Code switching and Spanglish, ok or not ok?

¡Buenos días a todos!

Today we are going to take a look at something that we’re all familiar with: Code switching and Spanglish!

Code switching

In linguistics, codeswitching occurs when a speaker alternates between two or more languages in the context of a single conversation. Multilinguals sometimes use elements of multiple languages when conversing with each other.


Spanglish is more along the invention of words taken from English and made to sound like Spanish.  Some examples are “raite” for ride or “googlear” that comes from “to google.”


Overall, Spanglish & code switching are the result of a very common phenomenon that appears in areas where the population speaks two languages. There are studies that show that bilinguals feel more comfortable when speaking to other bilinguals because they can mix the two languages.

Language specialists are divided on the topic. Some of them say that code-switching and Spanglish are an abomination, and some of them say it’s just another kind of Spanish spoken in the US.

In my opinion, it’s ok. I think people should strive to speak standard Spanish, but the existence of Spanglish and code-switching is undeniable. I don’t think it’s something negative, but you should be aware of a couple of things:

  • Remember that it is ok to code switch with your friends, but don’t mix the Spanish and English grammar many Spanglish speakers. Grammar is the backbone of any language, and sounds awful when it’s mixed.
  • Try not to code-switch or use Spanglish in class.  If you go abroad to Spanish-speaking countries, it will be of no use to you. You should be able to speak standard Spanish when needed.

Whenever someone code switches or uses Spanglish in class I usually don’t correct them. However, I will not personally use those words when I teach. At the end of the class, I sometimes tell my students about Spanglish words they have used. It’s important that they know those words are not standard.

That’s just my point of view. Depending on who you are talking to, they may have a completely different point of view.

To summarize:

Spanglish and code switching is ok with your friends, but try not to use it when you’re in class or when you’re abroad :)

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¡Qué tengan una buena semana!