Inspired by “un académico purista” who said on Spanish radio that he wouldn’t take seriously the hybrid of Spanish and English spoken widely in the Americas until it had its own Quixote, Ilan Stavans has translated the first chapter of Don Quixote into Spanglish! It’s available here. It’s not clear to me from the article in whether he’s translated any more than the excerpt they present (or whether he even intends to), and I’m not sure if there’s a market for it (even if you can make sense of it, you’ll probably prefer to read it in the original or in English, whichever comes easier to you), but I’m glad he’s done this much. Take that, purists! (A tip of the hat to the Enigmatic Mermaid.)


  1. I find it highly readable despite not knowing any Spanish and not having read DQ (in translation) for decades. Which I suppose shows that it is mostly English with a lot of embedded Spanish words and morphemes, sort of like Middle English being mostly Old English with the edges filed off and a lot of embedded Norman French. (Modern English doesn’t have many edges left.) It’s nowhere near as extreme as an English-based creole.

Speak Your Mind