Spanish-Speaking vs. English-Speaking Latinos


Latinos constitute one of the largest ethnic minority groups in the United States. While some of the members speak fluently in English, others speak in Spanish. Specifically, older Latinos prefer to speak in Spanish and discriminate upon younger individuals who speak in English (Zhang, Hong, Takeuchi, & Mossakowski, 2012). The aim of the current research was to determine whether Spanish-speaking Latinos criticized English-speaking Latinos.

A survey was applied to collect information from university students. The findings revealed that English-speaking Latinos faced discrimination from those who were not fluent in the language. Based on the analysis, older Latinos were reported to speak more Spanish than English. The findings replicate past research studies undertaken on the same topic. Lastly, the research recommends that more comprehensive studies be undertaken on the topic.

Restatement of hypotheses

The study hypothesis was that Spanish-speaking Latinos criticize Latinos who speak in English. The findings of the research support the hypothesis by reporting a positive correlation (P=0.00) between discrimination and speaking in English among Latinos. Specifically, those who were fluent in Spanish criticized the English-speaking Latinos. The findings are similar to different research undertaken by Zhang et al. (2012). Both studies contribute to the understanding of behavior and attitudes toward English and Spanish-speaking Latinos.

Implication and interpretation of results

As aforementioned, the current research findings duplicate a study undertaken by Zhang et al. (2012). Despite the two studies testing different hypotheses, the findings clearly agree that English-speaking Latinos face criticism from Spanish-speaking Latinos. In the research undertaken by Zhang et al. (2012), the authors established that discrimination among English-Speaking Latinos was associated with mental health problems.

Moreover, the research revealed that Spanish-speaking Latinos were more likely to be discriminated against by other racial groups in the United States. Thus, the authors recognized the need to encourage older Latinos to enroll in English proficiency classes. It is clear that the findings from both research studies are consistent, and this promotes their generalization to the entire Latino population. Similar research by Torres, Driscoll, and Voell (2012) recognized the role of the English language in acculturalization among Latinos. This study also noted that Spanish-speaking Latinos presented more with acculturative stress compared to English- speaking Latinos.

The current study reveals that older Latinos were more interested in speaking Spanish than English (P=0.03). In addition, the analysis shows that Latinos who were more fluent in Spanish did not bother to understand or speak in English. The three studies provide stable conclusions regarding the discrimination of English-speaking Latinos. This is because they all support the New Contest of Bilingualism theory.

Explaining one of the results

Another significant finding in the current research was that Latino children were more fluent in English than the adults (P=0.04). This was expected because past research studies have discovered that Latino children socialize more with other races and hence enhancing their English-speaking capabilities. Moreover, Zhang et al. (2012) argue that the American education system promotes English proficiency among Latino children.

As a result, they become more fluent in the language in comparison to older Latino citizens in the population. It is also possible that the children fear being discriminated against by their peers and hence do everything possible to improve their English language proficiency. However, it is important to note that the data was based on the perceptions of older Latino university students. The variables included in the research were obtained through the analysis of similar research studies undertaken in the past. They were operationalized by transforming them into questions that were answered by the participants.

Different questions were aimed at providing different information regarding the research topic. Likert scales were also applied to classify the opinions of the participants. Lastly, the data was effective in answering the research questions being investigated.

Strengths and limitations

The major strength of the study was the incorporation of Latino students as the study population. This ensured that the information provided was based on their experiences. It also promoted the representativeness of the study population. However, the study failed to apply any random sampling technique in subject selection. The selection of participants based on convenient sampling is likely to affect the generalizability of the findings. Moreover, the sample size was not large enough to produce results that could be applied to the entire Latino population.

Future directions

More comprehensive and larger longitudinal research studies are required to investigate the research topic further. Additionally, the research studies many need to compare whether discrimination is present among other racial minorities in America.


This research applied the New Contest of Bilingualism theory and replicated past research findings on the topic. The research supported the hypothesis indicating that Spanish-speaking Latinos discriminate upon English-speaking Latinos. In this regard, the study provides more understanding of the criticism against English-speaking Latinos. Thus, it is important that such discrimination is dealt with, as it is likely to have psychological impacts on these individuals. In summary, the study forms a basis for further research on English fluency among Latinos.


Torres, L., Driscoll, M. W., & Voell, M. (2012). Discrimination, acculturation, acculturative Stress, and Latino psychological distress: A Moderated mediational model. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 18(1), 17–25.

Zhang, W., Hong, S., Takeuchi, D. T., & Mossakowski, K. N. (2012). Limited English proficiency and psychological distress among Latinos and Asian Americans. Social Science and Medicine, 75(6), 1006–1014.