With the United States becoming more multicultural as immigration picks up speed, Spanish speakers are bringing their Latin cultures with them into the ‘Melting Pot’. However, with 38.3 million Americans speaking primarily Spanish, bilingual Americans are becoming more in demand.
“I think everyone should know a second language,” junior Taylor Myers said. “There’s more diversity of people that are going around the world. It can come in handy for the future if something happened and the person you had to talk to was speaking a different language.”
Now, when going to different businesses, it’s not uncommon to see a ‘Se habla español’, or ‘We speak Spanish’, ranging from Walmart to even family-owned mechanic shops. Churches such as Tree of Life and Thomas Road Baptist Church even offer Spanish ministries and services. Many Latin-based restaurants also have mostly bilingual servers.
“Speaking two languages is important nowadays,” sophomore Jamari Anthony said. “Spanish is the language for Americans to learn right now.”
However, America is one of the few countries that doesn’t place a large emphasis on languages. While many European and Asian countries require second languages to be taught, American schools make it only an elective. Practice also rarely extends outside the classroom, making fluency hard to achieve in only four years of study. Other countries begin language studies in primary school.
“I don’t think Spanish should be required because for some people it might be harder to learn,” sophomore Alison Harris said. “Why would I need to speak in another language when I already speak English? I think if people come into America, they should learn to speak English so they can talk to Americans.”
For Myers, though, language barriers shouldn’t exist, each one deserving its own respectful attention.
“It’s unfair that people might come to the US and people that speak English might get mad or upset that the person who came here doesn’t know English,” Myers said. “There’s so many English speaking people outside the US not knowing the language of the place they go to.”