During the “I Don’t Speak Spanish” discussion with the Latino Student Union, we sat down and were asked discussion questions as we were informed about why there are individuals who don’t speak Spanish. The first question was something I can relate to since I am Hispanic myself: What goes through your mind when you meet a Hispanic that does not speak Spanish? Although to me, I would answer quite differently because I do know Spanish, but I don’t like to speak it due to my accent. I was raised in America with English everywhere, and even though I learned Spanish at the youngest age, English overlapped my way of speech. Thus giving me more of a stutter and accent in the Spanish language. Some people are made fun of, and some don’t pick Spanish up very well, as discussed in the lecture.
Another question addressed was: what are some reasons why the number of Hispanics speaking Spanish decreasing? It was due to the dominating language here being English. We figured this is the case since our school systems use English, the menus at restaurants use English, and when we go to take a subway train in New York City: the speaker uses English vocabulary to announce the upcoming stop. There is also a bad stigma going around where they would say “just practice”, and all I, and probably any person struggling to speak Spanish can say is, “it’s not that easy.”
Some factors for some Hispanics not speaking Spanish are the Shame/fear out of it, Desire to assimilate, and that they are bad at languages. Some people, even me, are afraid of being discriminated against, especially when I go to a place where Spanish is hardly spoken, like Idaho State. If there are no Hispanics in a particular location, “who am I going to speak Spanish to?” There are Hispanics who don’t necessarily speak Spanish, rather slang, like we do in English. Another discussion question was: “Why is it important to be able to speak Spanish?” Some points were made that Spanish is almost becoming the most spoken language in the world behind Mandarin. Some jobs now actually have the job requirement to speak Spanish. For example: Customer Service Representatives, when you call and they say “dial 2 for Spanish…” that position gives a higher wage of about 50 cents to a dollar higher than an English speaking CSR.
I enjoyed my time discussing more about my own Spanish background with my peers and having them add more to it with stories of their own. Many of us listeners were involved and it was intriguing. There was also a recommendation at the end of the discussion to try out an app on the phone that helps you learn other languages over time, not to mention it’s interactive. I definitely gained some knowledge and the actual “want” of learning more languages now that I know of such an app. We talked about how interracial marriages can affect how to raise your own children by having yourself question whether the Spanish language should be taught to them or the language of the significant other.