Language Contact

Many Spanish-speaking countries and communities have contact with English; this can result in Spanish speakers incorporating feature that show English influence and vice-versa. There are many types of verb uses that show influence from English. Below are a few common forms.

Hacer + English Verb

When speakers want to use an English verb while speak Spanish, some use the following structure: hacer + English verb. In the example below, Norma seamlessly incorporates the verb push from English into her Spanish  by using a conjugated form of hacer right before it.

Él sí me hacía push mucho a que compitiera, que hiciera extra, extracurricular activities y todo eso. So, yo diría que él, un buen maestro.
He pushed me to compete, to do more, extracurricular activities and all that. So I would say that he was a good teacher.

English Verb + ar/ear

Another strategy Spanish speakers use to incorporate English is to transform a English verb into a Spanish one by adding verb endings:  -ar or -ear . Notice in the example below we see the same English verb, push, as in the example above. The same verb can be adopted into Spanish in different ways.

Tenía que estar ahí pushándome, para poder avanzar, so, decidí agarrar una carrera técnica. I had to be pushing myself to advance so I decided to get a technical degree. 

Extended Use of Agarrar

Some English influence on Spanish is not as noticeable as borrowed English words as seen in the first two examples; English can subtly affect the way native Spanish words are used. A common example found in Texas is the way many speaker use the verb agarrar ‘to grab’. In most dialects of Spanish, agarrar is used only with the literal meaning ‘to grab or grip something physically’ as seen in the example below.

Los camioneros cuando van por el sur de Argentina, se permite comer una oveja. Agarran una oveja, la matan y hacen un asado.
The truckers when they go through the south of Argentina are allowed to eat a sheep. They grab a sheep, kill it and have a barbecue.

However, in Texas agarrar has become multiple purpose like the verb to get in English. The examples below show agarrar being used in places where the English translation uses to get. Below the agarrar examples is an alternative version more common in most Spanish-speaking countries.

Yo me esforcé para agarrar becas.
I tried hard to get a scholarship.

Yo me esforcé para conseguir becas.

No quiso agarrar ayuda del gobierno.
He did not want to get financial aid from the government.

No quiso recibir ayuda del gobierno.

Nacer and Ser Nacido/a

While the most common translation of to be born is the Spanish intransitive verb nacer, some bilingual speakers sometimes use the structure verb ser + past participle of the verb nacer, nacido/nacida, that clearly resembles the corresponding English formation. Check the example below, where this structure is used in the preterit tense. Below the example is an alternative version more common in most Spanish-speaking countries.

Fui nacido en México, pero me hice ciudadano a los catorce años.
I was born in Mexico, but I became a citizen when I was fourteen.

Nací en Méxicopero me hice ciudadano a los catorce años.