Anglicisms: The Influence of English on Modern Spanish

Pages: 8 (1813 words) Published: November 14, 2008

According to The Longman dictionary, Anglicism is “an English word or phrase that is common use in another language”.In Spain the adoption of English words is extremely common as we will discover later when speaking about the history of language contact between both countries. However, the adoption of foreign terms in Spanish, and in particular the influence of loans from English, has traditionally met with opposition of linguists and lexicographers as well as of social and political institutions. The criticism against it is basically founded in their exotic nature. Foreign terms should be considered not only from a linguistic perspective but also from a more social angle. Also, anglicisms evoke the hegemony of Anglo-Saxon countries, especially the United States, and this may trigger purists attitudes. The first strong reactions against foreign elements were felt in response to the avalanche of French in the 18th century. This led to the foundation of the Real Academia Española (1713),which received strong official support and quickly published its first dictionary, the so-called Diccionario de autoridades (1726-39).This criticism was puristic rather than nationalistic.And, during the 19th century, this influence was a normal pattern and when anglicisms first appeared they were not identified as such, as they were mostly mediated by French. Words such as biftec, dandy and tilbury were considered Gallicisms. After the Civil War and up until 1950, the Home Ministry of the Franco regime issued regulation against the use of foreign words,especially in the field of sports.As a result, a good number fell into disuse : encuentro replaced match, defense replaced back, and locator replaced speaker , but the attempt was not successful in the case of cóctel, sandwich, record, and football. After the sixties the regime eased its restrictions. But, the unexpected avalanche of foreign terms which followed was felt to be a heavy burden by certain language-conscious people.As a result, new purist tendencies arouse among academics and men of letters, who referred to Spain as a colony of the USA.The articles by Salvador the Madariaga(1962) and Alfaro`s dictionary ( published in Spain in 1964) are the best exponents of this view. Other more moderate views were held by prominent academics such as Lapesa, Lorenzo and Seco, reflected in more liberal policies towards the inclusion of foreignisms .

Before the 18th century, english loanwords were very scarce.They were imported in small numbers generally through French mediation.The name of cardinal points (norte, sud _a variant of sur_ and este , and oeste ) were probably the first loand borrowed, attested between 1431 and 1607. The 17th century gave us dogo (1644 dog ) and the 18th puritan, bote (boat),ponche(punch) and ron(rum). All this words are now completely assimilated and almost impossible to recognize as English except by etymologists. We can establish different stages of lexical borrowing related to the most relevant cultural and language contacts between English and Spanish : _The first impact on Spanish intellectuals was in the 18th century, and in the first half of the 19th century. English started to be taught at some schools, the first English grammar and first bilingual dictionary were publish in Spain , the first translation were well done by persons such as Cadalso, Jovellanos and Moratín. It is interesting to know that the Spanish word anglicismo itself is attested as early as 1848 (cf-Fernández García 1970: 25). _ The English influence intensified in the 19th century as a result of the technological developments of the industrial revolution (transport and clothmaking ) _ The late 19th century and early 20th century saw the first important wave of anglicisms in many domains such as music, dance,motorcars, dress, breeds of...
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