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Tag Archives: Bilingual Latinos

Activist and Jornalist

Jorge RamosJorge Ramos’ track record as one the best journalists in the U.S. cannot be dismissed by his activism. Yet, simple-minded people who see the world as either/or and feel threatened by his influence wished they could so.

Spanish-dominant Bilingual Youth

Bilingual youth who construct their vocabulary between what they learned at home in Spanish and what they learned at school or work in English are more comfortable with a casual language among their peers that mixes phrases and words of these two languages.

According to my study of language preferences in digital media among 18-25 year-old Latinos/Hispanics, the less acculturated ones side with Spanglish-themed programming such as the no longer existing Univision-owned radio station “La Kalle,” because mainstream media does not resonate with who they are collectively.

“Spanglish” Speakers

To attract “Spanglish” speakers, you need to appeal, invite, and get close to a younger generation of Latinos who do not necessarily are fully fluent in Spanish but have acquired the emotional vocabulary of their parents’ language.

Speaking Spanglish represents having a dual and hybrid cultural identity. The language itself is a mix of what is relevant in Spanish but does not exist in English or cannot be completely expressed in English.

Aculturado, Retroaculturado y Asimilado

El aculturado vive en dos mundos—el del país donde creció—su cultura de origen y en la de residencia—donde vive; por ejemplo, Shakira.

El retroaculturado está más empapado de la cultura de residencia pero tiene interés en aprender la cultura de sus padres o abuelos; por ejemplo, Eva Longoria.

El asimilado es quien de tantas generaciones ha perdido conexión con la cultura de origen de sus padres o abuelos y socio-culturalmente funciona mejor en un solo mundo—el de residencia; por ejemplo, Jessica de Alba.

Sin embargo, la nueva generación de Latinos en EEUU tiene el privilegio de poder operar simultáneamente en la cultura de residencia y de origen ya que puede estar en constante contacto con familiares y amigos del país o paises de sus padres.

Aflac and Amateur Spanglish

Aflac

I’m yet to see how “Tu vales por two” resonates with bilinguals because “two” sounds contrived. The Spanish phrase is, “Vales por dos.” Replacing “dos” for “two” does not make this phrase Spanglish. It makes it incorrect in English and in Spanish and for that matter in Spanglish.

This is a good example of amateur Spanglish, non-fluent Spanglish or Spanglish for beginners. For Spanglish to work, it has to be a mix of emotionally-charged words in Spanish that are commonly known among Spanish speakers which do not translate in well English or words that were first learned in English and never learned in Spanish because they are too long or impractical.

Spanglish is an “insiders” language that is learned through socialization and mingling with other Spanglish-speakers. Spanglish is spoken among a subculture of in-group members who grew up speaking Spanish and English simultaneously.

Latinos in the U.S.

By Mari D. González

This is a comment I shared on the Hispanic Professionals LinkedIn Group discussion titled, “Bilingualism Key to Breach the Gap.”

“The hope for the advancement of Latinos in the U.S. lies among young educated and aware Latinos/Hispanics who are the product of bilingualism for they did not grow up during the time when speaking Spanish was prohibited.

Unfortunately, before the 1970′s  Latinos or Mexican Americans were either forced to identify  with the general, macro, dominant culture–white–or to be secluded in cluster communities up to the explosion of the Chicano Movement which proclaimed the recognition of the indigenous roots of Mexican culture and empowered Mexican Americans to advance politically.  As radical as it was, the painful conscientious movement was indeed needed.

As a result, young Latinos and Latinas are enjoying one of the greatest legacies from it–bilingualism. We are also more knowledgeable of the two cultures that makes us up. We are integrated. We are expanding our awareness of our culture of origin–Latin America–by socializing online, by traveling and by being more exposed to different cultures and places.

Young Latinos and Latinas are currently graduating from college in record numbers. This can be attributed to our collectivist values, or group efforts to mentor and tutor, to expand culturally appropriate program in colleges and high schools such as Puente and above all to having a willingness of being role models to upcoming students.

That is what differentiates Latinos from whites and blacks. Latinos have a strong commitment to improve their communities. Even when succeeding Latinos might leave their neighborhoods to study or work, most return to uplift others.

Who needs JLo, Jessica de Alba, Ted Cruz, or any of those washed out Latinos. While they might be popular, they have no true influence. Influence is acquired by taking responsibility for and by making an impact on others’ lives and by uplifting human values.

Being Latino is not a label. Being Latino is a strong community commitment to help Latinos in need. Yet, we need to move away from history to create a clear vision of the future as one cultural group. We must ask ourselves, What is it that we want as a group?  Where are we moving toward? What our direction should be?”

Missing the Mark on Culture

English: Black Hispanic and Latino Americans

By Mari D. González

The blog “Are Marketers Missing the Mark?” by Hispanic Market Weekly states that “An attitude-based acculturation model provides a more focused lens for looking at Latinos and capturing the estimated $500 billion in purchasing power held by bicultural Hispanics” based on a report from Culturati Research & Consulting.

Let’s clarify that the largest percentage of bilingual Latinos/Hispanics do not need to acculturate; they enculturate instead.  They acquire the culture in their first years of life through schooling and media in English. Acculturation is for people such as immigrants who move from one society or culture into another.

Ethnic marketing is prone to these wrong and misleading statements. Let’s also clarify that Hispanic marketers are not experts in cross-cultural theories or cultural anthropology and should not be haphazardly using terms that are outside their field or field-specific that they ignore. They need to either learn more about social sciences or leave such studies to the experts because they are “missing the mark.”

Being Latino on Facebook II

By Mari D. González

This is the second part of my interview with Lance Rios, founder and administrator of Being Latino, “a communication platform designed to educate, entertain and connect all peoples across the global Latino spectrum.” It is the largest Latino/Hispanic page on Facebook with 41,460 “People Like This” to date -an additional 9,884 followers since the date of my first post on May 27, 2010.

For Lance, Facebook provides an already established and flexible platform on which participants can “communicate back and forth in whatever language they want, Spanish or English.” Conveniently, there are plenty of Latino/Hispanic social-network users. According to him, there is no need to create any specific social-network website for them.

Mainstream vs. Latino

I wanted to know if there were any differences between “mainstream” and Latino Facebook users. Mainstream users are considered the general market or non-ethnic segment in marketing. In other words, mainstream users are by and large in-tune with the popular U.S. American culture.  Lance contends that Spanish-language phrases that are immediately recognized by Latinos/Hispanics such as, “Que pasa” and “Mi gente” are essential when communicating with Latinos on social-network sites and that using “English-language [only] is limiting.” Thus, Spanish as a language becomes a salient cultural indicator for Latinos even when only a few words are being used.

Singh, Baack, Kundu and Hurtado (2008) argue, “[Spanish language] tends to be the most visible manifestation of U.S. Hispanic identity.”  According to my my academic research on digital media, bilingual, second-generation Latinos/Hispanics prefer English websites that include phrases and words in Spanish because those speak to their cultural identity. Lance agrees, “You need to speak their language.” Language choices represent how young Latinos see themselves. Their language is as hybrid as their cultural identity.

Social Media Trends

When asked about Latino trends in social media, Lance first asserts that Latinos are a strong market, “Latinos are a young audience and the fastest growing.” He explains that Latinos have a great interest in connecting with other Latinos wherever they may be. For instance, “they want to know what is going on with Latinos in East L.A.,” which unlike with any other demographic it is consistent with Latinos/Hispanics. For Lance, “connecting among Latinos within the Latino community is to identify and to [identify is to] capitalize.”

Lance affirms that Latinos are less afraid of saying what they think and feel, “they are more expressive in social media and more willing to put it out there” adding that in Latin America people are encouraged to carry over [their culture] by expressing it.” According to him, Latinos in the U.S. are not different. He states, “they are expressive and passionate” about their culture.

I was very curious to know which topics get the most responses and keeps Latino/Hispanic fans engaged. Lance notes that it is difficult to capture the attention of social media users with topics that need more consideration. He advises keeping things straightforward and “not to use too much thought, simple [uncomplicated] stuff generates the most responses.” As for my appraisal, his topics are hardly ever simple; his spin is though.  For instance, Lance’s October 2, post with a link to the L.A. Times article, “CNN’s Rick Sanchez fired after statement about Jews in TV” reads on top, “CNN fires news anchor, Rick Sanchez, Thoughts?” On October 2, 2010, this post generated 103 comments within a day of posting.

Edited by Connie Cobb

Latinos Getting More Complex

By Mari D. González

I am very please to have an echo on the fact that the more the number of Latinos/Hispanics in the U.S. increases, the more they need to be segmented because their complexity as well increases.

Last July, I submitted a research paper for possible publication at the Journal of Internationalisation and Localisation (JIAL) titled “Interactive Food & Beverage Marketing: Targeting Latino Youth in the Digital Age.” The study covered:

“Recent interest in the Latino/Hispanic population and culture has lead to fruitful research and increased attention on U.S. Latinos/Hispanics…. Marketing that targets Latino/Hispanic youth, has become promising, specialized, and lucrative. [This study] investigates the type of cultural knowledge marketing researchers are using to target Latino/Hispanic youth…. It explores how the ever-growing access to digital media changes the way the food and beverage companies do business with Latino/Hispanic youth” (Gonzalez, M.D., 2009, p. 4).

My findings show that Latinos/Hispanics specifically youth are creating a new “hybrid” culture which marketers need to take into account. They cannot effectively be reached by Spanish-only media nor are they being attracted to mainstream mass media because they do not culturally identify with it.

Marketers are loosing the mark of this large and continuously growing population of bicultural and bilingual digital media savvy generation if they do no pay attention to what matters to them. For instance, while they listen to the whole spectrum of music in English, from rock to hip pop, they also listen to “rancheras” (Mexican country music) by Vicente Fernandez.

The following information posted by Louis Pagan makes an interesting comparison on how Latinos/Hispanics continue to use their cultural strengths such as “being personal” and “sociable” while using media to network and advertise:  http://louispagan.com/?p=453