I can only imagine what went on at the marketing pitch meeting for the above Tweet:
— Prudential Executive 1: We need to connect with Spanish-speaking latinos *and* let them know we can help them be prepared and get financially fit.
– Prudential Executive 2: Yeah, but the Prudential brand has to be prominent, and top of mind.
– Marketing Dude: No se diga más. I got it!
(See what I did there? )
The underlying assumption of Spanglish is that one language is not enough to capture the full experience of being immersed in two cultures.
The gente who use Spanglish are primarily first and second generation Latinos in the United States. I would say the phenomenon springs from the working classes and the sons and daughters of immigrants to the United States (not to exclude the immigrants themselves).
East Los homies Delinquent Habits made people pay attention with Tres Delinquentes, the music video for a song on their self-titled first studio album. This music video has it all! English, Spanish, Spanglish, hiphop, rap, mariachi, moshing, hynas, scratching, lowriding, little people, Blaxicans, and, of course, burros.
It was just another evening, just another Mexican Dinner with la familia, until the son decided it was time to make an announcement that would rock the house.
QUESTION: How can you tell when Cinco de Mayo has turned into a totally American holiday? ANSWER: When gabachos from Tennessee start making rap videos about it in broken Spanglish! Dear Hootie (AKA Hoochie) and the Brofish: Orale!
Also, El Niño is coming!
Are you ready, West Coast pochas y pochos? Are you ready for El Niño? Don’t be a Gloomy Gus like this negative neighbor:
San Diego’s Los Hollywood says they’ll see you tomorrow. Heidy Flores is singing and playing bass. Remember her name.
Now Zap Comics were anything but the mainstream back in the day, but they have, over time, entered the effluvial, miasmic flow of pop culture leavings that typify a certain moment, a certain groovy time in American cultural history.
So it is that I chanced upon this cover at the REMARKABLE site, The Golden Age Site.
I say thanks and try to shrug it off, but I worry that letting them think that gives a mistaken impression.
I mean, yes. I can speak Spanish.
My parents taught me Spanish when I was growing up in California because it was the only language they had to give.
Like a lot of children of immigrants, I grew up in a Mexican immigrant bubble – my tias and tios spoke only Spanish. My baby primos spoke Spanish with me when we watched Plaza Sesamo and ate conchitas.
In the greater community, it was most popularly called South El Paso. However, the approximately 25,000 mostly Chicano people who lived there referred to the neighborhood as El Segundo Barrio. It was a barrio that was like an island sandwiched between the Rio Grande Mexican border and downtown El Paso.
In this isolated area, about a third of the families were of second or third generation Mexican descent like ours. Another third was made up of mostly migrant newer arrivals and the rest were in transition. However, it was the Spanish language that served to unite the whole community. Although Spanish was prevalent, lots of exposure to English came through, school, work, movies, radio, music and TV, which was then in its infancy.
Although I love that I am bilingual, I was recently reminded that I am, in fact, trilingual. You see, this third language was unique to our Segundo Barrio culture because it originated there. It started as the jargon for the criminal element in our midst. These outlaws were widely know as “pachucos” because of the Los Angeles bent to their style of clothes. Most of us called them Tirilis and for all intents, they were the precursors of today’s gang members.
“I’m not a baby!” says Teresita predictably but then insists on bringing her large plastic car, a hideous yellow contraption with giant painted eyeballs instead of headlights. Teresita gets in the toy car and looks at Lina expectantly. Lina sighs and begins to push her down the street.
“This is just a stroller, you know.” Lina grumbles. “You’re not making any progress into becoming a real person.”
Teresita either does not hear or pretends not to understand the English sentence. Lina suspects that rather than being a child “confused by the dichotomies of her bilingual upbringing” as the pre-school teacher suggested, that Teresita is just selectively deaf.
Like puro pochos, the peeps at Latino USA talk Spanglish. In this episode they talk about their favorite Spanglish vocabulary words and also check in with expert and POCHO amigo Professor Ilan Stavans, who literally wrote the book on Spanglish.
…living in the a rancho just north of the pueblo was a young Scottish adventurer named Hugh Reid. In the 1830s he left the old world for the new — Mexico. And in his adopted home he was rechristened with an additional Spanish name, Perfecto Hugo Reid. Reid would eventually settle down on a ranch in southern California near the San Gabriel mission in what’s now Arcadia, a suburb of Los Angeles, where he married a local woman, Doña Victoria.
Robert Train has been obsessed with Hugo Reid’s backstory for the last few years. Train is a professor of Spanish at Sonoma State University. We met recently at the Huntington Library archives in Pasadena, to read Reid’s extremely yellowed letters.
(PNS reporting from RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA) Factional fighting among Spanglish speakers, academics, and Raza activists doomed the first Spanglish grammar conference, held here Sunday.
“The idea was to create some foundational principles and ground rules for our people’s language,” co-organizer Lourdes Cervantes-Borges of the Professional Organization of Chican@s Oppressed by Society (POCHOS) told PNS. “We wished merely to memorialize those rules in a book of proper Spanglish Style, a Estronque y Blanco if you will, but then these know-nada nacos had to get involved.”
“No manches, son puras pendejadas! I ain’t down with all of that academic bullshit,” countered East Los delegate-at-large Oscar “Mocoso” Chavez. “Nuestra lengua is from the streets, and I ain’t talking ’bout that chingon taco troka on the corner of Beverly Boulevard.”
PREVIOUSLY ON ESTAR GUARS:
It’s not much of a video but it rules as a wild examplar of 1940s pachuco “boogie-woogie jitterbug” (like Lalo Guerrero’s Los Chucos Suaves.) This performance features unstoppable rhumba-flavored proto-rock-n-roll beat-me-eight-to-the-bar-boogie-woogie highlighted by shouted Spanglish insanity. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s give a nice welcoming round of applause to Orquesta de Don Ramon as they perform Chicano Boogie. [The artwork is from the Arhoolie compilation album. Yes, the track ends abruptly.]
Lalo Guerrero is the Father of Chicano Music. His amazing musical legacy (he died in 2005) includes the classic Spanglish “boogie-woogie jitterbug” Los Chucos Suaves – the kick-ass dance-tune inspiration for Zoot Suit (the musical.) We especially like the abstract piano solo that goes off into outer pachucostan and comes back in the nick of time. ¡Que suave!
I was at a Dunkin’ Donuts in New York City grabbing coffee. After handing me my change, the Indian woman wanted to know where I was from.
This happens often — whether I’m at a restaurant, an adult video store or a funeral. Inevitably someone will ask, “What are you?”
They ask in a way as if I look like the Elephant Man.
And then I realize that their question is one about my cultural identity.
SoCal pochos Cutty Flam say their music is the sound track to a 1950’s B-Movie starring Ritchie Valens opposite Betty Page directed by Quentin Tarantino. Señor Cutty sings and plays guitar, Ms. Bang Bangs kicks butt on vocals and drums and Chewy Lewy is the man on bass. In Sugga, a black and white home movie from the future, Cutty Flam saves themselves (or their body doubles) from a sky burst of meteorites with a white box of something that’s not wrapped in aluminum foil and doesn’t attract falling prop rocks. Also there is a greedy music promoter, a life support transfusion, a dead band member RIP, auditions, more aluminum foil and surf style guitar. We know — it’s everything you ever wanted in a music video. Plus Spanglish!
PREVIOUSLY ON CUTTY FLAM:
East Los homies Las Cafeteras are back with a son jarocho version of the Woody Guthrie’s classic This Land Is Your land with acoustic aplomb and some updated Spanglish lyrics:
OMAIGA! Practice makes perfect, as Francisco Hernandez tries to get his Mexican-mom-style driving directions exactly right.
Once upon a time in November 2010, a police detective named Jim Lindquist (from Bellevue, Washington) needed some help from the both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking communities. He had an idiosyncratic way of expressing himself in Spanish. “A” for effort?
Here’s the full poster — click to enlarge: