martes, 26 de abril de 2016

Latinos learning Spanish in the US

With almost 40 million speakers, Spanish is the second most spoken language in the US, just after English.

Watch this Guardian video clip which shows how a growing number of latinos are trying to come to grips with the language and culture of their parents.

My dad has a story he loves to tell about how I came home on the first day of kindergarten and he was speaking to me in Spanish and I said: "Don't speak to me in Spanish any more". There was a time in my early teens when I didn't want to be identified as Hispanic. The only person that I spoke Spanish with was my mother, and when she passed away that was it, I didn't speak.
When I was in college, I had all these classmates and because my last name is Moreno they all assumed that I spoke perfect Spanish so they were like: "What are you doing here? Why are you learning Spanish? Don't you know Spanish?"
I was born in San Antonio, Texas and I'm Mexican-American but I didn't grow up speaking Spanish. My grandparents spoke predominantly Spanish but when it came to us, my parents actually decided to speak to us in English. They didn't want us to have accents. They wanted us to be acculturated. They wanted us to fit in. They wanted us to be successful, and to them being successful meant English.
You just talk to any latino who went to elementary school or high school in their 30s or 40s or 50s, and one thing that you'll encounter is that many will tell you that when they spoke Spanish in school, they were punished for speaking Spanish. Often we're getting messages like "Speak English because it's important", and "be American". Of course, the 1960s changes all of that and we're in a much different period today.
I never considered what my identity was as a Mexican-American but then when I went to university they had all these amazing classes like Chicano literature classes and Spanish classes and that's when I decided that I really wanted to really discover my heritage and really reclaim it for myself and that's when I started studying in Spanish.
Robyn had this urge to communicate. She has a full command of the language in English and she wanted to do that in Spanish but she couldn't. Teaching latinos is a little bit more challenging because we have to deal with the feeling that they should have known the language and they don't know it. There is a lot of emotional stuff going on when they learn the language and that could be a little bit detrimental to
their learning.
I was raised speaking Spanish until I started kindergarten. I saw the other kids speaking English, there were no other kids speaking Spanish and I didn't want to be a different person.
Even among English-speaking latinos, more than 90 per cent say that it's important that future generations of latinos speak Spanish. I think that this emphasis on pride and heritage, and Spanish is an important part of that heritage, is something that's going to keep Spanish alive in a way that maybe for previous immigrant groups just wasn't possible.
It's really important to me that my kids speak Spanish because I want them to know their latina culture.
Oso (bear)! He's cute! Hi oso!
I feel like as you get more and more Americanised you start to want some of that nostalgia. I even miss my mum's weird accent or the fact that she loves cheesy novellas. I want them to know that they are proudly latina, they're proudly Mexican-American, and know who their grandparents were, who their great-grandparents were, who their family is. And so Spanish is a part of that.