There are 45 million Hispanophones in the United States who speak Spanish as their first or second language. The Spanish speaking community rose from 10% of the US population to 13% from the year 2000 to 2010. This means that the US is the second largest Hispanophone country after Mexico. And somewhat surprisingly, there are now more Spanish speakers in the US than there are in Spain.


Presidential candidates know all too well how important winning the “Latino” vote is. During a recent speech in California, candidate Hilary Clinton focused on the issue of immigration. Some of the audience proceeded to chant the slogan “Sí se puede” (Yes, it can be done).  Mrs. Clinton joined in at the top of her voice (watch here), only to get confused and shout out “Si se pueda”. Changing one single letter in a word can alter the meaning and sometimes dramatically. In this case the result wasn’t a complete car crash with the approximate translation of Mrs Clinton’s version of “If one could”, although it sounds pretty strange to any Spanish speaker. By placing an “a” at the end of the verb it became the subjunctive mood instead of the indicative and hence, the sentence stopped making any sense.


Never underestimate the power of revision.

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