Sunday, August 25, 2013

Spanish beats out others including Urdu, Cantonese, Gaellic for the #2 spot

Pew reports "Spanish is the most spoken non-English language in U.S. homes". In other news, the sun rose in the east this morning and is projected to set in the west later this evening.

In seriousness, predictable social data like these are valuable, even when they're not 'controversial'. But while Pew is deserving of admiration for its acts of data-reporting commission, it often disappoints by way of omission.

Case in point in this very report, conveniently enough. After spending a seemingly inordinate amount of time on the tangential non-Hispanic Spanish speaking population in the US (numbering 2.8 million, compared to the country's 34.8 million Hispanic Spanish speakers), the report closes by informing us about English language proficiency rates of non-Hispanics who speak Spanish in their homes (2.8 million) and of non-Hispanics who do not speak Spanish in their homes (roughly 290 million):
When it comes to English proficiency, eight-in-ten (80%) non-Hispanics who speak Spanish at home say they speak English “very well”, 11% say they speak English “well”, and 9% say they speak English “not well” or do not speak English. This compares with 96% of all non-Hispanics 5 years and older who speak English only or speak it “very well”, 2% who speak English “well”, and 2% who speak English “not well” or do not speak English.
Leaves something to be desired, doesn't it? We get nationwide English language proficiency rates but with the glaring exclusion of the 34.8 million Spanish-speaking Hispanics residing in the US, the figure most readers--especially Dark Enlightenment types like us--are presumably the most curious about.

I've asked the authors to provide a similar breakdown of English proficiency rates among Hispanic Spanish speakers in the US. The comment thread is quite manageable and it looks fairly interactive between readers and the reports' authors, so feel free to ask for the same data I've asked for. Strength in numbers!


Anonymous said...

You probably should not have put your blog handle in the comment. We know how someone with the name Mark Hugo Lopez is going to feel about it if he does any due diligence.

Anonymous said...

Why not to Study Spanish: