¿Habla Español?


Spanish can be heard everywhere in California.  The announcements at Disneyland,

the airport or any public venue will always be in both English and Spanish.  Most

signage will also be bilingual. The family sitting next to us at these places or at a

restaurant is as likely to be Latino as not.


ATMs will usually offer you the choice of doing the transaction in English or Spanish.


In LA almost all gas station, rental car company staff, hotel receptionists etc seem to be

Hispanic. There are about 3 or 4 Spanish language TV networks, numerous radio stations

and even the major network news broadcasts (in English) come with Spanish subtitles

or 'captions', at least in California.  TV ads or billboards for car dealers, law firms or
any business will usually include 'Se Habla Español' or 'Hablamos Español'.  This is less

so outside the Southwest, but still noticeable.


I read that California either has just reached or is about to reach the point where there is no

ethnic majority, i.e. the proportion of the population that is ‘white-anglo’ has dropped

below 50%.  Much like the big cities in Australia, it is very multicultural. You see people

from all ethnic backgrounds - lots from east Asia. 

We just had Cinco de Mayo here, which commemorates a Mexican victory over the

forces of Napoleon III on the 5th of May in 1848 (I think).  It is not actually a public

holiday, but is a fairly major deal these days - it's a big day in the Hispanic community

but has started to become mainstream.  Probably a bit like St Patrick's Day, in that

restaurants and bars often have signs in the window promoting their venue for the



Americans are not always known for their skill with foreign languages, but they seem to

pronounce the Spanish words and names correctly, where most Australians would

mispronounce the town of ‘La Jolla’, the hotel chain called ‘La Quinta’ or food items

such as fajitas or quesadillas.