Young Hispanic Language Community
Hispanic population is the biggest minority group in the United States by so far, that’s why studying this community is not only aspiring but also reasonable from the diverse perspectives. According to Penn & Zalesne (202), nowadays in America, the number of people who do not speak English fluently increases exponentially. In this paper, I will try to shed light on the given language community and reflect my experience in interaction.
The US system of education has always been promoting the opportunities of studying in colleges and universities for different cultural groups (Hagedorn et al. 73). The Latino population grew by 250-300% in the past 15 years, especially in the Southern states, report Vilalba et al., being “the fastest growing ethnic group of both population and proportion” (Hagedorn et al. 74) and also affected the proportion of students from the ethnical perspective. In 2007, the total number of people living in the US and not speaking the official language well was equal to 25 million (Penn & Zalesne 203). More than half of them were not evaluating the perspective of learning it. Let’s now observe the Hispanic community in particular.
When it concerns higher education, one can mention that the Hispanic community is represented by significantly less amount of students compared to college. One of the reasons for this, as Hagedorn et al. (74) points out, may be the feeling of isolation throughout the educational process in college where the number of representatives from the same communities is not as high as the amount needed for an individual perception not to feel alienated.
However, this contradicts the suggestion made by the same authors that out of all Latino population in the United States, the youth age group is the largest. Penn & Zalesne (203) also explain the reasons for the Latino community to experience difficulties in communication with native population. At first, this language community can stay apart from the native speakers throughout its social life – Hispanic population, which is usually composed of immigrants, can only apply for the basic low-paid jobs that do not require education or special skills. One may not probably find a native American working within the same environment. At second, the research shows that not all people born in the United States possess English language skills, and this defines them as ‘linguistically isolated’(Penn & Zalesne 203). Sometimes this happens because the facilities offering language learning are too limited. Finally, the ethnical group is so large that each year the necessity of learning foreign languages for the Hispanics persistently declines. Youth suffers the most in this case because with the age people lose the ability of quick grasping and easy learning.
Taking into consideration the aforementioned factors, I would also to contribute to these findings. People who speak Spanish now feel comfortable enough to avoid the use of the English language in the communication completely. Let’s say, a native American who does not possess Spanish language skills sometimes feels like a tourist in own country. On the local scale, a representative of the Latino community may find many public places like offices, shops and places of entertainment where Spanish is not only spoken but also encouraged to be spoken. That’s why, when communicating, I often had to ask the company to switch to English, which feels much more comfortable for me from any perspective. The feedback is inversely different because some agree and some don’t. For those who agree, strong accent in English may become a communication barrier. Penn & Zalesne (204) mark the same tendency taking place on the whole US territory. Besides, sometimes young Hispanics require other people or hint them at speaking the same language as they do. If you can’t, they may even try to cheat you. As far as I see, this is a common occurrence in stores, especially if the customer is obviously not a local inhabitant. It is a known fact that due to the inability of a huge target audience to speak English, the tendency of marketing campaigns adaptation in the Spanish language when promoting products for the Latino population skyrockets. However, as Cavalieri points out, today it’s not enough to have basic skills in Spanish to be trustworthy and persuasive in the Latino community.
Young Hispanics are less willing to learn the English language compared to the first generations of immigrants and consider this occupation rather useless. You might have probably met the representatives of the Latino community in the hospitals when these people cannot clearly explain the reason why they came and what type of treatment they expect to get.
Here is another obvious point. Such TV channels as Telemundo, Univision and the Spanish version of CNN also promote diversity, although they do not always contribute to the uniformity of opinions within the country. As it usually occurs between the countries and communities, different nations perceive the same information from the national perspective, which leads to disagreements, disputes and arguments with outsider population groups. In case of the US, these disagreements have high chance to emerge within the same social group just in terms of the country. The inevitability of this process is highly recognized as the one influencing peaceful life in the society. And namely young citizens are usually the most confident and conscious when it concerns national identity and country affairs. That’s why television may be considered also a powerful influencing tool on the mind of young Latino community.
As a conclusion, I would like to mention that for the Latino population, the choice of a language to speak seems to depend mostly not on the aspiration for national identification but rather on unwillingness to accept the culture of the country they live in. Reluctance is probably the best explanation of the statistics data that say that the largest part of Hispanic families live with an average income of less than $15,000 (Penn & Zalesne 204). College and university dropouts certainly affect the position of an individual in the society and predetermine the life conditions of the immigrants. Young Hispanics can though view it as a vicious circle or claim parents in their destiny. However, one can’t say that a life of an immigrant, either of first or third generation, is easy even compared to the life of a ordinary American citizen, that’s why there is usually a motive for a certain behavior.