Not So Bueno: Houston East End Public Art Project Irritates Some Spanglish-Speaking Grammar Sticklers
As part of a grant-funded revitalization project, the Greater East End Management District has commissioned functional art installation projects with words in English, Spanish or some combination of the two (the pidgin “language” known as Spanglish). But the bike rack erected outside of the Merida Mexican Café at the 2500 block of Navigation is irritating a few folks, including Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenberg. “I’ve never heard anybody use that phrase,” she writes, “not even a fellow Gringo.”
Falkenberg spoke with Nory Angel, a member of the East End board and a Los Angeles native whose first language is Spanish, who said she initially was wary of the whole Spanglish concept. The East End resident says she now loves the rack: “I think the idea is that it’s a little tongue-in-cheek. It’s comical,” Angel said. Even the Merida owner, Rafael Acosta, has come around to a more neutral interpretation as “just making fun of Anglo people who try to speak Spanish … but not in a bad way.”
But when she talked with artist Anthony Thompson Shumate, he admitted that his initial reason for using the phrase was more practical than expanding the Spanglish language: “If we did ‘Muy’ we’d have to do something kind of weird with the Y.”
Whatever the reason, just remember: be a lot good!