During Hispanic Heritage Month, Velazquez Press Suggests Public Consider How Spanish Words Have Become Part of Our Culture

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The cultural impact Spanish has had on the American vocabulary.

As the nation celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month, Velazquez Press, the premier authority in Spanish and English words for over 150 years, suggests the public reflect on the cultural impact Spanish has had on the American vocabulary.

"We all know that such words as 'taco' and 'enchilada' have become common place in America's daily talk, but did you know that 'cafeteria,' 'chaps' and even the word 'pot' have a Spanish origin," said Jonathan Ruiz, director of Business Development for Velazquez Press.

"We know many American cities have Spanish names such as El Paso, San Diego and Santa Barbara," he added, "but there are some Spanish words we use and never think about from where they came from such as 'cafeteria.'"

Ruiz offered five words as an example of words that the public uses, but may not know have Spanish roots. They are:

Cafeteria: The word originated from Spanish 'cafeteria,' which means 'coffeehouse.' The ending '-teria' means 'help yourself.' Next time you go to your cafeteria, don't forget to ask a cup of coffee.

Chaps: Many cowboy words have a Hispanic heritage. Chaps, what many cowboys wear while they ride on ranches, in parades and rodeos, is a modification of the Mexican Spanish word 'chaparreras.'

Coyote: The common word for the North American canis is borrowed from Mexican Spanish, which itself ultimately derived from the Nahuatl word coyotl.

Poncho: You wear plastic ponchos when it's rainy, and wool ponchos in the fall to keep you warm. The word poncho originally comes from South America, which means 'woolen fabric.'

Pot: We are not talking about flower 'pot' or kitchen 'pot.' The 'pot' we're talking about here is marijuana. 'Pot' is the shortened form of the Mexican Spanish word 'potiguaya,' which means marijuana leaves.

"These are just some of the Spanish words that have come into America's dictionary, and as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, we should recognize how much Spanish has become part of our nation's culture," Ruiz said.

About Velazquez Press
Velazquez Press, a division of Academic Learning Company, has been the premier authority in Spanish and English for over 150 years, and its Velazquez Spanish Dictionary includes over 250,000 translations. It is the top selling full-size unabridged Spanish-English dictionary in the United States. The Web site can be found at http://www.AskVelazquez.com, or through http://www.VelazquezPress.com.

For More Information: Contact Velazquez Press at 9682 Telstar Ave. ste 110 El Monte, CA 91731. By Phone: (626) 448-3448

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