Why do some Mexicans, who have lived in the U.S. for their entire life, speak poor English?

I don’t want to come across rascist or mean, I am just really curious about this and can’t ask the person directly because I don’t want to offend her. I live in L.A. and work with with this 25 year old Mexican female who has lived in the U.S. since she was 2. Her vocabulary and English is very poor considering she lived here since the age most people start to speak. For instance, she may refer to fish (plural) as "fishes" – stuff like that. I realize that her parents must not have spoken English, which slowed the process, but she has lived here 23 out of the 25 years of her life. Any ideas?

16 Comments

  1. Actually, many AMERICANS who were born here have a hard time with English…and it’s their mother tongue! Look at George Bush, Britney Spears, Chris Tucker…I could probably name a LOT more. English is a difficult language, and the rules are different for similar words: dish/dishes, wish/wishes, fish/fish. Living in the DC metropolitan area, we have people from all over the world, but not many Mexicans. But whether they’re Dutch-Americans, Chinese-Americans, or just plain Americans, I see what you’re talking about.

    VA Girl
  2. Well if you grow up around people who speak Spanish all the time at home and in the neighborhood, it’s harder for you to learn English. She may have also have gone to a school where it was mostly Hispanic and English wasn’t spoken outside of class. If your prominently exposed to Spanish instead of English for 25 years, that could account for bad English.

    Just a theory.

    samir4381
  3. BECAUSE THERE UNGRATEFUL SOBS. IF YOU WANT TO LIVE HERE, LEARN THE LANGUAGE OR ENJOY YOUR SWIM HOME. IN HER CASE THERE WILL ALSO BE A FENCE TO CLIMB. HOPE SHE GETS A SPLINTER.

    eight beers
  4. its not just Mexican its other races too! Maybe her whole neighborhood was mexican and so thats all she knows or maybe she went to a prodominate mexican school. She must have not been talked to in English or even taken English in school. So maybe her parents didnt enrole her in school. Ask her start out with i dont want to be prying in but i was wondering about your childhood… did you go to school? where did you live? Do your parents speak Spanish? and then if that dosent work try and teach her shes still young…

    yankees_babiigiirl
  5. Because in America we make this possible by having Spanish option everywhere. Evertime you call a company with an automated voice, you can press 1 for Spanish. All directions come in both English and Spanish. In my buisness we pay translators $25 an hour to sit and basically just talk. We cater to this.

    Melissa
  6. 1st of all ENGLISH is a difficult language to master.
    And IF your parents do not teach you, you really just grow up with poor English skills. Because it is NOT taught well in schools.
    IF any Americans went to any other country including Mexico then we would have to speak the language of the land or suffer!
    There are a lot of YOUNG adults and TEENS that speak poor English also. So it proves that is must be hard for people to learn.
    Learning another language also makes a person feel he/she is giving up their Identities, but they need to realize it is en-richening their one language to learn another.
    IF jobs gave incentive for ANYONE to learn a second language to be able to communicate with our diverse populations then we all could improve our skills.
    But they do not, not many anyway.
    Instead they do cater to OTHER LANGUAGES, all of them not just Spanish. EVERYTHING comes in at least a few other languages but mostly Spanish. There just is not room on some things for all the languages and also MOST countries people learn English to some extent.

    Too many people put down when they, foreigners, do try to speak English, I KNOW, I tried to speak Spanish and THEY made fun of me…but I kept trying. Some of them try to help with my pronunciations and words but my mouth cannot ROLL Rs like they can it seems…
    IDEA:
    Be patient with her, try to help or at least offer to help in a nice way, ask if you can learn some Spanish if you help with her English.
    The only way to get along it to build bridges and try to help to understand.
    Open our minds.
    They are here to stay it seems and there is no way to evict them all.
    So we just need to learn to get along and help make life as good as we can.
    OR we can just keep making a deal out of them NOT learning…
    and we can just keep putting them down…
    Which one seems more peaceful?
    By the way I am *not* saying we should EVICT them, that just seems what everyone wants to be done, or most people anyway.
    IT is everyone’s CHOICE…TO GET ALONG or NOT.
    It is just that easy.

    Nikki
  7. She is sheltered. She is probably around her own kind mostly and fears the unknown and prefers to stay in her "comfort zone". It would be a good thing if you could find for her a night class that teaches English. This is the only way for her to improve her English. Does she want to? Check around. Also you can look on the Internet or contact some schools or colleges to see what info they can give you to help her out. You sound like a caring friend. Good luck!

    essey2u
  8. She probably hsnt seen n e one to correct her wn she makes such mistakes thats y u shd start it cos i dnt blive shes dumb!Nobody is.N,d mistake u pointed out is a common one all ova,u jst hvnt noticd.

    Chicquita
  9. She probably felt she didn’t need to learn it. A lot of places cater to them, so why should she? In parts of Dallas and Chicago there are parts of town where everything is in Spanish. They choose to hold onto their language even though they live in our country.

    a_sexualasianangel
  10. coz the spanish language is very domonative to the tongue, if thats your first language then your english will always be with this deep spanish accent, and foremost most of them dont like english, so at home they speak spanish through out, my hubby lived in UK, for 10 years, and his english is horrible, he is spanish.

    annysweety
  11. Everyone needs to learn English in this country. If they do not speak fairly well after after one year, THEY SHOULD BE DEPORTED, period. NO ONE should receive a dime from this country until they can pass an English test.

    Until two years ago, this country had no OFFICIAL language. Can you believe that? But now that we do- SEE ABOVE.

    When ANY people of different languages surround themselves in the USA with only people who speak their language- ENGLISH is NOT LEARNED (for the majority) because they can function here with their language of origin.

    James
  12. How nice for you to have a friend who is a Spanish speaker. You might try to learn a little Spanish and have fun with it. Her grasp of the plural should be of no concern to you unless you are her teacher.

    lpaganus
  13. She’s just been sheltered; it’s as simple as that.

    Most of these wankers, what with their "they’re lazy" and "they should be deported after one year," truly make you realize how ignorant and insolent some people are.

    Walter
  14. This is my answer. We are products of our
    most socially active environment. Her English may have to do with the fact that she may have not done much socializing outside of her family. When a person does not socialize much in a society, that person will speak and do things differently that everyone else in many cases. She may have even grown up in an area when most of the people spoke Spanish and she was use to speaking it at home. I have a friend who is from Miami. She was born in Miami, but she still had a thick Cuban accent, most likely because she probably grew up around other Cubans and spoke Spanish often, We are products of our environment.

    liker_of_minnesota

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