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Technology has brought new words in Spanish into being—mostly English words fitted with the corresponding verb endings and conjugations

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The use of computers has brought with it a set of new words in Spanish, which are basically English words fitted with the corresponding verb endings and conjugations. Examples of this are “downloadear,” “hackear,” and “rebootear,” and of course, “bloguear.

In Spanish there are three standard verb endings, “ar,” “er,” and “ir,” each with a different treatment for regular verbs. Verbs that end in “ear” – e.g. canjear (swap or trade), crear (create) – are conjugated for the most part like “ar” verbs. For some reason unknown to the writer, all of the verbs recently adapted from English are given the “ear” form, and there appears to be consensus among users.

Although there are standard Spanish words that will do for the range of new activities related to technological developments, these have the disadvantage of retaining their original meaning as well. Download is descargar, which also means unload; boot up is arrancar, which also means start-up (an engine) and several other things such as rip out, snatch away, kick off, and so on.

The use of Anglicisms invariably starts out as an informal matter, although the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language — the undisputed but often ignored authority on such matters — has accepted several over the years and was reported to be considering, although perhaps not seriously, “googlear.

But it’s not just verbs that are anglicized.

Correo electrónico usually takes second place to the simpler “email.” CDs and DVDs are pronounced just as they are in English, and “di-vi-di” also refers to a DVD player.

Names of certain sports have long been adapted, such as fútbol, béisbol, and básquetbol – although in Mexico the stress is usually on the “bol” and there’s no need to accentuate the words. The Spanish words balompié and baloncesto are also common.

For many people, the growing use of Anglicisms forms part of the Western (read U.S.) “cultural imperialism” that has pervaded societies from Latin America to the Far East. Some, probably many, of the people who complain about this are among the first in line to see the latest Hollywood films, and can on occasion be heard enthusiastically discussing the various comparative merits and deeper meanings of such productions on the way to Starbucks. You can, apparently, have it both ways.

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