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An Expert Guide to Speaking Spanglish

Updated on December 3, 2012
Spanglish
Spanglish

No-one can write an expert guide to anything if they aren't expert themselves, and I am proud to say that I am an excellent Spanglish speaker. It is my language of choice and I use it every day.

Of course,living in Spain, I should be speaking Spanish, but I am one of those people who find learning new languages difficult, but I try my best.

To speak Spanglish, it is important that you have a good vocabulary of Spanish words, plus of course your English, as Spanglish is a mixture of the two.

Depending on the country you are in, or the language spoken by the people you are with, determines which words you use most of in a sentence.

I tend to use a lot of Spanish words, with the occasional English word in a sentence, but I would imagine Spanish Spanglish speakers would tend to use more English words and fewer Spanish ones.

The first thing you need is a good basic grounding in vocabulary. Don't worry too much about verbs and how they changes with the tenses - you can get away with only knowing half of their verb changes, but you do need to know the verbs as well as the nouns.

Some Spanish Nouns

  • la cama - the bed
  • el colchon - the mattress
  • la policia - the police
  • el cenicerro - the ashtray
  • el calle - the street
  • la carretera - the road
  • la puerta - the door
  • las calleras - the stairs
  • la piscina - the swimming pool
  • el agua - the water (just there to confuse us as it doesn't follow the rules)
  • el perro - the dog
  • la perra - the bitch (as in female dog)
  • el perrito - the puppy (male)
  • la perrita - the puppy (female)
  • la luz - light, electricty
  • la factura - bill
  • la factura de luz - electricity bill

While it is absolutely NOT true that adding an 'o' to the end of every word immediately turns it into Spanish, it works in a surprising number of cases.

  • experto
  • obsceno
  • doggo (ha ha just joking)
  • ilicito (spelt differently but sounds the same)

However, for speaking Spanglish, you can of course just add an 'o'.

An incredible number of Spanish words end in either 'o' or 'a' to denote whether or not they are masculine or feminine. It may seem to strange to us native english speakers, but in a way we are in the minority with using 'it' or 'the' as nearly every other (European) language sexes objects.

  • La mesa - the table
  • la silla - the chair
  • la ventana - the window

are all feminine while

  • el puerto - the port
  • el vino - the wine
  • el viento - the wind

are all masculine.

Please remember when speaking Spanglish to put at least one real Spanish word in the sentence too. It gives what you say a bit more authenticity. 'El' will do.

El is Spanish for the masculine 'the' or it can denote 'him' or 'it'.

Some Spanish Verbs

  • beber - to drink
  • comer - to eat
  • nadar - to swim
  • romper - to break
  • apprender - to learn
  • gritar - to shout
  • escribir - to write
  • traducir - to translate
  • conducir - to drive
  • sentir - to feel
  • estar - to be (not permament
  • ser - to be (permanent)
  • hacer - to make, or have

By far the most important part of speaking Spanglish is your vocabulary. If you know absolutely no Spanish words, you are going to have problems.

Take a few minutes each to sit down and learn some Spanish words. Don't worry too much about the verbs and and all their endings.

The verb endings are extremely important in Spanish. The endings denote who is doing something, and when - future, present and past, which is all too complicated for your average Spanglish speaker.

Simply learn the verbs, at the least the main part of the words. For example:

  • hablar - to talk (just remember the habl part)
  • habl-o - I talk
  • habl-a - you talk
  • habl-ando - talking
  • habl-ado - talked (past tense)

Now add this to any verb. It doesn't matter if you get it wrong because you are speaking Spanglish, not Spanish.

  • ie. andar - to walk

So you have and-o, and-a, and-ando, and-ado. See? easy-peasy.

If you do not know the Spanish verb, just use the English word with an '-o'. '-a'.-ando' or '-ado' at the end.

Just to confuse things further, some Spanish verbs end in '-ir' and they usually have present and past tense endings of '-iendo', or '-iedo' so you are allowed to mix and match and really confuse any non-Spanglish-speaker.

Some Spanglish sentences for you to practice on:

  • Que t'al, brother? How's it going, brother? How's it going, hermano?
  • El clockio no es functionando. The clock isn't working.
  • No andarando on el streetio. No walking on the street.
  • Tengo 50 years. I am 50 years old.
  • Habla Spanglish very well. You speak Spanglish very well.
  • Esta hub proves soy experto en speaking Spanglish! This hub proves I'm an expert on speaking Spanglish.
  • Mi perros barko mucho. My dogs bark a lot.
  • Learn Spanglish mucho faciles! Learn Spanglish easier!
  • Los trens y the buses are running maƱana. The trains and the buses and running tomorrow.
  • Apprender espanglol ahoranow! Learn Spanglish now!

George Lopez - Spanglish (very funny)

The movie Spanglish starring Adam Sandler

Comments

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    • Isabel Melville profile imageAUTHOR

      Isabel Melville 

      7 years ago from Planet Earth

      Lager and lemon? yuk! No wonder the Spanish think the Brits are a little crazy! (un poco loco). Spanish for shandy is clara, claro?

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 

      7 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      When we lived in Gibraltar my dad was an expert at Spnaglish as we used to keep a car in Spain as dad worked there too. ( the border was only partially open) He did have a few failures like the day he assurred us he had ordered rabbit and got fish and the day my mum got a pint of larger with a lemon on top rather than a shandy!

      Voted up, great hub.

    • Isabel Melville profile imageAUTHOR

      Isabel Melville 

      7 years ago from Planet Earth

      Rainiando, is I think, quite wonderful, but even better would be rainiendo. Simply because the Spanish word for raining is lluviendo - pronounced yoobiendo, so raining should become rainiendo. No? Brilliant word. I shall say that next time it's raining. Not that anyone here will understand! Just because I speak Spanglish doesn't mean they do!

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 

      7 years ago from New York, NY

      So funny and so true. The first time my ex husband and I went on a trip together he chose to go to a Spanish speaking destination, as he speaks fluent Spanish (and I may add he speaks perfect Castilian Spanish) his thinking was along the lines that his bilingual status would impress me . .so he picks Puerto Rico . .Ha. .the land of Spanglish . .. Little did he know that though I cant speak Spanish my Spanish vocabulary is large! It ended up I understood alot more than he did!!! Unfortunately this was one washed up trip as the word that we heard everyday was Rainiando!

      On another note. . Italians do the same. . my girlfriend in Italy favorite saying on Saturday., . is andiamo a shopping! (Lets go shopping)

      Great read and I vote up for Spanglish is one excellent language more should get acquainted with!!

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