I have a neighbor across the street who is from Mexico. Her husband speaks English very well, but she refuses to learn it. She has been here for 15 years. About all she can say is "I no speak English. You talk my husband."
I was reading about the French, and how they assimilated into the American society by learning the language and marrying Americans, therefore being more successful than those immigrants who separated themselves into cultural communities and refused to assimilate.
Now this "assimilation" stuff sounds sort of Star-Trekish, but do you see any other countries that make so many concessions to non-native language speakers as the US?
I ask this because we have a great number of French speaking people in LA, but they also speak English and are educated in English speaking schools. What they speak in their own communities and homes is up to them. We do not expect non-French speaking people to come to LA and learn French to be able to communicate with us.
I believe that if Hispanic or Latino immigrants to this country would make it their first order of business to learn the language, we would not be so afraid of them.
We have a "national language," English. This issue will take care of itself as it has for every previous immigrant group.
Also, it's worth noting that Americans aren't leading the parade of multilingualism. Language teaching in most public schools in the U.S. leaves a lot to be desired in terms of participation and teaching methods.
I was lucky to learn the basic English when I was younger. Then I migrated here. At first my English is very "formal". I say "How do you do"? then people would say Wazz up?
I learn to assimilate and that is best for me. That include food choices -- way of life in general.
For most of our history, immigrants to America came here to be more than they were where they came from. They came to leave the societies they were in, because they were oppressive, or they were in dire poverty, or there was no opportunity where they were.
They came here, forsaking the old life, seeking to adopt a new life. This was the "new world" for many, because it was vastly different from what they left. With eyes open, they recognized both the perils and the promise of a land without controls, without a forced social structure, without a forced economic strata, and chose to support and believe in it.
For the most part, they came willing to leave the old life for a better new life. Somewhere along the way, we've forgotten that, and now the "immigrants" often come here just to have a baby that allows them to sit and collect their needs from someone else, rather than to earn their own way. Many sneak in, not to build a permanent life, but to earn money and send those earnings somewhere else. They do not come to invest themselves and their future, but to live to get what they can for the moment. Not all, of course, just many.
We have forgotten that "tolerance" and "acceptance" does not equal "creating the old here in the new". In well intentioned, but rather misbegotten efforts, we now try to accommodate the unwilling to adopt a new life, by trying to legally empower us to be willingly segregated by language. Someone who fails to know the language operates at a deficit of advantage, they fail to know the country, the culture, even their neighbors, and instead, they seek to find the comfort of similar minded and equally segregated.
This is harmful to all.
We SHOULD have an official language, one that business and governance uses. Regardless of our skin color or background or any other factor, we should be ONE common language, indivisible, as one nation. The accommodation of many languages may have emotional appeal, but it is tearing the nation apart, by allowing self segregation.
This is ridiculous. We are one of the worst countries on the face of the planet with regards to learning languages. THEN, most of us here can't speak or use proper English. This post is nothing more than a finger pointing at Latinos telling them to be more like you. You actually mentioned in your post the question of what other countries allow such concessions and so on...do you realize that other countries actually require the teaching of other languages. How about this...why don't you learn something new for once? How about you just deal with the people that don't speak English? If you can't speak to them...do you really need to? What do you need to say to her across the street that just HAS to be said and said in a manner that only YOU approve of? This is a bigoted post, ridiculous and just another example of applauding the growing desire in this country to be ignorant.
Amie - What do you mean when you say afraid of them? Do you mean afraid of their numbers? As long as they pay taxes and follow the same laws I have to, I'm ok with it.
I don't understand why they refuse to learn English. It seems to me it would make their own lives easier in America if they just learned it.
What makes you think "they refuse" to learn English?
I guess you haven't been down to Miami in a while. Billboards are in Spanish, many/most other types of signs, directions, etc. are in Spanish, my daughter was even handed her driving test in Spanish and had to ask for the English version.
I'm sorry, but when you come across folks that have made the U.S. their home and have been here for several years without making even a vague attempt at learning the language--I call that "refusing."
If some of them moved to Nebraska or South Dakota they would learn English quickly. The more who are concentrated in one area the more unlikely is that they will quickly learn a second language. This is true of Americans living in other countries. It's not peculiar to Mexican-Americans or Cuban-Americans.
I'm not even sure that they speak each other's language down there! I had very few Cuban neighbors. Most of them were from Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, etc.
I'm obviously one who learned English quickly in order to get ahead, but I would like to leave you with something to think about... The first European language spoken in North America was Spanish, not English. And overall, in every nation, ever since the rise of the Roman empire, there have always been more than one cultural group and more than one language. Even in Spain, where you'd think they speak the purest Spanish (which is actually Castillian), they have about five different languages according to the region where they live. Nobody complains. It is what it is.
Europe is a different story - they teach children to be bilingual, not out of necessity, but because they realize it will be a future asset. Unfortunately, The US does not put enough emphasis on teaching foreign languages.
I have to say something else about the Anglosaxon Americans that have decided to stay in Miami, and I'm not speaking on behalf of all of them, but I do know plenty - they love the cultural exchange, they love cuban coffee, cuban food, and the Caribbean Island social lifestyle. Most of them have learned Spanish and I applaud them. Not everyone has the patience to deal with foreigners.
I often think of Miami as an airport. People come and go, you find a little of every culture, and we have our cultural clashes from time to time because what might be ok in a country might be perceived as offensive to someone else. But we are used to it here. We are loud, rude, and drive like maniacs. Watch out!!!
Suggest you take advantage of the billboards to learn a bit of Spanish!
hmmm, some Americans have defiled English so bad I can't understand what they say anyway. All those dialects
I encountered an Italian lady here in the UK who didn't speak a word of English, in spite of having been here some 30 years or more. Her daughter later told me that her mother was illiterate, having never received a formal education. Adding to that, she rarely left the house, being expected to stay at home to to look after children and do the housework.
So, how is somebody who cannot read and write in their mother tongue, who rarely has contact with native speakers, and who has never learnt how to learn, supposed to learn another language? I wonder, too, if somebody in those circumstances would even consider it important.
Sounds like the typical Italian patriarchal family. That's no excuse. Once her children got into school and learned English, she could have gotten them to teach her, but only IF it held some benefit for her. Sounds like either she didn't really want to learn it, or not knowing it allowed her to isolate herself. Perhaps she was agoraphobic, and never really wanted to go anywhere.
There are plenty of examples of illiterate people who have come to this country just to get an education, learned the language, and did well. We have a large Vietnamese population in New Orleans. They speak Vietnamese in their own community, but they all know how to speak English. They wanted badly to learn it, to BE American. This Italian woman probably didn't want to come here in the first place, so she refused to assimilate.
I think she just followed her husband here, who had found work in a factory that employed almost exclusively Italian immigrants, so he didn't speak very much English either. I actually felt quite sorry for her, although she seemed quite content having no ambition and fulfilling her given role.
There is certainly no sin in wishing to be nothing other than mother, grandmother, and homemaker. If that's what a woman aspires to, then that, too, is entirely honorable and good.
I think what you fail to understand, is that many people who are older simply no longer have any desire to undertake risk or anything new. This is not good, but it is a personal choice - sometimes one influenced by tradition or other factors. Judging a person harshly for it is not legitimate.
As beloved hubber Some Like It Scott used to say...
"Don't get me started!"
Where I live in Northern California virtually everything is offered in English or Spanish. Many forms and signs (like in washrooms) are also in numerous other language to accommodate Chinese, Hmong, Ukranian and I'm not sure what all speakers. If you look up a doctor's website you will see what languages he/she speaks (Tagalog comes to mind).
Children of immigrants who are going through the public schools should be learning English as a matter of course. The quality of instruction is open to argument,tho.
There really is no excuse for immigrants who have been here 15 years not learning English. Think of the money saved not having signage, forms, interpreters, etc. accommodating (read: ENABLING) this anti-American behavior!
Yikes! I sound like a conservative! Next thing you know I'll be calling for stricter border controls!
Having to educate immigrants children, and provide them with food and medical care is bankrupting California, along with the fact that it is SO liberal that its bleeding heart is killing it.
I'm all for making "anchor children" illegal.
LOL! Look, I live in one of the reddest of red states, but NOLA is a liberal city, so you think YOU'RE confused!
Just an observation, ralwus (pot, kettle, all that).
Are you sure it's them? Have you ever considered you might have a problem with slurring your ears???
Before long the national language will be changed to Aramaic and if that doesn't work we will have to learn Klingon or Romulan.
I would support a National Language. How would we decide which one? Only English? Should we have more than one like Switzerland? About 20% of the population speaks a language other than English at home. Perhaps a State Language would be better. For example New Mexico already has a very high percentage of Spanish speakers. Hawaii already has its own official languages- English and Hawaiian. Alaska has over 20 indigenous languages. What about Apache, Cheyenne or Pawnee? Sounds complicated.
What about Esperanto? I once had a Hungarian Spanish teacher who claimed to be a native speaker of Esperanto.
Well, all the Mexican border states were originally Spanish, and now they seem to want to forget that. That's what I love about Louisiana. The French speaking people do not expect us to conform to them. They are Americans, so why would they not speak English?
I do wish the states had the power to do that. It would actually help immigrants, I think, if we just had everything in English and they were forced to at least learn that much. Maybe it would spur them to learn the language faster. It seems that way in most countries.
Would you support a national language for the US?
I do support a national language being established, which I have come to know as English. It is not a requirement to learn, due to right to life and right to choice.
It would never get passed for government mandated mandatory learned language of the country. Besides, it would be unenforceable. It wouldn't make a difference. What is the government going to do? Put people in prison because they don't know the language? I don't think so, considering the prison system is already overcrowded, but I wouldn't put it pass the politicians to try and enforce something like it.
So, no government should stipulate as it already has now- America is English language country. Any further is meaningless.
The point made by someone is that there has to be signage in two or more languages. Almost everything we buy now has instructions in several languages. I'm thinking that if we truly do have a national language, we should not be making signs at all in other languages. I suppose the tourist states would have to, but let every state decide that for themselves.
THere doesn't need to be any sort of governmental demand on what the people of some chunk of land are supposed to speak.
It'll just happen. Even with a law, which form of english should we speak? New York English? Spanglish? Appalachian English? Canadian English? UP-er English? Texas English? British English? Missourah English?
Yeah, they're all similar, but they're all different.
Even if a law were passed... who'd care? Companies would still put Spanish on their menus and the sort! Why wouldn't they? They want the people's money, so they'll make accomodations for the non-speakers of "English".
The important thing to realize is that an "official language" is just a language with a military.
Bingo, Evan. We use English in America not by law but because that's what most of us speak (though many of us seem to speak it pretty badly...).
English is the de-facto language of the US. It has the force of inertia behind it. Even if most Americans come to speak some other language (probably Spanish) as a native language, chances are official business (both civil and corporate) will be done in English for a long time after that.
People who worry about a national language are conjuring chimaeras.
I am of Anglo/Franco descent from a Cajun great-grandmother, and speak fluent Cajun French, and Cajun English (two distinct languages, believe me!), but I also speak Creole and American English. Guess you can say I'm tri-lingual. LOL
I think an official language is the language that is taught in schools, and that every American citizen is expected to learn. There are naturalized citizens who only learn what they must to pass the citizenship test, then never speak the language again.
I ran into someone from India working at a grocery store who spoke and understood very little English. People were complaining because she did not understand what they were saying. The grocery store manager said they were not allowed to discriminate against her, because she is a U.S. citizen. I'm sorry, but how do you get to be a U.S. citizen if you cannot understand the language?
Because America is a country formed by immigrants for the most part. When the first English settlers came, they were not required to speak Navaho, Cherokee, or Sioux in order to be citizens. Why should the language be a citizen's main concern now? As long as immigrants come to work and take part of the economy, as long as they follow the law, it doesn't really matter.
It's really an economic issue. It costs more for municipalities and states to have to produce everything in more than one language, and it costs more to educate people in more than one language. Having an official language would just save the states a lot of money.
the REAL problem is that people think that government should be doing so much.
If you can't communicate with the people around you, then you're illiterate. So, it's in everyone's best interest to learn the language that everyone else speaks.
The entire issue would be resolved if we stopped relying on government so much. People can scream "discrimination" if a "stop sign" isn't written in 50 languages because their money was forcibly taken from them in order to pay for that sign.
"If you can't communicate with the people around you, then you're illiterate"
That's not what "illiterate" means.
English works for me, as it did for my european ancestors, most of whom were already speaking it. Those ancestors who spoke other languages (German) accepted that english was the speech of America, and so, learned to speak english. This affirmative action of accommodating everyone costs millions of dollars every year. English in America. Learn it...it's the American way.
actually the term "literacy" is fiercely debated.
Being literate means being able to understand symbols (whether they be textual or something like "what does it mean when my teacher stands still and stares at me") and then to manipulate this understanding of symbols.
Even at this basic definition, there is debate. I agree with this definition - in order to be literate, you must be able to understand what's going on around you.
your mistake comes from this phrase: "the language"
If you mean "the language that the customers speak", then yes, the person who refuses to speak, presumably, english, is an idiot who should be fired - they are less productive than someone else.
If you mean "the official language of the US", then you're mistaken. That doesn't exist.
What people speak among themselves is their own business. But what language the government prints official government forms in is a public issue.
Exactly. Having to print everything in several languages is costly, and paid for with our tax dollars, not to mention having to have special bi-lingual teachers to teach ESL in the schools.
< Wonders how many American expats take the time and invest the effort required to learn to speak fluently the languages of their new homes, instead of getting by speaking English loudly and slowly.
I speak Cajun French patois, so I would have no trouble learning French or Haitian patois. I was, at one time, going to move to Jamaica, and I started learning their Patois language, which is difficult, because there isn't a lot of reference material, so I had to find actual Jamaicans to get the pronunciation right. Just like the Cajuns, English is Jamaica's official language, but their own language is what they speak most of the time. It would be disrespectful not to speak it.
Unlike many nations on earth, we are a nation of "mixed" cultures and backgrounds. Many people are just afraid of the differences they find here as we might be of them. I do believe a person who has chosen to live in the US, should learn English, just as I think we should learn at least one foreign language.
My brother was in the Navy, and stationed in Italy. He immediately immersed himself in their culture and language, and was more accepted when he did so.
I would encourage all immigrants to learn English, but I do understand their fear of leaving what they know to step into the unknown. Yet, it only makes sense to "dance to the music" if you attend the party!
If we offer an understanding attitude, welcoming them and encouraging them to learn the somewhat odd English we speak, maybe they will make an attempt! When I taught school, Hispanic children spoke Spanish and English with fluency, and I envied them, applauding their energetic and optimistic approach to piercing the barriers to communicate!
Experts say American English is one of the most difficult languages to learn, because it is the only language that has so many words from other languages incoporated into it, plus it has so many homonyms.
"Experts say American English is one of the most difficult languages to learn"
If 'they' do then they are not "experts," since there is no "most difficult language" and every language borrows.
I'd love to see the research arguing that american english is the hardest to learn.
Also, are they talking about Midland American english? because there are like 50 recognized "American Englishes"
As a former English teacher, I have heard (and agree) that English is one of the easiest languages to speak at a very basic level, and one of the hardest to speak absolutely correctly (something that most native speakers can not manage to do), due to the numerous grammatical irregularities and many, many words.
I would say American English is a bit easier than British due to simpler or absent diphthongs. Pronounce "robe" as an American and then as a Brit, and you'll see what I mean.
Don't worry - over here we are churning out thousands and thousands of English speaking Chinese, many of them have English levels higher than native speakers with a local accent. So when they own the US you will at least be able to talk to your boss
There are small conflicts yes, like for example when one goes to your apartment (example here in Dallas)and fix something, then you don't understand each other, some don't understand English. I can speak Spanish, but when they talk fast, I can't understand them anymore. Can we just smile at each other?
It is imperative for somebody who migrate in an area to learn the culture, specially the language. In the end it will benefit you.
I have a Vietnamese friend whose family migrated here when they were still younger. After 25 years her mom can't speak English yet, maybe because she was older when she went here.
In my case, I learn the language easily, but the accent is still there, and I have difficulty understanding some Americans here specially if they talk faster. I have to say. Come again, please.
I seldom talk in greater lengths because I know that my accent is too strong and my English is structured, but in time I will learn to say it the local way, slang. But I like talking to my neighbors, I learned a lot also going out with my friends sitting at Starbucks, what I call "participant observation".
It is is best to assimilate and adapt the culture but it is nice to preserve the best that you have. When you interact with others, you also influenced them, this is how a culture evolves. A new culture will emerge like Tex-Mex foods here in Dallas.
American people are very accommodating in general.
One of my best friend's parents are from Eastern Europe. I learned to call them Mother and Father in their language, and to say a few things. It made them happy that I could tell them I loved them in their own language. It was a small thing to do for people you love.
I think you are doing quite well with your English. If you need help, let me know, and I will gently correct you so you can learn.
"I have a Vietnamese friend whose family migrated here when they were still younger. After 25 years her mom can't speak English yet, maybe because she was older when she went here."
English pronunciation is no easy thing for native speakers of Vietnamese. She may know more English than it seems.
Sab oh, you're back.
I was getting tired of being called you.
I think flightkeeper was too.
They sure do understand more, as do the Hispanics who pretend they don't. Your friends mom doesn't want to lose her "self" after all that she had to lose when VN fell. Just an opinion.
I don't know what the fuss is about
George Bush couldn't speak english and look where it got him?
My family is from South America, but immigrated here long before I was born. My parents learned English, but also kept speaking Spanish at home. My sister and I were raised speaking Spanish and later learned English when we had to start school. My parents actually tried to keep us speaking Spanish at home so we would grow up bilingual but we refused to speak it because English was new and exciting for us (don't you wish all immigrants felt that way?!)
Although I lost a lot of it and have problems with some vocabulary and conjugation, I'm pretty fluent now, especially since I worked on the Southwest border where no one spoke English! I do belive in keeping you native language and speaking it at home and with family and passing it on to subsequent generations, but not at the expense of not learning English.
I once had a job where I was the only Spanish speaker and was called upon every time someone came in that didn't speak English. I got frustrated after a while and refused to be the translator, especially since that was not what I was hired for and it was nowhere in my job description - I got in a little bit of hot water but they couldn't force me, of course!
Coming from the background that I do, I am still a very strong believer that if you are going to move to this contry, you should learn its language - English - no matter where you are and you should not expect to be accomodated anywhere if you don't.
Like lrohner said, in Miami, no matter what you look like, you get spoken to in Spanish first. I'm pretty sure that English is no longer even the legal official language of Miami, or is it Florida?
I also get annoyed when I am given forms to fill out, whether it be at the doctor's office or papers that my daughter brings home from school that are English on one side and Spanish on the other - it simply shoudl not be necessary to cater to those that refuse to speak our language!
Did I rant enough?
oh I forgot
How many Americans can speak one of the several Native American Indians language?
Sorry not being controversial here just seem to think there's an element of arrogance on here about which language immigrants should speak in a country that's different to theirs.
If I had to work in Saudi Arabia would I have to speak fluent arabic to get on if I could understand and do my job anyway?
I'm not anti american by the way and I don't know any Norse/Viking words so I'm a hypocrite brit too!
Living in a different country for work that is not permanent is not the same as immigrating for the purpose of permanently relocating.
That being said, if I had to go to another country for work, even if it was temporary, I personally would try and learn as much of the language as I could because it would just make life easier.
I used to know some Cherokee. I'd love to learn it, but they don't want to teach white people their language. It is all they have left of their culture, which we took away from them.
Making the national language official won't change what people choose do to--it would just make us seem intolerant. If someone doesn't choose to learn English, or isn't able to, what does it really matter?
If you are going to live in a country and take advantage of its opportunities, it is disrespectful not to learn their primary language. Immigrants want us to respect them and their cultures, so they should respect ours. If I intended to live the rest of my life in another country, I would learn their language out of respect if nothing else.
I think if anyone moves to another country they should adopt to that countries culture and practices, especailly if it was their choice to move.
Living in Texas I have met a fair number of Mexicans, and all of them have got a great grasp of the English language. But I do get the feeling there is a whole lot more that I don't see!
why should 'they' adopt cultures and practices?
If you moved to an Arabic country would you adopt their cultures and practices?
Working immigrants contribute to the economy of the countries they have moved to whilst man are paid the basic rate. That wouldn't be an incentive for me to want to adopt a culture or practice.
Sorry to be a pain on this Oli but I can't agree with your view on this.
Webster in the 19th Century came up with American English.
He managed to right a few wrongs. For example, Americans spell the place of confinement thus: JAIL. The English spell the word GAOL which is not phonetic and in my book doesn't make a whole heap of sense. So what does the u in colour do? Well it does absolutely nothing so in American English it was tossed out. I could go on but I take it you get the picture.
So the national language for the USA is American English and has been for some time.
In Australia our version of English is based on the Macquarie dictionary. And so it goes (Slaughter House Five - an American novel).
To say 'right a few wrongs' is, in my opinion, wrong. The language was modified. The 'u' in 'colour' is from the original French, where much of our vocabulary is derived. 'Gaol' is a variant of 'jail'. The British modified the French word 'prisoun' to 'prison', and it goes on ...
Sure the language was modified but modified to make it more accessible to the common man. In a sense I feel this is righting a wrong. Yes much of our collective vocabulary does come from the French and unfortunately with French ideas on spelling. The French had their revolution. The peasants rose up against their betters but the French did not look at their written language and how the clumsiness of it was geared to keep people in their place. Obviously places like Cambridge and Oxford in England were just as eager to keep things going in the usual way. The elite with their great educational institutions and the rest kept at bay by a language kept difficult to keep them at bay. Righting wrongs? Yes I think wrongs were righted in the USA in the language was redesigned to be more democratic in that it took into account the needs of everyone and not just the elite.
Jail was and is the American spelling of gaol. Today the English may accept Jail as another way of spelling the word and that is all and good. In Australia we prefer Jail to Gaol. Let's face it put Jail in a header on a newspaper and everyone who speaks English gets it straight away. Put gaol instead and less people will get it straight off.
Don't forget that during and after WW2 Americans and American culture grew greatly in influence. A lot of American words and spelling are everywhere nowadays.
You'd be shocked at how many English words come from French. Because they assimilated into our culture, we assimilated their language into ours. Living in LA is sometimes like living in another country, our culture is so tied into French culture.
Webster didn't come up with Jail. Jail has its roots, along side Gaol in the old French Jaole and Gaiole, both meaning a cage or prison.
Color is early 13c french too.
Looks to me like the natural language of America is close to French.
Well the Cambridge and Oxford crowd clearly preferred Gaol to Jail. The Americans such as Webster saw more value in Jail because it is more phonetic and thus is easier to understand. I am not saying Webster created or changed whole words but he tweaked here and there to make the language more accessible to people.
Color American style loses the u which makes it more phonetically sound. This suits me fine.
Yes the natural language of the USA is American English. It is close to French but with some of the intentionally clumsy absurdities stripped away.
The French had a revolution to get rid of the aristocrats but did nothing to improve their aristocratic language so that it would be friendlier to ordinary French people and thus be more democratic.
John, see my comment above about French in the American language.
Rod..hey! Don't be criticizing French to a Cajun girl! LOL
This reminds me of a scene in a movie I watched when I was a kid :
(two people about to immigrate to the States trying their English...)
Q : How mutch watch ?
A : Ten watch.
A : Oh ! Such much !!!
Y aqui nos reimos mucho....
Most people from first world countries are fluent in two or three languages. Why is it that so many U.S. Natives whose first language is English do not see the need to acquire a second language? They travel around the world and expect everyone to speak English. School systems don't make enough emphasis on teaching other languages. It's so sad! Then you wonder why Europeans have the erroneous idea that Americans are so full of themselves! How about saying: "Geez! The cultural exchange is great! Let me see if I can learn something from these immigrants! I just might be able to learn enough of their language to make conversation!"
Wake up call, people! When the English language entered the U.S. it WAS a foreign language. Yes, it became the official language over time, but the times are changing. This country, as well as many others, is changing and evolving rapidly. The way I see it, all of us should be learning Chinese if we want to have a job in the future!
A REMINDER OF THE NORTH AMERICAN OFFICIAL LANGUAGES -
Right now a new form of written language is forming based on modern technology. English text style may be the language of the future. There has yet to be a novel writing in text English but someone will no doubt get to it. For the older generation it will read like Klingon.
C U .
The thing that makes laugh here is that they all speak English- to some extent anyway. Hearing someone commenting on another person saying they don't speak A SINGLE WORD of English, I can only respond "how can you be so sure? Do you know the person so intimately?" Most of the Spanish speaking people I know speak English very well. Some not so well, though, and it's because of this they don't speak it very often. And if they think you're an A-hole for whatever reason (justifiable or not) that is the easiest way for them to avoid communicating with you.
only if it is latin.....well i always though english is national language of usa..this is news for me...
I'm sorry. I do see the importance of learning the language of the culture, but how many U.S. citizens go to different countries expecting someone to speak english. I'm afraid a lot more than we would like to admit.
It is true that if some of the Mexican-Americans were more submerged into areas that had less of their culture and more of ours, their english speaking abilities would greatly improve. I'm sure that the woman in this blog is probably a house wife who doesn't leave the house much therefor does not see the importance of learning english. As far as our education system, we are lacking immensely.
In other countries their are children who grow up speaking 2 to 3 different languages. I know a little girl here who speaks 4 fluently and her parents are foreign. We do not reflect the importance of this here, instead we are so culturally constricted that we rob our children of this. Can we not see how our lack of education will destroy this nation? Lets not forget that their were 500 nations living here before we migrated to this nation. DO you see any of their languages in our schools or bookstores? No or at least not very often.
My suggestion: learn from each other. Whether you like it or not, we are growing more bilingual by the minute. If you looked into the national languages of the Americas you would notice that we are one of the very few who do not have spanish as the national language. So what. Quit being so culturally constricted and educate yourselves. The world is a lot bigger than the U.S.
WE do not rob our children of this education, the people in Congress and state legislatures rob them. Foreign language programs are the second thing on the list to be cut when funding is cut. Arts is the first. So if our children are not educated in other languages, it is certainly a shortcoming that can be corrected. The schools I went to taught mandatory French because it is so prominent in LA. No more. If the kids want to learn French, they have to ask for it, and then there may not be room, because there is only one French teacher for every two schools. Some of our native French speakers give free classes after school, because we think it is essential that the language is preserved, because it is so much a part of our culture. If the Mexican border states would adopt this philosophy, there would not be such a problem, but they did not fight hard enough to preserve their original Spanish culture, and now it is dying. The French culture will never die in LA, because we won't let it.
I'm happy to hear that, I truly am, but english is just as foreign as french, spanish, german etc. Where are the courses on Creek, where are the course on Iriquios, Cheyenne? Go to your bookstore and find me a book on any of these languages if you have them, written or oral. We do not have them and it would be nice to see that some places do. I know. Your not concerned for these languages because english is the primary language here and those pesky Mexicans just do not want to learn it.
i'm really not trying to be rude, or have a crumby aspect on your argument but U.S. citizens do not seem to realize that you complain about something that has been done by your ancestors for over 500 years and it continues still today.
My favorite is the e-mail about the pesky Mexican who moves into your house and takes your job and life, eats your food, then refuses to leave. Really? lol
Is this not the pot calling the kettle black?
I wouldn't look at this woman as some deviant but maybe, just maybe, as a doorway for opportuntiy. You say that she has lived there for 15 years and refuses to learn English? Have you learned spanish? You live in Los Angeles, spanish, of California, also spanish. Take this opportunity to learn from her and perhaps educate her as well. Who knows, you two could be very close by the time its all said and done. You'll never go hungry that's for sure.
I worked at a job that was predominantly Mexican, illegal to boot which was very well known to the owner of the company. I got paid more than these people and did a lot less work. I went hungry because I didn't make enough to feed my kids and myself so I went without. One day they took me inside where they all ate lunch. It was like a giant family. Everyone brought something and shared it with everyone else. they truly have a wonderful culture and real sense of the word family. I just don't see how a little thng like language is such a big deal. A smile and friendly gestures can go a long way. Give it a try, you may be impressed at what you find. Like I said, you may even make the best friend you ever had.
As far as the comment about fighting for their "original" spanish cullture, well orginally it wasn't spanish, but that's a whole different ball of wax.
You are right in that we are woefully inadequate in the language department. Other countries emphasize learning (properly) not only the mother tongue of the country, but other languages that can help citizens communicate better with others.
I would suggest we do more to emulate those countries.
Not to sit entrenched in a "if you refuse to learn my language I refuse to talk to you" mindset.
It would be prudent for our schools to be more forceful in both directions -- cross-teaching natives in English and whatever language(s) make sense for the region and teaching immigrants English as well.
More education is the key, not finger pointing (as you point out).
I think the bottom line is this: We need an official language (English would probably be best because this is where we are right now)because local government institutions need guidelines when it comes to policy making, as do businesses. If you're running for sheriff but can't speak English, some want this to be ok. I'm still trying to figure out how they get driver's licenses without speaking or reading English.
As far as signage is concerned: Most civilized nations have signs in many languages, including English. The U.S. may be the only one that does not. I see nothing wrong with this.
Next, we are required in school to learn another language. At least when I was in school up to the 12th grade. Has this changed?
In case someone hasn't caught on, THEY WANT THEIR LAND BACK!!
Whether we like it or not, thorughout history, whenever we had a big migration it has always effected our society. Being bilingual is not a bad thing. It has many positive aspects. Just knowing spanish opens up the doors for other similar languages. Think about how much we could grow culturally, how much more intelligent our children would be. The problem is that the United States citizens are much like the characters of Plato's The Cave; knowing nothing but the shadows. There is so much more to learn from other resources than our own. Poetry, literature, history. Most of these things are hidden from us, outside European descent of course.
We would be robbing our children if we just continue to ignore these facts. Lets let them prosper farther than ourselves not less.
And yes I'm sure they want their land back, I know we do but that's a whole different story.
Time to step out of the cave and see what the world truly is people.
I actually agree with you. I just reread my last comment and may have worded the signage thing wrongly. I think there should absolutely be more cultural exchange. The rest of the world will always know more about the U.S. than the U.S. will ever know about the rest of the world. I do, however have a problem with being overrun by a people group who invade illegally/silently then uprise to gain rights because of their numbers.
So your against colonists too? Hate to break it you, but that is EXACTLY what America was founded on.
You're absolutely right, aaron, hadn't thought about it that way. Still, if I were around then and had any say in the matter, I would have tried to fit in peaceably. And don't ever hate to break anything to me. Chances are I already know it and if I don't I'm always open to enlightenment.
"Would you support a national language for the US?"
Yes, I would. And that language would be American English.
However, I wouldn’t want laws passed that restrict a person’s right to use whatever language they see fit.
Well, except maybe one….
I just got my voter material for the November elections…
Need I say more…
Edit: Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be too thrilled with dual-language traffic signs either. That’s probably next…
I think this is a non-issue.
Incoming immigrants know that knowing English makes a difference between whether you're waiting tables or washing dishes in the back. For many immigrants, squeezing in learning English between the minimum wage jobs they have in order to make ends meet is an impossibility. For others, learning foreign languages is too hard (this is something that native-born Americans should have no trouble grasping...).
But it seems like 99% of their children, regardless, speak English. Even their monolingual parents will pressure them to learn English, and the cultural impulse is too strong.
If there are statistics that show that a large number of 2nd generation Americans are still not proficient in English, then I could be persuaded to think differently, but I don't think they exist.
Americans have been panicking about immigrants not learning English for over a hundred years. Their fears always end up being unfounded after waiting a generation.
"For many immigrants, squeezing in learning English between the minimum wage jobs they have in order to make ends meet is an impossibility."
There should be a government program that would ensure that they are paid as much as a CEO of a major corporation.
Its just wrong that they should have to work for minimum wage.
Hey, its easy being a liberal and it feels so good too.
I didn't, I said it.
Practicing being a robot.
Its easy to be a liberal.
Just say things to make oneself feel good and then not do anything but whine that the rich don't pay enough to support absurd ideas.
No I didn't.
The rich need to pay more taxes so I feel good about paying so little.
I said that not you.
Since you can't seem to stop trollish behavior, don't reply to my posts again.
If you don't like me replying then do not address me any longer.
I will return the favor.
Its not a great loss for me.
by Mtbailz 11 years ago
The Tampa republican debate brought up the topic of a national language. This would mean all politics would be dealt in the English language. This includes voting ballots. What are the bonuses to such a policy and on the other hand what are the unintended consequences?
by Veronica 10 years ago
Should everyone in this country be forced to learn English?English is NOT the official language of this country and it is considered one the hardest languages to master. Many Americans who move to other countries never learn the native language there.
by klevifusha 6 years ago
If you were able to learn a foreign language without any effort, which language would you choose to speak and why?
by nicolasanelka39 4 years ago
Hi everyone I am new at this site. First of all I want to say Hi to everyone...My vital aim is to learn english and get a good score from TOEL exam...I researched al of the way. Courses, books, software etc..I have already joining an english course in my country (TURKEY)but I need to some advice :...
by NewYorker 13 years ago
This interests me, since we're only allowed to speak English here.I, myself, speak English as a primary language. But I also speak Spanish, Icelandic, Swedish and Danish.Your turn!
by Gous Ahmed 13 years ago
I'm interested to know how many peopl can speak different languages?I can speak, English (obviusly!), Bengali, Hindi and i can speak a small amount of French.I can also read arabic.How many can you speak?
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