Lonely Planet Writer

Gibraltar’s unique 'Spanglish' dialect in danger

The unique dialect of Gibraltar, which is influenced by Spanish, English, Portuguese and Jewish heritage, is under threat as the British territory moves towards becoming a monolingual community.

Gibraltar town. Spain.
Gibraltar. Image by notFlunky / CC BY-SA 2.0

Despite being right next to the Spanish border on the Spanish mainland, for the past 20 years or so children in the territory of Gibraltar have been schooled almost exclusively in English and the special Llanito dialect – a curious ‘Spanglish’ mix of mainly English and Spanish words – could be on the brink of dying out. The shift is thought to be due to Gibraltar having less contact with mainland Spain these days, and the fact that mothers who previously might have been Spanish now also speak English as their first language, resulting in less linguistic diversity as their children grow up. Read more: thelocal.es