Use of Spanish slowing fading away in new Hispanic generations

LAREDO, TX--Julian Pena and Seven Flores are two college students at Texas A&M International University.

They're both studying psychology.

Both speak English and both share Mexican roots. However, only one speaks Spanish.

Pena is a second generation Mexican-American.

"Some might be genuinely curious why I don't speak Spanish," he said.

Pena is part of a growing trend among Hispanics in the country who are being raised speaking mostly English.

"I wasn't really exposed to it when I was younger," Pena said.

Dr. Sergio Garza is a bilingual education expert from Texas A&M International University.

He believes society plays a factor.

That pushes teens like Pena to take on English as their first language.

"So therefore what actually happens is that then children tend to choose. 'Well I better practice my English, I better learn English because I am going to need it and if I want to be successful then I better start using it,'" Garza said.

A recent study found that 68 percent of Hispanic kids are growing up in homes where they only speak English.

That's up from up almost 60 percent in 2000.

"So eventually when they are going to grow up, what's going to happen? We better speak English, were going to go to the university, we have better have English because were going to get our degrees," said Garza.

A different study, focused on children of Mexican-Americans, finds Spanish is slowly fading away.

By the third generation, only 17 percent will speak it.

And about five percent by the fourth generation.

Gonzales said a language is more than just speaking.

"It gives you a sense of culture identity who you are and where you actually come from,"  said Gonzalez.

Seven Flores says being bilingual has opened his eyes to new cultural experiences. "Don't try to hide yourself from one culture don't be embarrassed whatsoever you'll see theirs benefits of being part of both cultures."