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Thanks to social media communications and public relations now have a global reach but do they have a global understanding? Language study: What is a foreign language worth? | The Economist

The internet is instantaneously connecting the world and speeding up business. The public relations and communications capacity of firms is being multiplied by their ability to broadcast messages to huge audiences at small prices.   But what happens when communications experts phase market opportunities in languages and cultures they can now more easily reach but do not understand?

As world trade expands on the wings of technological progress and the opening of huge markets (like the Chinese, new leaders like Brazil, and  others) creates a need for intercultural exchange, speaking a second or third language may prove to be a key asset.  Depending on the languages you speak, your career prospects could differ accordingly.

“Why do the languages offer such different returns? It has nothing to do with the inherent qualities of Spanish, of course. The obvious answer is the interplay of supply and demand. This chart reckons that Spanish-speakers account for a bit more of world GDP than German-speakers do. But an important factor is economic openness. Germany is a trade powerhouse, so its language will be more economically valuable for an outsider than the language of a relatively more closed economy.”

More via Language study: Johnson: What is a foreign language worth? | The Economist.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Changing Media Paradigm, consumers, Language, language and public relations, Mass Media and Public Opinion, News, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms

5 facts about Hispanics for Hispanic Heritage Month | Pew Research Center

In a world that is being made smaller everyday by advances in travel and technology, culture and language remain significant causes of distance between people.  America has a tremendous treasure in its diversity and in the muscle of its young and growing Hispanic/Latino population.   The Policy ThinkShop brings you the following facts to get you thinking about America’s future and its role in a multicultural and multilingual world…

National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, a period chosen because it bookends the independence days of five Central American nations (Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Costa Rica, Sept. 15), Mexico (Sept. 16) and Chile (Sept. 18), as well as Columbus Day/Dia de la Raza (Oct. 14 this year in the United States). In honor of the event, here are five key facts about U.S. Hispanics:

1. Geography: Although there’s been some dispersion in recent years, the Hispanic population remains highly concentrated. More than half (55%) of the nation’s Hispanics live in just three states — California, Texas and Florida — and 71% live in just 100 of the nation’s 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

2. Population size: According to the Census Bureau, there were 51.9 million U.S. Hispanics in 2011 (its latest estimate, for 2012, is just over 53 million). The Hispanic population grew 47.5% between 2000 and 2011, according to a Pew Research analysis, and accounted for more than half (55%) of total population growth over that period.

3. Countries of origin: The umbrella term “Hispanic” embraces a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures. However, nearly two-thirds of U.S. Hispanics trace their family origins to Mexico; Puerto Ricans, the nation’s second-largest Hispanic-origin group, make up 9.5% of the total Hispanic population.

4. Educational attainment: College enrollment among Hispanic high school graduates has risen over the past decade: According to the Census Bureau, 49% of young Hispanic high-school graduates were enrolled in college in 2012, surpassing the rate for white (47%) and black (45%) high-school grads.

5. Language usage: A record 35 million (74%) Hispanics ages 5 and older speak Spanish at home. Spanish is the second-most spoken language in the United States. Nearly all U.S. Hispanics say it’s important that future generations speak Spanish.

More via 5 facts about Hispanics for Hispanic Heritage Month | Pew Research Center.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture, Culture Think, Demographic Change, Language, language and public relations, Latin American Alliances, Latinos, Mass Media and Public Opinion, New American Electorate, New Electorate, News, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, , ,

Spanish is the most spoken non-English language in U.S. homes, even among non-Hispanics | Pew Research Center

Do you speak Spanish?  America, like the rest of the “Americas,” speaks Spanish quite fluently, prevalently and often.  Despite the illusion that North America is monolingual and that being monolingual is somehow more “American,” the truth is that America has been multilingual for hundreds of years prior to the landing of the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, followed by May and Flower–the Mayflower, that is, much later.

The original experience of  the inhabitants of the Southwest, for example, included migration patterns by the native peoples of Central America across the Rio Grande and all the way up into the Dakotas and back.  For over a thousand years, the natives of what much later became North America spoke numerous languages and roamed what would become America.  The first settlement at St. Augustine, you could say, established the continent’s first European language–Español.

St. Augustine was founded forty-two years before the English colony at Jamestown, Virginia, and fifty-five years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts – making it the oldest permanent European settlement on the North American continent.

Today, America’s strong and vibrant Spanish heritage is prospering as many of us feel right at home speaking the original colonial language.  According to the Pew Foundation,

“A record 37.6 million persons ages 5 years and older speak Spanish at home, according to an analysis of the 2011 American Community Survey by the Pew Research Center.

Spanish is, by far, the most spoken non-English language in the U.S. The next most spoken non-English languages are Chinese (with 2.8 million speakers), Hindi, Urdu or other Indic languages (2.2 million), French or French Creole (2.1 million), and Tagalog (1.7 million).

The number of Spanish speakers in the U.S. has grown rapidly in recent decades, reflecting the arrival of new immigrants from Latin America and growth in the nation’s Hispanic population. Today 34.8 million Hispanics ages 5 and older speak Spanish at home.

However, not all Spanish speakers are Hispanic. According to our analysis, some 2.8 million non-Hispanics speak Spanish at home today. That places Spanish at the top of the list of non-English languages spoken by non-Hispanics along with Chinese and ahead of all other languages.

(The U.S. Census Bureau measure of non-English language use captures how many people say a language other than English is spoken in the home but does not capture how well or how often the language is spoken).

Who are the 2.8 million non-Hispanics who speak Spanish at home? Some 59% trace their ancestry to non-Spanish European countries such as Germany, Ireland, England and Italy. An additional 12% say they are of African American descent. Nonetheless, about one-in-five (18%) non-Hispanic Spanish speakers trace their heritage to a Spanish-speaking country. By comparison, among the non-Hispanic U.S. population ages 5 and older, about two-thirds (64%) trace their ancestry to non-Spanish European countries, 13% say their ancestry is African American and 1% trace their heritage to a Spanish-speaking country.

Nine-in-ten (89%) of non-Hispanic Spanish speakers were born in the U.S., a share similar to that for all non-Hispanics ages 5 and older (91%).

The racial composition of non-Hispanic Spanish speakers mirrors that of the U.S. non-Hispanic population. Overall, three-quarters (77%) of non-Hispanics who speak Spanish at home are white, 14% are black, and 9% say they belong to some other racial group. Among the non-Hispanic U.S. population ages five years and older, 76% are white, 14% are black, and 9% are some other race.

Many non-Hispanic Spanish speakers reside in a household where at least one other member is Hispanic. Overall, 26% of non-Hispanic Spanish speakers live in these types of households. By comparison, just 3% of all non-Hispanics ages 5 and older live in such households.

Three-in-ten (28%) non-Hispanics Spanish speakers who are married live with a Hispanic spouse. By comparison, only 2% of non-Hispanics are living with a Hispanic spouse.

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.”

via Spanish is the most spoken non-English language in U.S. homes, even among non-Hispanics | Pew Research Center.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Changing Media Paradigm, consumers, Culture Think, Demographic Change, Discrimination, Education Policy, Education Reform, ethnicity in politics, Health Literacy, Health Policy, Healthcare Reform, Intolerance, Language, Latinos, Medicaid Expansion, New American Electorate, New Electorate, News, Public Health, Public Policy, , , , , , ,

The Use of the Word “Vagina” : The New Yorker

When straight guy friends used to ask me for advice on how to talk to women, I’d suggest, first, that they ask the women something about themselves. Along the lines of that shocker, here’s another piece of …

MORE via The Use of the Word “Vagina” : The New Yorker.

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