Language in Puerto Rico

Language in Puerto Rico

Comm 200

Reginald Doctor

Christina Gooden

March 6, 2011

The issue of language is central to the Puerto Rican experience in the United States. Living in a land where the dominant language is English, this Spanish speaking population is involved in a historical struggle to overcome the language barrier. Among other things, their unfamiliarity with the English language has been a major obstacle to the progression of the Puerto Rican people as a whole.

The inability of Puerto Rican’s to speak English has served to exacerbate their situation in the United States; a situation where they are already met with discrimination simply for being foreigners. In the classrooms, Puerto Ricans have met only minimal success, largely due to their inability to properly communicate with teachers and peers. In the workplace, Puerto Ricans have historically been given only menial jobs. Due to their inability to speak English, many Puerto Ricans are unable to conduct themselves in job interviews, fill out application forms, or communicate with customers. As a result, the more competitive job fields show an under-representation of Puerto Ricans. Finally, many Puerto Ricans find it difficult to conduct themselves in places such as hospitals, courtrooms, and post offices due to the language barrier. This leads to the issue of bilingualism. Should the mainstream environment of the schools and workplace of America consist of two languages? This issue has been debated for many years.

This paper focuses on the issue of bilingualism in Hartford, while also looking at the context under which Puerto Ricans in Hartford find themselves in their current situation. These issues are examined with the use of historical fact, along with information and sentiments on current events in the Hartford community concerning the issue of bilingualism and culture.

Puerto Rican History

In the year 1508, the Spanish arrived in Puerto Rico and began the Spanish...