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When I was a little girl and I heard people around me abusing the English language or speaking in a not so proper English vernacular, I used to silently translate what they were saying into proper English.
Even today, sometimes I still find myself doing this, some habits are really difficult to break, I guess. So when a frequent reader of my columns sent me some information stating that a handful of US Senators voted to not have English as America’s official language on June 6th 2007, I stopped and pondered for a moment. Below are a few of those things I pondered about.
Say, for example you are in a city in which the Hispanic population accounts for major signs and notices being in both Spanish and English or bilingual. What does that say about the society in which you are?
That it caters to those non English speaking foreigners. Because it might be easier than telling the non English speaking foreigners to learn English if they are and want to succeed in an English speaking country.
And while there are a few persons in our midst who might want those non English speaking foreigners to learn English since they happen to be in an English speaking society, it’s also easy to observe how tolerant America is or can be.
And it might be tolerant because it does not want to cause stress and strife to anyone to learn English, if his/her native tongue is not English. Have you tried to fill out a form lately? Or try dialing a number for information about whatever. There are Spanish/bilingual options everywhere, it seems.
Now I do not have a problem with non English speaking foreigners who come to the US and want to speak their native language, but if you want to stay permanently and want to live and succeed here, then you should learn English.
Americans should not have to learn your language if they are in their own English speaking country just so they can communicate better with you. You should want to communicate better with them because you are in their country.
America is probably too tolerant. Try visiting a place like France or Spain and not being able to converse in their official language. They might feel insulted that, even though you cared enough to visit their country, you did not respect it enough to learn a word of their official language.
Peace and unity begin with all of us- Judy Ramsook