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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Americans Start Learning Spanish

By Christopher Wilde

"For a lot of middle America those numbers probably send a little tremor of fear through them.  Growing minority groups threaten a deeply routed psychological perception of in-group status."

 

It has long been the fortune, or folly, of America to enjoy a dominate language on the world stage.  I think a major threat to that dominant language is the burgeoning economic muscle of a populous China and the now fifteen percent of the U.S. population that is Hispanic.

Today the U.S. Census Bureau has reported that the Hispanic population has grown to 45 million people.  That's three percent growth since July of last year.  Before you start screaming about immigration understand that the growth comes from births. 

According to the Bureau the order of minority groups in the US are Hispanic, Black(40 million),and Asian (fifteen million plus).  Only 66% of the U.S. population is non-Hispanic white.

For a lot of middle America those numbers probably send a little tremor of fear through them.  Growing minority groups threaten a deeply rooted psychological perception of in-group status.

Take a deep breath...do not fear, then start learning Spanish.  I'd like to offer a twist to the old mantra, "If you can't beat them join them."   Speak to culture, don't beat it.

Learning Spanish isn't giving up English, it's not even giving in to the idea that non-English speaking people living in the United States have an obligation to learn English.  They do.  Learning Spanish (or any second language) is a way to give you an edge in everything you do, a way to make you much more powerful.  For years the unfortunate reality of not having more non-English speaking people is that we often lack the second language skills shared by other industrialized nations.

That's not our fault, even those who took a second language in High School and College tend to lose those skills as a result of having no one to speak the language with on a frequent basis.

With the growth in Hispanic population we have an opportunity to have someone to share a second language with, we also have the opportunity to bridge the gap with Spanish speaking immigrants.  There is no rule that says we can't learn to speak Spanish and use that skill to help teach English.

Considering that this Hispanic population growth comes from births there is a great likelihood that most if not all of those children will grow up being bi-lingual.  They will hold enormous financial, political, and cultural power.  They will be in-group while single language English speakers will be bitter and suddenly find themselves out of group.  By learning Spanish, single language Americans are in effect creating the group and inviting Spanish speaking people into the group.

 

Someone please send me all volumes of the Rosetta Stone Spanish Language software.  I'll start right away.  I promise.

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