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The English Language Invasion

With the rapid advancement of globalization and technology, as well as a history of British and U.S. hegemony in the 19th and 20th centuries, English has gained dominance as one of the most important languages in the world. Over 950 million people have adopted it as a second or foreign language, in addition to the 427 million native speakers of English (Saville-Troike, Muriel. Introducing Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2006).

One of the best indicators of the global reach of the language is its dominance on the Internet, with around 80 percent of the World Wide Web in English.  Keeping these facts in mind, what are the effects of English as the hegemony of languages?

One example of the effects of the presence of English throughout the world is how Spanish-speakers have reacted to and incorporated the English language into its own. English words, such as internet, flash, and click, are entering into the everyday speech of the Spanish-speaking world, through advertising, movies, and popular culture. These words and phrases in English may either altogether replace Spanish equivalents or alter the English word to make it seem more Spanish. To “click” on a button on a web page, the Spanish translation might say “hacer clic” or “clickear/cliquear”, but the root English word click is nonetheless dominant in the Spanish context.

A blending of Spanish and English utilized mostly by the Hispanic population in the United States, Spanglish represents the most extreme case of this impact of English on the Spanish language, where Spanish-speaking immigrants and their descendants may use Spanish and English interchangeably. For Spanish language purists, this may present a considerable problem when standardizing the Spanish language at the same pace that the language is evolving with technological, scientific, and cultural advancements. However, most argue that the impact of the English has not changed the overall standardized Spanish language. Nonetheless, Spanish U.S. is a particular “flavor” of Spanish that can be used for document translations, if the target audience is for the general Hispanic population within the United States. To learn more about how the different “flavors” offered for Spanish translations, please feel free to visit our webpage about Spanish Language Dialects.

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