SAN JUAN – Spain’s King Felipe VI said on Tuesday that Spanish has ceased being “a marginal language for emigrants” and has integrated itself as a social and cultural language into U.S. society.
The Spanish monarch made his remarks during his inauguration speech, accompanied by Queen Letizia, at the 7th International Conference on the Spanish Language in San Juan, where he was joined by Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla and the Spanish ministers of foreign affairs, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, and education and culture, Ińigo Mendez de Vigo.
After expressing his happiness at traveling once again to the United States shortly after having visited Florida, Felipe said that the congress strengthens the “blood ties” that unite peoples “above and beyond any differences.”
“This is the first time that a pan-Hispanic conference in this series inaugurated in 1997 has been held in a country so closely linked to the United States, as a whole,” Felipe said.
He cited the conclusions of Harvard University’s Cervantes Institute Observatory of the Spanish Language and Hispanic Cultures in the United States that Castilian has ceased to be a marginal language of immigrants and has integrated itself into U.S. life to the extent that by 2050 the United States could be the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world.
Within that scenario, the Puerto Rican community deserves special attention, since it possesses “a rich collection of linguistic and cultural elements that enrich and astonish Hispanic, as well as Anglo-U.S. culture,” the king said.
After noting the economic, social and cultural difficulties they have encountered, the king said that Puerto Ricans “have known, as few others, how to live and survive on the frontier of societies, cultures and languages.”