Principles

Tertulia holds the following to be true:

The US is a Spanish-speaking country.

Spanish has a long history in the territory now known as the United States. The United States is currently the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, behind Mexico (1). Different researchers calculate the current number of Spanish speakers in the US in different ways, but most of their counts hover around 40 million. There are particular characteristics that make US Spanish unique, as the Spanish spoken in each Spanish-speaking country has its own idiosyncrasies. Furthermore, in the US, Spanish is the most taught and the most studied language aside from English; enrollments in Spanish courses at K-12 schools as well as institutions of higher education surpass those of all other modern languages combined (2).
(Sources: (1) Wikipedia, with sources, as well as dozens of news articles in recent years. (2) Based on K-12 world language enrollment numbers compiled by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and other sources.)


Check out Tertulia for audio stories and conversations in Spanish related to this theme.

Effective communication can be a form of language justice.

Language justice recognizes that in any multilingual community, different languages are associated with different levels of power and status. Spanish is currently a minority language when compared to English, not only in terms of the number of active speakers but also in terms of its status. In the US, English is the language of power, and it can offer protection from harm and access to many institutions and areas of life. Conversely, a person that is most comfortable communicating in a non-English language can be at risk of their human rights being violated, particularly in the civil and criminal justice systems, the immigration system, the healthcare system, and other vital systems. Translation, interpretation, and effective (plain language) communication in Spanish can offer an alternative form of protection and access for people who are Spanish-dominant.


Check out Tertulia for audio stories and conversations in Spanish related to this theme.

Language vibrancy is boosted by lifelong learning, literacy, and cultural expression.

A vibrant language is one that is used actively by its speakers in many different areas of life. Language can allow a person to maintain a connection to their relationships, personal history, and ancestral communities. However, in many parts of the US, both Spanish speakers and non-Spanish speakers alike may associate the use of Spanish in the public sphere with social, cultural, and economic disadvantages. Some people are racially profiled or face threats to their personal safety for speaking Spanish. The more we embrace and celebrate Spanish, the more often we will see it used from the classroom to the board room, from the stage to the town hall. Miami, Florida is an example of a community that recognizes this.


Check out Tertulia for audio stories and conversations in Spanish related to this theme.

To understand more about the human rights perspective behind these principles, see the United Nations’ guidance on the language rights of linguistic minorities

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