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Exploring Spanglish: The Growing Language of Hispanic Americans

Spanglish has become a language of its own for many young Hispanic Americans, and it's increasingly being incorporated into school curriculums to create more inclusive environments for bilingual students. However, the use of Spanglish still faces challenges as it is often viewed as a form of "code-switching".

Written By Irvin Alonzo


Hispanic Americans have their own language and I found out about it through TikTok. The majority of my For You Page (or FYP) consists of Hispanic-American content creators. After many weeks of using the app, I noticed one thing in common between them. They were using words like troca, chequear, frizado, biles, or parquear which believe it or not, aren't Spanish words.

These words are Spanglish. According to the Oxford Dictionary, Spanglish is a combination of words from the Spanish and English languages. I used to think that Spanglish was just slang and that it was only used within my family. My parents let me use these terms because they're aware that I was raised with two languages. Thanks to TikTok, I've learned that many other Hispanic Americans use this dialect and it's expanding beyond social media platforms.

In Hispanic communities, Spanglish has become so popular that it's even become a part of some class curriculums. As a future educator in a bilingual middle school, I also plan to incorporate Spanglish into my curriculum next year to supplement the development of my students.


Spanglish is still seen as a form of “code-switching”. And for years it has been a method of characterizing lower-class Hispanics and questioning U.S citizenship.


The US Census Office predicts that by 2050, there will be approximately 138 million Spanish speakers in the United States, making it the largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world. Currently, the US is second only to Mexico in the number of Spanish native speakers. This growth in Spanish speakers is largely due to the significant immigration from predominantly Spanish-speaking countries. Since many current Spanish speakers in the US are the children of immigrant parents, they are fluent in both English and Spanish, which has led to the increasing popularity of Spanglish.

Although there isn't a direct correlation between social media use and the increasing usage of Spanglish, among younger generations social media has indirectly amped its status. The more frequently they interact with this new dialect, the more widespread it will become. With Hispanics making up 74% of new workers in the US the impact of the usage of Spanglish will contribute to the growth, structure, and acceptance of Spanglish.

Elizabeth Menéndez, a kindergarten teacher at Dos Puentes Elementary in New York, uses her curriculum to teach her predominantly bilingual class in both Spanish and English, and even allows for the use of Spanglish at times. This creates a comfortable and expressive space for students to connect with their identities and culture, not only outside of school but also within the classroom. As someone who grew up forced to speak only English in class and Spanish exclusively in ESL class, it was frustrating to be belittled for my use of Spanish or Spanglish by some teachers. Fortunately, educators like Ms. Menéndez are challenging the status quo and promoting a more inclusive and accepting environment in the classroom.

The growing number of Spanish speakers and bilingual (or multilingual) people in the United States has given bilingual speakers a valuable advantage during the hiring process. Environments in schools like Dos Puentes supports younger generations by allowing them to practice and maintain both languages. A concern of mine is the way this may be interpreted by jobs.

As a senior in college, I interviewed for a number of jobs and when asked about the languages I spoke, my level of fluency was constantly questioned. Creating these spaces in classroom settings, allowing the mix of the languages gives students an opportunity to use both without any consequences but yet Spanglish is still seen as a form of “code-switching”. And for years it has been a method of characterizing lower-class Hispanics and questioning U.S citizenship.

With the growing number of Spanish speakers in the U.S., it's important to push the use of Spanglish in classrooms. Zhongfeng Tian an assistant professor at The University of Texas at San Antonio, states that places like Dos Puentes help students develop “understand complex ideas, increased class participation, and supported positive cultural identity.” which will more than help them in the future.

Even though I didn’t have a space where I could comfortably use both languages, being bilingual made my applications stronger. And I am hoping to follow the steps of Ms. Menéndez to teach my students in ways that can help improve their understanding of both languages in a space that doesn't force them to separate it or their identities. But for that to happen we must understand that the U.S. a country with growing multicultural communities will evidently need to accept these dialects.