¿You said QUE? The Language Divide

Marie Hernandez has lived 10 miles away from Mexico her whole life. Growing up bilingual, Hernandez says sometimes she dreams in both Spanish and English. Chelsie Torres, who also grew up close to the Mexican- American border, said she’d rather speak English. David Gamboa said growing up with Spanish-speaking parents made it hard for him to understand English. According to National Public Radio, the language they choose to speak divides Latinos in America.

In a recent press release, ABC News and Univision have teamed up to create an English-language news network for Hispanics in the United States. According to The Los Angeles Times, Latinos make up 16 percent of the total population in the United States, a number that is projected to increase to 30 percent by 2050. Gamboa said he hopes this new collaboration can help him find an appreciation for English.

“I live, eat, breath the Spanish language,” he said. “But I know that if I cannot learn English my life in America will be much harder.” Hernandez said she hopes her Spanish-speaking relatives can tune in to the new network.

“I have it rather easy as a Latina,” she said. “I can speak English and Spanish fluently. Although I prefer Spanish because most my relatives speak it. I hope they can learn English through the new network. I also hope this can help break the gap between the language barrier of new Latino generations.”

Torres said both her paternal and maternal grandparents speak only Spanish. She says because she only speaks English she communicates with her grandparents through smiles and hand gestures. “It’s sad. I never learned Spanish and they never learned English,” she admits. “Now that we are both older it makes it harder to communicate.”

According to USA Today, more Spanish speakers are speaking English despite a steady influx of immigrants. “In Los Angeles County, the percentage of the Spanish-speaking population that has trouble with English slid from 21 percent in 2000 to 19.6 percent in 2005-07, the three years measured in the data released today. In El Paso, the share dropped from 32 percent to 28.5 percent,” according to USA Today.

Torres said if she cannot speak the language, she can at least know more about the culture. “I will make sure to tune in to the new network,” she said. “I will be able to understand what they are saying and learn more about my grandparents home. Hopefully, my grandparents can watch and learn more about my language.”

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