By the year 2050, the United States will have the highest population of Spanish speakers, said one expert recently, and 10% of the entire world will speak Spanish. Cuban academic Humberto Lopez Morales said as much at a meeting of the Association of Spanish Language Academies in Valencia, Spain.
Part of this is due to history, Lopez Morales noted, alluding to the U.S.’s history with Mexico and Caribbean and Latin American countries. It’s also called the Monroe Doctrine, which is that the U.S. tells the rest of the world “hands off” when it comes to this part of the world.
Another and a very important part of this important fact is something a friend of mine from Guadalajara, México once told me and that I’ve never forgotten. She said that, as a Mexican national, she was appreciative of the pochos, or Mexican-Americans, who for generations created and held a space for people like her. So that, when she arrived in this country, she would be able to speak her language and feel comfortable doing so.
I’ve been meaning to write a column about learning Spanish — which I did not do well until I was already an adult studying my third year in college in Monterrey, Mexico — and how it’s hard to do sometimes, especially if your parents don’t want to teach you. Speaking Spanish is really important to me now, it’s a core tenet of my identity, and being bilingual will only become a more important skill as the U.S. continues to evolve towards Lopez Morales’ prediction.
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