Arts & Entertainment

The future of Spanish doesn’t involve competing with English

New York, Jun 3 (EFE).- Reputed linguists worldwide met Friday in New York to study the present and future of the Spanish, with an idea floating around in the air: that the future of the language does not warrant a competition with English.

“Competing against English is absurd, you have to know how to put the value of Spanish on the table,” Richard Bueno, director of the Cervantes Institute in New York, organizer of the event, told EFE on Friday.

The Cervantes of the Big Apple celebrates its first Annual Congress, entitled “Language and identity: linguistic variation and social equality,” bringing together specialists to deal with the state of Spanish in the street, in the arts, in journalism or in science.

Bueno spoke of data placing Spanish as the world’s second language in native speakers and the third in users, but said it had “deficiencies” in areas such as science and technology, where English is clearly dominant, and in the evolution of its use in the United States.

According to Professor Richard Otheguy of the City University of New York, in New York there are 2.5 million Latinos or Hispanics (30 percent) and in the US about 40 million (12 percent), half born in Latin America and the other half in the country.

He also cited a survey and said the Latino population’s Spanish use “at home” has decreased in 10 years, from 2010 to 2020, from 75 percent to 70 percent in the US, and how the second generation uses a Spanish full of loanwords from English.

Otheguy said he defends the “diversity” of spoken varieties, adding that saying his Spanish is bad or “Spanglish” carries elements of “ignorance.” He added that saying it is full of words “from outside” denotes “alterity,” since it is his native way learned from childhood, and is a “linguistic competence.”

Luis García Montero, the Cervantes Institute general director, who due to commitments in Seoul, South Korea, couldn’t attend, said in a pre-recorded video that “it is becoming increasingly difficult to caricature Spanish as the language of the poor” in the US. He spoke of the contribution of Latinos to the “richness of the language.”

Bueno told EFE that “the most sensible thing is to go hand in hand with English” instead of competing, especially at a time when “cyclically, the lingua franca is English.”

“We are now talking about people who think that if they lose Spanish, it is because English predominates,” he said. He spoke of the work of institutions for the promotion of the Spanish language and culture to find a “balance” that avoids this loss and to “raise awareness (among Spanish speakers) of the importance of their language.”


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