CFP: Spanglish: Mongrel Tongue or New American Language (9/15/05; NEMLA, 3/2/06-3/5/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Ezra E. Fitz
contact email: 

For the 2006 NeMLA convention in Philadelphia, March 2-5.

Please submit abstracts for possible paper presentations
electronically to by SEPTEMBER 15, 2005.

Visit for membership and other information.

Panel description:

In his 2000 novel "Bodega Dreams," novelist Ernesto Quiñonez wrote
that Spanglish is "a beautiful new language…Spanglish is the
future. It's a new language being born out of the ashes of two
cultures clashing with each other. You will use a new language.
Words they might not teach you in that college. Words that aren't
English or Spanish but at the same time are both. Now that's where
it's at." Ilan Stavans has gone so far as to dub it a "new American
language" and has even published an extensive lexicon of Spanglish
terms. But not everyone is on the same boat. Language purists,
particularly with the Real Academia Española de la Lengua
Castellana often lambaste this new phenomenon, calling it "a cancer
on the tongue of la lengua" and a "mongrel tongue" that should not
be taken seriously until and unless it produces a masterpiece of
the caliber of "Don Quixote."

Whichever school of thought one may subscribe to, it's clear that
the evolution of Spanglish is a seminal event. This panel—which
expects to be a quite lively and opinionated one—will present a
range of opinions on what forms and directions this phenomenon
takes and will take in the near and distant future. Is it an
inevitable product of the emerging field of Inter-American
literature? Will we ever see a Spanglish "Don Quixote"? Or are
books like Quiñonez' "Bodega Dreams" already examples of
Spanglish's linguistic validity?

Spanglish is certainly a contentious development in the field of
Inter-American literature. Is it a linguistically valid new
American language? Or is it simply a mongrel tongue barking on the
streets of East Harlem and East L.A.? Please submit paper proposals
to Ezra Fitz via email at

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Received on Thu Jun 23 2005 - 16:34:58 EDT