President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela would like a little more pureza in his people’s españolh. He is urging the country’s citizens to stop using English words for popular contemporary terms, favoring their Spanish counterparts instead.
He’s got a point. After I finished the intermediate-level Spanish I needed to graduate with my English degree, I declared my minor and moved on to more advanced classes. The first of these, SPAN 207: Reading and Writing in Spanish, was taught completely in Spanish. English was discouraged to the point that, when our teacher asked what a word meant, she wanted a definition in Spanish, not the English translation.
However, since we weren’t quite proficient yet, we would often still sprinkle our Spanish sentences with English words. It’s much harder to build up your fluency when you have to stop and puzzle over a word in the middle of a sentence. If you just drop in the English word, you can get on with the rest of your phrase. I noticed, though, that the English words in a Spanish sentence always sounded rough and inelegant in comparison.
So I see what Chavez wants. It would be ludicrous to have my Venezuelan boss call a meeting instead of a reunión, or to input my password instead of my contrasena on HarryLatino.com. (For the record, I rarely use that site, I’m not registered, and they’re mostly hunkered down after the release of Harry Potter y las reliquas de la muerte a few days ago.) There’s enough debate over Spanglish already. I love being able to read and write in both languages, but I hate getting them mixed up.
I’ll blog about something American again soon.
[Note added 5/10/12: The original article was posted at Yahoo! News. I had to use Yahoo! search to find the article on Fox News. I think that’s ironic.]