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Topic: A bilingual nation, Dangerous?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 04 2014, 10:51 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

OK, might as well open a can of worms here.  The discussion on the Super Bowl commercial where America the Beautiful was rendered in different languages caused quit the stir across the nation and on these boards. While I personally thought it was very well done, it does raise an interesting question. The argument could be made we are trending toward a bilingual nation with Spanish being the obvious second language.  While I have absolutely no objections to people speaking any language they wish in their private conversations, I really do not believe it to be in the best interests of this country to become bilingual.  No one factor unifies a nation as much as language. Likewise, few issues can divide a nation to such a degree.  Witness nations such as Belgium or even Canada. I personally feel that having only one language, though not a legislated official one, mind you, is in the overriding best interests of the country.  Likewise, it's obvious, to me anyway, that everyone should learn to speak the dominate language of a society if they wish to be successful.  That, of course, is not to say that individuals should not maintain their own language and use it when appropriate. That's actually probably a good thing. But, I really don't believe it's the government's or nation's as a whole, responsibility to adapt to a minority language.

What say you?


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 04 2014, 11:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Let the "free market" decide?

The idea, as some others have put forward, of actually legislating something is beyond absurd. What exactly what would be the repercussions, for example, of Coke making an ad with multiple languages in it?

I'm not a big fan of reductions, but try it on for size with this situation.

A private company made an ad and had various singers sing a song in multiple languages.

As I said on f/b, I don't care what language you sing in, as long as it's in tune.

Legally, wouldn't something like, say, the 1st amendment make it kinda difficult to legislate anything here? Free speech has to mean, if it means anything at all, someone is free to speak (or sing) in whatever language they choose to.

As for logistically, it doesn't hurt me if someone else speaks Spanish. It doesn't hurt me to press "2" for English. If someone actually IS upset about that, let them be upset about having to press any damn button to hear a recording of someone telling them to hold for a while and listen to ads before they're put through to a real person.

Language is integral to culture, but we're not a homogenous culture, either. I still look at the travesty of forcing native Americans to adopt English, forcing cajuns to speak English, the Gullah, and so on.

Beauty comes out of the diversity of things .. trying to force people to speak English would be no different to demanding folks lose their local accents. Or, broader, forcing people to play a certain kind of music, or paint a certain way, etc. Imagine if southern black folks had been forced to clap on the 1 & 3. How awful would music be today?


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 04 2014, 11:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I don't think that's the direction we're heading at all (two languages nationwide).  Immigrants know they need to learn English to eventually be successful in this country (hear me out before immediately jumping all over that statement).  Even immigrants who themselves do not speak conversant English when they get here, their children learn it fluently.  Many studies have been done on this phenomenon and found that by two generations maximum, the offspring are fully integrated into their mother country's culture, language included.  That doesn't mean they completely lose their old traditions or their old language, but they have no issue functioning within the larger society as a whole.  Whether or not they're well-educated by then or economically successful is a more complicated story that depends on a lot more socio-economic factors as well.  But given time (1-2 generations max, with few exceptions), the language gap is bridged pretty universally.

Not so long ago there were many immigrant families across America that knew only German, Polish, or French.  Whole neighborhoods spoke one language, not English.  We didn't become completely functionally multi-lingual then as a result, and I really don't think we're going to now.  I don't believe it's "dangerous" at all, IMO.  Diversity is a strength, and if I need to relearn some more Spanish, that isn't going to hurt me anyway.

My $.02 anyway.

- Mike


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 04 2014, 11:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm sure my comments will be misconstrued and offend some, but that has never stopped my before.

You're welcome to speak any language you want.  I don't care.  If you're going to drive, please memorize the shapes of the signs, and stay the heck out of my way.

If you want to pick lettuce, or shingle roofs, or pour concrete, or flip burgers you can choose not to learn English.  That's fine with me as well.

If you want to improve your station in life, then you're going to need to learn to speak English, because the people at the top have no interest in learning your native tongue.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 04 2014, 11:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The current wave of Spanish speaking immigrants is learning English and assimilating into our culture at a faster rate than European immigrants did at the start of the 20th century.  

And as GBH noted, after about a generation the numbers all come together.  

In 1910 there were 2.7 million Americans speaking German as their first language.  There were about 700 German language newspapers.  In Pennsylvania (where my German immigrant ancestors were from), they offered German language public education and official state documents in German until 1950.  

With the lack of enclaves and better education and media, today immigrants are doing a better job.  Now, as then, the xenophobia (even mild) is totally unwarranted.  


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 04 2014, 11:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Orygawn, there you go again with your damn graphs and drawings and such. Do you honestly think factual data is relevant? Ci? Non? Peut-être?

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 04 2014, 11:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Lamebeaver @ Feb. 04 2014, 7:34 pm)
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... you're going to need to ...

You just can't help yourself, can you?

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 04 2014, 11:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Entschuldigung!    :(
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2014, 12:00 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I don't think multilingualism is a threat to America. In many ways it's a lagging indicator of immigration trends. And immigration is a source of strength for America. As Oregon noted, and I have always believed, language assimilation occurs within one or two generations.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2014, 5:10 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I tend to agree with Jer's original premise.  There are neighborhoods near me where the ability to speak Spanish is a requirement to transact business.  The enclaves that ory describes as lacking seem to be intensifying, not in size but in concentration.  I fully accept that the studies indicate exactly what GBH describes.  

In my county, we have large populations from Korea; Vietnam; Ethiopia; El Salvador; India and Pakistan.  Obviously some of these groups arrived before others and have longer to learn English and "melt" into the melting pot.  It isn't a stretch that those with stronger English skills are as a group doing better than those with poor English skills.  It is my hope that those groups currently lagging will be able to improve their situation as their children go through American pubic schools.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2014, 9:46 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

For most Americans they are proud to proclaim a multicultural nation. But for way less are they proud to proclaim a multilingual one.

Patriotism, nationalism, sovereignty etc., always get in the way somewhere along the line.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2014, 10:08 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This country has always had a Little Italy or Chinatown in most major cities where English was the second language. While initially reviled by many, those areas are now recognized as cultural icons that contributed to society.

I grew up with English being a second language. It was odd going to grade school at first because I had to learn English, but I certainly do not think I was held back. Now I regret losing much of my Lithuanian vocabulary.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2014, 10:21 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The US has long been a bilingual nation.

Most of us speak English and Profanity!


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2014, 10:42 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'd be happy if the English speakers could speak and write intelligibly.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2014, 10:55 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I like living in a country and a community where there is a diversity of language.  But i do think we should officially adopt english as the official language of the United States.  That way we eliminate a lot of the fear and political opposition that comes from government accommodation of other common languages.

Right now, every attempt to accommodate those who don't speak english becomes a political battle.  If english is our official language then we can make those accommodations without all the angst that such actions caused now.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2014, 11:55 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

When my grandfather came to this country, he was quick to learn English and he learned it well. Not that anyone could understand him. I was born and raised in the South and English is pretty much the only language I know. But a lot of folks outside of the south have a hard time understanding my atrocious southern accent. So being able to speak a language doesn't necessarily mean you have the ability to communicate.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2014, 12:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

No doubt, talking and communicating can be too very different things.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2014, 12:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ecocentric @ Feb. 05 2014, 10:42 am)
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I'd be happy if the English speakers could speak and write intelligibly.

You are a very meen person.     :)


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2014, 12:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Old Frank @ Feb. 05 2014, 12:23 pm)
QUOTE

(Ecocentric @ Feb. 05 2014, 10:42 am)
QUOTE
I'd be happy if the English speakers could speak and write intelligibly.

You are a very meen person.     :)

LOL

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2014, 12:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ecocentric @ Feb. 05 2014, 11:29 am)
QUOTE

(Old Frank @ Feb. 05 2014, 12:23 pm)
QUOTE

(Ecocentric @ Feb. 05 2014, 10:42 am)
QUOTE
I'd be happy if the English speakers could speak and write intelligibly.

You are a very meen person.     :)

LOL

Shouldn't that be 'Your a very meen person.'? :D
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2014, 1:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I realize this thread is about speaking English here in the U.S., but I think Americans are pretty presumptuous about the global use of English on the whole.  I suspect that a surprising number of people think, deep down, the if you want to be American, live here, or do business with Americans anywhere, you should speak English.  And that applies to everyone from taxi drivers in NYC to taxi drivers in Shanghai.

I know people who get annoyed that their taxi driver in NYC is chatting on his cell phone in a foreign language.  The same people go to Paris and are annoyed when their taxi driver "pretends" not to speak English.  They go to Japan and complain that not all the train stations have English subtitles like they do in Tokyo.  I'm pretty sure the same people object to the Spanish subtitles here in the U.S...

Similar attitude about the U.S. dollar, too.  I see American tourists pull out U.S. dollars everywhere.  Half the time, they don't even ask beforehand.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2014, 1:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I wonder if y'all would feel the same if y'all were forced to learn Texan.

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(hikerjer @ Feb. 05 2014, 12:18 pm)
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No doubt, talking and communicating can be too very different things.

Huh?

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2014, 1:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(JimmyC @ Feb. 05 2014, 12:31 pm)
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I wonder if y'all would feel the same if y'all were forced to learn Texan.

Saw this on a wall inside a stall:
Here I sit, cheeks a-flexin'
Just gave birth to another Texan


Hey (expletive deleted) for brains, where'd you get the notion that tolerance for other languages means being forced to learn another language?
You really do need to untangle that mess of wires inside your head.  :p


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2014, 1:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Drift Woody @ Feb. 05 2014, 1:39 pm)
QUOTE

(JimmyC @ Feb. 05 2014, 12:31 pm)
QUOTE
I wonder if y'all would feel the same if y'all were forced to learn Texan.

Saw this on a wall inside a stall:
Here I sit, cheeks a-flexin'
Just gave birth to another Texan


Hey (expletive deleted) for brains, where'd you get the notion that tolerance for other languages means being forced to learn another language?
You really do need to untangle that mess of wires inside your head.  :p

Drifty.......spend a lot of time in stalls? Maybe you should  go to Sochi with the 2 person stalls and then of just reading, you could find a friend to talk to also.
Still untangling my wires.


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(JimmyC @ Feb. 05 2014, 10:31 am)
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I wonder if y'all would feel the same if y'all were forced to learn Texan.

Remember The Alamo, Jimmy
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(hbfa @ Feb. 05 2014, 1:50 pm)
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(JimmyC @ Feb. 05 2014, 10:31 am)
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I wonder if y'all would feel the same if y'all were forced to learn Texan.

Remember The Alamo, Jimmy

And San Jacinto.

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


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2014, 2:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(JimmyC @ Feb. 05 2014, 11:12 am)
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(hbfa @ Feb. 05 2014, 1:50 pm)
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(JimmyC @ Feb. 05 2014, 10:31 am)
QUOTE
I wonder if y'all would feel the same if y'all were forced to learn Texan.

Remember The Alamo, Jimmy

And San Jacinto.

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

Does the C stand for Custer?
Are you George's long lost twin?
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(JimmyC @ Feb. 05 2014, 12:46 pm)
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Drifty.......spend a lot of time in stalls?

I don't do
Number two
Outside the loo
Like you

(if y'all don't know what a "loo" is y'might hafta go to England to learn English)


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(JimmyC @ Feb. 05 2014, 1:33 pm)
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(hikerjer @ Feb. 05 2014, 12:18 pm)
QUOTE
No doubt, talking and communicating can be too very different things.

Huh?

I'd try to explain you all, Jimmy, but I don't talk "southern" very well.

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