September 18, 2007

Spanish Speakers Do Well In English

"Some folks think that Hispanics have "no spur to learn English," in contrast to other immigrants. This accusation is unfounded. Spanish speakers do well in learning English. According to the recent census, the percentage of Spanish and Asian language speakers who speak English very well is nearly identical, for children, 73.4% of Spanish speakers and 72.7% of Asian language speakers. For adults, the percentages are 47.5% and 50.8% respectively. Studies confirm that those in Spanish-speaking families who came to the US before school age or were born here generally speak English better than they do Spanish by the time they are in high school or even earlier, and 70% of third and later generation Hispanics speak only English. Polls show that Spanish speakers support the acquisition of English. According to a recent Pew study, Hispanics feel more strongly about the importance of children acquiring English than other groups do. The impression that Spanish speakers do not speak English well is due to the presence of new immigrants, who have not yet had time (and often the opportunity) to acquire English to high levels. "
--Stephen Krashen