Los Nativios Digitales Estan Cambiando el Castellano

The first emails I ever wrote in Spanish, back in 1994, were formal in tone and style. “Estimida No Se Quien, Espero que este mensage no se que no se cual…” The formal, polite style that written Spanish requires seemed an ill fit for the fast-paced communications of the Internet age. But, now come los Nativos Digitales, the generation of hispanos digital natives to set us straight about how to communicate online.

For the past six months, the most read post (by far) on this blog has been a transcription of the lyrics Calle 13’s smash hit Atrevete-te. Dozens of comments, almost all of them, apparently, composed by Latin American teens and youngsters, have taught me a new way to write in Spanish (to the consternation of my wife, I must say, who finds my Spanish messed up to begin with). Algunos ejemplos:

la wea weona
wena onda onda en todo caso

esta cansion esta chida

la cancion es de la pm y al q no le gusta es x q no sab e bailar

ke la cancion es mierda, pero es chistosa muy wena

I was reminded of idiomatic Spanish while listening to Cafe Tacuba’s classic cover of Chilanga Banda. (Juan, I’m counting on you to point me to the original verison.)

Has there been a more consistent band, in any language, over the last 20 years or so? Hard core, ska, banda, boleros, tango, electronica, jam, metal, rap– they manage it all well. I’ve heard them compared to the Beatles– its unfair, but they’ve been around longer and are better musicians than the Scousers.) In any case, here’s Chilanga Banda.


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