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English or Spanish in America?

Updated on May 7, 2012

America is fast becoming a bilingual country. While English is the official language for use in government, once you leave the confines of that, you enter, depending on the area in America, into an odd mix of Spanglish.

English dominates certain areas of the US, those areas furthest away from the Mexican border and areas that have little agricultural business. Areas like Montana, North Dakota, maybe Kansas and others. As you get closer to the border of Mexico or the southeastern states, Spanish is not far behind English as being dominate. However, Spanish is dominate over English in America in the towns and cities along the Mexican border. Travel to towns and cities along the border in Texas near the Gulf of Mexico and you might think you are in Mexico because English is subservient to Spanish in most places. It is a weird twilight zone event. You know you are in America because it looks American yet the language is mostly Spanish. Even if you are blond and blue eyed and enter a bank in these locales, the greeting is in Spanish, "Buenos dias". Now, you would expect a bank teller to have the intelligence that this person is obviously NOT Hispanic but anglo and greet them in English. Sort of a duh moment. Yet, it happens. Then when you speak English to them and then they say, "uno momento, por favor", leave, and return with a bilingual teller, it is even more alienish.

It is just weird. That sort of tells you that in certain areas of America, America speaks Spanish by default and English is the foreign language. Again. it is an odd feeling as you leave the bank and while it looks American (Safeway is near, a shopping center, Texas license plates) one hears nothing but Spanish, although I am sure that anyone under 25 is most likely bilingual. Even many of the small stores have Spanish store names. Although, the under 25 is not always true. You will find the usual response when asking for help in English, " No habla ingles. No entiendo" .

The best way to deal with it is not get frustrated or angry. Treat it as if you are visiting Mexico or Spain. Don't look at every Spanish person as if they are illegal. Use the opportunity to practice your own pathetic Spanish you learned years ago or just from osmosis in culture. You know, since most labels and everything else is bilingual, you pick up Spanish words to incorporate with English. It is a learning experience. The same is true for those seeking to know English.

Yes, we all know the country is America and everyone knows to expect English in daily life and business, but on the flip side, expect Spanish also. It's not going away. Fight it or adapt to it but being a little bilingual is a good thing. I mean, don't you like burritos, nachos, tacos, quesadilla, enchiladas, fajitas, salsa, tamales, horchata, churros, gorditas? Si or no? Esta comida es muy bien!


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    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks, jay. The official language is very narrow in its venue, namely government, but even there, many converse in Spanish.

    • INFJay profile image

      Jay Manriquez 

      6 years ago from Santa Rosa, California

      The United States is certainly a country where multiple languages are spoken with American English being the dominate language. However, at the Federal level, no official language has been designated. It is only at the State level where some states, including ours California, have designated English as their official language. Some states have two official languages. Interestingly, not even Texas has officially declared an official language. Perhaps the "problem" could be solved by having some obscure language as the "official" language thus forcing everyone to learn a new language.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Can't really argue with that.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 

      6 years ago from USA

      You make a good point here. I travel a lot in the US and when I'm in South Texas, I do feel like I'm in another country. However, I do believe English should be THE language in the US. There are many ESOL classes available for new arrivals and they should, but don't always, take advantage of them. We will only become multi lingual if we insist on bowing to the needs of non English speakers. No other country does this, nor should we. There are 5,000 plus languages in the world...are we to have ALL of them take over the US? I don't think so!

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      I agree. Like I said, it depends where you live in the US as to the severity of the dilemma.

    • Innuentendre profile image


      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      billinguals will have a leg up in the job market.. get it while the getting es bueno!Change can be fun although I think it's essential that the national language is preserved for the sake of solidarity.

    • handymanbill profile image


      6 years ago from western pennsylvania

      Huh?? Speak English Please

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago


    • Civil War Bob profile image

      Civil War Bob 

      6 years ago from Glenside, Pennsylvania

      Cet article est tres bon, mon ami!! Voted up and interesting. Pax Vobiscum, Herr perrya!! ;)


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