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Norteño Talk

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Book: The ‘Encyclopedia of Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico’ has something for visitors and locals alike

By Jennifer Garcia

Getting a grasp on the English language can be difficult, especially for those who were not brought up learning it. After all, there are so many things to consider, especially when words like cool have double meanings. Of course, there’s also words like their, there and they’re, to consider.
Northern New Mexicans don’t make the task any easier. They seem to have a language all their own. It’s a fusion of American English and Castilian Spanish and produces terms such as acequia, mijo and patrón, which are mixed in with everyday English. It’s not uncommon to hear a native New Mexican speak Spanglish, a mix of English sprinkled with Spanish words here and there.
While using Spanish terms is commonplace for most New Mexicans, it’s not so easy for tourists and those who have moved to New Mexico to understand the lingo. Until now.
Mark H. Cross, a proofreader for the New Mexico Legislature, has written “Encyclopedia of Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico,” to help people understand the language and history of New Mexico.
Cross’ tale of moving to New Mexico is not unique. Like many who fall in love with the Land of Enchantment, he came to visit a friend here and decided to make New Mexico his home. So in 1996, he made the move to Santa Fe and has lived there ever since.


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