By Laura Cañupan (staff@latinospost.com) | First Posted: Sep 20, 2013 08:59 AM EDT
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Record Number of Latinos Entering College (Photo : Reuters)

A new report released by Oregon State University (OSU) revealed young Latinos who grew up speaking English are learning and retaining Spanish, Fox News Latino published.

"A growing Latino population in Oregon has helped remove the stigma once attached to speaking a foreign language," said OSU professor Susana Rivera-Mills, according to the site.

"What we're seeing is a demographic explosion," said Rivera-Mills, according to the NWPR.org, the website of Northwest Public Radio. "As communities grow and as more Hispanics begin to become active participants in that community, these younger generations are realizing that there is an identity piece that they never fully understood, that they're missing and that they long to connect to again."

Fox News Latino reported that many west coast Latinos, especially Mexicans, did not teach their children Spanish so they wouldn't be discriminated. "Historically what we have seen, particularly in the Southwest, is that older generations experienced much prejudice, particularly going to school. We have research and studies that show corporal punishment was used in elementary schools to deter students from speaking their native Spanish language," Rivero-Mills told NWPR.org.

But now, those same children are trying to learn Spanish in order to reconnect with their Hispanic roots and market themselves as bilingual. "These folks are realizing that it can get them better jobs and is actually a marketable skill," said Rivera-Milss, according to Fox News.

Osvaldo Ávila recalled his parents spoke Spanish when he was a child. "We lost the language because they would be going to work long hours, farm work, cannery work, so they weren't here. I do remember her teaching us math skills and reading skills in Spanish before we were going to kindergarten, but once they were gone and they weren't there really to talk to us in Spanish, we were talking too much English and it was just very easy to lose the language," said 21-year-old Ávila, who is who started taking Spanish lessons to reconnect with his culture, as quoted by NWPR.org.  

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