Volume 25 Fifty Years of CRIL
Working Papers

A Brief Survey of Anglicisms among Spanish Dialects

Jacob McClelland
University of Colorado
Published August 22, 2021
  • Anglicism,
  • lexical borrowing,
  • dialectal variation,
  • semantic modeling,
  • Spanish


In this survey we design a method for comparing the patterns of English lexical borrowing into dialects of Spanish. Using data collected from Corpus del Español Actual (Subirats & Ortega, 2012), we compare the frequency of 28 Anglicisms among dialectal subcorpora. We create a model that is normalized and standardized among the dialectal data.  For each token or class of tokens a Relative Borrowing Score (RBS) may be derived based on the deviation from the model baseline.  Overall rates of borrowing are thus modeled for each country, as well as semantic patterns of borrowing based on category. A comparison between the rates of particular Anglicisms and native translation equivalents, is used to evaluate the semantic changes that accompany lexical borrowing. This RBS model is shown to concur with borrowing patterns attested in previous literature. It can serve as a broad tool for identifying areas for more detailed research. It may be adapted to more narrow investigations, such as the distribution of borrowings among sociolects.