Spanish to overtake English in the United States
14 April 2005, LA LAGUNA - One of Spain's top experts on the Spanish language claims the language of Cervantes could outstrip that of Shakespeare in the US.
14 April 2005
LA LAGUNA - One of Spain's top experts on the Spanish language claims the language of Cervantes could outstrip that of Shakespeare in the US.
"Some of our grandchildren could see a United States with more Spanish-speakers than English-speakers," said Alberto Gomez Font said, a philologist and coordinator of FUNDEU, the arbiter of the use of the Spanish language.
He was speaking during a conference at the School of Information Science of the University of La Laguna, in the Canary Islands.
"The future of Spanish is in the United States because it has gone from being a language treated without any consideration to being a language that moves money, and that brings social and political importance," Gomez Font said.
But it would take a radical demographic transformation or a process lasting a couple of centuries for Hispanics to outnumber non-Latinos in the United States, he admitted.
And current trends indicate that Hispanic immigrants in that country, after a second generation, adopt English as their language of preference even if they maintain their parents' tongue.
Latinos, though representing the biggest US minority, make up 'only' 14 percent of the US population of 285 million.
So several generations of large-scale immigration and a greatly superior birth rate would be needed for them to become a majority, most of whose members would in any case be English-speakers as well as Spanish-speakers.
Gomez Font is a philologist, a scholar of linguistic change over time in a particular language or language family.
He also said that a new Spanish is being created in the US media, which he called "international Spanish," driven by the need of the Hispanic journalists to communicate as they work in the US.
He noted the rapid growth of Spanish-language media in the United States in recent years, both written and spoken, and its great power.
"This growth, moreover, has led to the creation of a style manual by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists because journalists need a guide to promote the proper use of Spanish," Gomez Font said.
He said he was in favour of borrowing from other languages for Spanish, "as long as it is necessary and not done out of a desire to be trendy or for reasons of prestige".
Gomez Font said he did not believe in erecting walls around the language because "there are things that a few years ago were considered an error and now, they are not".
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news