Friday, April 5, 2013

Politics and language

Cubierta delantera

This week I read a very interesting article published in “” and I want to share it with you.  In this text, the author talks about the way that some people as William Flores and Rina Benmayor, writers of the book “Latino Cultural Citizenchip” and teachers from California State University, Northridge and California State University, Monterey Bay respectively, are trying to defend and promote bilingualism in United States.

According to this website the defenders of Spanish cause, as they call these people, has two objectives: 

    1.      To impede the assimilation of the Spanish speakers to the United States culture and society and to create, instead of it, a very big Spanish cultural and social community, Spanish-speaking, autonomous and permanent, in North American land.

     2.      To transform United States in a bilingual and bicultural society.  United States should abandon the angle central culture and varied ethnic cultures which have had for three centuries. In its place, it should have two cultures, the Hispanic and the anglo – American and, in a more explicit way, two languages, Spanish and English.

Flores and Benmayor take New York as an example of the bilingual phenomenon. They say that in this city Spanish is an element of daily use in the street, in business, in public and social services, in schools and at home.  “Today – Profesor Ilan Stavans, a very known Mexican- American essayist and lexicographer says– in United States you can open a savings account, to get medical assistance, watch soap operas, present income tax returns, love and die without  pronounce a word in English”.

In this article, they talk about the salaries that people can obtain when they know only English, only Spanish and both languages. They take as an example bilingual policemen and firemen from Phoenix and Las Vegas who have bigger incomes than those who only talk in English.  In Miami, a research says, families who only spoke in Spanish had an average income of US$18,000, families who only spoke in English han an average income of US$32,000 and the bilingual families earned an average income of $US50,376 per year.  

The questions that I ask myself are:  Is it necessary that Spanish has defenders in United States?   Is it possible that the Spanish culture and language set up by itself as a result of an economic and cultural change? I am conscious that some North American people, specially politicians, can be against of this movement or change, due to that, I have other question, How can they stop this movement? I would like to read your opinions about it and if you want to read the complete article you can have it in this link:  Thank you for your opinions.

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