Hispanics consider language as the most important element to be preserved. The most universal and culturally unifying characteristic of U.S. Hispanics is their use of Spanish, either as a primary or as a secondary language. The same language is used by every one of the 21 Spanish-speaking nationalities comprising the U.S. Hispanic population. However, nationality colorations relate to pronunciations, cadence, and the meaning of individual words. Many Hispanic immigrants are fearful that their children will forget their native language.
A recent poll estimates the use of Spanish in 80 percent of the U.S. Spanish households. Despite this estimate, you will find within the Hispanic community different levels of Spanish language usage: those who speak at least enough Spanish to get by; others who speak Spanish fluently or as a primary language; those who are bilingual; many who know only Spanish; and then a smaller percentage of those who know English only.