September 13, 2007
The Slow Death of English in California?
The L.A. Times reports that nearly 43% of residents of California speak a language other than English at home, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The trend was even more pronounced in Los Angeles, the so-called Latino Metropolis, where more than 53% of residents speak another language at home. Heavily Latino East Los Angeles (90.9%) and the San Gabriel Valley (several cities over 70%) had even higher rates. Spanish is by far the most common, but Californians also converse in Korean, Thai, Russian, Hmong, Armenian and dozens of other languages. The data will likely add fuel to the decades-long debate in California over immigrants continuing to use their native tongue. There have been battles over bilingual education, foreign-language ballots and English-only restrictions on business signs.
September 13, 2007 | Permalink
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Slow Death of English in California?:
All immigrants are equal? No..
Why is it that French, German, Danish, Swedish, Italian, Polish, and all the others from Europe learned Englsih when they came to America, yet these new immigrants from places like Cambodia and Mexico refuse? The Califronia government needs to ban all lanugages except English in the public schools. Our nation is splittinginto a multitude of disconnected sub groups. We will not be a real country within 50 years. Idiots like Tamar Jacoby of the liberal Manhattan Institue think everyone assilimates. She is no better than a Neanderthal on this topic.
Posted by: Ames Tiedeman | Sep 13, 2007 8:54:57 AM
Perhaps more useful would be a breakdown of languages spoken at home by immigrant generational status. Unfortunately we do not know how many second generation individuals continue to speak a foreign language at home, an the CB's statistics do not provide information on this. As an LA resident, I would venture to say that very few people speak only one foreign language at home and most will probably mix in English with another language. As a comment to Mr. Tiedeman, I think that if you look at older migration waves, and older census data, you will see that immigrants themselves continued to speak German, French, Italian and Swedish at astonishingly high rates. Generations born from these immigrants then lost that ability to speak their parental language.
Posted by: Jennie | Sep 13, 2007 3:50:02 PM
I know many 3rd generation Serbian-Americans whose great-grandfathers were Serbian immigrants that served in WWI as "dobrovolci" for the US. My friends still speak Serbian at home, attend Serbian-Orthodox church and contribute to our society as citizens. How does monolingualism help America? Perhaps Jacoby isn't any better than you on the topic, but you should get your knuckles off the ground.
Posted by: jms | Sep 14, 2007 10:29:47 AM
Historical comparisons mean nothing, because success as a citizen today in this country is dependent upon one's proficiency in English. One of the reasons that the dropout rate among Hispanics is so low, and their income levels are below the national average is their poor reading and writing skills in English. In early America, up to the turn of the century, our society was primarily agrarian in occupation. It didn't take excellent communication skills to milk a cow, plow a field, or harvest a crop. Today, if the average citizaen doesn't gain good English communication skills by the time he graduates from high school, his employment in any academic, engineering, law, medical,science or other lucritive job is very limited.
Posted by: Horace | Sep 16, 2007 5:45:32 AM
Make that "graduation rate", instead. My jet lag is killing me.
Posted by: Horace | Sep 16, 2007 1:28:33 PM