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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Linguistic Loans

Wonderful, wonderful conversation serving as an example of the influence of the English on Spanish use in US society.

I had the following conversation at the end of the day with a 2nd grade male who speaks English quite fluently, but does get pulled out of the classroom for English Language Development. His home language is Spanish.

Boy: Do you know a word in Spanish?
Me: I know lots of words in Spanish!
Boy: Can you tell me one?
Me: Yeah, well, which word?
Boy: Do you know "apple"?
Me: Yes, manzana.
Boy: Right. Umm... how do you say "folder"?
Me: Carpeta, right?
Boy: No...carpeta is carpet.
Me: Hmm, mmm, okay. Yes. I think it can also mean folder.
Boy: No. No, folder is...um...umm...
Me: There are different ways to say it, but I'm pretty sure carpeta is one way to say folder.
Boy: No, because carpeta is carpet. Folder is... ....
Me: ...
Boy: Oh! Foldér.
Me: Okay.

Carpeta is a commonly used English loan for "carpet", though it also means "folder" which makes it all a little confusing. As far as I know, foldér doesn't mean anything in Spanish, aside from being an English loan taken from "folder." Overall, it was a really fascinating conversation.


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