February 1st, 2016

Native Spanish speaker speaking English: code-switching

My character and his family are Mexican immigrants living in New York City. They came to the city when he was thirteen, and now he’s twenty five. It’s set in present day. By now Angel is fluent in English.

My question is: When he’s speaking English, what kind of Spanish words and phrases would he interject into the conversation?

An example I found was someone saying “Mira, I think that’s a bad idea.” rather than, “Look, I think that’s a bad idea.” I’d like to know some more commonly substituted words.

In the research I’ve done (Google searches mostly), I haven’t had the best luck coming up with keywords. I’ve discovered I’m not looking for Spanglish or Chicano English, but rather something called “code-switching.” Unfortunately searching for code switching brings up mostly academic papers.

I’ve already picked up some swear words from this site, (thank you!) but I’m also looking for just what he would use in day to day conversation. I was hoping I could get the opinion of some native Spanish speakers.

Thank you so much!

EDIT: It's come up that relative names like tio are commonly used. I'm also wondering what he would call his mom and dad, both when addressing them and when referring to them.

EDIT: Thank you everyone for your responses! It's really starting to look like code-switching is not an authentic way to portray someone who's bilingual. So I don't think I should use it, as it seems more like a stereotype of how someone would talk then how people really speak two languages.