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Aug 10, 2011 11:24 PM by Shawn Kline

Spanish becoming 'just as influential' as French

Iberia Parish Council approved new historical markers to go up in New Iberia. What makes these markers unique is that since 2008, they can be read in three different languages- French, English and Spanish.
Recently, there's been a resurgence in Spanish. Not only in Iberia Parish but in Acadiana schools as well.

Spanish immersion will make its debut at Paul Breaux Middle on Monday and the language is so popular in Lafayette schools there's even a waiting list to get enrolled.

"The Spanish presence is growing in the United States." Lafayette's Foreign Language immersion teacher, Nicole Boudreaux says, "you want to be able to communicate."

We all know Acadiana's roots lie in Cajun French but Boudreaux says Spanish is growing.
The waiting list itself to get into Spanish immersion is the size of two classes. At UL Lafayette, Spanish nearly doubles French in enrollment.

One of the top reasons? More than 35-million Americans call it their first language.

"It's important to understand the culture of the people who live next to you." Boudreaux says, "to understand their culture, the best way is to learn their language."

And the Spanish culture is alive and well in Iberia Parish.

"I went on the computer to Google, 'trilingual plaques' and I couldn't find any other historical trilingual plaques in the United States besides ours," Cathy Indest said.

Indest is the President of the Iberia Cultural Resource Association. She helps place New Iberia's historical markers- not just in English but in French and Spanish, recognizing all three languages as part of Acadiana's culture.

"Whether it be French or Spanish, let's teach our children another language," Indest said.

Seven more of those trilingual signs are going up in New Iberia next spring and another six are currently being considered.



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