The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Spanish-speakers gaining edge in employment search

By Sharon Murra-Kapon/reporter

To be able to communicate in Spanish is more important than ever, especially in health care, education, social work and law enforcement, an instructor of Spanish on NE Campus said.

“ Anyone who works in Texas should embrace the fact that our state is changing,” James Palmer said.

Spanish language was not considered a key to open many doors for jobs until a few years ago, but now Spanish-speaking employees are in demand.

Rosa Chavez, NW Campus department chair of fine arts and languages, said the U.S. has 28.1 million Spanish-speakers, nearly eight million in Texas and 500 million globally. Therefore, breaking the language barrier opens doors to a wider range of communication and, in turn, job opportunities worldwide.

Paul Sexton, associate professor of Spanish on NW Campus, said his major undergraduate professor used to say the diligent study of another language would free someone from the tyranny of monolingualism.

“ I now understand that one’s world view is tempered by language study,” he said. “One’s vocabulary and intimacy with his own native language is also magnified [when learning a second language].”

In addition, many employers will pay a bonus to employees fluent in Spanish, and many school districts pay extra for bilingual teachers.

Palmer said learning another language gives one a sense of pride and accomplishment, and it broadens appreciation and tolerance of other cultures and traditions.

Spanish in America
The United States is fifth on the list of countries with the most Spanish-speaking people.

According to the U.S. Census, the Hispanic population grew 57.9 percent between 1990 and 2000. Some states have more Hispanic people than others. California leads with 5.5 million, Texas with 3.4 million, New York with 1.8 and Florida with 1.5.

In 2000, 35 million Hispanics were in the U.S. The Census Bureau predicted the number to increase to 40 million people in 2003. By 2050, it predicts the number of Hispanics in the U.S. will grow exponentially to more than 100 million people. At that point, Hispanics would account for about one-quarter of the total U.S. population.

Spanish around the world
Spanish-speaking countries in the world include Andorra, Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea,, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, the U.S. and Venezuela.

In Europe, Spanish is becoming popular because it is one of the romance (Latin) languages. It is easier to learn Italian and French after learning Spanish because of the similarities in words and grammar.

Although Chinese and Hindustani are spoken by more people, these languages are limited to their respective countries whereas Spanish is widely spoken in many countries around the world. In Morocco, Gibraltar and the Philippines, Spanish is also heard.

Spanish in the Media
Forbes magazine reported online that the Hispanic community is having a large impact on media.

During the last decade, the Spanish-language broadcast market has exploded. According to Forbes, four years ago, only 206 Spanish-language television stations operated in the United States. Now 343 operate, and the number is expected to grow.

Univision is the fifth largest network in the country, and it expanded in 2003 with the acquisition of the Hispanic Broadcasting Company radio group.

Newspapers are changing too. Circulation of Spanish-language dailies grew from a combined circulation of 140,000 in 1970 to more than 1.7 million in 2002.

On the radio, Clear Channel Communications created a Hispanic urban format, converting many channels into Spanish language.

The Internet too has created more Spanish Web sites in the last few years: Time Warner’s AOL Latino, Microsoft’s MSN Latino and Yahoo! Telemundo.

Spanish courses at TCC
All TCC campuses offer traditional Elementary Spanish I & II (SPAN 1411 and 1412, respectively) and Intermediate I and II (SPAN 2311 and 2312).

Elementary Spanish courses meet three hours a week, with supplementary online laboratory work. Intermediate courses meet three hours a week and are conducted mostly in Spanish.

The most popular course is SPAN 1100, a pre-elementary conversation lesson that meets for one hour, twice a week. Students practice conversation in small classes with a TCC instructor.

This course can serve as a precursor to the beginning grammar course, SPAN 1411.

NW is the first campus to offer hybrid Spanish courses. Hybrid 1411 started this fall; 1411 and 1412 are planned for spring 2008. In the hybrid courses, students do class work online but have four on-campus meetings per semester with the professor. Conversation and oral practice are the focus of these meetings.

Also planned for spring 2008 is a new version of SPAN 2106, Intermediate Spanish Conversation. The topic of the course will be Spanish and Latin American films, which students will view during class.

Prerequisites to this course are successful completion of SPAN 1412 or department permission.

For more information on NW Campus, contact Chavez at; on NE Campus, Palmer at; on SE Campus, Ivan Mino at; and on South Campus, Felipe Dobarganes at

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