H.L. Mencken > The American Language > Subject Index > Page 404
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H.L. Mencken (1880–1956).  The American Language.  1921.

Page 404
 
1846, and so it is natural to find its Spanish corrupted by American influences, especially in the vocabulary. Of the 1,400 words that Dr. Espinosa chooses for remark, 300 are English, 75 are Nahuatl, 10 come from the Indian languages of the Southwest, and 15 are of doubtful or unknown origin; the rest are pure Spanish, chiefly archaic. As in the case of the Pennsylvania Germans, the French Canadians and the Scandinavians of the Northwest, the Spanishspeaking people of New Mexico have borrowed the American names of all objects of peculiarly American character, e. g., besbol (=baseball), grimbaque (=greenback), aiscrim (=ice-cream), quiande (=candy), fayaman (=fireman), otemil (=oatmeal), piquenic (=picnic), lonchi (=lunch). Most of them have been modified to bring them into accord with Spanish speech-habits. For example, all explosive endings are toned down by suffixes, e. g., lonchi for lunch. So with many r-endings, e.g., blofero for bluffer. And sibilants at the beginning of words are shaded by prefixes, e. g., esteque for steak and espechi for speech. Not only words have been taken in, but also many phrases, though most of the latter are converted into simple words, e. g., olraite (=all right), jaitun (=hightoned), jamachi (=how much), sarape (=shut up), enejau (=anyhow). Dr. Espinosa’s study is a model of what such an inquiry should be. I cordially commend it to all students of dialect.
  English has also greatly influenced the Spanish spoken in Spanish America proper, especially in Mexico, Cuba, Porto Rico and in the seaports of South America. Sandwich and club, though they are not used by the Spaniards, are quite good Mexican. Bluffer is quite as familiar in Cuban Spanish as it is in New Mexican Spanish, though in Cuba it has become blofista instead of blofero. I take the following from El Mundo, one of the Havana newspapers, of June 28, 1920:
 
New York, junio 27.—Por un sensacional batting rally, en el octavo inning en el que los Yankees dieron seis hits incluyendo un triple de Ruth y tubeyes de Ward y Meusel, gano el New York el match de esta tarde, pues hizo cinco carreras en ese episodio, venciendo 7 a 5. Mays el pitcher de los locales autuó bien, con excepcion del cuarto round, cuando Vitt le dió un home run con dos en bases.
  Nor are such words any longer exotic; the Cubans have adopted the terminology with the game, and begin to use it figuratively as

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