ERIC Number: ED335176
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991-May
Use of the Spanish Language in the United States: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities. ERIC Digest.
This ERIC digest examines the Spanish-speaking group in the United States, its growth through net immigration and natural increase, and its eventual decline as speakers shift to English. The Hispanic population is growing rapidly, but data suggest that U.S. Hispanics do learn and speak English. Research predicts that by the year 2001 the Spanish-speaking group will total 16.6 million and some 95% of the immigrant population will have Spanish for their mother tongues. However, only a bare majority of the U.S. native born will be given Spanish as their first language. Although most Hispanic immigrants remain lifetime bilinguals, the language shift begins immediately upon an immigrant's arrival in the United States, and ends within approximately 15 years. The language shift spans three generations, beginning with the immigrants who continue to speak Spanish, and ending with their grandchildren who virtually all have English as their mother tongue. Policy implications are: (1) the English language is not endangered by the use of Spanish; (2) simple courtesy suggests that essential public announcements and services should be provided in Spanish; (3) more English classes for adults are needed; (4) Spanish-speaking children need bilingual education; and (5) bilingual capabilities should be encouraged among all. (KS)
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools, Charleston, WV.