Sometimes it seems near impossible to find people who won't speak to you in English on the island: one tiny whiff of gringo-ness and you may find yourself having to explain in your native tongue* that no, you don't know their second cousin living in the state adjacent to yours. But the truth is that plenty of people of don't speak English well on the island. I was particularly interested in this article which claims that an entire 137 potential jury members couldn't serve in the jury for the famous Aníbal case (still ongoing, of course) because their English wasn't at an appropriate level.
They make some interesting points in the article, mostly because they start drifting into politics in a way they normally avoid. Honestly it reads more like something I'd write than something produced by El Nuevo Día based on the positions they take, surprisingly.
La mayoría de los que saben inglés en el país pertenecen a la clase media y alta, mientras que la inmensa mayoría del país es de la clase pobre, subrayó el antropólogo Jorge Duany.
“La distribución de las destrezas lingüísticas en inglés está mal distribuida, la mayoría de las personas que lo hablan vienen de escuelas privadas, donde se enseña inglés como único idioma. Esto crea un discrimen por razón de clase, porque sólo la clase media y alta pueden pagar por el colegio donde enseñan en inglés”, expresó Duany.
Las razones que explican el escaso dominio del inglés en la Isla incluyen las deficiencias en la enseñanza pública; la poca migración de estadounidenses hacia la Isla, distinto de Texas y Hawai, donde el inglés no es la lengua original; y que en la vida cotidiana en Puerto Rico no hace falta inglés, dijo Duany. Además, en Puerto Rico ha habido una resistencia lingüística, porque en la primera mitad del siglo XX se trató de imponer el inglés como idioma de enseñanza.
“El español se ha visto como un símbolo de la identidad puertorriqueña”, dijo Duany.
The majority of those who speak English in Puerto Rico belong to the upper and middle classes, while the country is mostly comprised of the lower class, emphasized the anthropologist Jorge Duany.
"The distribution of linguistic skills isn't even; the majority of people who speak [English] come from private schools, where English is taught as the only language [as in all the classes are taught in English]. This creates class discrimination, because only upper and middle classes can pay for schools that teach in English," Duany expressed.
The reasons for scarcity of the command of English on the island include deficiencies in public education; the lack of American migration to the island, unlike Texas and Hawaii, where English is also not the original language; and that English isn't necessary for daily life in Puerto Rico, said Duany. Additionally, there has been a linguistic resistance in Puerto Rico because in the first half of the 20th century the U.S. attempted to impose English as the language of all education on the island.
"Spanish has been seen as a symbol of Puerto Rican identity," said Duany.
Along with this point the scholar Jorge Duany makes (shoddily translated by yours truly--although to be fair some of the writing wasn't too great), I'd like to point out something in the title--"el difícil".
El difícil (literally "the difficult one") is a Puerto Rican term coined to describe English. I think the term is very telling, especially in this context: while no other countries have similar nicknames for English (as far as I know; fill me in if you know anything), Puerto Rico, due to its uneasy and persistent relationship with English, has nicknamed it in a way that reflects its position as an obstacle, rather than a method of ascension (professionally, socially, politically, or otherwise)--while it can be used that way, more often than not it isn't.
Anyways... I'm not really sure where I'm going with this and it's getting a little longer than I'd like, so I'll cut it off here. Comments, criticisms, and the like are, as always, welcome.