The Singularly Strange Story Of The English Language In Puerto

1566 words - 6 pages

Language is a mean of communication in any given society. It represents the ability to evolve and progress through the ongoing process of living with other human beings. Many can perceive this instrument as tool of liberation and transformation but others as an instrument to enslave, manipulate or oppress a group of people. Whichever the case one need to acknowledge that it is necessary and not a waste of time the many different discussions about this ongoing topic regardless of the time period or social context any country might have. In Puerto Rico, there has been an ongoing dilemma about languages; Dr. Alicia Pousada examines on her essay what many might define “the language madness on the island”. Throughout this paper some of her most interesting ideas will be shared and discussed so that this already extended topic might find another page to take place.
Dr. Pousada starts by examining the historical development of English in Puerto Rico prior to 1898. Interesting as it is one might think that English language controversies started with the United States invasion to the island, but being able to explore further in a history not much talked about one can see that in fact “there was a long history of cross influence” between the U.S and Puerto Rico. Going way back to 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries when our very own “American Pirates” made illegal dealings with Puerto Ricans. Even at that time it is mentioned that a small elite group used the language in international affairs. It is very interesting noting that many native Puerto Ricans also fought for Spain in the war with England to defend the island. All those things apart, the sole purpose of the trading activity that took place between Puerto Rico and the United States back when there was a lack of basic provisions from the Spanish to the islanders makes one reflect on how much “unknown” contact Puerto Ricans have had before the U.S. invasion that many wouldn’t recall or even explored in their history courses.
Now, getting in more deep and “known” waters, Dr. Pousada began to discuss English in Puerto Rico after 1898. It all started with the famous Treaty of Paris. The great low blow started of course with education on the island, being the teachers the only agents of change that the government could use to establish an all English academic environment. The agenda of promoting “Americanization via the English language” was set in motion. A very bold move one might think to begin relations with a new group of people making mandatory changes and wanting to alter and change the way people already were and even more, making mandatory for teachers to learn and teach in English. It is understood that starting like that with anyone will cut every possibility of friendly beginning and what is more incite a popular taught of rebellion and resistance. Of course, like any other thing, there were divided opinions as to how to implement these changes, and so the war between different ideologies...

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