English loan words
Language Resources

The power of English loan words and expressions

Before explaining the influence that English loan words have on the Spanish language it’s important to point out what word borrowing is. The term refers to words or modes of expression that originated outside of the language in question, which is Spanish in this case.
The Spanish word anglicismo refers to a word (or expression) borrowed from English and adopted into mainstream use among Spanish speakers. The Royal Spanish Academy however is extremely strict about officially adopting new words.

English loan words with Spanish equivalents
It’s a good idea to distinguish between the different types of English loan words that appear in Spanish. The first type includes loan words with a Spanish equivalent, such as boomerang/bumerán, or pc/ordenador personal. The international or specialized nature of these types of words has lead to their usage and acceptance among Spanish speakers.

Linguistic borrowing
The second type of English loan word includes words for which there is no equivalent in Spanish, so speakers must use the adopted English word. Examples are software and blues (music). The Spanish Royal Academy accepts these words because the Spanish language has not yet developed terms for these concepts. The academy does however request that users spell these words in cursive to differentiate them from the rest of the language’s words.

Complex anglicismos
The last type of English borrowing is related to longer phrases that have been adopted given their extensive international use, such as “in the right direction”, “one moment” or the phrase “happy birthday”. Many countries also borrow from Spanish in this way, taking expressions such as “buenos días” and “mi casa es tu casa”.

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