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Spanish in the U.S.: Myths and Facts

Presentation content created by Erica Finazzo Katz. Video clips are from the Spanish in Texas Corpus.

Spanish in Texas COERLL

on 22 July 2013

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Transcript of Spanish in the U.S.: Myths and Facts

Listen to B. talk about her father’s journey to the Americas. Then, Amanda will talk about her Mexican heritage and identity.

As you listen, think about your own family’s heritage. When did your ancestors come to the U.S.? What generation are you?

Spanish in the US is a result of recent immigration.
The presence of Spanish predates that of English in the United States.

Ponce de León arrived in Florida in 1512.

Some areas of the present-day United States were part of Mexico until the middle of the 19th century.

Spanish in the U.S.
Myths and Facts
Here are just a few samples of the introductions from the Spanish in Texas archives.

Most Hispanics in the U.S. are immigrants.

The majority of Hispanics (63%)  are now U.S. born.

These clips are in response to the question “How you do identify yourself? Do you consider yourself Mexican-American, Mexican, Latino/a, Hispanic... ?”

As you listen, note the range of responses.
Think about your own answer to that question. Is it straightforward? What factors into your response?

Hispanics are a monolithic group.

Hispanics represent a range of diversity in their self-identification and in their social behaviors.

Hispanics see themselves more as having separate and distinct cultures based on country of origin rather than sharing a single culture as Hispanics or Latinos.

In this clip, first we will hear L. give her advice to young people who come to the U.S. Then, C. tells us how she found opportunities to learn English as a mother of young children.

Hispanics don’t want to learn English.

89% of Hispanics believe that immigrants need to learn to speak English.

Foreign-born Hispanics are more likely than U.S.-born to feel this way.

70% of Hispanics report that they speak English well or very well.

In this clip, we will hear B. talk about her family’s experience with Spanish and English. What languages do B., her children, and her grandchildren speak?

Then, S. will talk about her experience speaking Spanish and English. What generation is S.? Which language is most comfortable for her?

Spanish-speakers pose a threat to English.

Let’s listen to N. and C., a mother and her daughter, talk about their language use at home.

In which direction is their family’s language dominance shifting?

There is no danger of Spanish being lost in the United States.

Most foreign-born Hispanic adults (52%) speak exclusively Spanish at home.

That proportion drops to 11% among 2nd-generation adults and 6% among those in the 3rd generation and higher.

The speakers in these clips live near the Texas-Mexico border. Listen as they talk about their own use of “Spanglish.”
Do you think they speak Spanish, English, or Spanglish? Is it possible to speak all three?

Hispanics speak Spanglish, not Spanish or English.

U.S. Spanish is different, but not deficient or incomplete.
U.S. Spanish is popular, local, and oral.

Just like other languages, different registers of Spanish are used in different contexts.

Language mixing or code switching is common in language contact situations. It is not unique to Spanish in the U.S.

Let’s listen as E. and C. talk about their experience in elementary school.
When did they begin to learn English? Did knowing Spanish seem to hinder their academic progress?

Parents who speak Spanish to their children hinder academic progress.

Children can learn a language other than English and be academically successful.

Hispanics demonstrate the normal pattern of 3rd-generation immigrant language shift to English.
Did anything in the video clips surprise you?

Have you ever encountered any of these myths?

Can you think of any myths and facts about any groups that you belong to?

Saenz, Rogelio. Latinos in America 2010. Population Bulletin Update, December 2010

2002 National Survey of Latinos. Pew Hispanic Center/ Kaiser Family Foundation

Survey Brief: Assimilation and Language. The Pew Hispanic Center, March 2004

Survey Brief: Bilingualism. The Pew Hispanic Center, March 2004 (http://pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=15)

Hakimzadey, Shirin and D’Vera Cohn. 2007. English usage among Hispanics in the United States. The Pew Hispanic Center

Between two worlds: How young Latinos come of age in America. The Pew Hispanic Center, December 11, 2009

Bullock, Barbara E. and Toribio, Almeida Jacqueline. 2013. The Spanish in Texas Corpus Project. COERLL, The University of Texas at Austin. http://www.spanishintexas.org

Presentation content by Erica Finazzo Katz

Prezi development by Rachael Gilg, Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL)

Video Credit: Bullock, Barbara E. and Toribio, Almeida Jacqueline. 2013. The Spanish in Texas Corpus Project. COERLL, The University of Texas at Austin. http://www.spanishintexas.org

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