Sunday, July 17, 2005

Language in the RGV

If you live in the Rio Grande Valley, you know about what I will write. If you are new or plan on moving to the Rio Grande Valley, you should know. When you drive around, you will see businesses will have signs in either English or Spanish. English dominates as it is the preferred language for business. What you don't see you will hear.

Our region has its own language, often called Tex-Mex. It is neither English nor Spanish. Many residents of the RGV are not aware that they do not speak Spanish very well because most of us who live here understand what they mean. If you are interested in learning Tex-Mex, forget it. There is no official course of any sort. Learn Spanish and the Tex-Mex will work itself out in time. It draws from both languages. So, if you have a basic knowledge of both languages, you can derive Tex-Mex.

The reason that there is no official Tex-Mex language is because it is mostly invented on the spot. If you are speaking mostly Spanish to somebody and are stuck for a Spanish word, you either say the English word or make the English word sound Spanish-like. You can do the same thing for English. Just insert some made up word when stuck for a proper English word.

There are tons of articles written on the topic. This article links to the most recent in The Monitor, our local newspaper.

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