#77 miamibremen>>The history and demographics of Miami are long and complex to describe.
Very true. But we can at least mention two large waves of Cuban immigration: the first in the 1960s after Castro, and the second the Mariel boatlift in 1980.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Miami
And the unique thing about those immigrants was that they didn't expect or want to stay. They thought, or wanted to believe, that the Castro regime would soon, or eventually, be defeated and they could return to their lives, their properties, in Cuba. So they had considerably less motivation to learn English and become 'American.'
That attitude has softened in the third generation, who mostly speak English (and as miamibremen has said, may not speak or write Spanish all that well). But it's still promulgated especially by right-wing politicians (see Marco Rubio), for whom anti-communism in this instance trumps American nationalism and English-only movements, also generally a staple of the political right.
There have also been many successive waves of Hispanic immigration, particularly among the upper classes in Latin America who could afford to buy a second home in Miami. Argentinians and Chileans fled during the dictatorships. Colombians, and now Mexicans, have fled during the worst periods of the narco-wars. Wealthy Venezuelans have largely left Venezuela. And if a lot of them end up in Miami, just because it's comfortable for them to be in a place where everyone speaks their language, that's hardly surprising.
(The Haitians are indeed a very different case, not only because of the earthquake and the dire levels of poverty and disease, but also because the current US administration appears to be ready to cancel any special immigration status for them, if it hasn't already done so. And because they don't speak Spanish.)
#68 Selima>>Die Sache mit den Sprachen ist einfach fast immer asymmetrisch.
#75 Selima>>In Kanada war ich zwar noch nicht – aber wenn ich recht informiert bin, funktioniert es dort so ähnlich.
Um. I'm sorry that Mausling no longer seems to be with us, to speak to the topic of Quebec. I've never been to Canada myself either. But from what I've read and heard, and from the movements for French-speaking secession over the years, I would say that 'asymmetric' definitely applies there. Or else an even more specific principle, such as 'French speakers generally want to speak French' (which might also apply in Switzerland and Belgium).
Anecdote: On one of their last trips before they had to give up traveling, my parents were in Montreal for a day or two and wanted to attend a performance at the newly opened symphony hall. They took a taxi from their hotel and, although it was pouring rain and they were evidently Ü80, were dropped off somewhere several blocks away where they had to battle through the puddles, and ask passers-by for directions, just to get to the venue. My hunch is that because they spoke English (thinking they were in a cosmopolitan city, although my mom could have managed with schoolgirl French if she had thought it necessary), the taxi driver decided to give them deliberately poor service. I can't prove that, but it fits with a good deal of what I've gathered about Canadian French speakers.
#84 Norbert>>I would love to be able to speak Spanish but alas, I have no talent for language acquisition.
Norbert. Reality check: You're bilingual! (-:
And you have free time (in retirement IIRC?), and many sources of comprehensible input (Univisión, Telemundo), and a logical mind. I think you could do it if you wanted to. But it might work better if you could find a tandem with someone who shared some of your interests.
#83 Pottkieker>>Ich stelle dem Miami-Beispiel noch einmal das von Südtirol entgegen.
I wonder if the linguistic success of such border regions depends mainly on their economic success. People who can afford a good education can usually also afford to learn the neighboring languages.
I still have fond memories of a train trip in Austria where I shared a compartment with a couple from an Italian-speaking Swiss region. They were also very fluent in German, and helped me not only with the cryptic crossword from Der Standard, but also with the announcements over the loudspeaker, when the train was delayed because the police were investigating a theft from the dining car. But they were obviously very well educated and well employed -- actually much more elegant than I was.
I suspect that the acquisition of neighboring languages is easier for people who are already economically privileged. In fact, I have to confess that even though I speak a fair amount of Spanish, I don't often attempt to use it in the US, because I'm afraid that it could come across as condescending. If you appear to assume that a Hispanic person can't speak English, you're basically judging the person as not competent to learn another language, which is also in a way a judgment about intelligence. And speaking Spanish is also a symbol of belonging to a kind of club, which I as an Anglo am not welcome to join.
#87 Dragon>>Die von mir in #7 erwähnten japanischen Restaurants in Düsseldorf ... haben aus ihrer Sicht kein ungeeignetes Personal, weil die überwiegende Zahl ihrer Kunden zur großen japanischen / japanischstämmigen Community in Düsseldorf gehören.
The same is true of many ethnic restaurants in the US, in ethnic neighborhoods. It used to bug me a little that the staff in my local
Chinese restaurant talked Chinese to each other in front of me. For all I knew, they could have been laughing at me or telling the cook to spoil my order. But in fact, the food was mostly fresh and good -- probably because it was authentically Chinese.