Hispanic Immigration and Spanish Maintenance as Indirect Measures of Ethnicity: Reality and Perceptions

Citation data:

20, Vol: 20, Issue: 0, Page: 0-57

Publication Year:
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Repository URL:
https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/esr/vol20/iss1/7; https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1044&context=esr
Gynan, Shaw N.
Hispanic Immigration; English; Spanish; The Ethnic Experience in the United States; Race and Ethnicity
article description
Many supporters of official English have accused U.S. Hispanics of refusing to learn English and rejecting the traditional assimilationist model by clinging to their ethnolinguistic identity. An analysis of U.S. Census data from the last thirty years refutes these claims. The picture of U.S. Hispanic maintenance of ethnolinguistic identity has evolved. Here we show that while adult Spanish loyalty has decreased, youth Spanish loyalty has increased; however, Spanish maintenance does not occur at the expense of English proficiency. Once recent immigrants are subtracted from the Hispanic population, U.S. Census figures show clearly that long-term limited English proficiency has decreased substantially. This analysis clearly supports the conclusions of experts who have noted that Hispanic youth are embracing a bilingual model, one which allows them to maintain their ethnolinguistic identity while acquiring the English skills necessary for success in the United States.