricky.
As I mentioned on Facebook yesterday, I received a surprise package on my doorstep. The box contained 11 bottles of Jarritos in various flavors, two luchadores (plastic figures), and a luchador mask. Of course, this totally disrupted my work day as I wasted time playing with my new toys while drinking Mexican soda.
Hours later, my oldest son came home from school and went straight to the fridge, as is his habit.
“YES! Jarritos!” I heard from the kitchen.
He asked if he could drink the Toronja, which is one of my favorites, but I let him have it. The only problem was that he couldn’t open the cap, (it’s not a screw top.) … I let him struggle for a minute or two to see if he’d figure it out before helping him. I guess at least I don’t have to worry about him stealing my Coronas in the near future.
When Carlos came home, he opened a bottle of Tamarindo and put on the luchador mask before going to hide in our youngest son’s room. When our younger son arrived home from school and went to put his backpack away, Carlos jumped out and attacked him.
To make him feel better after Daddy’s mean trick, I gave him a Tutti Frutti (Fruit Punch) Jarritos to drink, and the little luchadores figures to play with.
Later in the evening, the boys got to wrestling around. Our younger son jumped on top of his older brother and began kissing his face like crazy.
“Ew! What are you doing!? Get off!” our older son said, shoving him away.
Our younger son smiled and said, “But I’m a SMOOCH-ador!”
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post or a review. Jarritos sent the package as a gift and I was under no obligation at blog about it. Thanks, Jarritos!
Before I visited Miami and spent time with Telemundo, I had heard of the new show on mun2 called RPM Miami. I knew it had something to do with racing cars, and since that didn’t really interest me, I didn’t look into it any further.
During my time with Telemundo I learned that one of the stars of the show, actor Adrian Bellani, is half Salvadoran. Born in Miami and raised in San Salvador, Bellani plays the character Alejandro who is a soldier returning home from a tour in Iraq. He discovers that his father is missing and while trying to find out what happened to him, gets mixed up in the world of Miami street racing.
Two other things that I liked – First, the characters on the show are all bilingual and the show is a mix of both Spanish and English. And second, RPM Miami is shot on location in Miami.
I had the opportunity to meet some of the stars and of course, my question was, “Which one of you is the guanaco?” … Well, they totally misunderstood me. They thought I was saying “El Guajo” – (which is the name of the antagonist on RPM Miami.) Too funny…Chécalo!
RPM Miami premieres Sunday May 1 @ 10p/9C on mun2.
Disclosure: I went to Miami at the invitation of Telemundo. All opinions are my own.
Mi amigo, Federico, randomly dropped a fun multilingual song in my comments and so that got me thinking of my favorite Spanglish songs. Here they are! Be sure to leave yours in comments! Please be aware, most of these songs are not appropriate for niños. There is strong language in some songs, and music videos in general, even if the language isn’t strong, tend to objectify women, so please use discretion.
Kevin Johansen + The nada – Guacamole (Gracias, Federico!)
Me gustas tú by Manu Chao
Frijolero by Molotov (WARNING: Very strong language)
You ready for some old skool? That’s It/Ya Estuvo by Kid Frost
Señorita by Los Lonely Boys
Electro Movimiento by Calle 13 …This song came out last year, but it is puro 1980′s in style.
Pitbull featuring Akon – Shut It Down
Rico Suave by Gerardo … Ay. Dios. Mio. Qué raunchy! I was like 10 years old when this song came out. I didn’t understand the lyrics back then but was fascinated by the video. I can’t believe my parents let me watch MTV at that age.
Cha Cha by Chelo
Stand by Me by Prince Royce
Dejalo Ahi by Fulanito
Yo Digo Baila by Mexican Institute of Sound
If You Want it by Pacha Massive
Okay, now which Spanglish songs do you like? Díme in comments!
I like vending machines, especially the ones near the door at grocery stores. You know the ones I’m talking about, they’re usually painted an eye-catching red and contain candy, cheap toys or stickers in plastic balls. I think most parents hate those things. I’ve seen children pulled away from the vending machines crying and the parents saying, “No! We’re not wasting money on junk! Let’s go!”
I personally think 25 cents is a small price to pay for a little fun, and I’m just as likely as the kids to run to Carlos, pidiendo una “cora”. (I just aggravated a dear friend by pronouncing/spelling “quarter” like that. Hee hee. Sorry, Ángel.)
Wherever we go, I always check the vending machines to see if there’s anything new or exciting. I especially love when the growing Latino population is reflected in which candies or toys they chose to offer.
That being said, I present to you my new favorite find… “Gold” Patron Saints necklaces.
Each night I tell the kids in Spanish to go pick out their clothes for the next day of school. It’s a phrase they’ve heard a hundred times or more,
“Vaya a buscar tu ropa para mañana.”
Last night my younger son answered me back, “I already busca-ed mi ropa para mañana.”
Do you see what he did there? He added the English “-ed” suffix to make it past tense. Unfortunately, in Spanish this is not how we conjugate verbs so he should have said, “Ya busqué mi ropa.”… Even though his Spanglish answer is only understandable to English-Spanish bilinguals, I still think children are clever linguists to come up with such silliness without much thought.