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Monday, March 12, 2012 (read 1308 times)

Spanglish Dilemma in USA

by Dilek

There are roughly  40 million Hispanics living in the US and Spanish is the second widely spoken language in the country.

After a long political background and immigration history, the majority of Spanish speakers are mostly from Mexico and Cuba then followed by other Latin American countries. Mostly settled in Southern Eastern parts especially in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, Spanish is the most popular language, and in Miami Spanish is the first language mostly due to Cuban immigration.  USA has no official language, English is widely used language in the federal and state level but in the states which have Spanish speaking residents like California have bilingual policies and documents.

Under this multicultural atmosphere, there can be several problems which is a result of conflicting preference of language usage. Although many new Latin American immigrants are less than fluent in English, nearly all second and third-generation Hispanic Americans speak English fluently, while only about half of them can speak Spanish.

The students and the families that have recently migrated to the US struggle with mastering English language. The students who need to demonstrate English proficiency, don’t have the opportunity to practice the language as a result of living in Hispanic community. Another problem is parents who don’t know English. They can’t create a healhty communication with government officials and teachers of their children.

In order to clear away this language barrier, several public courses have started to teach English to newcomers. In exchange, the police officers and in other officials have started to learn Spanish to create a mutual trust. Today the call centers offer services both in English and Spanish, many Americans want to learn Spanish as Hispanic culture has a great impact on community and economy.

While it is pretty difficult to speak a language apart from the native language, there is a good amount of Hispanic people who can’t speak Spanish and English became their mother language. After a long stay in the US, getting education in English and living in an English speaking community cause the second or third generation Hispanics forget Spanish and assimilate into American culture. There are some who realize the importance of identity and historical ties, go after learning Spanish and make visits to their home lands to learn Spanish in Mexico.

The situation of being caught in the middle of Spanish and English will continue for a while in USA and some people have a high opinion that Spanish will become the first language whilst some think that it will fade away after two generations later. Whatever the conclusion is, currently the %12 of Spanish speaking population of USA still has a great influence of American life.

Keywords: spanish, hispanics, spanish in usa, mexico, cuba, latin america, speak spanish


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