Hybrid Language Forms: A Response To The Global Mind Shift


The overwhelming influence of global processes is hard to underestimate or ignore nowadays. It affects every sphere of human activity and penetrates deep into the lives of average citizens. Thus, a new type of person with a new type of mindset is shaped. Apart from putting emphasis on such qualities as tolerance and ability to migrate between different local cultures, it requires a certain degree of ignorance of one’s native or local cultural background including language. Linguistic units and spoken languages react to the changing environment and the challenges it has to offer. Local cultures that build up the linguistic personality of every person are vulnerable to changes and, as any environment, adjust to them to a certain extent possible. As a response to such a mental reality new hybrid forms appear. They tend to be a compromise between the global necessity and the local feeling of self, which is the cornerstone of a harmonious coexistence.

Keywords: globalization, linguistic personality, global mindset, Spanglish, hybrid, Latin-American descent


Present day changing reality makes scholars shift their research approaches to research methodology and perception, turning to anthropocentrism which view language and its nature in close connection with a human being, the speaker (Gurevitsch, 2001; Mikhalevich, 2011). Thus, the psychological concept of “self” is currently being the focus of various studies. The concept of “self” echoes a more general term of “personal identity”, which in the most general sense is about the peculiarities that differentiate individuals or groups of people (Cambridge Dictionary). The concept of “self” in turn is a complex phenomenon, describing the way one sees, evaluates, thinks about oneself (Kirshner, 1991). This is by no means objective so groups of people and particular individuals obviously describe themselves differently from the way others may see them.

Linguistics-wise the above mentioned concept can be represented by the term “linguistic personality”, introduced in 1930 by V. Vinogradov (Vinogradov, 1930) which evolves around a person’s linguistic choices in the act of communication and readiness for communication appeal. It is affected by a variety of extra-linguistic factors such as the conditions of the communication, the speaker’s physical and emotional state, the speaker’s competence in the discussion topic, their literacy level, socioeconomic status, cultural and racial background etc. Actually, all these factors play a role in the choice of linguistic means, yet, the speaker’s cultural and racial background is of particular interest in this research as it deals with hybrid language forms.

Being a complex notion, linguistic personality traditionally includes the following aspects: the value component, cultural component, psychological component. The value component that deals with the attitudes and beliefs. By the means of language, one gets an inside into the world in the most generic sense, formulates and builds up a system of moral values, which is, yet, affected by the norms and views of the national character. The second aspect that builds up linguistic personality is the cultural one that is parallel to the degree of diving into the culture and using the latter as a medium to explore the language. The last component is referred to as personal and it is barely affected by any outer factors (Azarova, 2018), it centres around in-depth personal patterns and psychological conditions and therefore is unique for every linguistic personality.

Problem Statement

The interest lies in the area of friction between global processes and ethnical identity. Thus, it is believed that certain language forms represent a response to the global processes, global mindset in particular and thus, become an ethnical identity marker in the globalised world.

Research Questions

The cardinal question is whether there are any forms that 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 study is to trace global influences on language and mind and analyse the way the so-called language minorities oppose the global forces.

Research Methods

Current research is based on context analysis. It represents an attempt to single out and formulate the patterns used in hybrid language forms by the example of Spanglish.


Though seemingly permanent and indelible of every human, linguistic personality should not be viewed as a stable characteristic since some of its components appear to be subjected to changes. National character, for instance, which in turn affects the system of values as well as individual psychological perception, is formulated and re-shaped daily under significant influence of global processes.

Affecting every sphere of human activity, global changes appeal to the world perception, shaping a new kind of mind or mindset – a global one. It is essential to consider the definitions of the term to get an insight into the phenomenon.

A person with a global mindset is expected to have more cosmopolitan views and beliefs, which enable him/her to conduct business activities with great success (Boyacigiller et al., 2004); to adapt global patterns and strategies to the needs of local environments (Kefalas, 1998). Global mind is often described as a mind that is involved in but separated from or of social environment, which is influenced by the understanding of self. Thus, global mind is free from the social factors that can frame and pose a limit to be, whether the limit is represented by geographical, religious or national peculiarities. It rather represents a pivot from being a group member into being a self-conscious individual. Yet, to certain national/ethnical groups, Hispanics, for example, such a change is unable to become a new reality due to the tight cultural bonds within a group.

As a result of the reluctance to adopt to global mindset concept, which unboundedly leads to a personality shift, hybrid forms appear. The above-described idea can be represented by the following scheme, illustrating the changes in an individual’s concept of self which includes representation on different levels from purely psychological to linguistic ones. Being massively affected by globalization, the concept is altered and even infringed to a certain extent, which, by all means, is echoed by the representation on the linguistic level, i.e. the appearance of new hybrid forms.

Figure 1: [The shift of self-concept]
[The shift of self-concept]
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Originally the term was purely biological and was used to describe the offspring of individuals of different kinds (usually, different species) (Oxford dictionary). Later Bakhtin applied the hybrid theory to language studies, focusing mainly on intermixing and transnationality (Sanchez-Stockhammer, 1970). Hybridization can be observed at any language level, yet, it does not mean that it is sure to affect every. The above-mentioned phenomenon is best traced on the level of speech sounds, i.e. on the phonetical level, which makes it possible to trace hybrid usage.

On the level of morphemes, new hybrid elements are formed by being combined following one language pattern:

  • Spanish: “alquiler” (to rent) – Spanglish: “rentar”;
  • Spanish: “comprobar” or “verificar” (to check) – Spanglish “chequear”;
  • Spanish: “estacionar” or “aparcar” (to park) – Spanglish “parquear” (Rothman and Rell, 2005).

The examples strictly follow a particular word-building model, which involves English verb stems and Spanish infinitival suffixes. Such patterns are easily discernible and quite frequent.

On the level of syntax, we can observe hybrid intrusions in any part of a sentence:

  • Hice un appointment en la beauty para darme un nuevo look.
  • Gracias a Dios, it was just a rash, nada muy serious.
  • Es que I can’t eat another bite. Ya estoy full (Santiago, 2010).

We connect sentences within a text:

  • I just assumed White Castles was traditional Puerto Rican food, because I pretty much went straight from breast-feeding to White Castle hamburgers. Así que pensé que tenía que ser comida típica de la cultura.
  • Cada vez que Papi tenía un affair, my mother would burn all his clothes, his entire wardrobe, on the front lawn (Santiago, 2010).

The locus of a hybrid within a sentence is not fixed and it greatly depends on the emotive power; the speaker puts in the utterance.

Hybrid forms or hybrids represent a mixture of at least two language forms, for example, Potunhol (Spanish and Portuguese), Denglish (German and English), Runglish (Russian and English), which is typical of bilingual language users in the widest sense of the term according to Scherba (Scherba, 1974).

Thus, the key linguistic factor that facilitates the appearance of hybrid language forms is language interference since any hybrid form is the result of 2 language systems merging (Bafanova, 2015). The term “(language) interference was introduced by the linguists of the “Prague School” (Haugen, 1992) and is used to describe the deviations from the norms of the languages in contact. Generally, the greater the difference between the language systems in contact is, which is the elements of the hybrid form, the wider the field of possible interference is. This, in turn, gives rise to a larger variety of new patterns and forms that can become a new type of norm. Hybrids vary greatly as to their function and linguistic significance (Bafanova et al., 2020); the form that is subjected to consideration in the current paper is known as Spanglish.

Spanglish is a combination of English and Spanish, widely used by Hispanics living on the territory of the USA. At first the terms was employed to describe the language form in use on the territories of Southern California, which was marked by bilingualism. This fact explains one of the purposes of its existence – the form is used as a medium for communication between non-native speakers whose English language skills seem to be insufficient for all-English communication. Yet, there is another and more solid reason.

Spanglish is the immediate response to the trend towards globalization, in particular, towards a global mindset shift and can be viewed as a way to preserve ethnical and national authenticity. For that very reason even well-assimilated 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants turn to the hybrid in their communication. Such hybrid speech markers reveal their ethnical identity and help to preserve their national authenticity, making others outsiders.

A large and constantly growing group of Spanglish speakers makes the hybrid form widely spread and that fact contributes to linguistic stability of the latter. So certain phonetical, morphological and syntactical forms become some sort of a norm among Spanglish speakers.

According to Huntington (Huntington, 2004), the usage of native language components can be considered a certain point of pride for the speakers. The extra-linguistic factor that is viewed as a personal psychological reason represents an attempt to make the linguistic personality of Spanglish speakers less vulnerable to the shift of identity and mindset. Having a strong connection and deep identification with the native culture, traditions and language (Negmirova, 2014) Spanglish speakers choose the form as an immediate response to the infringement of the latter by global mind shift, which is, obviously, quite a natural reaction to globalization and can be observed in other bicultural or multicultural societies.


Despite numerous benefits of going global, one side of the processes that concerns intrusion into one’s picture and solid beliefs is sure to face certain opposition. Global mindset shift in some cases is viewed as a direct threat to linguistic personality of an individual as well as of larger groups. A person’s mind being rather categorical in the things that are essential for one’s psychological well-being and stability or that form the system of values and beliefs and seem to be ground-forming, is not easily changed. In search of a way to eliminate the global influence, hybrid language forms appear to be a response to the linguistic personality shift and reflect the speakers’ cultural and ethnic identity allowing them to demonstrate their bicultural and bilingual status.


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Bafanova, D., Golubeva, K., Kalmykov, V., Naumova, T., & Sukhareva, T. (2022). Hybrid Language Forms: A Response To The Global Mind Shift. In I. Savchenko (Ed.), Freedom and Responsibility in Pivotal Times, vol 125. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 549-554). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2022.03.65