Defending the mother tongue is an argument which many in the pro-independence and pro-colony parties have strongly adhered to. They believe that if Puerto Rico ever becomes the 51st state, the island will cease to speak Spanish. Well, I have a bit of news for those who foresee the obsolescence of the mother tongue, it's already happening. Today the island celebrated the birthday of José de Diego, considered to be "the Father of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement" and staunch defender of the Spanish language. I firmly believe, should Mr. de Diego be alive today, that he would be extremely disappointed with the island's vernacular transformation. Just today, in El Nuevo Día, I saw a headline which read: "Posible 'Hit and Run.'"
Truth be told, people do not come to Puerto Rico to learn how to speak Spanish. Unlike countries in Latin America, such as Guatemala, Mexico and Costa Rica, among many others, the island does not have schools dedicated to teaching Spanish. I have only seen a continuing education program at the University of Puerto Rico which offers "Conversational Spanish." Language can speak volumes about a country's culture. In Puerto Rico, Spanglish is spoken and it clearly indicates the strong American influence on the island. For those who view the proliferation of English as a threat to the island's culture and identity, today served as a reminder to preserve the Spanish language. They might also represent the decreasing number of Boricuas who say "estamos listos," (translation: "we are ready") instead of "estamos ready."
Note: The image above was obtained from the