Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Spanish Speaking Is Fading In Younger U.S. Latinos


Spanish is becoming less used in Hispanic households across the country. Now more than ever, young Latinos speak English at home, as shown in a series of studies released by the Pew Research Center. In 2014, 37 percent of Hispanics between the ages of 5 and 17 spoke only English in their home, compared to 30 percent in 2000. Nearly 30 percent of Hispanics between 18 and 33 said they only spoke English at home in 2014; but in 2000, only 20 percent did.

“The Hispanic population is diverse and diverse in a number of ways,” Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic research at the Pew Research Center, told Fox News Latino. “Not all Hispanics speak Spanish and not all speak English. But unless there is a new infusion of immigrants, the share that speaks only English at home is likely to rise in coming years.”

The study shows the loss of Spanish is happening in households across the country, especially in those in which a Spanish speaker has married a non-Spanish speaker. Paula Turkowitz has one son that speaks Spanish fluently, while the other does not. The native of Colombia knows first-hand how difficult it is to maintain her native tongue while living in the U.S. With their second child, Turkowitz was more adamant and employed techniques similar to those Juarez Sabnekar used, including mainly conversing in Spanish and using all media in Spanish, as well.

Becky Juarez Sabnekar was born in Puerto Rico. She grew up speaking Spanish and her husband grew up speaking both Hindi and English. In order to teach her children Spanish, Juarez Sabnekar had to be extremely adamant about it. She had her family in Puerto Rico send her the latest children’s movies and cartoons in Spanish. “I feel if the parents are bilingual, I think it’s hard to keep just Spanish,” she said, remarking that she had to force herself to be very strict about having her children speak Spanish at home. “In school, the whole time everything is in English, and when they come home that’s how feel more comfortable.”

Despite the growing number of at-home English speakers, most Latinos still speak Spanish in their homes (73 percent) and valued it enough for almost all respondents to say they thought it was important that future generations continue speaking Spanish, another Pew Research piece showed. As Turkowitz sees a growing number of Anglos taking up Spanish, she hopes the trend among Hispanic families turns around. But linguistic models calculate that it takes three generations for children of immigrants to lose the family’s native language entirely.

FOX News Latino