The Language Barrier for Puerto Ricans

The Language Barrier for Puerto Ricans

Length: 946 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The Language Barrier for Puerto Ricans

"Pollito, Chicken
Gallina, Hen
Lapiz, Pencil
y Pluma, Pen.
Ventana, Window
Puerta, Door
Maestra, Teacher
y Piso, Floor

I sing in English, I sing in Spanish, so all my friends can understand."

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 colonization of the island. At this time, the island was called Boriquen and was inhabited by an Indian tribe called Tainos. During this process, the Spanish established their way of life on the island while decimating the Tainos in terms of population due to Spanish disease, slavery and oppression.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Language Barrier for Puerto Ricans." 123HelpMe.com. 31 Mar 2020
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=42372>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about The Language Barrier Standing in the Way of Puerto Rican Immigrants

- The Language Barrier Standing in the Way of Puerto Rican Immigrants The United States of America is regarded to many foreigners as the "land of opportunity". To many Puerto Ricans that still live on the island they view the mainland as just that. While other Puerto Ricans can't wait to return to their homeland. Many Puerto Ricans came to the United States because they believed they would not only find better jobs but a better education than on the island. Puerto Ricans first started migrating to the United States in the 1860s....   [tags: Language spanish Immigration Essays]

Research Papers
655 words (1.9 pages)

Independence The Solution For Puerto Rico Essay examples

- Independence-The Solution for Puerto Rico Recently, Puerto Rico declared it was bankrupt and could not repay its debt. As of October 27, 2016, the Harvard Law School: Bankruptcy Roundtable Managing Editor, Robert Niles stated, “With over $70 billion in debt and little cash to fund its ongoing operations, Puerto Rico remains in a state of fiscal crisis. After this summer’s decision by the First Circuit affirming that Puerto Rico’s attempt at legislative self-help, the so-called “Recovery Act was unconstitutional, the Commonwealth was left to negotiate with its many creditors or else seek relief from the federal government....   [tags: Puerto Rico, United States, U.S. state]

Research Papers
1785 words (5.1 pages)

Essay on Puerto Rico As A State Of The United States

- Do you think Puerto Rico should become the 51st state. 61% of Puerto Ricans say yes. Puerto Rico as a state of the United States could benefits both the US and PR. Through fixing both crime rate, to bringing more economic success. Although both the US and PR had their own pros and cons on whether Puerto Rico become the 51st state or not. Puerto Rico has been a commonwealth of the United States for over many years. Many Americans and Puerto Ricans think that Puerto Rico should not be the 51st state because it has their advantages and disadvantage....   [tags: Puerto Rico, United States, U.S. state]

Research Papers
1496 words (4.3 pages)

Stereotypes And Stereotypes Of Puerto Ricans Essay

- Question 1:
 Puerto Ricans, just like many other ethnic groups, are victims of stereotypes and prejudices. These individuals have been labeled as lazy, submissive, etc. However, one of the main stereotypes that affects Puerto Ricans, to this day, is the one that labels them as criminals. There are many media representations that continue to identify Puerto Ricans as criminals, even though that may not be the case. Unfortunately, for many ethic groups, the media plays a major role in regards to their stereotypes....   [tags: United States, Puerto Rico, Unemployment]

Research Papers
1312 words (3.7 pages)

Puerto Ricans Immigrating to America Essay

- Puerto Ricans Immigrating to America The migration of Puerto Ricans to the United States occurred in two major waves. The first wave was in the 1910s-1940s and the second wave was from the 1960s to the 1990s. Each wave of migrants brought new generations of Puerto Ricans to the United States. Both waves of migrants believed that they were going to live a better life in America and migrated to major cities such as New York City, Chicago, Hartford, etc. The early migrants looked for industrial jobs such as in cigar factories while the later migrants found agricultural work such as in tobacco fields....   [tags: Puerto Rican History Culture Essays]

Research Papers
2053 words (5.9 pages)

Essay on Puerto Ricans and Music

- Puerto Ricans and Music Puerto Ricans have music in their spirit and in their souls. It seems to be ever present in their lives from their childhood and sweetens their very existence. Since I was young, I can remember the music playing all night, while my family ignored the time and enjoyed each other's company. Music is a part of every Puerto Rican because it is embedded in our culture. It has become a cultural symbol for Puerto Ricans, and Latin Americans in general. In polls conducted concerning major signifiers of Puerto Rican identity, the three major political parties of Puerto Rico consistently ranked music behind only the Spanish language and food [1]....   [tags: American History]

Research Papers
1321 words (3.8 pages)

The Different Experience of Puerto Ricans' Migration to the United States

- The Different Experience of Puerto Ricans' Migration to the United States Some people are inclined to view the Puerto Rican experience as a historical repetition of earlier migrations to the United States. However, the migration experience of Puerto Ricans to the United States is more complex, as well as one of a kind. Similarities do exist between the migration of Puerto Ricans and that of other groups, however, no other ethnic group has shared the tribulations of the Puerto Rican population....   [tags: History Historical Puerto Rico Essays]

Free Essays
1840 words (5.3 pages)

Essay about Misrepresentation of Puerto Ricans' Needs Under American Rule

- Misrepresentation of Puerto Ricans' Needs Under American Rule In 1898 the future of the island of Puerto Rico, according to American imperialists, differed from the future that Puerto Ricans had been fighting for during the Spanish American War. After the American invasion of Puerto Rico two versions of the history of this colonization have been created. The first reveals the Puerto Rican opposition and resistance to American occupation. This is a history exposing U.S. oppression of Puerto Ricans as well as political and economic domination and exploitation....   [tags: History Historical Puerto Rico Essays]

Research Papers
1908 words (5.5 pages)

Essay about The Impact of Spanish Rule on Puerto Ricans Today

- The Impact of Spanish Rule on Puerto Ricans Today What was Puerto Rico like under Spanish rule, and how important is that rule to the formation of the Puerto Rican people today. To answer these questions, we must take a look at the history of the Spanish and their colonization of the island of Puerto Rico. As we know, Puerto Rico was a colony of Spain "found" by Christopher Columbus on November 19, 1493, and remained a colony of Spain for the next 400 years. But the interesting fact remains that Puerto Rico was not truly settled by the Spaniards until almost fifteen years later....   [tags: History Historical Puerto Rico Essays]

Research Papers
1433 words (4.1 pages)

The Official Puerto Rican Language Essay

- The Official Puerto Rican Language "The attempt by conquerors to impose their language on the conquered is a recurrent historical theme" (Morris 162). In 1493 the Spanish conquistadors arrived on the island of Borinquen where, there was an attempt by the Spanish to impose their language on the native population of Taino Indians. The Tainos believed that the Spaniards were gods and so were willing to learn all that they could from them. The virtual annihilation of the Taino population in the short period after the Spanish arrival caused by the importation of illnesses the Tainos were not immune to as well as their horrid working conditions as slaves....   [tags: Language Spanish Culture Essays]

Free Essays
1196 words (3.4 pages)

Related Searches

In order to avoid this fate, many Tainos escaped into the hinterland or left the island. Some Tainos mixed with the Spaniards and/or their African slaves through intermarriage. Over the course of time, Spanish became the dominant language of the island.

On July 25, 1898, the United States arrived in Puerto Rico and the island fell under the reign of US colonial rule. The presence of the US had adverse effects on the island politically and economically. Economic power fell into the hands of US corporations and the political future of the island was at the mercy of the US government.

The US implemented English only legislation in an attempt to Americanize the Puerto Ricans on the island. The Americans felt that Puerto Ricans learning English was imperative to their assimilation into American mainstream culture. English was authorized as the language of instruction in the classroom despite the fact that most of the native teachers did not understand or speak English. The native teachers, who often disregarded these English-only rules, had to be wary of US monitors watching the native employer’s actions. As part of their job, native teachers were required to take English language classes and explain themselves in the event of an absence (Fernandez 55-56).

The economic situation created by the US on the island of Puerto Rico left many Puerto Ricans in a state of poverty. While professionals connected to the US lived comfortably in the island’s capital, the laborers lived in crudely built shacks containing one to two rooms and lacking furniture and indoor cooking and bathroom facilities (Dietz 128).

Looking to improve their economic conditions for them and their families, many Puerto Ricans looked to the US as a place of opportunity and promise. The Jones Act had made the inhabitants of Puerto Rico citizens of the US, therefore, they could travel back and forth between the island and the US freely. Many Puerto Ricans envisioned the US as place where they could find a job and acquire improved economic status.

The greatest period of migration from Puerto Rico to the US took place from 1946 - 1970. Many Puerto Ricans settled in industrial centers where there were opportunities in the manufacturing and garment industries. The majority settled in New York City, and gradually found their way into Connecticut and then Hartford (Pagan 47).

The Puerto Rican population in Hartford has grown considerably over the past decades. From 1960 to 1990, the Puerto Rican population has increased from 2,307 to 38,176. In 1960, Puerto Ricans made up 1.4% of the total population of Hartford. By 1990, that number increased to 27.3% (Pagan).

References

Cruz, José. Identity and Power: Puerto Rican Politics and the
Challenge of Ethnicity. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press,
1998).

James Dietz, Economic History of Puerto Rico (Princeton:
Princeton U Press, 1986), 98-134

Fernandez, Ronald, "The Disenchanted Island", (Praeger,
Westport, Connecticut London) 1996

Figueroa-Martínez, Luis. ed. Hist. 247 Reader. (January 1998).

Pagan, Armando. "Puerto Ricans in Hartford and the legacy of
the Underclass." Undergraduate Senior Thesis submitted to the
Department of History, Trinity College, May 1999

Interviews from Park Street residents (5/5/99): Francisco
Acevedo, Liz Perez-Balesky, Epifanio Garcia

Interviews with Bilingual Education faculty at Hartford Public
Highschool (5/6/99): Mrs. Aida Ramos (Vice-Principal), Ms. Clara
Velez (Bilingual Math Teacher), Mrs. Irene Killian (TESOL), Ms.
Zoraida Ortiz (Bilingual Science Teacher), and Ms. Nancy Harrison
(TESOL/Bilingual Computer Lab Teacher).
Return to 123HelpMe.com