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Have you heard?  The English language is under attack!  Immigrants are moving here and bringing their own languages. States are printing voting instructions ...
by | October 23, 2006

Englishattack Have you heard?  The English language is under attack! 

Immigrants are moving here and bringing their own languages. States are printing voting instructions in Spanish. Courts have to use translators. One state had to deal with blistering controversy because its website is partially in Spanish. 

¡qué terrible!

But it turns out that English is actually alive and well -- thriving, even. According to a new study from the University of California, Spanish-speaking immigrants actually adopt English very quickly. By the third generation, an immigrant family generally won't even speak Spanish, the study says.

"The United States is a language graveyard," said Rubén Rumbaut, a UC-Irvine sociology professor and co-author of the study "Linguistic Life Expectancies: Immigrant Language Retention in Southern California."

"The shift (toward English only) is rapid, and it's essentially complete by the third generation," he said.

If the study's right, it sounds like English isn't threatened at all. Indeed, it seems to me that immigrants' adoption of it -- even if it takes a couple generations -- actually strenghtens the language.

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