In his most valuable, funny, and well crafted book, Breaking Out of Beginner’s Spanish, published by University of Texas Press in Austin, (1994) Joseph J. Keenan serves up page after page of what can be called gringoisms: common misusages of Spanish that English-speakers are susceptible to when trying to speak Spanish.
Keenan also makes reference to what happens with the crossover in languages when Spanish-speaking residents of the United States attempt to adapt to their new language, English. He cites an apocryphal example that could certainly travel either way on the linguistic freeway; “Voy a vacunar la carpeta.”
Well now, that is perfectly clear, isn’t it? We all know exactly what that means. “I’m going to vacuum the carpet.” Except, it is spoken in true Spanglish and really means “I’m going to vaccinate the portfolio.”
Carpet: tapete or alfombra
Vacuum cleaner: aspirador de polvo or un vacuo.
In the next Gringoism you will learn how a certain tense in Spanish can make you tense if you don’t pay very close attention.