The Power of the Spanglish


The English-speaking world takes for granted the immense influence it has over the rest of the world, Especially Latin-American countries like mine. I still remember one of my vacations in Colombia recently after I moved to the U.S.

I walked into a department store with my mother, and suddenly I saw “Sale” signs jumping out at me. For a second, I thought I was still in Orlando, the city where I lived at the time. Now,  the signs were not the news, but the fact that they were in English instead of Spanish, was something unusual for sure.

It’s been almost eight years, and since then, what started as a marketing strategy became a lifestyle in Colombia that will prevail indefinitely. It seems as if the independence that the founding fathers bled for against the Spanish army in the nineteenth century is completely forgotten, and now Colombia is an American slang and branding colony.

Spanish is rich and the countries that enjoy the privilege to have it as the mother language account for 477 million native speakers listed in the 2017 Cervantes Institute report. According to this data, Spanish is the second language spoken in the world, only surpassed by Mandarin Chinese.

Regardless of the importance of Spanish around the world, it comes second to English. Although it is undeniably a fundamental tool for education and professional advancement of any individual, the Anglo culture has become an obsession in developing countries.

If only the focus was toward learning the language instead of merely buying things and services in that language to feel superior to their country folks. The “wannabe gringos” are the bread and butter of the advertising agencies with narrow creativity which need to sell their client’s overpriced products.

However, there is another explanation for the English influence in my home country. The transformation of its population caused by the emigration of millions of Colombians–yours truly included–has generated an assimilation of products and brands by the relatives who frequently visit their loved ones in the U.S.

Although I understand this, and as a matter of fact my own family is a walking billboard of American brands, I dislike very much the use of English to refer to aspects of our folklore, gastronomy, and everyday activities advertised on print and social media.

The current advertising industry in Colombia has lost its creativity and the magic they used to have compared to the rest of the world. They used to shine and made our products uniquely distinctive in Spanish, such as Juan Valdez and his sweet mule Conchita, to represent the 100% Café de Colombia, our most beloved product.

Now, I have a confession to make. Even though I love writing in my native language I enjoy writing in English. I have to admit that it is the most efficient language word-count wise, which facilitates the transmission of complete ideas. Perhaps, that is the reason for its success around the world.

To give you an example, I will describe the same establishment in both, Spanish and English:

Spanish: Sala de belleza, manicure, pedicure y masajes.

English: Spa.

Now you see what I mean?

Thank you for reading and sharing.

Xiomara Spadafora

This column was sponsored by Zellner Insurance Agency. Many things in life don’t have insurance. For everything else call Zellner (888) 208-8119



Self-esteem must be the first love

El amor mas valioso es el propio

Last Saturday, November 25th, was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and many media outlets had horrific videos about crimes committed by men in broad daylight without any legal repercussions.

Even though the subject of abuse against women is a hot topic in the media right now, due to the sexual harassment cases in Hollywood and Washington D.C., the root of the violence problem, in my view, continues to be ignored. Continue reading “Self-esteem must be the first love”

Life under pressure


Last Monday, November 13th, the authorities of cardiovascular health in the United States unveiled the 2017 American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American Heart Association (AHA) Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure at the American Heart Association meeting in Anaheim, CA.

The copy of the new guideline was only available to the media seven hours before the meeting, and with reason. Based on the new parameters, the number of Americans who have high blood pressure–130 systolic over 80 diastolic–surpasses 100 million and many of them don’t even know it.


Continue reading “Life under pressure”

Mocking Prayers Now?

La oración es un pecado

Last Sunday several families’ lives changed forever in Sutherland Springs, TX. The “Psycho of the Month” opened fire indiscriminately inside the First Baptist Church of the town, sentencing to death to almost 50 service attendees. 26 people died and over 20 were injured.

The details that have surfaced since Monday about the murderer, have put the Air Force and Defense Department under the microscope due to the alleged negligence with the handing of his violent record while on service. Continue reading “Mocking Prayers Now?”

Candidates of Horror

Semana de Horror

So far, my week looks out of a horror movie. Besides Halloween, last Tuesday, one of my dogs got possessed by a rogue spirit, went crazy inside his crate and cut his lip while chewing on the plastic of the door. How could I not get spooked after a $400 bill from the vet?

However, the scariest thing was watching CNN en Español last Wednesday. The spokes-person of FARC–now known as Farc: Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común–announce Rodrigo Londoño, AKA Timochenko, as their presidential candidate for the 2018 elections. Continue reading “Candidates of Horror”

The Devil’s Advocate

El Abogado del Diablo

The sexual harassment scandal that has shaken Hollywood to its core during the past two weeks, made me remember the last scene of Devil’s Advocate, in which Al Pacino–performing The Devil masterfully–confesses that his favorite sin is vanity.

Known as the mother of all vice, vanity is the true star of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the normalized practice known in the entertainment industry as “Casting Couch.” Continue reading “The Devil’s Advocate”

The Little Corner

El Rinconcito, Moniquira, Boyaca, Colombia
The Little Corner. Moniquirá, Colombia. This picture was taken by one of my aunts last October, 2017

For my Grandmother, Alejandrina.

On April 12, over a hundred years ago, a relative of Don Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra—the William Shakespeare in the Spanish language–was born in the sweetest town of Colombia, Moniquirá.

Pacific Saavedra, better known as The Duck Saavedra in town, was an entrepreneur and storyteller, who loved playing the treble guitar and singing. Continue reading “The Little Corner”