Dominican Immigrants and Language

From The Peopling of New York City

Jump to: navigation, search


Language plays an essential role in the communication between groups. Or, Language can serve to divide a group. Or, it can do both. In the Dominican case, it can do both.

According to Every Culture, Dominican immigrants or migrants tend to speak Spanish. It seems that this leads them to find jobs together and form close bonds with their countrymen. However, the problem is that many Dominicans now are going towards the path to English. More than 45% of the Dominicans speak English well or extremely well. About 52%, on the other hand, said that they could not understand English.

It seems that accent is another barrier for some Dominicans. Dominicans who are first generation are tracked to speak with a certain accent. This contrasts with that of Second generations and beyond, in that they tend to assimilate with the American accent. This sometimes leads to problems, because some Dominicans believe that it is better to maintain their heritage by “talking their style.” The other Dominicans, meanwhile, believe that assimilation is better.


For some children who are not completely comfortable with English, bilingualism is an opportunity. Courses, like World Civilization, for example, would be taught within the same curriculum as that in the English, but the course its self would be in the Spanish language. At many high schools, middle schools and even elementary schools, this trend is becoming adopted because it seems that it represents a step better than the English as a Second Language (ESL), which made some feel inferior.

Spanish, for the Dominicans is a great bilingual opportunity in New York. In Newtown High School, for example, there are bilingual students actually take all their classes together. This includes the Dominicans, together with Puerto Ricans, among other Hispanics. Therefore, then, according to the National Association for Bilingual education, this helps create deeper respect and bond with other friends.