The growing interest in people wanting to learn a new language, specifically Spanish, quite honestly mind boggled me for quite some time. I didn’t have the same interest or enthusiasm as most Spanish learners have when I was becoming bilingual.
My relationship with Spanish has been very different than those who intentionally set out to learn a new language. I didn’t become bilingual as an adult; in fact, I learned both languages as a child and was fluent in both English and Spanish by the age of 7. Learning English and Spanish was out of need more than anything else.
I had to focus more on English as a child because the schools in Denver I went to emphasized on it more in their curriculum. Even nowadays some teachers are adamant that only English should be spoken in class. In addition, there were also repercussions from classmates if someone’s English sounded different. Students were prone to being teased mercilessly if other classmates heard any hints of an accent or a struggle with the English language.
However, while at home, there was a completely different attitude towards language. It’s not that my parents were against us learning English; it was that they were worried we would break ties with our native language. Spanish provides strong ties to our cultural past and that has also become very important to me as I’ve gotten older. My children will definitely grow up in a bilingual home as I did.
And I’m not the only one who sees that being bilingual is important. There has been a growing interest in people wanting to learn a new language over the past few years. Spanish has increasingly become more popular and its use can be seen in a variety of marketing, advertising techniques and client services.
Spanish is the new English. Its presence will never replace English, but its use is becoming just as popular. Its increasing use also shows that our nation has become more accepting and tolerant of its diversity.
¡Hasta la proxima!