Native speakers as well as intermediate and advanced students of Spanish as a second language tend to lapse into a pattern of errors—or more properly, neologisms—when communicating in formal written and spoken Spanish. The author has been able to document the use of such terms in oral and written communication, in both formal and informal contexts. He asserts that in most cases, these "errors" are acceptable modes of speech in informal, American-style conversation—which he calls "United States Spanish." The intention of his manual is not to change the way people express themselves, but rather to help language students distinguish between United States usage and standard academic usage. He insists that "there is nothing wrong with communicating in Spanglish in a bilingual, bicultural environment; the important thing is to be aware that you’re using it." His book presents 500 entries in alphabetical order, then asks students to test themselves by identifying them as either standard or U.S. Spanish, and learning to switch from one to the other. Following 50 brief exercises, the book concludes with an English-to-Spanish index and additional cross-referencing indexes.
From the Back Cover
Speaking Spanish in the U.S.A.
Native speakers of Spanish as well as intermediate and advanced students of Spanish as a second language increasingly use words and expressions that bear the influence of American English. This highly original book documents the use of such terms in oral and written communication, both in formal and informal contexts. The author’s intention is to help you distinguish between United States usage and standard academic usage. He presents 650 entries in alphabetical order, then asks you to—
Praise from an authority on Spanglish:
“Spanish in the United States exists in a state of mutation. Will the language of Cervantes
ultimately disappear? Will it be revamped into an altogether new form of communication? By cataloguing and analyzing variations in usage (or “abusage,” as some might describe it), Alberto Barugel insinuates the answer. His book is an invaluable resource destined to infuriate the purists and be admired by the average person.”
—Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture, Amherst College, and author of
Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language