Hybrid Forms As A Way To Preserve Cultural And Ethnical Significance


Keywords: GlobalizationhybridLatin-American descentSpanglish


Globalization, as the modern reality witnessed today, is a multi-sided process, not merely penetrating but rather making various related spheres of human activity regardless of their initial heterogeneity. Thus, the urge for setting up a common market place for economic transactions and manoeuvres brought about the necessity of singling out of global communication means, tightening up the two fields-economy and linguistics. The choice of English as a global communication medium can be explained regarding several crucial facts of various vectors ranging from political and historical. They set the trend for prioritizing English due to the colonial past and overall Anglo-Saxon economic hegemony, to socio-cultural and purely linguistic, which grant support and stability of the achieved positions (Proshina, 2009). Arising from the first ones, the latter, to which high educational standards provided by many western universities and schools, i.e., Oxford University, Cambridge University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University can be referred, serves as a guarantee for the status quo (Crystal, 2003).

It should be remarked that though purely linguistic factors have not won overall recognition, the relatively transparent grammatical structure and loan-friendly language attitudes are the top ones to be named (Proshina, 2009). Grammatical structure embodies several directions regarding different language level. Lexicology-wise, high productivity and frequency of specific word-formation patterns, for example, "verb-noun"/"noun-verb" make the language easily accessible for speakers of various language proficiency, enabling communication. Grammar-wise, the elimination of several categories such as case forms (except possessive) or noun gender division (compared to biological one) reduce an effort made to break through the rules to interaction.

Problem Statement

The research interest is in the area of friction between global processes and ethnical identity. Thus, it is believed that certain language forms represent an opposing force to the processes, serving identity preservers.

Research Questions

The cardinal question is whether any forms represent a manifestation of ethnical and language identity.

The subsidiary questions concern that way the language forms represent identity and how it is revealed linguistics-wise.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to trace global language influences of English and analyze the way the so-called language minorities oppose the global forces.

Research Methods

This research is based on context analysis.


The global grounds are mostly about unifying all the processes globalization concerns, creating borderless markets, business, and communities. Despite the equivocal seaming advantageousness of the trend, the socio-cultural aspect is least inclined to fit into the global paradigm as it concerns people, their attitudes and identities.

By identity in the general sense, we mean the qualities of a person or a group that make them different from others (Cambridge Dictionary, identity). Per Shultz Jørgensen (1999) views identity as a man- constructible property, created under personal experiences or routine actions, describing it as a two- dimension phenomenon.

The first, internal or personal, dimension is concerned with psychological factors of personal nature. They are connected with the way one perceives themselves, how they see the world around, what their intentions and desires are, whereas the second, external (social), dimension deals with the things that come from outside the personality, i.e., the world, social/socio-cultural groups one belongs to or comes from, the way others perceive one and how one interacts with them.

Both dimensions represent constantly transforming processes, which are connected but not, however, inseparable as they can be affected in a different manner and at a different rate. The material connection between them is best represented by linguistic properties, as language choices embody both the personal and social dimensions.

Language, being not just a feature of identity but rather a particular marker, reacts immediately to the transformation and challenges the society ranging from micro to macro has to offer. Due to the two connected but not indelible components, identity, language identity, in particular, is enabled to alter under the coming necessity yet to remain unaffected. This bipolar nature, influenced by the above-mentioned global processes and changes, gives rise to hybrid language forms, which represent a unique combination of two languages, brought together within a word, phrase, sentence or text by interference in bilingual speech.

Multiple in number, the hybrids differ as to their functions and, thus, significance (Bafanova, 2018). The most frequently encountered hybrid forms are Frainglish, Itanglish, Denglish, but they rather testify to the absorbing power of globalization since the forms can be viewed as its direct influence. Compare:

  • Denglish – Idon't yet have an überblick of what needs to be done. Kannst Du mir morgen helfen to plan this out?"

  • Franglish – 'C'estpasune good news,' he said in his best franglais. (Oxford Dictionary, Franglais)

Being widely used only in the so-called native-component countries, that is France, Italy, Germany, the forms do not carry any additional function apart from literary. They are described as "man- created" languages or, instead, forms that serve ornamental purposes (Urban Dictionary, Denglish; Frainglish; Itanglish). The hybrids mentioned above are a result of certain linguistic creativity, aimed at trimming the native language, making it sound modern, that is to say, more English and, as a result, more global. The form that requires special consideration due to its peculiarities is Spanglish.

Despite its relatively recent dissemination, the first makings of the form are 150 years old. They date back to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) between Mexico and the USA, giving vast Mexican territories with the population to the latter. Nowadays the territories constitute the states of Arizona, Texas, California, Nevada, Utah, with both the languages – English and Spanish in contact. However, the term "Spanglish" was coined by a Puerto Rican journalist Salvador Tio (Sudar, 2010). It was first used for describing the influence of Spanish on English, later clarifying it as "laspa labrase spañolas quetienen el sentido ingles," Spanish words with English meaning.

Representing a mixture of English and Spanish, the hybrid facilitates several linguistic as well as extra-linguistic functions. The primary function of Spanglish is to enable communication between the Latin-American population of the USA with the native population of the country. Covering the gap between L1 (Spanish) and L2 (English) language competence, Spanglish is used for filling in the white spots to manage interactions:

  • EsqueI can’t eat another bite.Yaes toy full.

  • Hiceun appointment en la beauty para darme un nuevolook.

  • Gracias a Dios, it was just a rash, nada muyserious. (Santiago, 2010)

The function, which can be for now called restorative, mostly concerns the speakers with limited language proficiency, who, make only part of the overall Latin-American population, since another part, nearly equal in number (41 to 59 %) (MPI) uses the form due to the function of ethnical identity. Ethnical identity concerns making evident one's ethnical background and differentiating descent.

Despite preceding and successful assimilation, several generations of Latin-American origin prefer to use Spanglish, as a specific reference to their L1. It can be noted that Hispanics generally develop a strong sense of community, viewing the origin as a factor of additional pride (Huntington, 2004). The differentiation between Spanglish language users and English language users can be described with the binary opposition "insider-outsider" (Ufaeva, 2007) with reference to the socio-cultural heritage of the speaker, where the "insider" is initially an equal and, thus, has a favourable in-circle position. The tendency for preserving ethnical identity, embodied into extensive Spanglish usage, can be observed on every linguistic level- phonetics, grammar, and lexis and is provided by code-switching, which itself is a feature of ethnical identity (Golovko, 2001). Considering the lexical side, code-switching elements and Spanish intrusions mainly facilitate it:

  • Be careful amigo,

  • I feel so el presidente (Shakira)

  • The grammar of the hybrid form is represented by a combination of English verb stems and Spanish suffixes, forming together a Spanglish verb form:

  • English: "to type" – Spanglish "taipear"

  • Spanish: "alquiler" (to rent) – Spanglish: "rentar" (Rothman & Rell, 2005)

The phonetical side, being first identified by an interlocutor, is represented by a complex of changes, affecting segmental (absence of differentiation between bilabial or labiodental [v] as well as supra-segmental features (extensive causation, the higher level of intensity), which require detailed study.

The usage of the hybrid can be described as a reaction to the growing force of external factors, which are represented by the necessity of further assimilation with the native population on the one hand, and the desire to preserve ethnical identity with the minor society on the other.


Entering the global level as a process of transformation cannot be imagined without a counteraction, rising from ethnical and cultural minorities and initially more national culture-oriented descendants. Thus, the higher and broader the globalization trend, the greater the spread of the hybrid language form with its native language as a component. Global threats to national and cultural identity face opposition from local communities.


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27 February 2021

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National interest, national identity, national security, public organizations, linguocultural identity, linguistic worldview

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Bafanova, D., Golubeva, K., Naumova, T., & Sukhareva, T. (2021). Hybrid Forms As A Way To Preserve Cultural And Ethnical Significance. In I. Savchenko (Ed.), National Interest, National Identity and National Security, vol 102. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 71-76). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.02.02.9