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My 25-cent Spanish lesson

Now that I'm working downtown for the summer, I often buy a copy of Rumbo for a little news and vocabulary exercise over lunch.


Back when I was researching Mexican bus service I noticed the proliferation of Spanish-language newspapers in Austin, including well-funded ones like the daily Rumbo and the Austin American-Statesman's weekly ¡ahora sí!. I meant to blog about it but the Chronicle scooped me with a well-done article on the Spanish-language newspaper wars. It's interesting that this sector would be booming while so many people predict the imminent death of newspapers in general. Spanish speakers are a growing market sector, of course, but it's not yet clear whether there's going to be sustained growth in the number of people who are literate enough to be interested in reading their news but not so acculturated that they prefer to do so in English.

Rumbo offers serious, professionally written journalism about local, state, and international news, particularly from Mexico and Latin America, of course. Even if it does sometimes sport J Lo on the cover the paper opens with local news and emphasizes city council and legislative activities, not just crime and car wrecks. With the general trend in popular journalism being a race to the bottom, I'm impressed.

And my new vocabulary words this week were consejal (city councilmember) and aburguesamiento (gentrification).

language 2005.05.24 link


Don't you mean hamburguesamiento?

trevor@k’alebøl [tree cxe oreneta punkto com] • 2005.05.24
The article makes it sound like Rumbo is specifically marketed to young people - is that true? I don't think I've ever seen a Spanish language publication in the US targeting young people.

Do you ever read Spanish language blogs?

oso [oso cxe el-oso punkto net] • 2005.05.25
Rumbo doesn't seem to me like it's specifically aimed at a young demographic, but I'm sure it's clear to the people behind it that they need to get young readers if they intend to grow. There's certainly nothing stylistically youthful about it, though.

Sometimes I read Spanish-language blogs, but the truth is that I don't keep up with any blogs on a regular basis, not even the ones in my blogroll. A lot of my consumption of blogs is surfing, and I'm sorry to say that when I'm doing that kind of superficial skimming and skipping, my lazy mind tends to find its way back to English. I'm more likely to stick with Spanish in a more constrained environment like reading a newspaper, or better yet a book.

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2005.05.25
>There's certainly nothing stylistically youthful about it, though.

Well, they are the only full-color daily newspaper in the country. The color on every page gives Rumbo a unique reading experience - it feels like a cross between a newspaper and magazine. I think it does make it more attractive to a younger audience that has read magazines but not newspapers.

I also think that Rumbo makes for a great mini-lesson in real world Spanish - the current topics make it much easier to translate for a beginner....

Matt Cohen • 2005.05.25
Good point about the color. I suppose when I think "youth" I think "hip" -- or at least wannabe hip like XLent -- and Rumbo doesn't seem that, to me. But maybe I just don't know what hip means in that cultural context. I should study up on the entertainment section.

I wonder what full-time fully-literate Spanish speakers would think of the Spanish in Rumbo. Is it dumbed down at all? Are there compromises made with border Spanish and/or the hypothetical "international Spanish" which would be grating to a reader used to the Mexico City papers?

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2005.05.25
By the way, Trevor, the first time I read aburguesamiento that's exactly what I thought...

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2005.05.25
A fourth-grade education in Mexico leaves a person more literate than does a high-school diploma in the U.S. The person who has it may write in block letters and not cursive script, but he or she reads, no matter how trashy the material.

Ardilla Chiflada [ardillachiflada cxe yahoo punkto com] • 2005.09.11
you are fliping stupid

jake lakin [talk to me punkto com] • 2005.10.04
you are fliping stupid

jake lakin [talk to me punkto com] • 2005.10.04
Rumbo tries to make a better use of language than the other Spanish dailies around here because they seem to think that Latinos are not to be patronized. Some like Ahora Si like to do that a lot. But sometimes the paper puts too much attention on the Hispanic side of everything.

Jarry [jgarza9 cxe hotmail punkto com] • 2006.02.27
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