There is a growing practical need for Americans to speak a second language in particular. Most people can probably guess which language this is.
Hispanics are the largest minority in the United States, with the 2010 census recording that they make up 16 percent of the population. Not only are they large; they are expanding at an ever-increasing rate. From the 10-year span of 2000-2010, the Spanish speaking population in the United States went from 35 million to 50 million, a 43 percent increase. It has also been projected by the Pew Research Council that in 2050, Hispanics will make up 30 percent of the population.
Unlike the broken-English efforts of earlier immigrants from Europe, Asia and other regions, Spanglish has become a widely accepted conversational mode used casually -- even playfully -- by Spanish-speaking immigrants and native-born Americans alike.
Only 20 years old and working as a barmaid in the town of Valdepenas, Juana Galan was not expecting a surge of French soldiers to come storming through her village. But on June 6, that’s exactly what happened. At that time, most of the men were fighting Napoleon’s forces elsewhere in the nation. Juana, unfazed by things like rifles and Frenchmen and French riflemen, began organizing the women in her village to form a trap for the approaching army.
When the army arrived, Juana and her friends were ready. They dumped boiling water and oil on the French troops, which by all accounts will instantly take the fight out of pretty much anyone. Then Juana, armed with only a batan, beat back the heavily armed French cavalry with her squad of village women, almost none of whom were armed with guns.
The French retreated, giving up on capturing not just Juana’s town but the entire province of La Mancha, leading to ultimate Spanish victory. Today, she is seen in Spain as a national hero, a symbol of resistance, strength, patriotism, feminism and hitting shit with a stick.
Talk to your baby all the time in Spanish, or your second language, even if you think she has no idea what you are saying; she’s absorbing every little sound and it will be the building blocks to her own speech acquisition.
Spanish, a foreign language? No way, José! Spanish is undeniably the second language of the United States, around us all the time – everywhere. It permeates our society. Puh-leeze! It is not foreign at all!
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