Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Speakie El Español, Chico

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Speakie El Español, Chico

Article excerpt

The Spanish language is considered to be one of the most popular modes of expression in our world. It's the tongue of Cervantes, the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and the Mexican composer Agustín Lara and a few historical scoundrels.

It can be elegant, or it can be crude. It could be pretentious or forthright. It's a language steeped in history that is destined to prevail until the end of time so say the romanticists.

Who knows if some day it might even reach outer space like Mars where funny looking specimens inhabiting the planetary outliers are talking like "oye Chico." Right now, there is an interesting phenomenon taking place in the United States.

More and more Americans are speaking Spanish, but it's the gringos attempting its mastery while Latinos in the U.S. by choice are destined to speak less and less Spanish pretending not to know it due to their U.S. acculturation or preferring not to practice the language whatever their dominance might be.

Some Latinos due to their socio-economic circumstances in the U.S. are stuck with Spanish and deficient in the upward-mobility of English communication.

The Anglos and other cultures consider that being bilingual is progressive and Spanish as an exemplary example while some, like U.S. Latinos, look at it the opposite as being regressive and that its practice in some quarters can be stigmatizing, so they downplay this advantage or neglect it.

A study not long ago by the Pew Hispanic Center brought this out citing figures but not really quantifying the reasons except to fuel it with the old adage propagated by some of our Latino elders that when in America by birth, destiny or professionalism you should make English your dominant language, as in "speak American."

It also tells that bilingualism in the U.S., preferably in Spanish, is better and advantageous.

It's an interesting dichotomy, nevertheless, when the study suggests that more and more Anglos and non-Hispanics wish they knew how to speak Spanish or are learning Spanish while many Latinos in the U.S. feel burdened or psyched by their lack of adequate English and the socio-economic disadvantages it brings.

Show your lack of English, particularly if you are Latino, and you're apt to be labeled as illegal and/or illiterate weighed with the inequalities that failure at communication reveals.

The Pew study tells an interesting kink among the projected Spanish speakers in the U.S.

The number of Spanish speakers is projected to grow to about 40 million by 2020 from 37 million in 2011.

Among Hispanics, the share that speak Spanish now is projected to fall from the current 75 percent to 66 percent in 2020. …

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