The United States has become a "fascinating laboratory" in which to study the relationship between Spanish and English and to foresee the future of both languages, in the opinion of the dean of Arts and Humanities at Harvard University.

In a conversation with Efe in Cambridge, Massachusetts, within the framework of the formal inauguration at Harvard of the Cervantes Institute Observatory of the Spanish Language and Hispanic Cultures, Diana Sorensen emphasized the "very important role" that Spanish is playing in the United States.

Among the questions posed to Sorensen was whether the future of Spanish is in play in this country.

In reply, she said, "I don't dare to make such a blunt judgment, but I think that in the U.S. Spanish is fulfilling a very important role, affecting both English and being affected ... as a language such that, moreso than the future of the language being at stake, I think we're witnesses to a laboratory of migrations and crossings that is fascinating and very vital."

Sorensen, who is of Argentine origin, is James F. Rothenberg Professor of Romance Languages & Literatures and of Comparative Literature and a renowned expert in the Latin American literature of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Thanks to her efforts, the Observatory has just been launched at Harvard and is headed by Universidad de Alcala de Henares professor Francisco Moreno Fernandez, who up until recently was the Cervantes Institute's academic director.

In response to the question as to whether the United States will wind up becoming a bilingual nation, Sorensen noted that Cambridge "is a city where it is rare to hear English on the street."

"If you're standing in line at the post office, you're going to hear Russian, you're going to hear Arabic, of course Spanish, a lot of Portuguese ... So, here we live in a kind of polyglot sea, which seems to me to be fantastic. ... I don't think (bilingualism) will become official, (but) I think that perhaps it will be in practice." EFE