Like many American-born Latinos, Alondra Posada grew up speaking ‘Spanglish’. Learning both English and Spanish was fun, but also challenging, so she embraced Spanglish, the hybrid language that combines words and idioms from both.
Choosing to speak Spanglish is code-switching, when we alternate between our two languages.
This gets a bad rap from purist speakers of English and Spanish, who think blending the languages butchers them. But more of us are choosing to speak Spanglish, and proudly blending our cultures.
When Alondra heard that Spanglish was seen as a strong tool instead of something to be ashamed of by the Chicano movement of the 1960s, she felt empowered to self-identify as a Chicana.
And now, academia is validating this mixing of languages. A university class in San Antonio wants to legitimize Spanglish. Like Alondra, many of these students deal with criticism when they code-switch, because people around them want them to speak just one language or the other.
But using Spanglish expands our vocabulary with words unique to just one language, like cariño when you talk to your sweetie, or enchilar when the salsa is too spicy.
And claro, confianza, which you automatically feel when you meet another Latino!