Why Do We Say 'Emails' in Spanish?

English Tech Terms in Modern Spanish

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You may have noticed that a lot of Spanish-speakers and writers use the word "emails," in which case you may be wondering: why doesn't Spanish seem to have its own word for "e-mail?" And, if email is a Spanish word, why isn't the plural emailes instead of emails?

Email is One of the Spanish Words for Email

These days, believe it or not, email (or e-mail) is a Spanish word. It is very commonly used, although it has not been recognized yet by the Spanish Royal Academy and is considered by many to be an anglicism.

It even has a verb form, emailear, that is sometimes used. It is one of those English words that has been adopted into Spanish even though some perfectly good "real" Spanish alternatives exist. In Spanish, email is often pronounced pretty much as it is in English, although the final l sound is more like the "l" in "light" than like the "l" in "mail."

Other Spanish Words for Email

In many countries, the term correo electrónico (which is listed in the RAE's dictionary) is quite commonly used in place of or interchangeably with email. There is also its shorter cousin, correo-e.  If you're talking with someone familiar with the Internet or computer technology, any of the terms are likely to be understood.

English Technology Words in Popular Spanish

The example of email isn't an unusual one. Many Internet and other technology-related terms as well as words from popular culture have been borrowed from English and are used along with "pure" Spanish counterparts.

You'll hear both browser and navegador used, for example, as well as both tráiler and avance for a movie trailer or preview, with the former probably being more common (although the written accent isn't always used).

There Isn't Always a 'Right' Word To Use

It's important to remember that, in real life, people don't always follow the rules in the dictionary.

Just because a word isn't technically the "correct" Spanish word doesn't mean people won't use it. Some purists might not find the word "emails" acceptable, but that's just the way people say it.

Why the Plural of 'Email' Isn't 'Emailes'

As for plurals, it is very common in Spanish for words that are imported from foreign languages, usually English, to follow the same rules of pluralization as they do in the original language. For many words taken from English, then, the plurals are formed simply by adding an -s even if an -es would normally be called for according to the rules of Spanish orthography. One common example, at least in Spain, is that the Spanish currency, el euro, is divided into 100 cents, not the centes you might expect.

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Erichsen, Gerald. "Why Do We Say 'Emails' in Spanish?" ThoughtCo, Oct. 24, 2017, thoughtco.com/is-emails-a-spanish-word-3079193. Erichsen, Gerald. (2017, October 24). Why Do We Say 'Emails' in Spanish? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/is-emails-a-spanish-word-3079193 Erichsen, Gerald. "Why Do We Say 'Emails' in Spanish?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/is-emails-a-spanish-word-3079193 (accessed November 23, 2017).