By Leirum Rivas, Copywriter
The Spanish language is more alive than ever, and it’s changing everyday. In order to approach the young, and not so young “Latino generations” in the U.S., we must turn our eyes and “ears” to this transformation. Just like all fusions (think kimchi tacos!), Spanish language is starting a new trend by incorporating different “Spanish-es” to the mix and blending them with English.
Data For Your Thoughts
Although many analysts and authors maintain that third-generation Latinos will primarily speak English, the truth is that Spanish will remain relevant and evolve into ”New Spanish”. It won’t die off like many say, but more than likely will be different than how it’s used today.
Nearly all U.S. Latinos say they value the ability to speak Spanish, with 95% saying it is important to them that future generations of U.S. Latinos speak the language. David Adams, Univision Noticias
Spanglish, an informal hybrid of both languages, is widely used among Hispanics ages 16 to 25. Among these young Hispanics, 70% report using Spanglish. Jens Manuel Krogstad and Ana Gonzalez-Barrera for Pew Research Center
Based on Pew Research Center data: Spanglish is used by many young Latinos in America… 57 percent of second-generation, young Hispanic Americans speak Spanglish “some of the time” and 26 percent speak it “most of the time.” Panoramas – Daniel Snyder
“Hola! What’s up?” this known, and more common, interchange of English and Spanish language will continue to evolve. Even younger English-dominant generations hold Spanish in high regard, especially considering that they want to be in the know and be able to navigate between different worlds seamlessly. However, Spanglish is just a part of the “New Spanish” and goes beyond a simple combination of Spanish and English words:
• Fluent and interchangeable use of English and Spanish in a conversation or written form.
• Spanglish is not homogeneous; it varies depending on country of origin and even location here in the U.S. Think about Puerto Rican communities in NYC, Mexican communities in L.A. or Venezuelan communities in Miami.
• Social Media plays a key role on this hybrid language. Just scroll through pages such as Pero Like or We are Mitú. This last one, with over 3,490,000 followers, proves this dual expression is still relevant and engaging.
• It may sound ironic, but there are some rules: it is not about alternating every word in a single sentence, but rather expressing the idea interchanging Spanish and English in a way that makes sense. So even if it doesn’t seem so, there’s an “art” to Spanglish.
Oye, quiero see you este weekend. Maybe mañana? Déjame know. ❌
Oye, quiero verte este weekend. Maybe tomorrow? Let me know. ✅
• Which brings us to another important point, authenticity. It has to feel real, like people use it, not just a random blend of English and Spanish.
• There’s a neutral Spanglish, but then there’s the Spanglish stem from each Hispanic community, with its respective nuances.
So, What’s the New Español?
The New Español is the way Hispanics in the U.S. are using and adapting Spanish. We are not just bilingual… we are multilingual.
Just think of a Colombian fellow moving to Texas. He speaks “Colombian Spanish” and blends it with English, but he also has to learn Mexican slang, words, and idioms into the mix.
Spanish is transforming itself into a culture melting pot, where we speak a bit of Mexican, or Dominican, Argentinean or Colombian depending on where we are located. This goes for first generation Hispanics but also for younger generations.
• It’s a mixed Spanish that varies depending on the dominant Hispanic community in the zone.
• Interchanges Spanish and English, utilizing Spanglish as a way to relate to both Hispanic and American cultures.
• It has its own words transliterated from English. For example: “Parking – Parquear”, “Lunch – Lonche”, “Truck – Troca” o “Copay – Copago”.
• It’s dynamic and adaptable. It incorporates words and idioms from different Latin American countries.
• It’s curious and inclusive. It incorporates words, idioms and sayings from different “Spanish-es”.
• For younger generations, Spanish serves as a strong emotional connector. Audiences react to Spanish emotionally but may communicate verbally in English.
How Does It Help My Brand?
In a growing multicultural America, brands that want to engage a diverse audience will have to speak different languages. Want to join the conversation in a Hispanic household and be relevant to both the first-generation Latino (mom or Dad) and the second-generation Latino? Try Spanglish! Translating that “cultural shift” into your creative will help your audience relate. Finally, your brand should be a reflection of the mixed world Hispanics live in. See our newest work for Goya Foods.
Language is more complex than what we think, especially with the cultural fluidity of Hispanic communities in the U.S. Even English dominant Hispanic generations have their own way of relating with Spanish o Spanglish when looking to connect with their roots. But in order to be “exitoso” a brand needs to connect in an authentic way. Be sure to subscribe to Provoke Weekly to learn more about the ever-changing America.
Lei is a Venezuelan-boricuan copywriter and innate storyteller. She’s a bookworm who started her career in the world of literature, and then worked her way into advertising.