According to the Computer Spanglish Web Site, 'computer Spanglish emerges as an add-on to the Spanish language due to the influence of English-speaking machines.' Developed by Yolanda Rives, a Peruvian graduate student at the University of Texas in Austin, the site is an effort to bridge the gap between Spanish-speaking users of technology and the English speakers who developed the technology. As Rives explains in her introduction to the dictionary of words she has compiled, 'Computer Spanglish is not only a sign of the evolution of a language, but of its people who are bound by a new medium: The computer.'
Despite Rives enthusiasm, not everyone sees terms like 'drag el mouse' as progress. An article about Rives in the Austin American-Statesman (Aug. 30, 1995) quotes people who believe that accepting Spanglish terms (both online and off) as standard usage is dangerous not only because it dilutes cultural identity, but because Latinos who don't know English will be left out.
For now, there are no clear answers to the larger questions surrounding American bilingualism and its implications for our culture as the development of new technologies renews the debate. In the meantime, there are a handful of other places on the Net that attempt to navigate the middle ground between English and Latino cultures including Mexican/American Border Spaces in Textual Reality, a MOO developed out of a University of Texas class about NAFTA and the US/Mexico border.
Original to Utne Reader Online