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Spanish was California’s first official language and millions of state residents still speak it. But the numbers are shrinking as fewer immigrants from Latin American countries enter the United States, and those that are here assimilate more with each generation. Zócalo Public Square columnist Joe Mathews says Spanish occupies an important place in California's history, economy and culture, and that we ought to be doing more to make sure that it doesn't disappear like so many other languages spoken by immigrants who came here.

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