GIBRALTAR’S cultural bosses have now included a prize for a short story in their own ‘Llanito’ Spanglish fusion for a competition launched earlier this year.
Gibraltar Cultural Services included the new prize for best Llanito story alongside prizes for English and Spanish language categories.
The Ministry of Culture said the new category would ‘help promote and safeguard our unique language’.
It follows a recent visit by University of Valladolid academics that highlighted the need to preserve Gibraltar’s bilingual heritage.
The language experts said they were amazed by Gibraltarians’ ability to ‘code-switch’ between English and Spanish in their daily lives, a rare quality.
The remarks prompted a group of locals to band together to form a Multilingual Society.
Cultural officials vowed to make more moves to help preserve the Llanito language, making a start right away with this new category.
Various theories have arisen as to how the word ‘Llanito’ came to be known as a description for Gibraltarians.
Local historians have said it is was because there was a ‘llano’ or plain in front of the Rock while others say that it is irony for the way the Rock sticks out very much unlike a plain.
Either way, Gibraltarians have spoken this variation of Spanglish through the ages, confusing British sailors and Spanish visitors alike.
A local comedian, poet and academic called Jonathan Teuma even gave himself the artistic pseudonym ‘Yanito’ at poetry slams he holds in Spanish capital Madrid.
Teuma recently released a collection of poetry called A-Slam-Baba-Luba A-Slam-Bam-Bu while on a visit to Gibraltar.