When I was researching Spanish text messaging for Question #55 in my book, I was intrigued by the frequent substitution of the letter k for qu and c. This pattern is especially curious because the letter k isn’t native to Spanish. It normally appears only in borrowings such as kilómetro.
A friendly redditor explained this texting phenomenon as follows:
Not sure about other countries, but in Spain, substituting the “k” traditionally conveyed certain social/cultural/political leanings. It goes back to the early post-Franco years and was initially a punk way to hack the language (see Kaka de Luxe, Rock Radikal Vasco, etc.). Basque also has had an influence.
That’s a lot of power for a simple letter of the alphabet.
Given this background, I was excited to see many uses of k in business names and graffiti when I was in Spain in May. Here are some pictures, with my captions as color commentary.