Thursday, November 29, 2007

New report: English Usage Among Hispanics in the United States

The Pew Hispanic Center has just released a report on the knowledge and use of English among Latinos in the United States. Check it out here.

If you have paid attention to the considerable body of scholarly literature on this subject, and if you know Spanish-speaking immigrant communities, the results are utterly unsurprising. But then if you rely on Lou Dobbs, Fox Noise and such for news on immigration, you'll be shocked.

They find "a dramatic increase in English-language ability" across generations, with English used especially at work, while Spanish fares better as home language. This survey and others, taken together,
provide a clear measure of how Hispanics believe that insufficient English language skill is an obstacle to their acceptance in the U.S.
So, new immigrants — and most other groups follow a similar pattern, from what little I know about it — are learning English as fast as they can, and they understand the value of it.

How is the learning of English today even an issue? Sadly, it still is, as confirmed by a recent Michael Reagan column, here.


The Ridger, FCD said...

It's an issue because many companies today court the Spanish-speaking customer so it's more obvious to the demonizers. Back in the day you didn't "press 3 for German, 4 for Italian, 5 for Polish". This makes the completely unremarkable Latino English-learning experience ripe fodder for those who need someone to hate and fear.

The Ridger, FCD said...

ummm... actually, can "fodder" be "ripe"? Too early... need coffee

Mr. Verb said...

"Ripe fodder" is used by journalists and others, I think.

And yeah, this is about fear, at best, for a lot of folks.