Spanish continuing to increase in the United States; bad news for Republicans

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tras el inglés, el español es el segundo idioma más estudiado en EE.UU. Según el Instituto Cervantes hay al menos, 6 millones de estudiantes, y el 60% de los estudiantes de EE.UU. lo eligen para estudiarla como lengua extranjera.

There are two articles of note on Spanish in the United States that are worth checking out:

The first one is from the Miami Herald and sums up the situation in about the same way I would: Spanish is growing, its growth will probably result in a pretty big change to the country itself, Spanish immigrants are still concerned nevertheless that their children aren't learning the language as well as they should, but there's no danger of it ever being overwhelmed by English. And the United States has the second-largest number of Spanish speakers in the world (after Mexico), and may eventually take Mexico's place thanks to its much larger population. That's about the situation in a nutshell.

Some interesting parts:
At close to 40 million people, the tremendous growth of the Hispanic population -- the country's fastest-growing linguistic minority -- and the widespread use of their native tongue isn't lost on the Spanish Motherland.

Not only are the king and queen of Spain on an official visit to South Florida -- a region hailed by linguists as a showcase of the powerful presence of Spanish -- but the prestigious Instituto Cervantes has devoted a weighty 1,200-page book to the analysis of Spanish in the United States.

In the three months since Enciclopedia del español en los Estados Unidos was published by Santillana USA, the Doral-based division of the Spanish giant, the book has sold 9,000 copies, and a second printing is under way.
Are the Spanish reconquering America?

''I wouldn't go so far,'' says Piña, and his colleagues agree.

The shortcomings are still many: Hispanics are worried that the new generation is not speaking Spanish well, or not speaking it at all. Americans don't consider speaking a second language important enough to devote funding to quality bilingual education.

''I don't subscribe to the view that English is overwhelming and that it will overpower Spanish and make people forget the mother tongue,'' Lago says. ``The momentum of Spanish is unstoppable, the numbers tell the story -- but I don't think a triumphant posture is appropriate.''

The other article is from the Dallas Morning News about the effect this will have on the Republican Party, which remains badly positioned to capitalize on this growing population.

Texas seems to be following the same trajectory as California, with its burgeoning Hispanic population. After Republicans began policies that Latinos believed targeted them unfairly, Hispanic leaders organized massive voter registration and citizenship campaigns. The result: California is now a solidly blue state, with no indications of turning red anytime soon.

Texas has seen significant demographic shifts in three major urban centers – the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Harris County and Travis County – where Hispanics have become a third or more of the populations. At the same time, these areas have seen a sharp rise in the number of Democrats elected to city and countywide offices.

That trend is spreading nationwide, Villalba said.

So...what's the plan, GOP? Is there one?


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