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Thread: English-only, please.

  1. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince524 View Post
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    Travel biologist, piss-poor fluffer quicklime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by These Mean Streets View Post
    Anyway, as I said, having signs and official documents and phones etc in two languages only leads to a sense of Us and Them. A common sociological phenomena.

    And my opinion is: if we're going to have one country - united, whole, happy and productive - then we can't have barriers, like language and separate rules etc., that increase divisiveness.

    most of europe has bi- or multi-lingual signs. they manage.
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  3. #78
    Quote Originally Posted by quicklime View Post
    most of europe has bi- or multi-lingual signs. they manage.
    Where?

    "Most of" is stretching it. So is managing, at least as far as the people who have finally gotten their language on the signs too is concerned.
    People have been killed over these sort of things.
    Last edited by Archerbird; 03-21-2012 at 12:39 AM.

  4. #79
    Happy Spring!! backslashbaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by These Mean Streets View Post
    English has always been the "official language". All official business in the United States - including contracts, legal proceedings, government proceedings and documents etc has always been conducted in English.

    Of course, people are going to speak whatever they want in private and in their own small communities - but nationwide, as a whole, in order for there to be proper communication among disparate communities across the nation and even within small towns, English has always been the way to do it.

    And in the past, other immigrants had hostilities to deal with also. Can you imagine if towns all over the country had started posting official signs in German as well as English? Or Italian? Or any language besides what has always been generally accepted as "the common tongue"?

    Anyway, as I said, having signs and official documents and phones etc in two languages only leads to a sense of Us and Them. A common sociological phenomena.

    And my opinion is: if we're going to have one country - united, whole, happy and productive - then we can't have barriers, like language and separate rules etc., that increase divisiveness.
    We have tons of signs in both languages, or just in Spanish if in a Latino establishment. I don't think they are official, but you see it out and about every day.

    It's not true that "all official business in the United States - including contracts, legal proceedings, government proceedings and documents etc has always been conducted in English". My city was German speaking, very officially, until pretty late in the game. It changed sometime in the 1800's, but I can't remember the exact years.
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  5. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by mirandashell View Post
    As a non-American, am I right in thinking that some states have a lot of Spanish-speaking residents? So surely it's a good idea in those areas?
    I live in Kansas. When I'm in KC, I feel like Spanish is almost a necessity. There'd be too many people I couldn't speak with without it.
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  6. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by These Mean Streets View Post
    And in the past, other immigrants had hostilities to deal with also.

    Can you imagine if towns all over the country had started posting official signs in German as well as English? Or Italian? Or any language besides what has always been generally accepted as "the common tongue"?
    I know Cajuns in Louisiana who didn't speak English until adulthood (they are quite old now, but still.) They aren't immigrants. Their families have been here since the 18th century.

    I think you have far too narrow of a historical perspective. You're envisioning the U.S. as if it has always had a strong national identity, as if there's always been an automobile - I mean, street signs WTF? But yes, historically, there have been many towns and cities where buildings and signs have had names that were not English. There still are.

    And there is no legal requirement that contracts be written in English in the U.S. Official national government documents have historically been written first in English, but other language versions are usually available.

    And my opinion is: if we're going to have one country - united, whole, happy and productive - then we can't have barriers, like language and separate rules etc., that increase divisiveness.
    Quote Originally Posted by Plot Device View Post
    All governmental business is conducted in English. All sessions of Congress, all state assemblies, all local municipal meetings from the town council to the PTA.
    In the 19th and early 20th centuries, there were many German language newspapers and schools in the U.S. Cajun French was the official language of several parishes in south Louisiana. That's just a couple of examples I can think of off the top of my head, but really, haven't you ever taken a look at all the towns you pass through on road trips, named things like "Bogue Chitto" and "Beaumont" and everything ending in -stadt? Besides "immigrant communities" (which, by the way, all parts of the U.S. have been "immigrant communities" at one point or another, it's just that most of them were English-speaking ones), you guys know that parts of the U.S. were French and Spanish colonies long before there was a U.S. nation-state, right? And even after? Remember the Louisiana Purchase?

    And I'm not even going to get into Native American languages, or the city of Miami...

    ETA: And, ahem, insofar as this "one nation must have one language to be united" bit, you know that there are lots of nations out there that have managed to get along happily for hundreds of years while speaking multiple languages on gigantic macro levels and even having multiple official languages? Belgium has three official languages, Switzerland has four, shit - even the U.K. has both English and Welsh, though Welsh is dying out now due to increased mobility and communication, which is kind of sad, but it has been spoken there for, oh, almost a thousand years since Edward Longshanks kicked the crap out of Prince Dafydd (*sniff*) and Wales became a part of England's holdings. And about 1.5 million people there speak Scots still, and there are a handful in Ireland that speak Gaelic.
    Last edited by Yorkist; 03-21-2012 at 04:57 AM.

  7. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaiser-Kun View Post
    It must be even tougher to learn english in Spain where they dub everything (horribly).
    Case in point, the way they say "Spiderman". (es-PEE-dare-MAHN)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xelebes View Post
    Not was? Vergib mich, bitte, aber ich verstehe das nicht.
    Give me a break! It's been more 56 years since I last studied it. I remember using it in the sense of, "Is that not so?" Of course, I sometimes remember things wrong.
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  9. #84
    Old revolutionary muravyets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaiser-Kun View Post
    ”uh!! (Translation: "D'oh!")

    If everyone who got into the US undocumentally got a pardon and hearty handshake, would the native USofAnians tolerate bilingualism to help their new documentated neighbors?
    Quote Originally Posted by Plot Device View Post
    Possibly yes.
    Probably not, if we haven't evolved socially much since the days of my great-grandparents who lived the classic 1890s-1920's immigrant experience in America -- Ellis Island, Lower East Side tenements, the whole Once Upon A Time in America trip, including the enforced assimilation of their kids in school without regard for whether the parents wanted it or not. And they were all legal immigrants.

    Somehow, looking at recent news, I don't think we've evolved that much, socially.

    Quote Originally Posted by thebloodfiend View Post
    ... Driving to another school will fracture her family?

    I guess if the local Target closed down, making her have to shop at Walmart, it would end her marriage and cause her to become suicidal.
    I don't think that's a fair comparison (or whatever it is) because, you know, it's Walmart. Who wouldn't fall to pieces if they had to shop there? But yeah, her reaction to the school program is a bunch of horsecrap.

    Quote Originally Posted by These Mean Streets View Post
    English has always been the "official language". All official business in the United States - including contracts, legal proceedings, government proceedings and documents etc has always been conducted in English.

    Of course, people are going to speak whatever they want in private and in their own small communities - but nationwide, as a whole, in order for there to be proper communication among disparate communities across the nation and even within small towns, English has always been the way to do it.

    And in the past, other immigrants had hostilities to deal with also. Can you imagine if towns all over the country had started posting official signs in German as well as English? Or Italian? Or any language besides what has always been generally accepted as "the common tongue"?

    Anyway, as I said, having signs and official documents and phones etc in two languages only leads to a sense of Us and Them. A common sociological phenomena.

    And my opinion is: if we're going to have one country - united, whole, happy and productive - then we can't have barriers, like language and separate rules etc., that increase divisiveness.
    As others have pointed out, English is not our official language and there is no requirement for business to be conducted in English, nor has it always been conducted in English.

    Further, considering the lack of language barriers between, oh, say, for example, Black and White Americans before the forced end of segregation in the south, or between male and female Americans before women got the vote and during the entire fight to get sexual harassment and domestic violence taken seriously, or between gay Americans and homophobic Americans, I kind of doubt that making the US officially English-speaking is going to end divisiveness and secure our stability as a society.
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  10. #85
    Delerium ex Ennui Xelebes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AncientEagle View Post
    Give me a break! It's been more 56 years since I last studied it. I remember using it in the sense of, "Is that not so?" Of course, I sometimes remember things wrong.
    It could also be German used 56 years ago. *shrug* Languages change.

  11. #86
    Old revolutionary muravyets's Avatar
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    I would like to add also that I'm kind of dismayed at the number of responses to this story that suggest that learning languages is a burden, or is not part of basic instruction, or should be optional and not a requirement.

    I mean, we're homo sapiens, right? Language is kind of what we do, like, one of our Big Things, evolutionarily. How can learning to communicate via a broad range of methods and forms not be considered basic instruction, foundational education? It's kind of like learning to walk upright and use tools, isn't it?

    Language is such a fundamental human brain function that even if you end up not speaking more than one language because your life doesn't require you to, learning more than one language will still make you smarter because it such a good way to develop cognitive function to a very high degree. Why would anyone not want that for their child?

    As for bilingual instruction in which non-language subjects such as Math and Science are taught in two languages in the same class, that sounds wonderful! I wish I'd had a program like that when I was in elementary school. I might be able to speak all that French they taught me now, because actually using a language to communicate and achieve an objective, rather just completing foreign language exercises, is a great way to master it.

    I'm also a little put off by the suggestion that making the kids do their classes in two languages might make it too hard to learn. Yeah, I thought the point of learning is to master things that are difficult before you learn them. I do see a value in gearing class content to the age and development of the students, obviously, but I see no value in avoiding level-appropriate challenges.

    I will conclude with this: If this sort of reaction to bilingual instruction is widespread, that might explain a lot about why Americans typically don't learn more than one language. It seems as if they just don't want to.
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  12. #87
    Will write for bacon! Vince524's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by muravyets View Post
    I would like to add also that I'm kind of dismayed at the number of responses to this story that suggest that learning languages is a burden, or is not part of basic instruction, or should be optional and not a requirement.
    Why?

    I mean, yeah, learning a second language should be required, and in and of itself, I don't have an issue with it starting earlier. However, there are kids who struggle with math, reading, science. I know a lot of teachers. I've heard a lot of stories of kids who just have trouble with the basics. Also, not all kids have a great support system at home who will help with homework.

    I wouldn't want kids to have their math grades suffer because they are in a dual language class and they're not getting the Spanish part and they have issues with the math on top of it.

    Also, why just Spanish?

    I can also see it just rubbing parents the wrong way to just tell them, "It's our way or the highway, Amigo."




  13. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaiser-Kun View Post
    Oh my! Will do, sir!

    Vince524 es una rata apestosa que usa calzones de olanes.
    Dang it!! I had to look that up, one word at a time!! On http://www.wordreference.com/es/translation.asp


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  14. #89
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    One word at a time? I can go to Google Translate, just paste in the sentence, and it automagically figures out the source language and converts it to English (probably because it sees my IP address is in the USA) for me:
    http://translate.google.com/#auto|en|Vince524%20es%20una%20rata%20apestosa%20q ue%20usa%20calzones%20de%20olanes.

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  15. #90
    Will write for bacon! Vince524's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benbradley View Post
    One word at a time? I can go to Google Translate, just paste in the sentence, and it automagically figures out the source language and converts it to English (probably because it sees my IP address is in the USA) for me:
    http://translate.google.com/#auto|en|Vince524%20es%20una%20rata%20apestosa%20q ue%20usa%20calzones%20de%20olanes.

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  16. #91
    Old revolutionary muravyets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince524 View Post
    Why?

    I mean, yeah, learning a second language should be required, and in and of itself, I don't have an issue with it starting earlier. However, there are kids who struggle with math, reading, science. I know a lot of teachers. I've heard a lot of stories of kids who just have trouble with the basics. Also, not all kids have a great support system at home who will help with homework.

    I wouldn't want kids to have their math grades suffer because they are in a dual language class and they're not getting the Spanish part and they have issues with the math on top of it.

    Also, why just Spanish?

    I can also see it just rubbing parents the wrong way to just tell them, "It's our way or the highway, Amigo."
    I explained why. Besides, it doesn't have to be every single math class every day, all the time. And I'm still just seeing an objection to the class being challenging, which I said I didn't think was really a good argument. What you bring up is the argument for good teachers, not an argument against bilingual instruction. I mean, I've sucked at math my entire life and struggled in all my classes. Having them in a language I didn't know would not have made them any harder for me. But I did manage to pass them. If someone as math-disabled as I am could figure out a way to cope, then it's entirely do-able, I assure you. Measuring by my math experience lowers the bar pretty drastically.

    As for why just Spanish, I never argued in favor of just Spanish. Perhaps Spanish is being pushed because there are already so many Spanish-speaking students that it is considered important to get them and the English-speakers on the same footing, both fluent in each other's languages. Seems fairly pragmatic.

    As for what rubs some parents the wrong way, I guess I'm not the person to consult on that because if I see it as undermining the advancement of education nationally, I really couldn't give less of a shit what some parents don't like. But that's just me. Fortunately, I'm not in a job that requires me to deal with parents.
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  17. #92
    Will write for bacon! Vince524's Avatar
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    Good teachers exist and still have kids who struggle.

    I see no problem with saying you're going to start teaching a foreign language as young as kindergarten, but it shouldn't be just Spanish and parents should certainly be able to have their kids in English only classes for other subjects. I think most parents who don't live in a bilingual home would prefer their kids learn one subject at a time.

    I'm going to post that question on facebook, see what kind of response I get.




  18. #93
    Old revolutionary muravyets's Avatar
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    Facebook - a solid, scientific source. I don't think that will sway me much, but have at it. Remember what I said about my personal response to what parents might prefer.

    Also, if you acknowledge there are good teachers, then why do you bring up how you suppose most parents would prefer their kids to learn? Why aren't they relying on the professional educators to teach their kids? Or do most parents assume their kids aren't smart enough to absorb more than one subject at a time, even with good teachers? I kind of doubt that.

    I've already said that I wouldn't expect bilingual instruction to be the format in every single class, and I haven't seen anyone here say that it should be that way. So why can't the Math and Science, etc., periods that are done bilingually be part of the Language Arts program and a cross-over or "linkage" (edu-speak) between the programs?
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  19. #94
    Happy Spring!! backslashbaby's Avatar
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    If you thought math was hard, I promise you it's harder when you also have to remember how to phrase everything in a new language. Well, maybe math wasn't the best example I had to do history and lit classes in other languages, and it takes longer to study at a minimum. It's just more stuff to know!

    Now, if the class went much slower to account for it, that's cool with me. I love languages, though. I think parents should get to decide when things get to an immersion level. Immersion is quite frustrating! You learn a ton more, and I think it's worth it, but it might not suit every kid. A Swedish girl in our program dropped out because she thought immersion was a bad way to teach She already spoke 3 languages. I think it's good, but it's very frustrating. Less so to kids, maybe? Start them in kindergarten and that's more fair to them, imho.
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  20. #95
    Old revolutionary muravyets's Avatar
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    I'm still hung up on the part where parents should decide when their kids can handle a particular teaching method. As far as I know, few parents are also education professionals. I think judging whether a given child is handling a given method well should be a team effort among the parents, the child and the teacher, but the one who is doing the teaching is the teacher. Before people just announce they don't want this for their child, they should at least give the teacher a listen and maybe a test run, yes?
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  21. #96
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    So does this mean EVERY TEACHER will have to be bilingual?
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  22. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by muravyets View Post
    I'm still hung up on the part where parents should decide when their kids can handle a particular teaching method. As far as I know, few parents are also education professionals. I think judging whether a given child is handling a given method well should be a team effort among the parents, the child and the teacher, but the one who is doing the teaching is the teacher. Before people just announce they don't want this for their child, they should at least give the teacher a listen and maybe a test run, yes?
    It sounds good to me, but I don't have kids. I know my parents literally moved us to a different city over curriculum issues, and my poor dad had to commute to work for several years! Dad had a favorite house picked out in the first city and everything.

    I like most things to have options where folks can choose, if possible. I like public education to be challenging, but I like when there are additional programs for kids who are challenged by it enough as it is. I see immersion language-learning as something folks should opt into (unless, perhaps the child doesn't yet speak English here. Fewer choices about it may be cool there, because it will help so much later.)
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  23. #98
    Will write for bacon! Vince524's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by muravyets View Post
    I'm still hung up on the part where parents should decide when their kids can handle a particular teaching method. As far as I know, few parents are also education professionals. I think judging whether a given child is handling a given method well should be a team effort among the parents, the child and the teacher, but the one who is doing the teaching is the teacher. Before people just announce they don't want this for their child, they should at least give the teacher a listen and maybe a test run, yes?
    No, not in this case, because that's not what they did.

    They didn't say, "well Suzy, she's a bright girl, knows her alphabet and not to lick a frozen flag pole, she can handle it. But little Vince524 over there, he's just lucky if he knows to come in out of the rain."

    This wasn't a decision made by the teachers teaching the class, it was administrative. All kids.

    Because, y'know, all kids have just as good a chance of being able to handle it, right?

    And so what if one or two kids really struggle with Spanish, it's not like their math grades, or science grades will suffer because of those times we impart information to them in Spanish?

    And parents may not be educators, but good parents still know their kids and also should have a hand in their education.




  24. #99
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    English is my third language, I am a native French and Spanish speaker. Over the years, I have noticed that I am good at picking up languages and even though I can't speak them, I can understand German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese and Greek to a certain extent.

    I think it must be mostly people who only speak one language that think that being a multilingual society would divided people into camps. On the contrary, I would say. It's not being able to talk to each other that does that and speaking two or more languages reduces the opportunities for being unable to understand each other. No one is saying you can't speak your preferred language.

    I often speak English to my colleagues who reply in Spanish or French. Sometime I'll speak French or Spanish and they'll speak English. It depends on which language best expresses what we mean to say, gets the right nuances across. I can't imagine how much would be lost if we were limited to a single language...
    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeal View Post
    I'd say the main lesson to take from Stephen King's working life is: He's never stopped working. He's written sober. He's written drunk. He's written while recovering from horrendous injuries. He's written while working maggotty laundry jobs. He's written on long after he could have snuggled down into his royalties for the rest of his life.

    Damn good lesson, that.

  25. #100
    practical experience, FTW rwam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benbradley View Post
    So does this mean EVERY TEACHER will have to be bilingual?
    Oh my gosh....that would be SO hot!

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