Ilan Stavans

Document Type



Winter 3-12-2012


With the dramatic demographic growth of Latinos in the United States, a new form of communication has come to the fore: Spanglish, a hybrid tongue using elements from English and Spanish, yet having its own identity. Millions of people use it every day to speak as well as to read and write. Outside the country, in Latin America and the Caribbean, Spanglish is also a presence. But it is in this country where its effects are more palpable. Politicians, business big and small, religious organizations, and particularly the media employ it on a regular basis. What does the emergence of Spanglish say about democracy and pluralism? Are the future of English and Spanish at peril? Is Spanglish a transitional stage in the acquisition of English as a second language? And does it stand a chance to become a full-fledge standardized language?


Dr. Ilan Stavans is a Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College.

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