I do not want to dog on San Antonio because the people I know there are very nice and I was treated with respect in every encounter I had with people. However, I felt like the areas where I was at were super commercialized and all you saw driving through the highway were billboards advertising this and that. I also thought parking spaces were crammed, but as my wife wisely put, its just that the cars are bigger, like everything else in Texas. I did bring back a stuffed animal armadillo for my wife, even though I did not see a live one… and I guess they are not cuddly little animals, but vicious dog killers that need to be shot… as a cop at the airport explained to me.
I was there for work this past week. I did not get to see the Alamo or the River walk. I did get to see a lot of Mexican looking people that did not speak Spanish at all.
I was not surprised that people that looked Spanish did not speak the language, I have encountered that before, I was surprised by the percentage. I would venture to say that at least 70% of the people I saw that looked very Spanish to me, did not know how to say anything but the basic Spanish that is picked up by watching TV.
I was then later informed of TexMex as it refers to language, and it being what I call Spanglish. I was also told that people that spoke TexMex would not be understood in Mexico.
Two thoughts came to mind, one is how sad it is that people in this country are so against letting illegal immigrants into the country, without realizing that a growing percentage of the country is already Hispanic. I did not know how big the percentage was until I went to San Antonio and saw that a lot of people are Spanish there. I also know that many ignorant people in this country see a Mexican looking person and automatically assume they are an illegal immigrant. What some might not realize is that the percentage of the Hispanic population that is here legally or have been in the country for generations but are still of Hispanic descent is probably bigger than the ones that are here illegally.
The second thought that came to mind was how sad it is to lose parts of your culture like your language. I love languages and think they are beautiful. I now I have two languages in my repertoire and sometime can only express my true feelings in one or the other. I am lucky my wife understands both because it lets me communicate better than if I had to rely on just one.
Even thought I understand why so many people lost their language, ask anyone of German or Italian descent, because their parents did not want them to have an accent when they spoke or be segregated because of their other language. In some rare cases, they kids simply did not care about their heritage and let the language get lost.
If I am ever blessed with kids they are going to learn as many languages as possible before they are 10. I know at least inside the house only Spanish will be spoken. I think English is also important, but living in the US it is something they will pick up at school. I also hope that when that happens I have already started to speak French and can also give them that language, I know my wife will.