By Helen Pierpoint
WORDS such as ‘blog’, ‘friki’ and ‘sushi’ have been added to the Spanish Royal Academy’s online dictionary.
In a recent update – which marks the fifth since the website’s inception in 2001 – words and phrases including ‘blog’ and ‘bloguero’ (blogger), ‘chatear’ adapted from the English ‘chat’ and ‘espanglish’- a hybrid of English and Spanish, have been officially recognised.
It points to a growing trend of English words becoming adapted into Spanish in a linguistic invasion known as ‘loaning’.
Between September 2007 and December 2011 the additions and alterations to the dictionary have totalled 1,697.
English first began to creep into the Spanish language when football became popular in Spain.
Words like ‘penalti’ and ‘corner’ became commonplace as Spaniards looked to the birthplace of football to dictate how they would describe the game.
Moreover as travelling abroad became more affordable and communication became easier, British and American cultures began to arouse Spanish curiosity.
In the last 10 years, the number of ‘loans’ has skyrocketed with the arrival of the internet, satellite TV and an increase in American and British products being imported abroad.
‘El sandwich’, ‘trendy’ and ‘email’ are among hundreds of words added to the Spanish dictionary.
According to English professor Zac Tobias, the reason English words have become so popular is that ‘certain English words express a lot with a little’.
Indeed, many white-collar workers in Spain nowadays prefer to say ‘email’ instead of ‘correo electronico’ as it takes less time and effort
But what is interesting is that various English ‘loan’ words used in everyday language in Spain would be unrecognisable to an English speaker.
English words have become popular as they express a lot with a little
Many words must be respelt and modified to suit the Spanish language.
For instance, the ‘smartphone’ has become ‘esmartphone’ as Spaniards struggle to pronounce words beginning with ‘s’.
‘Friki’ -meaning nerd – has become a noun instead of an adjective, and ‘fashion’ is used as an adjective to describe someone with good fashion sense.
Despite its eagerness to keep with the times, Spain ranks poorly when it comes to the number of people who speak English.
It came 24th behind Norway, France and Portugal in a recent survey.