Bilingual is Better

Will My Grandchildren Speak Spanish?

Will my children be as passionate about Spanish as I am? I sure hope so…

I know it’s crazy for me to even think about this right now considering my kids are only 5 and 2, but it’s something I often wonder.

In fact, I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, but then I got the February issue of Latina magazine which has an article titled Are we losing our Language? on the cover and I decided the time was now. Reading my friend Carrie’s post about it on the Tiki Tiki on Monday pushed me even more – mostly because of the comments she got there.

Although the poll in which she asks “How good is your Spanish” has clos to 60 percent of the people responding that it’s “perfectly fluent,” the comments tell another story. A story more representative of what the Latina article says the Pew Hispanic Center has fond:  ”only 38 percent of third-generation Latinos — United States-born kids with foreign-born grandparents — are proficient in Spanish, compared to 79 percent of the second generation.”

Clearly, the longer Latinos have been in this country, the less Spanish they speak. So how will this affect my grandchildren who will be third generation Latinos?

I’d like to think that it won’t and that they will be just as bilingual as I am. But who knows?

So far, raising my children bilingual has been fairly easy. I hope you don’t get mad at me for saying that, but if you read this blog often, you must know that both Ana and I speak Spanish fluently and we’re married to Latino men whose first language – just like us – is Spanish. In other words, speaking Spanish is completely natural for us and although it’s true that we sometimes forget how to say certain words – thank God for Spanglish! – we are still 100% fluent. So speaking to our children in Spanish is truly not something we have to work very hard at – at least not yet.

While I envision some sort of rebellion against their heritage language at some point in their adolescence, I truly don’t think they’ll forget their Spanish because I’m already ensuring that they’re surrounded by it at all times. I mean, not only at home, but by traveling to both Peru and Puerto Rico as often as possible, as we did with my stepson who today is a completely bilingual young man.

But I also don’t kid myself. The reality is that – and I’ve said this many times before – the way my kids are growing up bilingual is completely different than the way I did. 

I can only hope that I’m successful at showing them that speaking Spanish is a matter very close to my heart… the rest is completely up to them.

¿Y ustedes qué creen?

*{Image by: xavi talleda}

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