New immigrants will change US Spanish, and that’s a good thing

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Spaniards all over the Caribbean exclaim “¡Qué vana!” when describing a nuisance, situation or embarrassment.

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But the saying is especially versatile in Venezuelan slang, where it can be used to refer to anything from objects to people:

the possibilities are endless.

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Migrants of different nationalities wait at the entrance to the San Ysidro pedestrian checkpoint to seek asylum from U.S. authorities, May 29, 2023, in Tijuana, Mexico.  EFE/Joebeth Terriquez

Migrants of different nationalities wait at the entrance to the San Ysidro pedestrian checkpoint to seek asylum from U.S. authorities, May 29, 2023, in Tijuana, Mexico. EFE/Joebeth Terriquez

This idiosyncrasy is felt more and more in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico; in Texas and Florida; and even in NYC shelters and schools, like the asylum seekers Venezuelans settle in the United States.

Castilian Spanish originated from Latin in Castile, Spain in the 12th century.

Later, Spanish colonizers brought it to the American continent, where it became known as Spanish, reaching as far as the Philippines and Equatorial Guinea.

Along the way, he prevailed over numerous indigenous languages.

Currently, Spanish is the fourth language most spoken in the world and the most spoken in the United States after English.

Venezuelans are none other than i last wave of migrants that revitalized American Spanish.

Since the late 19th century, waves of Spanish-speaking migrants have arrived from places such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

There is also the population Mexican who lived here long before the United States reclaimed their land.

nuances

Each wave has imbued American Spanish with local flavors.

This is partly because the language spoken in every country has it Unique featuresboth at national and regional level.

In Argentinafor example, “vos” is used instead of “tú” for the second person, and boos abound.

In Cuba there is an infusion of words from African slaves and a weak pronunciation of consonants, especially at the end of the syllable.

Latin American Spanish has all these elements, which depend on the national origin and geographical location of the speaker.

Assimilation into the mainstream brings with it a brand of American Spanish less differentiatedmore anemic.

Localisms tend to disappear in favor of a more neutral language.

This occurs, in part, as a result of media consumption:

radio and, above all, television, with its drive to create a latin identity that arises from the mixing of elements.

Hoping to broaden its audience, Univision AND Telemundo they often resort to a hodgepodge, what we Mexicans call revoltijo.

Trying not to alienate the audience, these networks produce programs with a Spanish that is a sum of many parts.

The result is bland, weak, and unexciting.

However, appearances are deceiving.

As dominant American Spanish becomes the standard, its vulnerable varieties are losing ground.

A dialect has been spoken in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico for more than 400 years, allowing scholars like me to appreciate a vocabulary closer to the medieval Spanish than any other used in the world.

But his last breath is near.

it is also under threat ladinthe language of Sephardic Jews, brought to Los Angeles, Seattle and elsewhere by immigrants from the Ottoman Empire in the 1880s.

Nostalgia is not enough to keep a language alive.

Spanish in the US is biodiverse and therefore should be treasured as a national asset, not dismissed as a nuisance.

The Spanish we use not only includes the syncopated rhythms of cities like New York, Miami, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles, as well as countless rural areas; it is also exported worldwide through tourism, Latin music, sports and streaming services.

Language is free and travels unhindered across borders.

The polyphony of American Spanish is beautiful.

We have to protect her. We also need to value it as an asset.

Despite this wealth, the United States suffers from what appears to be an incurable flaw:

allergy to foreign languages.

One in five households in the country communicates in a second language and, after Spanish, the most widely spoken are, in order, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese and Arabic.

But Spanish is spoken by more people than those four combined.

It is estimated that by 2060 there will be 111 millions Spanish-speaking in the United States.

This is more than twice the population of Colombia.

By then, the Venezuelan variety of American Spanish is likely to be quite recognizable.

Its strength will have arisen, in part, thanks to current emigrants like Venezuelans who risk everything – lose limbs, even die en route – to enter the United States.

American Spanish thrives on its pluralism

. That sheath! We fight for nuances.

c.2023 The New York Times Society

Source: Clarin

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