?Ingl?s or Spanish?

Which language is more appropriate for Latinos on the Internet?

By Amigos de LatinoLA
Published on LatinoLA: June 15, 2002

?Ingl?s or Spanish?

Laura Portillo writes:
?I am bilingual, but I find it much faster to think on the computer in English.?

Jorge Quezada writes:
?Let's be honest, the majority of your readers probably don't read Spanish. I bet most of your readers are Chicanos and as you know, our language (Espa?ol) is filtered out by 3 generations (or less). Unfortunately, that's the way it is. So translating your newsletter into Spanish would probably mean you lose a good portion of your readers.?

Rogelio Quinones writes:
?Ingles is what I prefer as a Mexican/American, although Spanish?I can speak it and use it rather well. My need is to take some basic 101 Spanish reading/writing classes as I want to write in our native tongue! And/or we must preserve our native tongue! Or, use the internet en espa?ol and learn it well! Comment: For new arrivals from Latin America, is must be a blessing to enter North America and to learn English, it's much easier than Espa?ol! I wonder what language we will be talking in 50 years? Japanese? Just kidding! I guess more like our native tonque or 75% en espa?ol, 25% en ingles!?

Cynthia Mata-Flores writes:
?I would like to say for people like me Ingles is preferred. Why? Because I am of the Baby Boom-era, born and raised in South Central L.A., in the 1950's, when it was called the assimilation years (Ozzie and Harriet, Leave it to Beaver). My older brothers/sisters were punished in school if they spoke Spanish, so since I was the last child born, my mother told everyone NOT to speak to me in Spanish, because she did not want me to be punished. I didn't learn spanish until I was in High School, but easily forgot it, since I didn't speak it. I re-learned it in college, retaining a lil? more and now, I try on my own to read and speak, when I can. If I come to a website that is Spanish and it has a link to (translate) I use it, so I could read it in Ingles. In the big picture, I would love to see more weblinks offerering the option (translate). If people are here in California, we need to REALLY communicate much better by using both languages -- ngles and Spanish. Honestly, I believe it is appropriate to use both today!?

Michael Espinosa writes:
?I prefer English for the simple reason that my Spanish skills are not that great. Spanish words and phrases are ok, but anything beyond that, and I get lost.?

Michael Sedano writes:
"I write in English but speak and read Spanish. Chicanos are raised with this performance - competence dichotomy, we can understand our parents' and grandparents' idioma but do not produce it. Hence the typical conversation of granma in Spanish, grandkid in English, mutually comprehending, as the first generation has the same performance competence issues, but in reverse; they understand much of the Englished tossed at them but prefer to or have the oral ability only to produce their own idioma. I welcome articles written in English or Spanish, depending on the eloquence and subject matter. An Asian scholar I read a long time ago talked about a ?third generation hypothesis.? Japanese he was talking about. The Issei are monolingual in Japanese. The Nisei bilingual. The Sansei English only, but long for the Issei tongue, feel the pain of separation. Chicanos [are] the same model, seems to me. The cultural dynamic differs, of course. Issei aren't replacing themselves, that generation's dying out and the Sansei only can long for or struggle to acquire Japanese as a second language. La chicanada,on the other hand, have a constant refreshment of first generation native speakers. We establish an economic and cultural gap between ourselves. Note: The GOP mexican hispanics who support restrictive immigration. LatinoLA and other chicano venues provide a culturally crucial service by keeping the languages alive through bilingual, code switching, or simultaneous translation. The unitedstatesian model seeks to separate us, walls, not bridges. LatinoLA builds cultural bridges through enlightening publication strategies.?

Escarcega2 writes:
?When making reference to technology, I feel that it is best to speak in the language of your audience. If you are speaking to an all English audience, certainly English. If speaking to a Spanish speaking audience, certainly Spanish. What I find very offensive, is Spanglish.?

KINO writes:
?Let's put it this way: If you use the Internet ?officially? -- in any of its forms -- in English, you will have a wider array of services at your beck and call such as weather, travel arrangements, stocks and research sources. For personal communication, however, it is my impression that a larger segment of us uses Castellano --again in the many variations. And that's the rub, as the saying goes. In English, we can be formal, but also INFORMAL across nationalities of origin, accents, dialects and cultural particularities. American English is largely responsible for a phenomenon of homogenization in the language shared by news, books, magazines and electronic communication coast to coast, and abroad. Regardless of local dialects, a sub-set of the English language is recognized by everyone who uses the language within its cultural dynamics. Not so easy in Spanish. Mexico, Espan?a, Chile and Argentina are the largest book publishers. Although overtly subscribing to the arbitrary dispositions of Spain, in the form of the Real Academia de la Lengua Hispana, you find enough turns of phrase particular to each cultura as to make no nevermind, as we can say in Ingles. Spain has TVE to reinforce its culture, but in America the TV jefes are Mexico and Venezuela, who supply the beloved melodrama in the form of Telenovelas, followed by Brazil, Peru, Argentina and others. Mexico has the majority of dubbing jobs for US materials distributed in America Latina. See where this ensalada goes? Not to mention the instances of actual rivalry between subcultures of the Famila Latina, which make sure certain turns of phrase are mutually suspect and therefore more entrenched in their localisms. So close communication, with family or friends, or "day to day" informal work chat, can be effective, even sabrosa, in Espa?ol. But the nuances and dialects can become very noisy in large scale, enough to make the content elusive in the higher formas, those beyond news or jargon and into essay, literature or the arts. Even if a simphony by Carlos Chavez is just as cool as a rock concert by Invisible. Again: This comes from observation and a bit of integration. Take it con un grano de sal.?

Cesar Recendez writes:
?I believe that being bilingual is a beautiful thing, and Latinos should always strive to preserve their Spanish language skills. That being said, it's inevitable that for current and future generations being born and raised in the U.S. English is clearly the dominant language, particularly when it comes to the Internet or print. This is because most Latinos being raised in the U.S. are being educated in English. Unless they have parents who home-educate them in reading and writing Spanish or they take it upon themselves to study Spanish later in life they will by default have a higher proficiency in English. Those being raised here won't find it too hard to maintain enough fluency to watch their telenovelas or listen to their Spanish rock, but they will be hard pressed to read a novel, a magazine, or a web site in Spanish.?

Victoria Ciudadreal writes:
?Y prefiero el ingles...pero me gusta leer y contestar a veces en ?spanglish?. A veces me gusta saber que todos los amigos de LatinoLA tenemos los dos idiomas en comun.?

Cindy Urrutia writes:
?I am a very proud Latina. Nonetheless, I am American, educated through the American system, and do think in English. Thus, it is easier for me to understand it better. Furthermore, I am AGAINST Spanglish. Most young Latinos (I am pretty young myself), are niether proficient in Spanish nor English because they mix languages. I believe you should have articles in both Spanish or English, but not mixed. Example: when I was growing up, my cousin (two years older than I) was in bilingual program. By the time she was in 4th grade, and I in the 2nd, I was more advanced in my English than she was. I also speak better Spanish because my parents did not let me mix languages, but made sure I could speak English and Spanish adequately. If Latinos are going to rise in this nation, they need good education. The most fundamental part of this education is strong oral and written English skill. One must know his or her heritage, be proud, but ready to adapt to the American culture in term of language if we are to move up the ladder. I understand this may be difficult to assimilate by many people, but I am talking from personal experience. I have been in investment banking (the corporate finance side of it) where it is rare to see Latinos, even more so for Latinas. I have had to overcome many battles. What helped me was to have command of the English language. Now, I have changed careers to Art History/Archeology. The same holds true in that field.?

Elba Smith writes:
"Some of us speak Spanish fluently, some barely, but most of us speak English. This is the main language of the community in which we live in the United States. You keep us informed of what is happening in our community, and not all happenings are only for Spanish-speaking. I also believe that your approach in English is inclusive of non-Latinos, welcoming them into your web site to get a much better picture of what the Latino community is all about, its activities, its culture, its opportunities, etc.?

Ken Jennings writes:
?As non-Latino who grew up in a Latino neighborhood, English should be the language for communication. I believe you are doing a disservice by publishing in Spanish. For all concerned, and especially for non-English speaking Latinos, English needs to be perpetuated. We ALL live in America where English is the official language, and more problems are caused by not being able to communicate than any other reason. Take a look at Europe for years, and at Quebec, Canada more recently. These examples of not being able to communicate could happen in this country. As more and more Latino politicians get elected, they will cater to Latinos, including language concessions. Now is the time to do your part even though it may not be popular. Do your part by encouraging English.?

Pat Bautista writes:
?Having been U.S. born, raised and educated (up to a B.A. degree), I much prefer to use the Internet in English as it is my primary language. Y yo no tengo bastante entendimiento del lenguaje Espanol para navegar el Internet y menos para entender bien lo que estoy leyendo. The two times I have surfed the web in Spanish I quickly reverted back to English because frankly, I only understood half of what I was reading (this ranged from the "simple" love/relationship tips to movie reviews and travel). I am interested in learning what is happening in the Latino culture in the U.S. I just prefer to read about it in English.?

Laura writes:
?Pienso que Latinos prefieren leer en ingles quando esten en el internet. Jovenes Latinos de 18 and 26 a?os ya adoptaron la cultura americana, y crecieron leyendo en ingles. A veces, leen en espa?ol pero no entienden tan rapido como en ingles.?

Mchillo writes:
?For me, English is preferred simply because that's how I English.?

Pancho Sifuentes writes:
?Porque estamos en el English-speaking country and those of us who have mastered more ingles than hispa?ol find America's God-given language easy?an index perhaps of how colonized we are! Why not translate and offer both ingles y mexicano espa?ol. To be sure you cover all your bases! ?Qu? no?

Fernando Oaxaca writes:
"As an investor, for almost four years, in, I can tell you that our 700,000 hits per month are probably heavily English dominant, though we print Spanish material as well but not as much as I would like to see. The problem with the question is that we don't know which Latinos we are talking about. Internet subscribers to an ISP are going to view that expenditure as a luxury if they make less than $40,000 to $50,000 a year. Spanish-speaking immigrants in that economic strata and who also own computers, let alone using DSL, are not going to be more than 20% of the total Latino internet junkies. Most surveys of Latino voting age adults indicate about 60% internet use. That's why we at Hispanicvista focus on English though our subject matter is mostly for Latinos......and it also gets us the younger crowd. By the way, we estimate that 10% or so is audience that is from ?Anglos? and from foreign countries. Most of the sites like Que Pasa and Picosito, etc. which tried the bilingual or big Spanish content went broke/dead. As long as the internet is for education, news and information like weather, event info, etc., if you are an American site, you better stay in English. Yet, I love your throwing Spanish words here and there in your content, es el chilito, el cilantro, el ajonjol?; without it, there is just dull stuff, totally agringado!?

Concepci?n Valadez writes:
?Esto es sobre tu pregunta: ?En cu?l idioma preferimos leer los e-mails y otras novedades que vemos en la red? Mi opinion es que la mayor?a de los chicanos/latinos en la USA no tenemos la escolarizaci?n en espa?ol. Recibimos la instrucci?n escolar en ingl?s. Los que hayan tenido la suerte de recibir educaci?n biling?e casi siempre fueron a escuelas donde la meta no era aprender a escribir bien el espa?ol ni elaborar el lenguaje con que llegaron. La meta era, y es, aprendar ingl?s. Se les ofrec?a/ofrece algo en L1 (espa?ol) s?lo para que no se queden muy atr?s en la materia mientras aprenden ingl?s. Entonces, la mayor?a no sabemos deletrear en espa?ol. Y si sabemos no es facil poner los acentos y otras marcas como deber?amos. Es mucho mas f?cil escribir en ingl?s. Si escribieramos en espa?ol nos tomar?a mucho m?s tiempo (como me ocurre a m?, en esta notita). Estoy escribiendo esto de la computadora de la UCLA donde trabajo. Pero si te estuviera escribiendo de la casa, no tendr?a manera de incluir los acentos. Y todo esto estar?a mal escrito, porque los acentos son fundamentales en el espa?ol escrito. (If you leave out an accent, you may as well have written a letter incorrectly--it's a misspelling). Otra cosa, muchos no tenemos el vocabulario a la mano si queremos expresarnos en espa?ol, y otra vez caemos en que es m?s facil expresarnos en ingl?s. La tercera raz?n es que somos muy criticones con nosotros mismos. Y esto lo encontramos tanto en el habla como en la escritura. Somos nuestros peores enemigos, a veces. Si alguien escribe algo y no lo escribi? bien, o no lo escribi? como yo lo escribir?a, ya soy la experta y all? estoy criticando. Total, nos manejamos mejor en ingl?s porque podemos hacerlo sin menos ?errores?. Podemos concentrarnos en el contenido y no tenemos que cuidar tanto de la forma. Entonces, la preferencia no es porque nos guste mas el ingl?s. La pregunta ser?a valida si realmente tuvieramos la opci?n. Una opci?n m?s valida ser?a "code-switching"--cual es una manera de hablar, mas que de escribir. Ahora, creo que deber?amos hacer una campa?a para aumentar el uso y el estatus del espa?ol en este pa?s. Tambi?n, s? que los medios masivos de comunicaci?n pueden jugar un papel fundamental en ?sto. Hay muchos chicanos/latinos de segunda y tercera generaci?n que todav?a entienden espa?ol, aunque no lo hablen con soltura. Estas personas, en su mayor?a son de la clase media. Y es la clase media que debe apuntarse a esta campa?a. Es los tiempos actuales, en este pa?s, la mayor?a de los anglos relacionan el uso del idioma espa?ol con la clase trabajadora, con los recien imigrados, y especialmente con los indocumentados.?

Lydia R. Espinoza writes:
?I am not a Spanish speaking Latina...English was the language of choice in my household...therefore, I prefer English. I am very active in my community and we all speak English. Also, many Latinos are not proficient in reading Spanish. I have a friend of mine who is a job recruiter and advertises on your website for bilingual Spanish jobs and finds it very challenging to place people in these positions.?

Cathy writes:
?I know that for myself, and my friends, we tend to favor English. Sentimientos and familia are in Spanish. I was born here and have studied here, and so I feel more comfortable doing my ?thinking? in Ingles.?

Gabriel Reyes writes:
?English should be the language (peppered with Spanish, of course, where else would we get the flavor?). However, you want your web site, story, etc. to be accessible to EVERYONE not just those who are proficient at reading Spanish (and my friend, there are more than of a few of us spics that can barely speak Spanish much less read it). Now, if you're doing business in Latin America or have viable business interests with the Spanish-speaking countries, then, you should be entirely bilingual.?

Ingles or Espa?ol on the Internet: Which one serves the needs of the greater number of U.S. Latinos? Write to us at:

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