Spanglish – or "espanglish" in Spanish – was only recognized as a real word by the Royal Academy of Spanish last month, but this rich mixture of English and Spanish has been the real world language of preference if not necessity for millions of Hispanics and others living in North and South America for several generations. In the United States alone, over 45 million people speak Spanish as a first language and over half of those speak English or Spanglish as well [bit.ly/aET5QK]. In areas with a heavy influx of Spanish-speaking immigrants – like South Florida and the states that border Mexico – the Spanglish presence is even more pronounced. In Greater Miami, for example, over two-thirds of the population speak Spanish [bit.ly/TVaM6I] heavily peppered with English or vice-versa – in other words, Spanglish – and it is not at all unusual to see billboards like the ones advertising "Coors Light: Refreshing partner de Los Marlins" or "23 sabores blended into one extraordinary taste: Dr. Pepper. Inconfundible."
Linguistic purists may see the proliferation of Spanglish as a problem, but for businesses operating or serving markets in areas like South Florida, Texas, Arizona or California it is an opportunity. And regardless of whether a growing number of Spanglish-speaking people leads to increased demand for Spanglish websites or a growing number of "sitios espanglish" contributes to a larger Spanglish-speaking population, Bruce Arnold sees Spanglish web development as another online marketing arena where standards-based web design can assure high visibility and broad accessibility. According to Mr. Arnold, creating and presenting Spanglish content requires more than colorfully interwoven combinations of bilingual Spanish and English text. As with all multilingual web presentations, key technology considerations include not only UTF-8 encoding, multilingual character sets and nested language attributes on markup elements but also leveraging polyglot markup and following W3C guidelines for internationalization:
"As you can see by clicking View Source on many browsers, all web pages are rendered in a markup language like HTML or XML, the standards for which are set by the World Wide Web Consortium or W3C," Arnold explained. "Polyglot markup refers to web page source that parses and validates as W3C-compliant for both XML and HTML, and adhering to that front-end development discipline broadens accessibility across standard desktop and notebook computer browsers along with iPad and Android tablets and Mobile Web smartphones and iPhones. Then also composing and coding the mixed-language content in conformity with W3C internationalization conventions heightens audience comprehension and appeal as well as search visibility. And as is true for all web marketing initiatives, high visibility coupled with broad accessibility assures optimal traffic, conversion and success potentials."
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