About Spanglish and Other Macaronic Languages (English-based Languages)

Is your Spanish teacher begging you say “te devuelvo la llamada” (I’ll call you back) instead of “yo te llamo para atrás” (literally: I’ll call you backwards)? Does your French professor insist you to stop using the phrase “longtemps, pas voir !” (long time, no see) each time you meet him in the hallway? Well, congratulations! You are on your way to fluency 🙂 You’re likely to be even better at this language than they are. The only problem: you’ll probably still get corrected in their class since you are speaking a different language than the one they’re teaching you.

Pidgin languages and creoles, which are essentially nativized pidgins, have been around for a long time. As a result of a prolonged contact between two (or more) languages, pidgins and creoles are often known for borrowing words from their parent languages, using literal translations of idioms and taking advantage of code-switching”>code-switching. Consequently, most of these languages are frowned upon and considered less prestigious or are even classified as macaronic”>macaronic.

Regardless, they can be lots of fun! The following is a list of languages that have been influenced by English:

Spanish + English = Spanglish (Espanglés). Spanglish, sometimes pronounced “Espanglish”, is considered by many to be a creole language and is spoken in various cities of the US, especially in New York, Miami and Los Angeles. It is also widely used in Puerto Rico, where expressions such as “yo te llamo para atrás” and “parquear la camioneta” (instead of “estacionar la camioneta”) are used on a daily basis. The word Espanglés is rarely heard among these communities.

Russian + English = Russlish (Ру́нглиш). Also called Runglish, Ringlish, Ruglish, this term is not as well known within the Russian-speaking community. It is spoken only in small bilingual communities, found mainly within the city of New York, US. Nevertheless it is listed as one of the on-board languages of the NASA International Space Station, where team members are required to prove at least some competence in both languages, but often substitute terms when their proficiency in one of the languages proves to be insufficient.

Malay + English + Cantonese influence = Singlish. Also known as Colloquial Singaporean English, the use of this unique mix of languages is discouraged by society and has even caught the eye of the government, which has created an anti-singlish campaign throughout the country.

English + French = Franglish (Franglais). Although the French are well known for their linguistic pride, Franglais (the use of English words with otherwise very French forms of expression) is already a part of pop culture among the younger generations. Expressions such as “faire son geek” or “liker sur Facebook” can be heard in the colloquial expressions of many Francophones. On the other hand, the Anglophone version (Franglish) is defined as the mixture of both languages as a result of a poor command of either of the two.

Here are few more you might find interesting:

Dutch + English = Dunglish.
Also called Steenkolenengels, meaning „coal English“.

English + Swedish = Swenglish (Svengelska)

English + German = Denglish (Denglisch)

So, the next time your professor complains about your peculiar choice of words, just remember this article:)
Do you know any similar macaronic languages? Share your comments with us below!

The Top 100 Language Lovers Competition is still open for new votes. Don’t forget to vote for your favourite blog/Facebook page/Twitter account here!

[Español]

You might also like: