Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Spaniard moves unstoppable in USA

The traditional Christmas lights are included in New York this year, where luminaries are another tourist attraction, a particular detail in which the cultural and the playful, and even the political, go hand in hand. The central square of Lincoln Center, a mecca for the arts in the Big Apple, offers visitors an installation by British artist Es Devlin starting this Tuesday. It is a “kinetic sculpture” (in movement) in honor of the languages ​​spoken in the city. Based on data from the United States Census Bureau, the second of them all, Spanish, continues to grow unabated.

Massive illuminated rotating sculpture titled your voices (Your Voices), referring to the 700 different languages ​​spoken in the most linguistically diverse place on the planet: New York City. In the land of private support, the sphere of the rotating ellipsoid was commissioned by a famous French Champagne producer, and paid for. Visitors can interact with the sculpture, enter it and listen live to the languages ​​emanating from its 700 stars: Swahili, Tamil, Punjabi, Tagalog, Khmer, Gurung and Dagare (spoken in Ghana and Burkina Faso ) some of them are. … The sculpture’s 700 luminous strings are attached to structural arches that rotate toward the four cardinal points. This is a temporary installation that can be seen from today till the 18th.

With regard to Spanish, it is possible for any resident of New York to be in Spanish 24 hours a day, without any connection with English. Entire neighborhoods of the city, from Queens to the north of Manhattan, live, feel, and enjoy Spanish, a language that has become the majority minority in most of the entire country. The Hispanic population is the largest minority group in the United States, so it is not surprising that in 2019 Spanish was the most commonly spoken non-English language in American households (62%), 12 times more than the next four most common languages. was many times more. (Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Arabic), according to Census Bureau reports. The difference between Spanish and the other four languages ​​is stark: the second most important, Chinese, is in barely 5.2% of households compared to 62% of Hispanics.

More than half (55%) of Spanish speakers were born in the US, confirming another trend that can be seen with the naked eye… or heard. It is enough to visit one of the Hispanic neighborhoods in New York to verify that the second and third generations maintain the use of the language of their parents and grandparents in their personal lives. Unlike the Asian-American population, which integrates English as a first language even within the family, the daily life of Hispanics, even if they were born in the US, is primarily conducted in Spanish.

By age groups, the widest use appears among the youngest: 16% are between 5 and 14 years old, similar to the percentage of Arabic speakers. Furthermore, unlike the next four groups in the ranking of most spoken non-English language, Spanish speakers, regardless of their origin, do not become US citizens, with a percentage of 18% of others compared to 28%. In contrast, compared to the educational progress of the four remaining groups, Spanish speakers presented the lowest levels: in 2019, nearly a third (33%) had not completed high school, the highest percentage among speakers of the five languages. Common languages ​​were other than English (speaking a language other than English at home is a measure applied by the Census Bureau in this registry).

In New York City, as well as in the rest of the country, official forms and major signs are written in English and Spanish. In any branch of the chain of pharmacies, the visitor will find a comprehensive list of languages ​​in which he may request to attend, particularly when receiving a vaccine or a prescribed treatment, and so on in stores, schools Endlessly, hospitals or churches, many of which offer services in English and Spanish as well. The presence of Spanish is so widespread that, in an interview with this newspaper, author Suketu Mehta, an expert on migration, warned in January 2021 about the risk of Donald Trump and his declared abomination. bad men -a derogatory adjective applied to Mexican immigrants and, by extension, Latin American- refers to the possibility that this country will speak a language other than English in the not too distant future. The author said, “Trumpists fear that America will no longer be a white, English-speaking country in 2044.”

Census Bureau data confirms this. According to the report, the number of people in the United States who speak a language other than English at home has nearly tripled from 23.1 million in 1980 (about 1 in 10) to 67.8 million in 2019 (about 1 in 5). For Consuelo Trump and English supremacists, the number of English-only speakers also increased at the same time, from 187.2 million in 1980 to 241 million in 2019.

In Lincoln Center’s kinetic sculpture, the umpteenth tourist attraction in a city that renews itself almost from second to second, the hundreds of languages ​​spoken in New York’s five boroughs are displayed on a colorful interactive map created by the Languages ​​Coalition. In danger. Unlike species at risk of extinction, the use of a language, even a minority one, does not seem to be at risk in that unbroken Babel of New York.

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Nation World News Desk
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