"Estudio etimológico: una perspectiva socio-linguística e histórica del habla Chicano,"
Arnoldo Carlos Vento, Ph.D.
"Estudio etimológico: una perspectiva socio- linguística e histórica del habla Chicano," NACS Anthology, (Berkeley: Tonatiuh-Quinto Sol International, 1980), 195-205..
This article consists of a sociolinguistic study of the Spanish language of the Southwest. Its aimis to trace etymologically words in common usage by the SpanishSpeaking of Mexican ancestry. It, moreover, attempts to dispel the concept of “TexMex” or the idea that the Spanish used by the Spanish-Speaking of this area is a corruption of English via hispanicized English expressions. Rather, this writer reveals that the language used in the Southwest is derived from four distinct languagesystems. They are (1) Archaic Spanish (2) Gypsy Calo or Romany, (3) Aztekah Nahuatl, and (4) English. It is through an etymological analysis that one can trace the origin, location and time period of the linguistic impact to the Spanish language of the S.W. Another objective of the study is to demonstrate how language can be used as a tool for social and racial discrimination. It shows how archaicspeech, while pure Castillian of the Middle Ages, is seen as vulgar and barbaric among the Campesino and Chicano populations. It, further, points to the problem of language purity often used as a linguistic position against the poor by language Academies or Professors of Academia. Such positions were taken by the Colonial Spanish vis a vis SpanishAmerica as well as twentieth century American Spanishteachers in the public schools. It should be noted that Spanish is a mixture of many different linguistic influences.
Language is always in evolution and continuos change. Due to racial segregation and factors of isolation, certain populations have maintained an archaic lexicon and upon coming in contact with mainstream groups, are looked upon as inferior and uneducated. Although ChicanoSociolinguistics is a fairly new field, work on the Spanish language of New Mexico was done as early as 1909 by Aurelio Espinosa. This study follows the format of analysis of the four distinct language systems that impact the Spanish spoken in the Southwest. Archaic Spanish is seen in groups that have been isolated geographically from other sectors of society. This can be due to natural causes as is thecase with the New Mexicans of northern New Mexico, or due to racial discrimination as seen with the Spanish against Native-Americans and Mestizos during colonial times. Another group that has retained archaic Spanish
expressions is the Campesinos of Mexico and older or isolated Chicanos. Some examples include the following archaic words: mesmo (world standard Spanish— mismo or same), trujo(world standard Spanish-trajo or brought), vide (world standard Spanish-vi or saw), rede (world standard Spanish-red or net), asina (world standard Spanish asi or in this manner). These words can be traced back to early middle Ages in the Poema del Mio Cid. “Asina”, popularly used in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas comes from the archaic Ansi which evolved to ansina, then asina and finally asi.There are some expressions, while ancient, which can be traced to other
languages that have impacted the Spanish of Spain. The barrio expression huisa (guisa or girlfriend, woman) used by Cholos or low-riders today can be traced back to the Old German of the Visogoths. The archaic Old German for woman or girlfriend was weise which, when pronounced correctly in German, has essentially the samepronunciation as the current huisa (the h is silent) as used by Cholos or low riders today. One of the most pre-dominant languages to impact the Spanish of the Southwest is Aztec Nahuatl, Currently; there are literally thousands of words that derive from pre-Columbian sources known as Mexicanismos or Mexicanisms. Since Aztec
Nahuatl was the lingua franca of Mexico in pre-Hispanic times, it...