There is a lot of talk about how Spanish is increasingly overrun by Anglicisms. However, it is also interesting to note that English, at present, has also borrowed a significant number of words from Spanish.
This phenomenon is not new. As early as the late eighteenth century, in the United States something could be described as “quixotic” or there were acts known as “peccadillos”. According to the writer Bill Bryson, the new American people borrowed more than 500 words from the first Spanish settlers (such as bukaroo [vaquero], bronco or hoosegow [juzgado]).
One area where the Spanish influence is most noticeable is food. Burritos, margaritas, empanadas, tacos, tequila, tapas, nachos and enchiladas are the daily bread of the English language. The music also has a Spanish rhythm: merengue, cumbia, bolero, tango, flamenco, mambo, maracas and mariachi, to name a few.
All languages are influenced by each other. “Avocado”, which appears to come from the word aguacate actually comes from the Nahuatl word ahuacatl, which Spanish borrowed from first. The same applies to xocolatl, which first became the Spanish chocolate and then “chocolate” in English.
Before condemning a word for being “foreign”, perhaps we should remember that languages, after all, are constantly incorporating new elements from various influences.
So adios, comrade, I’m off to my siesta. I’ll meet you later in the cafeteria: I’ll be the one carrying a machete, wearing a sombrero, and eating cilantro.
(Versión en español: /?page_id=114987)