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‘Andalunglish’: the English words Spaniards have borrowed from Gibraltar

University student María Ortega has preserved disappearing words spoken in La Línea de la Concepción

Try asking for one of these in a Spanish sweet shop. Original photo:  Ana Morales .  Creative Commons 2.0 .
Try asking for one of these in a Spanish sweet shop. Original photo: Ana Morales. Creative Commons 2.0.

In La Línea de la Concepción, the town in Andalusia’s Cadiz province neighboring Gibraltar, locals looking for a low-cost meal will buy a tin of carne conbí; children play with meblis and they chew chinga. Similarly, a panquequi requires bequinpauda. University student and linguist María Ortega has collected these and other words once widely used by Spaniards living in the proximity of the Rock: corned beef, marbles, chewing gum, plumcakes and baking powder.

Ortega, a graduate of Granada University, says that linguists have studied the influence of Spanish on the English spoken in Gibraltar, known as llanito, but that there has been little research in to how English has influenced Spanish in the areas neighboring the British Overseas Territory.

“This ‘language’ was born from the union of two communities,” she says, adding: “I started working on this believing that many words would have been lost because of the closure of the frontier between Gibraltar and Spain between 1969 and1982, as well as the effects of globalization.”

The 22-year-old started out by selecting 15 words and expressions taken from the English spoken in Gibraltar, among them, infleita (bicycle pump), rolipó (lollypop), washi (a dip in the sea), ámbo (handball), kaite (kite), and focona (a reference to the four corners, a term used to describe the border crossing.

‘Andalunglish’: the English words Spaniards have borrowed from Gibraltar

Ortega set about collecting words taken from English by some 20 people who represented a cross-section of Spanish society in La Linea de la Concepción. For example, she would show her subjects liquorice, which is known locally as liquibá, or knitting needles and wool, some of whom told her her this was nitin.

Ortega concludes that despite the continuing close contact between La Línea and Gibraltar, younger Spaniards are less likely to use words of Gibraltarian origin. She says this is because the cultural influence of Gibraltar is waning, and also because other English terms are now used: bequi has disappeared, to be replaced by bacon.

After spending a year in the United States as a teaching assistant, Ortega is now taking her Master’s degree in Madrid, specializing in teaching Spanish to foreigners. She says that if the world has accepted the term Spanglish, it should now start learning Andalunglish.

Engish as it is spoken in La Línea de la Concepción

- Infleita (inflator). Spanish: bomba de aire, inflador.

- Meblis (marbles). Spanish: canicas.

- Chinga (chewing gum). Spanish: chicle.

- Bequinpauda or pauar (Baking powder). Spanish: levadura.

- Rolipó (lollypop). Spanish: chupachups.

- Quequi or panquequi (cake or plumcake). Spanish: bizcocho, tarta, pastel.

- Bequi (bacon). Spanish: Bacon, panceta.

Imagen original: Peter Macdiarmid  Getty
Imagen original: Peter Macdiarmid / Getty

- Liquirbá (liquorice bar). Spanish: regaliz, barra de regaliz.

- Carne conbí (corned beef). Spanish: carne de buey enlatada

- Yersi (jersey). Spanish: jersey, rebeca.

- Washi (to wash). Spanish: darse un baño en la playa.

- Aliquindoi (look and do it). Spanish: estar atento, alerta.

- Chuar (to choose). Spanish: echar a suertes, elegir.

- Nitin (to knit). Spanish. Hacer punto.

Foto original:  Liz M .  Creative Commons 2.0 .
Foto original: Liz M. Creative Commons 2.0.

 English version by Nick Lyne.

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