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post #31 of 58
We have billboards, signs on store doors, and some commercials in Spanish here. I've never really given it much thought, it's a part of life where I live and not something to get upset about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonnie1965 View Post
Just wanted to say that we are very spoiled in the USA. In most other countries, it is common to know two languages at least. I know a woman from Iceland who speaks four routinely.
Here, we demand that others do as we want and get all kinds of upset when they don't want to. Perhaps someday the US will join the rest of the world.
We are spoiled. Schools should push students to start learning another language early on. I'm actually rather embarrassed sometimes, I have several friends I chat with online and all of them know at least 3 or 4 languages, one just signed up for more classes this morning to learn a couple more - including Mongolian.
post #32 of 58
I was in Texas once and I almost thought I was in a different country! Almost EVERYONE was speaking Spanish NOT English. I can pick out a few words here and there - but not enough to really hold a conversation.

Still say that if you are gonna spend your life here, then learn how to speak, read, and write English. Not saying you should abandon your native language - its better to keep it fresh, but in everyday life in the work place or shopping - ENGLISH is spoken here!
post #33 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by arie85 View Post
I was just wondering, what is your approach regarding the fact that everywhere you go in this country, or every institute you're calling to, every time you do this you handle your conversation either with English (default) or Spanish. Do you think it's okay that Spanish has become the 2nd language here?
I just speak Spanish back in the situation. I learned it in high school then traveled abroad a bit to help. I find that people "assume" I don't know it, but I like that since I can learn more about what they really think when they don't think I know Spanish and can't understand what they are saying.

Based upon the US census numbers every year of legal citizens, by the year 2030 the Hispanic population will be the new majority population. So people that are not okay with the changes taking place in the US will have a real shocker soon. I am comfortable with going from a majority to a minority of sorts, although I know it will cause a lot of changes that I can't even predict now.

Most other countries have their children learn and speak many languages. Most of the people from other countries I know speak at least 3 languages. I find most Americans only know one language and expect everyone to use that.
post #34 of 58
It's true that immigrants will have an easier time of it if they learn the language of the country they choose to live in. But here in Texas, anyway, many of the Spanish-speaking immigrants arrive with nothing to their names but a willingness to work -- no money for education of any kind. So they get jobs bussing tables or setting out flats of pansies, where they associate almost exclusively with other Spanish-speaking immigrants, and they don't get the chance to develop their English skills.

If we want immigrants to speak English, if we want them to acquire the verbal skills to move up into better jobs and build safer, more comfortable lives for their families, then we need to make English-as-a-second-language classes and CDs readily available to them at no charge. It's an investment that would benefit us as much as them, an investment in overcoming poverty, reducing crime, and ultimately, streamlining communication throughout our society.

Some people think we should simply say, "Okay, English is now our 'official language,' and if you can't speak it, buddy, you're out of luck. Hasta la vista." What arrogance! What appalling arrogance, and how incredibly shortsighted! Thank goodness other countries don't swagger around with that "I'm so big I don't have to give a damn" attitude toward us -- because we Americans are notoriously monolingual.

Sheesh. Language is supposed to be about reaching out to one another... not covering our ears and saying "I don't heeear you, I don't heeear you." And that's just how narrow-minded and counter-productive this whole "official language" idea is.
post #35 of 58
(Okay, that oughta get it moved to IMO, huh? )
post #36 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
Some people think we should simply say, "Okay, English is now our 'official language,' and if you can't speak it, buddy, you're out of luck. Hasta la vista." What arrogance! What appalling arrogance, and how incredibly shortsighted! Thank goodness other countries don't swagger around with that "I'm so big I don't have to give a damn" attitude toward us -- because we Americans are notoriously monolingual.
Actually, I think English IS the official language in the United States and I think it should stay that way. I'm not saying we shouldn't learn more languages, and spanish is a good thing, but should it become an official language just because some people come into the US that speak spanish? Why don't we have 10+ official languages? We have other immigrants besides Mexicans.
post #37 of 58
Good point... although I don't think anyone is suggesting that Spanish should become an "official" language here. It's just used as a convenience in some situations because there's a high percentage of Spanish-speaking people in America. The same courtesy is provided in many countries where a lot of English-speakers live, too.

Obviously, there's no actual need to designate any "official language" in this country... nor would doing so eliminate the very real need to facilitate communication with Spanish speakers (and in some areas, speakers of other languages, too). It's just a manufactured controversy, a political device whose real purpose is simply to garner kneejerk votes from a certain segment of the population.
post #38 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Persi & Alley View Post
¿Entonces, eres listo?
Soy de Chile, pero hace muchos años.
¡AsÃ:censor:, hable conmigo arora misma solamente en español! Pero primero, es necesario tener á, é, Ã:censor:, ñ, ó, ú, ü, ¿, ¡, y — puesto tu computadora. AquÃ:censor: está.
http://spanish.typeit.org/
Thank you for the nomation!
y será un gran placer, escribir en español cada vez que me lo requieras!

Send me a spanish PM if you want it friend!

Cheers!
post #39 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by RubSluts'Mommy View Post
Would you want your street signs (caution: men at work, etc) bilingual? It'll be more confusing for everyone... not to mention the safety concerns. People (speaking all languages, mind you) seem to have difficulty reading the signs in JUST English... you put two languages up there? All h*** will break loose.
Here in Canada we've had bilingual signs for years and all h*** hasn't broken loose yet. I grew up in the Canadian maritimes and the road signs are all bilingual and have been for many, many years (I'm 60 and they were bilingual before I was born). In Toronto, the street signs are in English and then the language of that particular area, i.e., parts of Danforth avenue are mainly Greek so the street signs are English/Greek, in Chinatown the street signs are English/Chinese, Little Italy signs are English/Italian and so on. All h*** hasn't broken out there yet either and nobody seems confused, least of all us English speaking folk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Persi & Alley View Post
¿Entonces, eres listo?
Soy de Chile, pero hace muchos años.
¡AsÃ:censor:, hable conmigo arora misma solamente en español! Pero primero, es necesario tener á, é, Ã:censor:, ñ, ó, ú, ü, ¿, ¡, y — puesto tu computadora. AquÃ:censor: está.
http://spanish.typeit.org/

There are several languages installed on this computer, since my wife speaks many languages. Here is her native language: ]ب غخع شقث سئشقف غخع زشد سهئحمغ فخ ش زاشدلث خب بخدفس شدي قثشي فاهس شس ] اخحث فاشف غخع يخ دخف ثطحثزف ئث فخ ذث شذمث فخ قثشي فاهس If you guessed this was Persian, you are correct. Now you know why I have a Persian cat.
I just learned something from you - I did not know there was actually a language called Persian. It's very pretty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
We have billboards, signs on store doors, and some commercials in Spanish here. I've never really given it much thought, it's a part of life where I live and not something to get upset about.

We are spoiled. Schools should push students to start learning another language early on. I'm actually rather embarrassed sometimes, I have several friends I chat with online and all of them know at least 3 or 4 languages, one just signed up for more classes this morning to learn a couple more - including Mongolian.
That's one of the things I'm so proud of being Canadian. We (generally) embrace other languages. Our daughter is fluent in English, French, Spanish and Italian and we have encouraged her in that. Typically Europeans speak at least 2 languages and often several more. I am so sorry I didn't learn languages when I was younger - they are so much easier to learn when one is young.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
I was in Texas once and I almost thought I was in a different country! Almost EVERYONE was speaking Spanish NOT English. I can pick out a few words here and there - but not enough to really hold a conversation.

Still say that if you are gonna spend your life here, then learn how to speak, read, and write English. Not saying you should abandon your native language - its better to keep it fresh, but in everyday life in the work place or shopping - ENGLISH is spoken here!
I'd like to hope that I would try to assist anyone in a work place or store, especially if they had difficulty with our very difficult language of English. If they made an effort to be understood the very least I could do would be to make an effort to understand. Learning a new language is very difficult for older people who often rely on their children to handle their affairs whether it be cable service or other affairs.
post #40 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
Here in Canada we've had bilingual signs for years and all h*** hasn't broken loose yet. I grew up in the Canadian maritimes and the road signs are all bilingual and have been for many, many years (I'm 60 and they were bilingual before I was born). In Toronto, the street signs are in English and then the language of that particular area, i.e., parts of Danforth avenue are mainly Greek so the street signs are English/Greek, in Chinatown the street signs are English/Chinese, Little Italy signs are English/Italian and so on. All h*** hasn't broken out there yet either and nobody seems confused, least of all us English speaking folk.



I just learned something from you - I did not know there was actually a language called Persian. It's very pretty.



That's one of the things I'm so proud of being Canadian. We (generally) embrace other languages. Our daughter is fluent in English, French, Spanish and Italian and we have encouraged her in that. Typically Europeans speak at least 2 languages and often several more. I am so sorry I didn't learn languages when I was younger - they are so much easier to learn when one is young.



I'd like to hope that I would try to assist anyone in a work place or store, especially if they had difficulty with our very difficult language of English. If they made an effort to be understood the very least I could do would be to make an effort to understand. Learning a new language is very difficult for older people who often rely on their children to handle their affairs whether it be cable service or other affairs.

I love all of the multicultural signs that are in Toronto - I think it makes for a very unique city and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I speak with people on a daily basis. Most of the people I deal with often don't have English as their 1st, or even 2nd language. It can make communication difficult. But I find with patience then things can get cleared up. Or they at least understand enough that they get someone to translate for them.

I have always had difficult learning languages. For a person who took French lessons for most of my school life, I am suprisingly unfluent in French and that is disappointing to me. But unlike me, some people just have the knack to pick up languages.

To me, telling someone they can only speak my language is uncalled for - it would be like asking someone who is deaf to not use sign language, just because I can't understand it.
post #41 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by calico2222 View Post
Actually, I think English IS the official language in the United States and I think it should stay that way. I'm not saying we shouldn't learn more languages, and spanish is a good thing, but should it become an official language just because some people come into the US that speak spanish? Why don't we have 10+ official languages? We have other immigrants besides Mexicans.
You might think that, but it isn't true. We don't have an official language, at all. Here's the website of a large lobby trying to make English be the official language: http://www.us-english.org/inc/
post #42 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post


I just learned something from you - I did not know there was actually a language called Persian. It's very pretty.
My wife teaches Persian in college. I see the textbooks on her desk right now. They say Persian although the language is also known as Farsi. Iran, like Canada and the U.S. has more than one language. Iran used to be known as Persia. There are many cultures in Iran, my wife is of the old Persian culture. Besides, I like saying that I live with two Persians!
post #43 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
Here in Canada we've had bilingual signs for years and all h*** hasn't broken loose yet. I grew up in the Canadian maritimes and the road signs are all bilingual and have been for many, many years (I'm 60 and they were bilingual before I was born). In Toronto, the street signs are in English and then the language of that particular area, i.e., parts of Danforth avenue are mainly Greek so the street signs are English/Greek, in Chinatown the street signs are English/Chinese, Little Italy signs are English/Italian and so on. All h*** hasn't broken out there yet either and nobody seems confused, least of all us English speaking folk.
Typically Europeans speak at least 2 languages and often several more. I am so sorry I didn't learn languages when I was younger - they are so much easier to learn when one is young.
I'd like to hope that I would try to assist anyone in a work place or store, especially if they had difficulty with our very difficult language of English. If they made an effort to be understood the very least I could do would be to make an effort to understand. Learning a new language is very difficult for older people who often rely on their children to handle their affairs whether it be cable service or other affairs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by adymarie View Post
To me, telling someone they can only speak my language is uncalled for - it would be like asking someone who is deaf to not use sign language, just because I can't understand it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
Some people think we should simply say, "Okay, English is now our 'official language,' and if you can't speak it, buddy, you're out of luck. Hasta la vista." What arrogance! What appalling arrogance, and how incredibly shortsighted! Thank goodness other countries don't swagger around with that "I'm so big I don't have to give a damn" attitude toward us -- because we Americans are notoriously monolingual.

Sheesh. Language is supposed to be about reaching out to one another... not covering our ears and saying "I don't heeear you, I don't heeear you." And that's just how narrow-minded and counter-productive this whole "official language" idea is.
I really agree with these examples of Canada and sign language. CarolPetunia, that is well worded! It is good to hear everyone's thoughts on this.

To the people who have gone to a different country with military or just with life in general, you will always tend to gravitate towards the English speaking places and groups if that is all you know. That does not help the language issue, but it does help your cultural shock. If you have never lived in another country or attempted to get around it for any period of time, you will not understand the need for kindness and patience when you don't speak the language or don't want to learn for whatever reason (vacation, temp move, too overwhelming, etc.). Kindness is a universal language.
Americans travel around and have communities in other countries, just like what happens here. But many Ameicans never experience the flip side of things.
post #44 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
I don't mind if a person from another country comes here and wants to speak their native language. But what I strongly object to is there are far too many who feel that America should accomodate them in their language because they don't want to learn ENGLISH.

If you are gonna spend your life here, then start learning English so you can be a productive member of society instead of saying "I can't work cause I can't speak English". Even if you are an older personn, at least make the attempt to learn enough English that you can get by.

I always say if you go live in France or Germeny, etc. - you are expected to eventually learn the language; should be the same in America.

Many immigrants that came here in early 1900's from Europe DID learn English and were proud to do so - they didn't expect America to put documents, menus, etc. in their language.

America really needs to enforce and make this country's official language ENGLISH!

Those that want to speak their native language can do so in the privacy of their own home or among others who speak it - but everyone should also know enough English to speak and read intelligently!
Well said and I agree with you totally.
post #45 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by adymarie View Post
To me, telling someone they can only speak my language is uncalled for - it would be like asking someone who is deaf to not use sign language, just because I can't understand it.
What an excellent analogy! And while I'm posting yet again... y'know, I love it when signs, instructions, etc., are in multiple languages, because it's an easy way to pick up a little of another language. And if you're into etymology, it's also lots of fun to see how the words do or do not relate in different languages...
post #46 of 58
I really like this thread. It is interesting that people I don't usually see in IMO have chimed in

Why should English be the official language? Why not Lakota or Chinese or Swahili? Some would argue because English is the dominant language. Following that argument, Spanish will soon be spoken by just as many people. Should we make Spanish the official language then?

I think we native English speakers to get off our high-horse and accept other ways. Even Dr. Phil realizes that a healthy relationship cannot include a "my way or the highway" mentality. We are in a relationship here. Time to start playing fair with immigrants and the rest of the planet.
post #47 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by cococat View Post
Kindness is a universal language.
Beautifully said.
post #48 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
You might think that, but it isn't true. We don't have an official language, at all. Here's the website of a large lobby trying to make English be the official language: http://www.us-english.org/inc/
Wow, I didn't know the US didn't have an official language! I had always just assumed it was English, and that all countries had an "official" language (or languages, as the case may be ...). Interesting!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
I love it when signs, instructions, etc., are in multiple languages, because it's an easy way to pick up a little of another language. And if you're into etymology, it's also lots of fun to see how the words do or do not relate in different languages...
I'm a word geek. I really enjoy reading things that are written in different languages, and seeing if I can "connect the dots" between one language and another. Like, I speak and read (but not really write) French, so when some of the women I work with carry on a conversation in Spanish, I love trying to figure out how much I can understand (not much, apparently -- they speak too quickly for me! ).

Quote:
Originally Posted by cococat View Post
Kindness is a universal language.
Well said!

It's easy for me to say I wouldn't have a problem with Spanish being included as an official language in the States -- I'm just used to hearing and seeing multiple languages, and I like that exposure. A while back, I belonged to a fan forum for the TV show La Femme Nikita (or just plain Nikita in the US), and the one really hot guy on the show was played by a French-Canadian actor. A lot of his interviews were given in French only, with no translations (because they were for the French-language media). I ended up translating those interviews for my American friends on the forums, and I really had a blast doing it. I'd love to learn more languages (and to improve my French ... dramatically) -- here in Canada, at least, being multilingual really improves your employment opportunities.
post #49 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Persi & Alley View Post
My wife teaches Persian in college. I see the textbooks on her desk right now. They say Persian although the language is also known as Farsi. Iran, like Canada and the U.S. has more than one language. Iran used to be known as Persia. There are many cultures in Iran, my wife is of the old Persian culture. Besides, I like saying that I live with two Persians!
That's where I got confused. I knew that Iranians spoke Farsi but didn't know the language was also referred to as Persian. I knew that Iran used to be called Persia, just as Thailand used to be Siam. (I don't think I could ever get used to a Thailandese kitty. )

I wanted to ask - why so some folks refer to themselves as Iranian and others prefer Persian. Has it anything to do with how they are perceived worldwide?
post #50 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
That's where I got confused. I knew that Iranians spoke Farsi but didn't know the language was also referred to as Persian. I knew that Iran used to be called Persia, just as Thailand used to be Siam. (I don't think I could ever get used to a Thailandese kitty. )

I wanted to ask - why so some folks refer to themselves as Iranian and others prefer Persian. Has it anything to do with how they are perceived worldwide?
Here is a link that best answers your question:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persian_people

Regarding your last question, since the infamous "Axis of Evil" statement, Persians in this country would prefer to be called Persian, even more so than in the past. The main thing though is it identifies a group of people rather than a country whose borders have changed so much throughout history that Iran no longer identifies a group of people.
post #51 of 58
I think us spoiled Amercians need to just accept it.....Sorry guys!!!!! I don't think there is a country out there that only speaks one language. It sucks for those of us that grew up without a second language, but change is good. I sometimes wish I was from another country where you learn 4-5 different languages! My granny is from Italy and she speaks Italian, German, French, and since those are close to spanish she can comunicate easily with the spanish language. Oh yeah, of course she can speak english!!! So that makes 5 right?!
post #52 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by cococat View Post
Kindness is a universal language..
Bien Dicho!.....( well said!......)

And I would love to add like always I say, "this is what you can breath here on TCS!" all Kindness!
post #53 of 58
Here's what gets me...

I am either 2nd or 3rd generation american - depending on which side of the family you want to trace. Back when she arrived here, my grandmother, who spoke english, was shamed and bullied into speaking only english by anyone outside the family who ever heard her speak Polish. As kids, my sister and I would beg her to speak it because it just sounded so cool to us... it was different and new which made it exciting. She wouldn't. She was scared... as if the FBI were going to swoop down out of the skies and arrest her at the first hint of a "Dzien dobry". She also made my grandfather change his first and last name so it didn't sound Polish, because she was deathly afraid he'd never get a job.

The plain fact is, no one should have to go through that. It's incredibly demeaning. And my mother, my uncle, my sister and I all lost out on a valuable learning experience because of it. I could be fluent in Polish by now. Instead, I know only enough to get my face slapped if I were to say it in public.

In my lifetime, I have studied three different languages - french, spanish and italian. I have been to Quebec... I have also been all over Italy. Surely they speak english in their major cities, but they also have signs in french, italian, german, etc. There's no anarchy afoot because they were helping others. If nothing else, I got a bit of a giggle out of some of their english translastions (in the airport they had an exit labeled as "way out". Sure I knew what it meant, but that didn't stop our group from walking around the airport going "way out man... far out dude". Eh, we were a little slaphappy after that long plane ride ) But the plain fact was, they tried. They were accepting. And the plain fact that they were willing to help me made me more interested in learning about them... their language... their culture.

I learned a very valuable lesson in their acceptance when I found myself in a small mom 'n pop shop in Assissi and realized rather quickly that I didn't know the Italian word for "traveler's check". It took almost an hour, but the woman's willingness to put up with my broken Italian, and my willingness to put up with her broken English (ok, and a call to her local bank) made for not only a great experience, but a sale. I still have that container as a reminder.

There's also the time when I held a garage sale and was selling a used bike. There was a man who came to the sale and wanted to buy the bike, but as I found out very quickly, he spoke no english. With my broken spanish I found out that he has just moved to this country to make a life for himself and needed the bike to get to his ESL classes. So my few minutes of Spanish helped this man feel as if he had the chance to change his life. I can't see the harm in that.

A quick check of wikipedia shows that: "Approximately 337 languages are spoken or signed by the population, of which 176 are indigenous to the area. 52 languages formerly spoken in the country's territory are now extinct (Grimes 2000)." 337 languages! That is not only a wonderful thought, but an amazing asset to our country. If we could learn to embrace this, could you imagine how our dealings with other countries would improve?

I once witnessed a closing done completely in Vietnamese. This couple had just moved to the US and was buying their first house. While they knew English, it was almost impossible for them to decifer all the legal mumbo jumbo in their second language. A friend of the company was happy to act as translator and it was almost magical to watch. To see this couple going from struggling, but really trying, to understand to making an informed decision on legal documents in a matter of minutes... it was almost as if they were touched by the little bit of effort we took to help them along their journey. What an amazing thing to experiece.

While I fully admit I'm being long winded here... all I am saying is, really... truly... what does it hurt if someone speaks another language? Why deny someone of their culture or their past? Why shame someone into doing something only because you want them to. Especially with the dawn of the internet, we no longer live in a closed off society confined to our own little world of americanized life. We have this grand opportunity to share with the world and learn from each other, but all we want to do is shut that door because we won't take the time to put in a little effort. We want them to speak English because it is easy for us, but why should we be the only place in the world not to learn another language because it's too hard? Let them have signs in Spanish... and French and German and Swahili for that matter. The world is not just us... it's all of us.
post #54 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuttigreeMom View Post
Here's what gets me...

I am either 2nd or 3rd generation american - depending on which side of the family you want to trace. Back when she arrived here, my grandmother, who spoke english, was shamed and bullied into speaking only english by anyone outside the family who ever heard her speak Polish. As kids, my sister and I would beg her to speak it because it just sounded so cool to us... it was different and new which made it exciting. She wouldn't. She was scared... as if the FBI were going to swoop down out of the skies and arrest her at the first hint of a "Dzien dobry". She also made my grandfather change his first and last name so it didn't sound Polish, because she was deathly afraid he'd never get a job.

The plain fact is, no one should have to go through that. It's incredibly demeaning. And my mother, my uncle, my sister and I all lost out on a valuable learning experience because of it. I could be fluent in Polish by now. Instead, I know only enough to get my face slapped if I were to say it in public.

In my lifetime, I have studied three different languages - french, spanish and italian. I have been to Quebec... I have also been all over Italy. Surely they speak english in their major cities, but they also have signs in french, italian, german, etc. There's no anarchy afoot because they were helping others. If nothing else, I got a bit of a giggle out of some of their english translastions (in the airport they had an exit labeled as "way out". Sure I knew what it meant, but that didn't stop our group from walking around the airport going "way out man... far out dude". Eh, we were a little slaphappy after that long plane ride ) But the plain fact was, they tried. They were accepting. And the plain fact that they were willing to help me made me more interested in learning about them... their language... their culture.

I learned a very valuable lesson in their acceptance when I found myself in a small mom 'n pop shop in Assissi and realized rather quickly that I didn't know the Italian word for "traveler's check". It took almost an hour, but the woman's willingness to put up with my broken Italian, and my willingness to put up with her broken English (ok, and a call to her local bank) made for not only a great experience, but a sale. I still have that container as a reminder.

There's also the time when I held a garage sale and was selling a used bike. There was a man who came to the sale and wanted to buy the bike, but as I found out very quickly, he spoke no english. With my broken spanish I found out that he has just moved to this country to make a life for himself and needed the bike to get to his ESL classes. So my few minutes of Spanish helped this man feel as if he had the chance to change his life. I can't see the harm in that.

A quick check of wikipedia shows that: "Approximately 337 languages are spoken or signed by the population, of which 176 are indigenous to the area. 52 languages formerly spoken in the country's territory are now extinct (Grimes 2000)." 337 languages! That is not only a wonderful thought, but an amazing asset to our country. If we could learn to embrace this, could you imagine how our dealings with other countries would improve?

I once witnessed a closing done completely in Vietnamese. This couple had just moved to the US and was buying their first house. While they knew English, it was almost impossible for them to decifer all the legal mumbo jumbo in their second language. A friend of the company was happy to act as translator and it was almost magical to watch. To see this couple going from struggling, but really trying, to understand to making an informed decision on legal documents in a matter of minutes... it was almost as if they were touched by the little bit of effort we took to help them along their journey. What an amazing thing to experiece.

While I fully admit I'm being long winded here... all I am saying is, really... truly... what does it hurt if someone speaks another language? Why deny someone of their culture or their past? Why shame someone into doing something only because you want them to. Especially with the dawn of the internet, we no longer live in a closed off society confined to our own little world of americanized life. We have this grand opportunity to share with the world and learn from each other, but all we want to do is shut that door because we won't take the time to put in a little effort. We want them to speak English because it is easy for us, but why should we be the only place in the world not to learn another language because it's too hard? Let them have signs in Spanish... and French and German and Swahili for that matter. The world is not just us... it's all of us.
Well said!
post #55 of 58
Amen, sister! And your stories reminded me of something that happened when I was much younger...

I stopped at a garage sale in Austin one summer day, looked around, and picked up a beautiful old glass brick. I carried it to the table where a young man was handling the money, and I said, "Hi! What's the price on this one?"

The man smiled, nudged his friend beside him, who was reading a book, and gestured to him in sign language. The friend looked up, gestured back, and the first man wrote down a price for me on a tablet he had in front of him.

Well, that shamed me -- I was a writer, communication was my life, but I had no idea how to speak to deaf people! So I found the American Sign Language alphabet in a dictionary and started practicing the letters.

The following weekend, I was driving down that same street and the same two men were holding another garage sale, so I stopped. As I approached the table, the first man recognized me and nodded. In response, I fumbled through the hand gestures for H, E, L --

And the man leaped up, signing frantically at me and grinning like crazy! He thumped his friend to get his attention and they both started signing with such eagerness... it broke my heart to disappoint them, explaining that all I knew was 26 letters.

But the first man wrote something on his tablet and showed it to his friend, who nodded first at him, then at me. Then he tore off the page and gave it to me. It read, "You are a kind lady. May you be always blessed."



It's just such a fundamental thing, y'know? To want to be understood.
post #56 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
You might think that, but it isn't true. We don't have an official language, at all. Here's the website of a large lobby trying to make English be the official language: http://www.us-english.org/inc/
Speaking of "official" languages, Spanish is the official language of Paraguay, but only 7% of the people speak it as their native language.

On the other hand, Guatemala has 23 "official" languages in addition to Spanish.
post #57 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
Amen, sister! And your stories reminded me of something that happened when I was much younger...

I stopped at a garage sale in Austin one summer day, looked around, and picked up a beautiful old glass brick. I carried it to the table where a young man was handling the money, and I said, "Hi! What's the price on this one?"

The man smiled, nudged his friend beside him, who was reading a book, and gestured to him in sign language. The friend looked up, gestured back, and the first man wrote down a price for me on a tablet he had in front of him.

Well, that shamed me -- I was a writer, communication was my life, but I had no idea how to speak to deaf people! So I found the American Sign Language alphabet in a dictionary and started practicing the letters.

The following weekend, I was driving down that same street and the same two men were holding another garage sale, so I stopped. As I approached the table, the first man recognized me and nodded. In response, I fumbled through the hand gestures for H, E, L --

And the man leaped up, signing frantically at me and grinning like crazy! He thumped his friend to get his attention and they both started signing with such eagerness... it broke my heart to disappoint them, explaining that all I knew was 26 letters.

But the first man wrote something on his tablet and showed it to his friend, who nodded first at him, then at me. Then he tore off the page and gave it to me. It read, "You are a kind lady. May you be always blessed."



It's just such a fundamental thing, y'know? To want to be understood.

Wonderful story! Thank you!
post #58 of 58
English is a really hard language to learn if you think about it. We use so many different words to mean many of the same things. I've taken spanish, french, and russian. The way my teachers explained it to me its no wonder why all these foreigners are having a hard time speaking english. But I still agree that if you are going to move to a foriegn country you should try to at least be able to hold a conversation and get your basic needs across in the native language. Some don't even try. It is really frustrating to go to get something and find yourself facing an employee who is supposed to be helping you and he can't even understand you or vice versa.


I'm also wondering: Has this been moved to the IMO forum? haha. It should if it hasn't.
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