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English Only!

  1. Star22 profile image54
    Star22posted 8 years ago

    Why are so many people saying "Speak English only"? It makes that person sound so racist! USA is supposed to be a melting pot of different cultures, races, and LANGUAGES! Shame on anyone who says "Speak English only"!

    1. rebekahELLE profile image88
      rebekahELLEposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I don't find 'speak english only' a racist comment at all in a predominantly English speaking country! There are many immigrants to the US and yes, you should know the language or be willing to learn it. It will only make life easier and open up more opportunities.

      I live in Florida where there are many immigrants, not just from Spanish speaking countries, but many Europeans, and Canadians who speak French. I find nothing wrong with people speaking in their native language, but generally people want to assimilate into the culture and also speak the common language.

    2. LiamBean profile image87
      LiamBeanposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      HubPages is English only.

    3. profile image0
      sneakorocksolidposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, but if you're going to stay here you want to know English. If the English language bothers you then go back to the place that speaks the language you like.

  2. tksensei profile image59
    tksenseiposted 8 years ago

    Would you say the same to someone in France saying, "Speak French Only!"?

  3. Lisa HW profile image72
    Lisa HWposted 8 years ago

    "Melting pot" means that all kinds of different people (or things if you're talking about dinner) are blended together (melted) to make one thing - and that one thing is America, with English as its language.

    Most people who say, "speak English", don't care who speaks his own language at home or to his relatives.  Most just don't want to call a government office, bank, or telephone company and have to push a button to get automated messages in English ("press one for English").  Most people don't mind if there's a "press one for x language".  They just don't want English treated as one of a zillion different, equal, languages in a country where English is THE language spoken.

    If I went to Italy and got messages in Italian if I called a bank or government agency I'd realize that I had better learn to speak Italian if I planned to stay in Italy.  I wouldn't think anyone was "racist" if they said, "You need to learn to speak Italian."  I wouldn't expect people in Italy to accommodate me, and I wouldn't have the nerve to expect to "turn Italy American" just so I could have my own language/culture there.  America may be a melting pot, but it has its own culture; and that's what people want preserved - just the way people in Italy or Mexico or Greece would like to preserve theirs.   Shame on anyone who thinks they should be able to go to a country other than their native country and have that new country cater to them; or worse, adjust its culture to their preferences.

    1. efeyas profile image86
      efeyasposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Heck Yeah! smile

    2. Ivorwen profile image75
      Ivorwenposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      If I moved to another country, I would expect to learn the language of that country.  Period.  No one should be expected to cater to my home language.  In the USA, English is the official language.  Learn to speak it if you want something!

      As to racist -- you have a problem.

  4. megs78 profile image59
    megs78posted 8 years ago

    Where I live, there is actually a language police.  English is the second language here and French is the FIRST.  That means, every sign is written in French in larger letters than the english translation which is written underneath, or sometimes, not at all.

    you will often be snubbed for not at least trying to speak french when asking for something, and can face fines for not complying with language laws.

    At least there is nothing like that in the States, so I guess you don't have it so bad after all.

    However, I find it interesting and actually enjoy the french language and have appreciated getting to learn it.  I don't feel angry that they told me "speak french only".  its their culture and they don't want to lose it.

  5. Lisa HW profile image72
    Lisa HWposted 8 years ago

    I think that's how it should be (where you are).  Preserving any country's culture is the natural thing to do.  To many of us Americans it often seems as if our country is the only one expected to change its culture to meet the preferences of people coming from other countries.  It's a common thing to hear that there was a time when people came to America to become Americans; but today people come to America, expecting to change the American culture to something that suits them.

    When there are signs or phone-answering messages that also include a foreign-language as a courtesy, that's nice - but it's a courtesy.  It amazes me to think anyone who speaks a different language would be offended by anyone who simply thinks the country's primary language is what it is, and anyone speaking other languages need to learn English if they move here.  I don't think it's "racist" for Americans to think, "Welcome to America.  Come be one of us (which means speak the language here)."  When Irish people first started coming to America they faced, "No Irish Need Apply Signs".  Then, too, think of what went on with African-American people as recently as the 1960's.  If we now have foreign-speaking people coming here and being expected to speak the language of the country - boo hoo.   roll

  6. Sufidreamer profile image82
    Sufidreamerposted 8 years ago

    Have to agree with Lisa.

    The Greeks are very accommodating to English speakers - most Greeks speak at least a little, and documents written in English are legally binding. They also patiently tolerate my attempts to murder their language. big_smile

    However, I understand fully that this is a courtesy and I need to continue learning Greek. It is their country and they have the right to expect that I learn their language - it is a matter of politeness. They have welcomed us, and we have to be good guests and adapt to their ways and customs smile

    1. prettydarkhorse profile image63
      prettydarkhorseposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      good day to everyone!
      I agree with Lisa, I am an immigrant here in the US, have no problem speaking in english, but of course some slang I am just learning about it like whazzz up, we say it like How are you today?

      I think that it is better if you adapt to the prevailing culture (language is on eof the culture you need to learn) but not forgetting your roots if you are immigrant because it will help you in dealing with other insitutions, school, bank, neighbors or people you just meet. You try also to adapt to their food because it is more expensive if you buy imported foods from your own country. (am lucky there are asian stores here in the US)

      It is to your own advantage to learn the language because it will be easier in your day to day transactions, well if you have a family then you can also speak your own language at home, but then the children needs to be adapted to the language as they need it in school also.

      when I went to Paris also, I tried to learn their language even the basic ones only so people will understand me, like restaurants and train station etc.

  7. lrohner profile image82
    lrohnerposted 8 years ago

    I worked in Miami for several years, and it blew my mind that English is a second language there. Seriously. Billboards and street signs were in Spanish. I couldn't order a freaking tuna melt in the deli because I couldn't speak their language. My daughter went for her driver's license and was handed a test in Spanish. There were more ESOL classes in the schools than not.

    I didn't find it "cultural" or "diverse". I found it disgusting. I say more power to those who want to live in the US. But learn the English language or go home.

    1. Flightkeeper profile image72
      Flightkeeperposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Miami is really a spanish ghetto.  People who speak spanish and only spanish wouldn't have the opportunities, they're basically stuck there. But they have a nice beach.

    2. dejajolie profile image55
      dejajolieposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I lived in Miami area for 4 years and yes there were certain areas like Hialeah where everything is in Spanish...it took some getting used to ( I am bi-lingual) however the running joke that may bear some truth is there are more Cubans in Miami then there are in Cuba.....from my experience they are probably right. I have gotten into this debate while in Miami and the response I got was "Spanish was the first language spoken here pre-colonization, etc. so everyone should learn to speak Spanish".... While I'm not a history buff nor does this offend me in either way because I can speak Spanish I thought it was interesting to see "their" side.

      1. Flightkeeper profile image72
        Flightkeeperposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Well if that's the case, they should be speaking a version of native American language that lived in Florida.  Ponce de Leon was led to the Fountain of Youth by Native Americans.

  8. profile image0
    Nelle Hoxieposted 8 years ago

    When my grandfather came here legally from Italy the first things he did were to learn to speak English, buy property, and become a citizen. From that day forward he proudly called himself an American not an Italian-American.

    While our family spoke Italian in the family home, English was always the rule when non-Italian speakers were present and when we were dealing with everything ouside the home.

    1. Chloe Comfort profile image57
      Chloe Comfortposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Same with my family as yours, both parents right off the boat from Italy. I have no problem with people retaing their culture and language but as the saying goes, "When in Rome...". If I were to move to a different country (i.e. Japan), I'd learn to speak (and understand)the native language used there.

  9. William Tan Seng profile image60
    William Tan Sengposted 8 years ago

    In Singapore, English is commonly used in government office. Because here has so many races like Indian, Malay, Chinese,etc so we use English to communicate amongst different races.

  10. profile image0
    Crazdwriterposted 8 years ago

    I dont' find it racist at all. I am a Preschool teacher and expect the kids to speak English as it is my first language. When dealing with kids at my last school who only spoke Spanish, as well as their parents, I found it VERY frustrating. And the Preschool Director didn't care that I couldn't speak Spanish, she kept throwing them into the classroom saying that we just have to be mroe patient and the will learn. HELLO! I'm the on in the class teaching the kids. Not only that but I do deal with a LD so it makes it harder for me to be patient when it comes to another language. My second language isn't spanish or french...it's American Sign Language, the only language that I could understand.

    So I say people who live here DO need to learn to speak English as their second language. They can speak their language all they want at home but when it comes to outside and dealing with others who don't speak their language then thay do need to speak English. Especially in a classroom!

  11. SOKCGOLD profile image61
    SOKCGOLDposted 8 years ago

    It is easy to see both sides of this argument, but it seems that "Speak English Only" is harsher than necessary. If a person is moving to ANY country to live, it would only make sense to try to learn the language. If you are even going to visit, trying to understand the basics, at the very least, will enrich your experience. But if you have never tried to learn another language, you probably don't understand the difficulty. While any new resident should learn the language, native speakers should also try to be helpful, not dismissive. To me, saying "Speak English Only" is only a different way to say, "If you're different, don't bother ME, go away." It seems difficult to me to believe that anyone who has ever learned another language and then travelled abroad would say something like that, understanding just how hard it is.

    Having lived in Ecuador for 6 months, I realize that the ability to speak some Spanish made a huge difference in our experience. We dove into the culture and the country and returned with our Spanish vastly improved, but it would have been very difficult if we hadn't prepared some beforehand. But we did meet others who hadn't made that effort, and their experience was not as rich as ours. We also met some who thought that everyone should speak some English, so as not to inconvenience them, which seemed utterly ridiculous.

    It must be remembered, however, that many (but not all) immigrants come to this country because they are seeking opportunities that aren't available to them where they are from - including education. They may already feel inferior due to their lack of formal education, and harshly demanding that they only speak English is just going to shut them out more. The problem that I have seen here is that when someone struggles with proper English, many don't have the patience to even try to understand, let alone assist. I can say that we have travelled throughout Central and South America, and can't remember a time when someone wasn't kind and willing to try to work with us and our limited Spanish. And now that we are more fluent, we are accepted much more warmly when we travel.

    So, I agree that anyone moving to - or visiting - any other country should make every effort to try to learn the local language. But I don't agree that refusing to try to communicate is good. Try a little empathy - if you were in another country, how would you like to be treated?

    1. wyanjen profile image80
      wyanjenposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      All very good points. I have no disagreement.

      But, the issue isn't about living abroad temporarily, or about tourism.
      It is also not in any way racist.

      The only issue is that we require a common language in order to communicate. In the United States, that common language is English.

      There can't be a "melting pot" if the parts don't melt together. This includes everybody being able to UNDERSTAND each other.

      That's all. Not racism. Just practical. And necessary.

  12. sannyasinman profile image62
    sannyasinmanposted 8 years ago

    I have spent many years living in countries where the native language is not English, and I have always made the effort to learn the language and integrate (not always successfully, I might add, but I have always made the effort).

    People have the right to expect to be able to speak the official language(s) in their own country.
    On a recent flight to LAX they gave me a customs declaration form entirely in Spanish - the steward said that he would translate it for me if I had a problem ????

    When I go to England, after all the years that I have struggled to make myself understood in various languages in other countries, I do insist that I speak English, the only official language. If there were more than one (like Switzerland, where there are 4), then that's another matter. smile

    1. wyanjen profile image80
      wyanjenposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      But how do you spell when you are in England?

      I agree with you completely. I would accept any help I would get, but never expect people to cater to me. That is not to say I don't do my best with immigrants who are new to my area. I'm getting pretty good at speaking English with an Indian accent, and even better at hearing it. smile

      Also, I always do my best to help the Canadians who are new to Detroit, eh?

      Love your avatar!

      1. sannyasinman profile image62
        sannyasinmanposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Spelling: I spell it exactly as you spelt it smile
        Avatar: it was a bigger spiral but Hubpages made me crop it.
        Glad you like it!

        Do you really have to speak English with an Indian accent?

        1. wyanjen profile image80
          wyanjenposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          I don't have to and I don't try to. I just pick it up. hmm
          I think it's because I'm trying so hard to listen LOL

          Someone else I know has come to this area from Jordan. His wife is from Albania. I hate to admit I have a hard time with the two of them, they both have heavy accents that are different from each other. I'm good if it's just two of us but when we are all three talking, my brain gets a little buzzy.

          I only need to be in Canada for about three minutes before I go with a full-on accent.
          It's embarrassing! I have no control.

          1. sannyasinman profile image62
            sannyasinmanposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            Indian accent: Have you started to wag your head from side to side when you talk as well? Do you eat more curries than you used to? Watch out  ... smile

            1. wyanjen profile image80
              wyanjenposted 8 years agoin reply to this

              No, I don't have a mannerism problem, just a speaking/hearing thing. My cuisine is branching out though...

              I once worked for a man who had moved here from Malta. We were having new equipment installed (I'm in commercial printing). The installer flew here from Israel.
              I promise this is a true story.
              Our head pressman Jose immigrated from Mexico.
              We were calibrating the new equipment to output from my software to match the density Jose wanted in the pressroom. Kinda tricky. Very technical.

              The three of them began having a communication breakdown. The more upset they got, the heavier each of their accents got.
              After about 20 minutes of arguing, all three were yelling at each other "SPEAK ENGLISH!" lol

              I didn't know whether to stress out about it, or laugh my head off. It was so helpless, I just went home.

              1. sannyasinman profile image62
                sannyasinmanposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                That reminds me of the joke where three men are sat on a train in London:

                First man: 'Is this Wembley?'

                Second man: 'No it's Thursday'.

                Third Man: 'So am I, let's go and have a drink' smile smile smile

                1. wyanjen profile image80
                  wyanjenposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                  I like it wink
                  Take care, I'm done for the night.