LANGUAGE, RACE, AND CULTURE
Although the main concern in this book is with the Spanish- speaking population of New Mexico, it is necessary to describe these people not only in terms of themselves but in relation to other population components. That is, in order to understand this group, the characteristics which set it off from other groups in the state and which make it culturally and socially visible must first be identified.
The people in this group are sometimes designated as Spanish- speaking, and for the sake of convenience the term has been retained in this study. But it should be noted that while this term not only covers a large variety of linguistic behavioral patterns, it also fails to characterize a large number of Spanish-Americans in New Mexico today who no longer speak Spanish with any fluency. Some of these, in addition to speaking English, have retained a kind of Spanish-English mixture which may be used only for communication with fellow New Mexicans of similar background. Others, speaking perfect English, have completely forsaken the tongue of their ancestors. A few, usually among the more educated intellectual class, have made a point of learning to speak both English and Spanish well, but they are, unfortu-