Spanish As a Second LangugeIn recent years, the total population of Spanish speakers in the US has doubled. According to Census 2001 of the estimated 284 million residents in the USA, 36 million are of Hispanic origin, Five million more than the entire population of Canada. In 1960 people of Hispanic origin only equaled 6% of the US population. Since increased to 13%. 332 million people in the world speak Spanish. Second to Chinese Mandarin: 885 million.
The continual growth of the Hispanic population increases everyday, but the number of Americans not of Hispanic descent who speak Spanish fluently, is a mere 3%, according to studies done by Florida State University, Relevant because of area of high Hispanic concentration. Spanish should be required to be taken as a second language in grades K-9. American students should be required to speak Spanish fluently upon completion of their 8 th grade year. Other societies such as Pakistan, Japan, and China can demonstrate proficiency in 3 or 4 languages by middle school years. 'A child taught a second language after the age of 10 or so is unlikely ever to speak it like a native,' said a February 1996 Newsweek article. Through extensive research it has been proven that the earlier a child is introduced to a second language the greater the chances are that this child will master both languages.
A number of experts attribute this mastery to physiological changes that occur in the maturing brain as a child enters puberty. Picture yourself as a fluent Spanish speaking American. Able to communicate with others. Eliminate stereotypes; talking about me, plotting something. Learning another language is said to make you more culturally sensitive and diverse. Less susceptible to stereotypes.
If that is the case, We can break the language barrier as Americans by taking initiative. Enroll children in some kind of Spanish tutoring program. Until the school system and American society recognize the Spanish language as a necessity and not just a choice.