This week, my daily news surfing brought me to this article from NPR about the unclear future of the Spanish language in the U.S. The author, Luis Clemens, challenges the idea that the growing number of Latinos in America automatically means there will be more Spanish speakers going forward. Those of us in the middle of child rearing in more than one language are familiar with how much work and conscious planning it takes to achieve the end of producing not just bilingual, but also biliterate, members of the next generation. Thus, it makes perfect sense to me, and probably to many of you, that there is not necessarily a direct connection between ethnicity and language.
More importantly than pointing to this disconnect, Clemens questions what it means when a U.S.-born Latino American isn’t truly fluent in Spanish. What does it mean for the young Latino culture when public figures (he mentions Sonia Sotomayor and Vin Diesel) can’t conduct a proper Spanish conversation in public?
This reminds me of the critique of reggaeton music and the constant battle in my state (Florida) between the Puerto Ricans, with their slang-laden Spanish, and all other Spanish speakers. Is it true that butchering a language will ultimately cause other cultural elements to go by the wayside? I’m not sure that any of us can definitively answer this question because we all cling to culture to an individual degree.
To read the rest of the this post go to SpanglishBaby.com.