There are 35.3 million Hispanics in the US today and Spanish speakers are everywhere, from the next person on the street to executives in Wall Street. Spanish language courses are booming, and English speakers have apparently recognized the need to learn how to converse in Spanish. High school Spanish is not enough, it seems.
Spanish language advocacy groups point out that Spanish is the dominant foreign language in the country. The most avid campaigners declare that the United States ought to get used to Español because they fervently believe that it deserves the distinction. The Hispanic population in America has surged and in many states the necessity to speak their native language has become imminent.
No other language other than English has proliferated in the way that Spanish has in recent years. In Los Angeles for example, where there is a large Hispanic population, the top radio broadcast is “La Nueva,” even topping English talk shows. It is popular not just in the Latino community but amongst native English speakers as well.
The boom in Spanish in the United States is mostly due to immigration. Hispanic communities have even prospered outside of California. For example, in Oregon there are communities that speak only Spanish such that job advertisements are being given in two languages. In the state of New Mexico, 40% of the population speaks Spanish. There is a huge population of Spanish language speakers in Miami, New York City, San Antonio, and Los Angeles. In recent years, there have been more Spanish speakers in cities such as Boston, Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Phoenix, Dallas, Missouri, and Washington, DC.
And while immigrants are required by the revitalized immigration law to learn English as a requirement in becoming a legal resident of the US, English speakers find that in order to interact with their neighbors and workmates, they need to learn Spanish.
The United States of America has no official language yet, although on the state level, English has been declared officially. The campaign to make English as the official language has been going on for years as well and a poll showed that in New Jersey at least, citizens were all for English. In Congress, HR 997 has been introduced with the purpose of declaring English as the official language. Nevertheless, the status of the 2009 English Language Unity Bill is this – shelved for now. But the topic remains controversial in many ways. Bloggers who are for or against the suggestion have been very keen in expressing their views.
A petition has been forwarded to President Barack Obama in making Spanish the second official language of the US. The petitioners made it clear that English “should be” the first official language, but they insist that Español should be the second language.