Consider the word, swine. Now say it with a bit of an emphasis on the "i." Sw-i-i-i-ne. Sounds kind of fancy. Like sipping from a frosty glass of rosé on your luxury yacht, right? Well, except for the fact that it literally means pig. Which is exactly the point the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) is trying to drive home in a new series of sartorial ads they're releasing to end the use of Spanglish. Yep, Spanglish. Pero, why?!
The "guardians of the Spanish language" met in Madrid last week and decided to wage a war on the Spanish-English hybrid, with RAE member and journalist Alex Grijelmo arguing that "The abuse of anglicisms is linked to an inferiority complex that is very Hispanic, and it contributes to its reinforcement.”
So what recently pissed them off and set this in motion? Apparently, a new report by the Academy of Publicity revealed that "English-language words in Spanish advertising campaigns have increased tenfold in the past decade. In 2003, there were 30 brands in Spain that peppered their ads with Spanglish. By last year, that number had jumped to 322 brands."
And RAE was not going to stand for the dumbing down of the language. Hence their mock commercials like the aforementioned "Swine," which play on the perceived caché the English language holds for Latinos. As the commercial's voice-over says: "The perfume, whose name in English says you smell like a pig, but because it’s in English you smell like swine. Swine: it sounds great, but smells awful.”
But, come on — is Spanglish really hurting our culture?
In multicultural communities, like Miami and L.A., this happens naturally. Besides, language is a constantly evolving entity. When was the last time you heard Middle English spoken at a bar? "Bartender, an ale, anon." Right.
Hey RAE, let's loosen up a bit — and just roll with the dichos.