Costa Rica Is Becoming a Bilingual Country
English is considered to be the second language that is better known in Costa Rica and the government is showing its interest in implementing its usage by making its teaching mandatory in public schools throughout the country. One drawback, however, which the program has met, has been the lack of enough teachers with a good knowledge of English. At the beginning of the 2002 school year, at least 700 more English teachers were necessary to fill the demand in those schools. Private schools also have the same shortage problem.
Today the best jobs are offered to those graduates who can handle English fairly well besides skill in computing. The various international corporations that have been locating their worldwide operations in Costa Rica during the past five years are demanding more of this type of personnel. As more companies arrive the demand increases.
Many Costa Ricans like to brag about their knowledge of English, no matter whether they know it well or not. Evidence that much has yet to be done in upgrading their grammar is frequently noticed in the signs of store fronts and other businesses. There's a strong tendency to tack on an apostrophe after every word no matter whether it's correct or not. The feeling is that if MacDonald's, for which there is much admiration, has it, why not their sign too? Many grammatical errors in English are also noticeable in expensive government and company brochures and in some of their newspaper and magazine advertising. But we should not be too harsh in this criticism. It's a known fact that many college graduates and professionals in the Untied States commit many errors in their spelling of their own language. And many firms have difficulties in finding skilled writers, especially in the business and technical fields.
Tico Sayings and Idioms
Just as each country has its own word meanings and idioms, so does Costa Rica. I'll mention some of the 1059 Costaricanisms which recently have been given acceptance by the Real Academia Española (Royal Spanish Academy) and included in the latest edition (2001) of its dictionary.