English Language Dying Out in Miami

Written by Paul Zannucci on 9:09 AM

In Miami, Spanish is becoming the primary language

"In many areas of Miami, Spanish has become the predominant language, replacing English in everyday life."

According to Census Bureau figures quoted in the article above, the percentage of non-Hispanic whites in Dade county is currently at 18.5%, and this number is quickly dwindling as it becomes more difficult to work, shop and play in an area where English is no longer the primary language of the majority of residents. For many of the 58.4% of residents who speak Spanish, it is the primary or only language they speak.

"I do resent the fact that people seem to expect that the people who live here adjust to their ways, rather than learning English and making adjustments," [librarian Martha Phillips] said. "Obviously I don't expect an older person to learn to speak English, but younger people come in and they don't seem to make much of an effort to learn to adapt to this country and they expect us to adapt to them."

So what do we do about this? My suggestion is nothing. Clearly, we cannot pass an English language law in Miami since it would be surprising to find that the local government didn't closely resemble the populace. Furthermore, there are serious questions about the constitutionality of such a law. As conservatives, we cannot abandon the constitution when it is convenient to do so. That would make us "progressives".

Instead, I suggest that we let it play out. As the situation becomes worse (as far as English goes), Miami will find that it is harder and harder to attract American investment development and American tourists. If the economy can thrive without that, which I doubt, there will still be other incentives. In the thriving Latin economy scenario, you'll see a development of progressive generations of wealth building and American identity building. The new Miami middle and upper classes will not be content to just sit in a small corner of American culture. Once fully settled and growing, there will be a shift toward conformity. Parts of the culture will still remain and create a sort of Latin attractiveness to Miami that will actual help to draw American tourists.

The only fear is that the economy fails to thrive with its new language, as would be expected, and the people fail to adapt, and we end up with the familiar South American model in which you have gated resorts on the coast and strong suggestions that you not leave the resort. Yet, even if this becomes the case, these new immigrants will soon realize that they no longer have to stay in Miami. They will begin to migrate north where speaking Spanish won't get them much. But I have a hard time seeing it come to this. In a few generations, the desire to conform and share in the wealth and culture of America will become overwhelming. It may get worse before it gets better, but I feel strongly that we should refrain from overreacting at this stage of the process.

Weakening liberty to satisfy a personal agenda is no way run a country.

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  1. 1 comments: Responses to “ English Language Dying Out in Miami ”

  2. By Anonymous on August 30, 2008 at 11:42 PM

    I hope you're right. I have a niece in a Charter High School who has teachers she can barely understand because of their "creative" English grammar and strong accents. Fortunately she hears excellent English from one of her parents, but what of her classmates who do not have that advantage?

    Students in Miami public schools (and some private ones) do not hear good English consistently modeled in the classroom. That may account for the fact that my own neighborhood is full of youth who were born and raised in the USA (if Miami qualifies) but who speak such poor English that they sound like newly arrived immigrants. At the same time, their Spanish is rudimentary at best! What hope have they to ever hope to function outside Miami?

    I hope you're right about the future of this city. I am not quite so sanguine.