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The United States is Bilingual

“The United States is de facto bilingual, but politicians will not accept it”, stated Dominican-American writer Junot Diaz, 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner, in an interview with Europa Press.

The trend in American culture is to be interested in knowing the reality of immigrants, but the opposite trend also exists, which “rejects everything Latino.”

What does it mean to be bilingual?

Many Latinos grow up speaking, reading and hearing two languages … in short, they grow up bilingual.

The number of Latinos born in the United States increases every year. They are the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of immigrants who are raised using “” and who use English more than anything in public. In other words, in conversations with parents, siblings or other relatives or friends they speak Spanish, and with friends, teachers and others in English.

Then surely they are bilingual, as are many others who continue to use the language they speak at home.

Being bilingual means more than just being able to speak two languages. In this definition, we need to include important elements that must also be associated with the word bilingual. Language and culture are connected to each other.

As we grow, we all learn the culture of our ancestors, by speaking their language. As Latinos, we learn Spanish as part of our .

However, by being a United States resident, we also learn English to communicate with virtually anyone who is not a member of our family (except for those fellow Spanish-speakers).

Thus we live in two cultures and speak two languages as part of the environment in which we live and are in constant contact. We can see that being bilingual is part of our culture, and also is part of our own identity as Latinos raised in the United States. We merge the two cultures into one; and it could happen that at some point all residents share and support each other’s culture.

As Latinos, our identity is formed by the use of two languages in daily life.

This way as there are more and more , everyone may one day live under the same conditions, by incorporating Spanish into their daily lives, schools, television, government, etc.

It will be like seeing it from the other side of the glass …