In the past when I visited the Canadian province of Quebec, I was impressed with how easily conversations slipped from English to French and back to English. At the same time I felt sorry for the Canadians whose signage budget was twice as high as it should be in order to satisfy the French Canadians. Little did I know that the United States would be going down the same road.
Increasingly, Spanish is creeping into our signage and packaging, not to satisfy Spanish Americans but to satisfy Hispanics and Latinos. I mention both Hispanics and Latinos only because the terms are used interchangeably. Spanish Americans have no political clout. Hispanics and Latinos have political clout. More importantly, Hispanics and Latinos love the Spanish language and are stubborn enough to consider English only as a second language.
I've referred to Latinos and Hispanics as though they were one and the same. I guess for politics they are but I discovered that there is an important difference between Hispanics and Latinos.
- Latino generally refers to countries (or cultures) that were once under Roman rule. This includes Italy, France, Spain, etc. Brazilians are considered to be Latino, but are not considered to be Hispanic.
- Hispanic describes cultures or countries that were once under Spanish rule (Mexico, Central America, and most South America where Spanish is the primary language).
Given the trend, I wonder how soon there will be a push to translate the Constitution into Spanish If it happens , I hope there is nothing lost in the translation.
So where is this all leading? To your favorite bookstore where you can shell out a few pesos for Rosetta Stone. In ten days you will be speaking Spanish like Marco Rubio. You might even try downing a few Dos Equis'; your speech will be slurred enough to fool even a Mexican. If all else fails, apply for a green card and emigrate to Canada. Make sure you head for Ontario and not Quebec.
ESO ES TODO POR AHORA!