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New York : Experts warn of discrimination against Spanish speakers in the United States

New York :

Experts warn of discrimination against Spanish speakers in the United States

Experts point out that there are varieties of Spanish in the US.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla / .

Experts and representatives of institutions that are dedicated to the promotion of Spanish in the United States highlighted in a virtual colloquium the widespread use of this language in the country, the discrimination faced by their speakers and the need to reinforce their teaching while respecting the diversity of varieties.

The gathering, organized by the Spanish Ministry of Education in the United States and Canada, the Junta de Castilla y León and the platform “Español para todos”, was broadcast live on YouTube and played with the title “Have already see” to raise questions that had to do with the situation of Spanish in the United States and its future.

The Education Counselor of the Embassy of Spain in the US and Canada, Jesus Fernandez Gonzalez, pointed out that Spanish is perceived as the “most studied language” but it is also the most “discriminated”, since it is associated with “minor jobs” and xenophobia against Latinos in some sectors of the population is added.

Richard Good Hudson, The director of the Cervantes Institute in New York, said that the Hispanic map of the country is one of the most heterogeneous in the world, but in the long term there is a danger that an idea that it is “a second language, poor, immigration language” that can generate “rejection” between second and third generations of their own culture.

“It is easy for them to end up clinging to English and there the institutions have a lot of work to do”, he added.

In this sense, the professor of Hispanic Linguistics at the University of Illinois (Chicago) Kim potowski explained that there is a “poor understanding of what bilingualism is, many people think: if I speak a lot of Spanish to the child, his English will not grow, he will be behind, have an accent …”

“Parents must also be educated in bilingualism”, he pointed.

The executive director of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP), Sheri Spaine Long, revealed that after a study of Spanish language teachers in the country, 47% identified themselves as native Spanish speakers or heritage speakers, and the rest as non-native speakers.

Spaine considered that this can create difficulties in creating materials, but it is generally “positive” because it implies a “diversity” of varieties of Spanish in teaching, something that the experts agreed and claimed to overcome prejudices.

In this regard, Fernández joked that “you have to stop looking at your navel and take a variety bath, to tell students that there are more possibilities.”

Asked about their expectations for a change in language policy under the government of President-elect Joe Biden, the speakers were hopeful that the door will open to more financial support and that his Administration will make an effort to speak Spanish, among other things.

“Big cities speak and write for Latinos. Spanish is seeded to be able to emerge strongly, and I am hopeful that this Government will pay more attention not only to linguistic issues, but also to race or immigration, and to resolve issues such as DACA (Deferred Action program for Childhood Arrivals ”, concluded Bueno.

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