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The Conversation

The Growing Influence of Spanish

Ross Reynolds
01/28/2004 at 1:00 p.m.

One of five Americans speaks something other than English as their primary language. Most often that language is Spanish.

You’ll hear postal clerks, store owners and police use Spanish. Spanish language media is one of the largest growing sectors in the U.S.. Candidates for president are all trying to work Spanish into their stump speeches. Some companies have tried to prevent their employees from speaking Spanish with one another and they’ve been sued for it. We now hear a new language, Spanglish, the melding of Spanish and English. The rise of Spanish should come as no surprise since more than one in 8 Americans is of Hispanic origin. Last year Hispanics became the largest minority group in America. Hispanic Americans 18 to 24 are the fastest growing segment of the American populations. According to the 2,000 census 11% of the U.S. population spoke Spanish at home, and nearly 6% of Washington State households speak Spanish at home. How have you noted the rise of Spanish? Is it a good thing, a bad thing, or just a fact of life in the evolution of the country? Should it be encouraged, discouraged, or simply allowed to follow its own path? The power of the Spanish language is The Conversation.

Guests:
Maria Hinojosa, host Latino USA
Trisha Valdez-Zontek, Yakima School District

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