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Influence of English on Venezuelan Spoken Spanish

 Alice Ortiz
Photo: Sandy Peters
You see English names everywhere for restaurants—Crystal Ranch, stores—Area Company, gymnasiums—Sport Center, Athletic Center, malls—The Country, and night clubs—Studio Fifty Four.

 

Alice Ortiz from Venezuela

It is incredible how popular English is in Venezuela. Now we have a kind of hybrid language between English and Spanish.

In the Venezuelans' daily conversations, they often use English words with Spanish verb endings. For example, if they send a fax, they use the word faxear, or if they have to click on the screen of their computer, they say clickear.

Also, they use simple English words in some Spanish sentences. You might hear someone say, "Voy a comprar unos jeans in el mall" which means "I'm going to buy some jeans in the mall," or "Okay, vamos" which means "OK, let's go."

In addition, you see English names everywhere for restaurants—Crystal Ranch, stores—Area Company, gymnasiums—Sport Center, Athletic Center, malls—The Country, and night clubs—Studio Fifty Four. In Caracas, there is a very fashionable neighborhood named Las Mercedes, where each street has an American name like New York Street or Fifth Avenue. Therefore, when you go shopping, you can see signs in English in the windows of stores, such as On Sale.

In some Latin American countries, the increasing influence of English is a controversial issue. In Brazil, for example, there is very strong opposition to the use of English words in Spanish.

In Venezuela, however, this is not the case. Venezuelans are well-known for being open to receiving different cultural influences such as European fashion and British music. This trend of incorporating English in Spanish is a reflection of this trait. Moreover, many Venezuelans don't know where the words come from; they have been using them for years as a part of their language. I feel that borrowing words from other languages is part of language evolution, and I think it would be difficult to curb this situation.


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