Lifestyles

August 27, 2011

Not English, not Spanish, just Spanglish

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Written by: Nydia O Tapia - Gonzales
Tags:
Spanglish Advertising
Valley Morning Star, Pasa - Tiempo

Valley Morning Star – Pasa – Tiempo

I’m sure most of you have seen many different variations of advertising in the “ Spanglish” language, billboards and ads are everywhere today as they were yesterday.

Sometimes, I don’t believe we even notice the “language,”we just read through and understand them. Some say only bilingual people can understand these messages, but I tend to disagree. People who are born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley are very  familiar with the lingo and slang.  Those new to the Valley, learn them very fast.

The situation works the same way in Northern Mexico; people who are born and raised in border towns are very familiar with the English language and slang. Both areas, southernmost Texas and Northern Mexico are like a “whole other country,” the phrase used in the promotion of the State of Texas, which I believe  is a better fit for our region.

In his book, Translation Nation, Hector Tobar describes it this way “Here people speak a strange Spanglish that can be impossible for outsides to decipher, what linguists call pidgin, a language meshing English and Spanish grammar and border slang” Chapter Four.

Spanglish is experienced when driving on Expressway 83 seeing advertising billboards, when we eat at Mexican restaurants and read a menu, when we read our local newspaper, and the popular Bargain Book, we are in contact with Spanglish.  Here are some classified ads I found in the Bargain Book:

REMODELACIONES- Pintura interior, Exterior, Sheetrock, Tape & Float, Carpinteria, Fencing, Agregacion de Cuartos, Roofing, Electricidad, Plomeria, Tile Showers, Precios Razonables, Call Tony.

TRABAJOS de electricidad y plomería para su Mobile Home y para su casa. Cambiamos tinas, llaves, toilets, sinks, líneas de agua y drenaje.

Harlingen’s Valley Morning Star has PASA-TIEMPO; a section dedicated to leisure activities.

Pasatiempo is a Spanish word meaning Pastime.

 Recently I’ve talked to people about the new billboards for PRONTO Insurance, (featured photograph for this article) and they just love it, not only because it’s funny, but because it mixes in a bit of our culture. The one photographed for this article mentions a flying “chancla,” (slipper). The flying “chancla” evokes many fond memories, especially for those growing up with Mexican parents. Who can forget the thrill of escaping and running away from our mother’s flying “chancla”?

I have a feeling this practice is international and not exclusive of Hispanic moms, what do you think?

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About the Author

Nydia O Tapia - Gonzales
A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.-Maya Angelou. La Vida Valle is where I write about "la vida" life in the Rio Grande Valley. From this bi-cultural corner on the tip of Texas, I share my poems and spiritual and travel experiences. I also blog about the arts,nature and my passion for historic preservation and architecture. But most important, let's talk about "la vida" - living our lives - in a vacation state of mind. Contributions and comments are always welcome .




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