No Hablo Spanish

My first language was Spanish but over the course of my life I have come to adopt English as my primary language of communication; it’s not like I had a choice, I was born in the United States. My Parents, not so, they’re from Puerto Rico and are as close to bilingual as you get. I on the other hand am less-so, not that I can’t understand Spanish its just that my upbringing involved having many more conversations in English than my “native” tongue. Therefore, while I can follow a conversation spoken in Spanish and understand it in near entirety, i simply cannot intelligently write Spanish, and many times, speak it. Unsurprisingly, i am not alone. A recent study concluded that less, relative to say 25-50 years ago, of the Hispanic population are results of first generation family members and more so are of second or third generation members who learned English as their first language and speak Spanish less than fluently. Univision has caught on: It has two Twitter feeds, one for its viewers that understand the programming, and another in English for those that need pointers. This applies to the information cascade on a very applicable sense because each prospective generation is tasked with the decision of whether or not to learn Spanish. In most parts of the United States where people predominantly speak English most immigrants will chose to teach their kids English because that’s what everyone speaks so the direct benefit of speaking English is that you can converse with everyone. Even yet, a recent Pew poll concluded that 95% of Hispanics believe that it is “important for future Hispanics to speak Spanish”, a surprisingly high number for a group of people who are seemingly doing less to pass on a language from generation to generation. I was also thinking about the Ultimatum game and how the person being offered the dollar at unfair splits has a tendency to reject the offer all together because from his perspective: To have you and your opponent walk away with nothing trumps having you walk out with little and your opponent with plenty. I would be interested to see how Spanish Fluency corresponds to Socioeconomic position in Hispanic-Americans. I would venture to guess that as Hispanics get poorer there Spanish becomes better. Semi-stereotypical but nonetheless I’d take my hypothesis to be both an indicator of one’s closeness to being first generation, or a decision to not adopt the English language in the first place. Sonia Sotomayor is mentioned in the article. It says she doesn’t speak Spanish Fluently.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2013/04/29/179816884/as-americas-latino-population-grows-will-spanish-thrive-in-the-u-s

MOS

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