New York mayor Michael Bloomberg putting a lot of time into Spanish

Monday, January 05, 2009

You can see the article here. I think I might try starting a thread on as well to see if it starts any discussion. Bloomberg along with the rest of the government in New York seem to be giving Spanish a lot of attention:

Mayor Bloomberg - who has his eye on a third term at City Hall - has introduced a new twist to his standard news conference: Translation or, rather, traducción.

"Before we go to questions, I would like to summarize today's announcements for some of our Spanish speakers," he says at the end of most public events.

He then launches into two sentences of Spanish that - though heavily accented and somewhat mispronounced - are sure to land him on Spanish-language TV and radio.
I've never heard his Spanish but I'm always wary when I see an article claiming that a person has a heavy accent in language x or y. Often this is just another way of saying "doesn't sound exactly like a native speaker".

And as for the rest of the government:
Latinos are a sizable and rapidly growing segment of city voters - as much as 20% by some estimates - and with no Latinos in the race at the moment, every viable mayoral candidate is brushing up on his pretérito verbs.

City Controller William Thompson has been taking Spanish lessons - and pays his tutor out of campaign funds.

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner routinely brings prepared Spanish remarks to press conferences to read for the Spanish-language outlets.

"Anthony has taken Spanish lessons in the past and practices his Spanish whenever he can," spokesman John Collins said.

Bloomberg has famously taken Spanish lessons for years - as often as every day - and uses it at public events, including Spanish-language press conferences on a visit to Mexico in 2007.
This is all good news for us users of IALs (as I've written before) because Spanish is the only language that is capable of competing with English where its base of power is located (the United States), plus a greater knowledge of Spanish usually results in IALs being easier to understand at first sight. Traducción for example is traduction in Occidental. Maybe I'll try writing the mayor something in Occidental to see if he reads it.


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