the show

Intern Edition : Spanglish in School?

Reporter: Isela Luevano
Producer: Courtney Knowlton

Listen to Intern Edition audio.

     Today, Spanglish is heard in song lyrics and tv shows, as well as other instances of popular culture. Spanglish's origins lie in the bilingual society that many immigrants are confronted with on a daily basis in this country. "The more the bilingual environment as a whole, the more children and people will tend to mix their languages," says Monica Maccera Filppu. She is the bilingual programs developer for the Washington, D.C. public school system.

     The publication of the first dictionary, "Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language," by Ilan Stavans of Amherst College, has some asking whether Spanglish's time has come. Stavans says that bilingual education programs should "explore the creative, artistic and intellectual possibilities of Spanglish as a way to enter the English language."

     Others believe that the attempt to formalize Spanglish goes against its very nature. "Spanglish is imminently a natual and spontaneous phenomenon of the spoken language," says Leticia Molinero, a freelance translator and president of the non-profit InTradES.

     Maccera Filppu thinks that Spanglish has a role to play. "I do thnk it's useful because it's just one more piece of this dynamic language puzzle that we all live in and we are trying to kinda figure out."

Other Resources
  • Listen to an story about the first class on Spanglish on NPR's All Things Considered.

  • Listen to an interview with Ed Morales about his book 'Living in Spanglish' on The Tavis Smiley Show.