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English as the Official Language - Page 2

post #31 of 54
[quote=Zissou'sMom;2015835]Not true. The US does not have an official language.

QUOTE]


Oh yes it is. Not everything needs to have a darn law to make it so.

If immigrants want to come to America and not learn to speak English, the only ones they are hurting are themselves, so they shouldn't whine about it.
post #32 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
Oh yes it is. Not everything needs to have a darn law to make it so.

If immigrants want to come to America and not learn to speak English, the only ones they are hurting are themselves, so they shouldn't whine about it.
Perhaps at your states level, but not it is not federally recognized as the official language. No one language is official from the federal government standpoint.

Wouldn't doing so infringe on our First Amendment; Freedom of Speech? By Federally recognizing English as the official language would cause ALL press to have to officially document their papers in English...same with anyone that has an opinion about anything...they would have to say everything in English. Doing so in another language would cause them to have to be federally prosecuted.
post #33 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
If immigrants want to come to America and not learn to speak English, the only ones they are hurting are themselves, so they shouldn't whine about it.
Argue that America is an English-speaking majority nation, and nobody can disagree. But it does not have an official language, and even if we did it wouldn't change anything.

And if the above quote is true, okay, but look at this thread. The immigrants aren't the ones complaining here-- it is people who don't want them to speak their own language who have a problem with it.

An official language simply declares a language to be an acceptable medium of communication in official, governmental capacities. It does not affect anything else. It is the English-only movement that seeks to limit other ways language is used, that seeks to make anything but English illegitimate.
post #34 of 54
Yes, that is what I mean. And FTR, I haven't seen any non-English speaking people whining about it.

I just fail to see why people get so uptight about it. If they want to speak their own language who the heck cares.
post #35 of 54
I hate to be the devils advocate but..... for one the english language is not going to be lost, for two we are one of the very few countries that is expected to know only one language. When it comes to languages we are WORTHLESS! It's sad to know that my Granny (with a 6th grade education) from Itlay knows 5 more languages than I do and Itialian is their "Native" tounge.
post #36 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
Yes, that is what I mean. And FTR, I haven't seen any non-English speaking people whining about it.

I just fail to see why people get so uptight about it. If they want to speak their own language who the heck cares.
I'm confused- you don't seem to like the idea of English-Only, but you insist that English is the official language of the US... do you just not think the government should be involved, or that immigrants who don't learn English are shooting themselves in the foot and there's no reason to do anything else to bully them into speaking English? You've been very pro-English-Only in the past, why the change?
post #37 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnzoLeya View Post
I hate to be the devils advocate but..... for one the english language is not going to be lost, for two we are one of the very few countries that is expected to know only one language. When it comes to languages we are WORTHLESS! It's sad to know that my Granny (with a 6th grade education) from Itlay knows 5 more languages than I do and Itialian is their "Native" tounge.
I know what you're saying. I teach English in Germany, and believe it or not, kids here are required to take years and years of English, currently from first grade on, and a second foreign language, generally French or (increasingly) Spanish, in secondary school.

I teach at a junior college, and most of my students have a minimum of 6 years of English under their belts when they start at our school. Now that the first grade rule has been introduced, I can expect 10 - 12 or 13 years' background in a few years.

The Swiss are amazing - it's rare to encounter anybody there who doesn't speak German, French, Italian and English. Most Scandinavians and Dutch speak terrific English, plus at least one other foreign language.

I don't really understand the adversity to foreign languages in the U.S., given our immigrant backgrounds. Sure, immigrants should be expected to learn English. Maybe if our educational system put a little more stress on learning other languages, it wouldn't be such a big deal to people when they encountered tourists, new immigrants, senior citizens, etc., who aren't fluent in English.
post #38 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post

I don't really understand the adversity to foreign languages in the U.S., given our immigrant backgrounds... Maybe if our educational system put a little more stress on learning other languages, it wouldn't be such a big deal to people when they encountered tourists, new immigrants, senior citizens, etc., who aren't fluent in English.
Great point!! LOL. It is ironic so many Americans flat refuse to learn or accept other languages. You have to go back in history to understand why, it is really upsetting but all cultures were told to "be American" whatever that meant, give up their cultures and customs, made to feel shameful about not being American, and part of that included language. That is also why many Native Americans did not sign the rolls, why many languages and rich histories of various cultures were covered up and lost in family trees, in the quest to be "American".

In today's society there is no excuse. The rest of the world puts more focus on languages. Canada has two languages that go together just fine, the world hasn't fallen apart. It isn't as big of a deal as some think. Our English language is dynamic and changing all the time anyway, it isn't like it always stays the same.

The joke is on them if they refuse to learn and acknowledge other cultures and languages, as the US changes in the next 30 years or so, the demographics will change along with Spanish becoming increasingly more popular, and the majority population right now will no longer be the majority but rather a minority, which will be interesting to see how that works. Hispanics are predicted to be the majority by the year 2030 in the US.

Where I live in the US is not at all uncommon to go into stores and see things in both English and Spanish, and have employees that speak both languages without missing a beat. I must say, I went out of my way to learn another language and it was one of the best things I could have done for myself and my future.
post #39 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnzoLeya View Post
I hate to be the devils advocate but..... for one the english language is not going to be lost, for two we are one of the very few countries that is expected to know only one language. When it comes to languages we are WORTHLESS! It's sad to know that my Granny (with a 6th grade education) from Itlay knows 5 more languages than I do and Itialian is their "Native" tounge.
I'm with you on that. I really wish public education began to require 4-5 years worth of 1 or more languages. I think if we learned languages it would help prevent us from coming across as ignorant when we get across the ocean or work with a person from another country.

Perhaps if we learned more languages we wouldn't be so adamant about English being the official language
post #40 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
If English were the official language, then it would help people know that they should learn it to be productive.
Please explain this thought more.
You try arriving from another country to the US. It is obvious knowing English is more productive to them. But it isn't as easy as you might think.

Have you ever been to another country? Culture shock isn't easy. Learning another language isn't easy. Missing your country's food isn't easy. Missing large parts of your family isn't easy. Turning on the TV or radio and not being able to understand everything isn't easy. Not being able to effectively communicate with others in stores, banks, food places, on the street, to buy homes, cars, etc. isn't easy. There is a clear message that English does help on get by in America. I think an official language is beyond stupid for America. The goal IMO isn't to make life even harder for those that don't speak English in America, while at the same time making life even easier for those that already do and grew up knowing it (and not knowing any other languages either). It is so discriminatory!

Making an official language hurts more people than it helps at this point. But unfortunately many Americans don't understand this, care, or even have enough life experience to understand.
post #41 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
. I think if we learned languages it would help prevent us from coming across as ignorant when we get across the ocean or work with a person from another country.

Perhaps if we learned more languages we wouldn't be so adamant about English being the official language
There is a thing called the Ugly American, which is what many Americans are dubbed when they go to other countries, for our cultures ugly attitude towards others different than ourselves.

Many people naturally fear things they don't understand, and since many Americans only know one language, they fear learning new things perhaps. There is a lot of bias in the US on many levels when it comes to this topic.
post #42 of 54
And a sad many of those immigrants who do become fluent in English are branded as not speaking it anyway simply because of their accent or syntax.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen a coworker or someone turn around and whine "why can't they just learn English?!" after speaking to somebody who was pretty fluent. Not only are many of us unwilling to learn a new language, we're unwilling to make any kind of effort to understand people who are trying. It isn't always easy, but if you're willing to try you can always figure out what someone is asking/telling you.

When I attempt my languages on speakers of those languages, they don't laugh, get mad, or refuse to understand me, and yet they get that from us. Why?
post #43 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
I'm confused- you don't seem to like the idea of English-Only, but you insist that English is the official language of the US... do you just not think the government should be involved, or that immigrants who don't learn English are shooting themselves in the foot and there's no reason to do anything else to bully them into speaking English? You've been very pro-English-Only in the past, why the change?
I'm just a mass of contradictions aren't I?

Really, I just don't think it is a big deal. No, I don't think the Govt has to be involved in every little thing. I think English is the unofficial language, it doesn't require another law. We have plenty of laws.

I do think immigrants who don't learn English are holding themselves back, but that is their perogative I guess.
post #44 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
And a sad many of those immigrants who do become fluent in English are branded as not speaking it anyway simply because of their accent or syntax.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen a coworker or someone turn around and whine "why can't they just learn English?!" after speaking to somebody who was pretty fluent. Not only are many of us unwilling to learn a new language, we're unwilling to make any kind of effort to understand people who are trying. It isn't always easy, but if you're willing to try you can always figure out what someone is asking/telling you.

When I attempt my languages on speakers of those languages, they don't laugh, get mad, or refuse to understand me, and yet they get that from us. Why?
I can sing a song..... My background: My maternal
grandmother's older siblings were born in Germany, to an Irish mother and a German father, and for the most part married fellow Europeans; Grandmom and her younger brother were born in the U.S., and English was spoken at home. They lived in a German/Jewish neighborhood, and my Gram's first employer was Jewish, and Yiddish was spoken at his factory, so she learned it. My father, Anglo/Irish/Chinese, was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and his first language was Spanish. My first language, growing up, was English, but I was exposed to German, Yiddish, and Spanish. I had German, French, and Spanish, respectively, in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. In high school, I had 4 years of German, and 3 of Spanish. In college, I majored in German (4 years), and minored in Spanish (4 years). I added two years of German in graduate school. I married a German in 1980, and we have been living in Germany since 1982. We speak German at home, except with our pets. Is my German perfect? By no means - I make grammar mistakes, and have never lost my American accent. My command of Spanish is passive, meaning I understand most of what I read or hear, but reply in English or German. My Spanish-speaking colleagues, from Spain and Latin American, call me the "eavesdropper".

My point? I've had all the benefits of a good education and exposure to foreign languages and cultures, but still don't consider myself particularly proficient in those languages. I would never presume to expect somebody who didn't have those advantages to be utterly fluent in English.

What's that saying about casting stones?
post #45 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
And a sad many of those immigrants who do become fluent in English are branded as not speaking it anyway simply because of their accent or syntax.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen a coworker or someone turn around and whine "why can't they just learn English?!" after speaking to somebody who was pretty fluent. Not only are many of us unwilling to learn a new language, we're unwilling to make any kind of effort to understand people who are trying. It isn't always easy, but if you're willing to try you can always figure out what someone is asking/telling you.

When I attempt my languages on speakers of those languages, they don't laugh, get mad, or refuse to understand me, and yet they get that from us. Why?
Because we are elitist snobs. I hear what you are saying.
post #46 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
Because we are elitist snobs. I hear what you are saying.
You've just put it in a nutshell, Cindy! My brother-in-law is a Native American, and a great many of his relatives live on Sioux reservations in South Dakota. It would be really pathetic if his wife (my sister) and I, whose "American" roots only stretch back to the mid-19th century, insisted on "English only" in the U.S..
post #47 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
I can't tell you how many times I've seen a coworker or someone turn around and whine "why can't they just learn English?!" after speaking to somebody who was pretty fluent.
You just reminded me of a story I was told. My SIL whose is from Belgium and speaks Flemish/French/English/German fluently worked for a staffing firm for year doing H1 visas. She had been a green card holder for 7 years by then. Her boss was from Pakistan...I think and had been here for 5 years.

Basically the story she told me was that that she got called into his office one day and was criticing some of her work. I guess he had told her the wrong way of filing a certain visa for an individual (details I don't really remember). When she didn't respond, he said "Don't you speak English?"
we were laughing so hard about that.

Moral of my story is that it just doesn't stop at the citizens.
post #48 of 54
I beleive for OFFICIAL things Reading Writing and Speaking basic English for citizens should be required ... Road signs are pictures now to enable folks to drive worldwide , but the rest of the daily stuff aint set up that way and should not be ...

BUt lol

I grew up with a immigrant Grandma who did much of my raising...lol.. She knew 7 languages , her formal education was minimal I think maybe to grade 3 .... I learned from her... I dont speak very much of anything other than english( lmao sometime s not well)
... I understand 8 -10 different languages which has made some things in life easier

Yes I agree teaching multiple in grade school but mostly for the experience and possibley to help a tourist .... My understanding helped me with many tourist s from Russia , Ukraine , Finland and Germany in my yrs as a retail sales person ... they understood english but couldnt speak and thus no one else could help
post #49 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by lnbandcats View Post
I don't think is about making anyone a second class citizen! On my mother's side I am only 2nd generation and grew up with her family speaking Polish! I think that one of the wonderful things about this country is that we are a melting pot. But, I think that when you chose to live in another country, or if you chose to become a citizen, you should learn to function in that country - regardless of what your "native" language is.
I don't think that I could move to Russia or Denmark or Spain, etc. without at least learning to communicate in that language. Does that mean I am second class or giving up my own heritage? No, I don't think so.
I totally agree with everything you've said.

I am absolutely in favor of keeping the culture of your native country, because that's what makes this country such a great place to live. However, this is the first wave of "immigrants" who have come into this country where things are changed to make it easier for them. It seems like a slap in the face to those true immigrants who came here legally and assimilated. It shouldn't take an act of congress to make English the official language. We are an English-speaking nation and those who choose to move here should want to learn to communicate in the "native" language. It would never occur to me to move to Mexico or wherever and expect them to translate everything into English for me!
post #50 of 54
Wow!! This thread just started yesterday and it's got five pages!! Must be a really hot issue for a lot of people.

I'm not in favor of making any language(s) the "official" language(s), but I am in favor of all immigrants learning to speak English as a prerequisite for citizenship.
post #51 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
Really, I just don't think it is a big deal. No, I don't think the Govt has to be involved in every little thing. I think English is the unofficial language, it doesn't require another law. We have plenty of laws.

I do think immigrants who don't learn English are holding themselves back, but that is their perogative I guess.
Good post and I agree!
post #52 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
I know what you're saying. I teach English in Germany, and believe it or not, kids here are required to take years and years of English, currently from first grade on, and a second foreign language, generally French or (increasingly) Spanish, in secondary school.

i have no issue with schools teaching another language. I would have loved to hvae had another choice in school besides spanish or french. I wanted to learn japanese or german as a kid. granted living where i did as a kid, i had alot of use for spanish.

i think part of the issue is here is we dont really need to go to another country, to do or see something if they dont want to. I wanted to cause i was history buff and wanted to see places.
post #53 of 54
When I was in high school, taking a year of a foreign language was still a requirement. The "dumb" kids took Latin and the "smart" kids took German. (Those were the only two choices.) Now I think it should have been the other way around, knowing the influence Latin has on many modern languages. But the German teacher was a cute chick and the Latin teacher a dogmatic fuddy-duddy. Funny. Now I'm the fuddy-duddy.

Foreign language courses could be make a whole lot more interesting by making it a whole cultural experience, rather than just the language itself. Maybe they do that now; I don't know. We didn't, but that was a long time ago.
post #54 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
When I was in high school, taking a year of a foreign language was still a requirement. The "dumb" kids took Latin and the "smart" kids took German. (Those were the only two choices.) Now I think it should have been the other way around, knowing the influence Latin has on many modern languages. But the German teacher was a cute chick and the Latin teacher a dogmatic fuddy-duddy. Funny. Now I'm the fuddy-duddy.

Foreign language courses could be make a whole lot more interesting by making it a whole cultural experience, rather than just the language itself. Maybe they do that now; I don't know. We didn't, but that was a long time ago.
The Internet, DVDs, music videos, satellite television, etc., have revolutionized language teaching, Tim. People learning foreign languages can immerse themselves in the language just by clicking their mouse, or pressing a button on their remote control. They can practice a foreign language at any time by joining chat rooms. If I assigned a term paper about "Little Rock, 1957" 20 years ago, my students would have had a hard time getting enough info. Nowadays, they can get so much that they're overwhelmed.
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