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Non-Latinos Are Learning Spanish More Than Ever: Latinos . . . Not So Much


As the child of Cuban exiles, I am ashamed to admit that my own daughter’s Spanish-language skills are . . . ¿como se dice? . . . not good.  I’ve spoken to her in Spanish her entire life (okay, more like Spanglish), so she understands the language well, but speaking it is a different story.  Carrying on a full conversation exclusively in Spanish frustrates her, and eventually we revert back to English. Sometimes we will continue the conversation in a modified Spanglish that ultimately just hurts my ears.
So I was not shocked to learn that non-Latinos are learning and speaking Spanish at a higher rate than Latinos in the U.S.  A Pew Research Center study found that the number of Spanish speakers in the United States is expected to increase to approximately 40 million by 2020. However, among Latinos, the percentage of Spanish speakers is expected to drop from 75 percent to 66 percent by 2020.  Many non-Latino parents are urging their children to learn Spanish in order to prepare for their future careers, and many non-Latino adults are becoming bilingual in order to expand their career options. On the contrary, third-generation Latinos in the U.S. seem to be undergoing the experience of other immigrant groups who, as they become more established and “Americanized,” fell further and further away from the language of their abuelitos.
Roxana Soto, author of “Bilingual is Better” and co-founder of says many of her readers are “non-Latino parents who want their children to grow up bilingual. They are pushing for more dual language immersion schools where kids are immersed in Spanish from day one, ensuring they become bilingual and bi-literate.” Many adults are also seeking to develop Spanish language skills they feel may assist their……..
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