Let's Not Create An American Babel

Looks like our favorite Democrat, Harry Reid, is up to his old tricks again. Now he says that making English as the official language is racist.

I suppose that Democrats, the all-inclusive party, think that every immigrant should be free to decide whether or not he or she wants to learn the Queen’s English……

Which is all right by me .

However, America should also be free to decide to retain its cultural identity as well, and should be allowed to legislate in order to ascertain that identity....

We don't need a 21st century Tower of Babel now,do we?

English is in fact the language of everyday life and commerce and is a stepping-stone for many to break the bonds of poverty.

Without a mastery of English,anyone...immigrant or not...is almost certain to be destined to a life of poverty..or at the very least remain very much out of mainstream American life.

So what's the problem?

What ever happened to acculturation into American society as a national goal?

How can immigrants...from whatever country......who come here in order to find a better life for themselves and their family.....ever hope to achieve their goal if they can't read,write and speak English?

If we are going to put up a big fence with a big gate,perhaps we better be thinking about another door...to the school house....to help these folks achieve their goals too.

If the Senate and the House do in fact come to an agreement by year's end,(something that very much is in doubt) this issue will get thrown onto the pile of problems that is being created in order to "secure" the borders.

However,making English a threshold requirement,in my view isn't racist...it's necessary to help immigrants bootstrap themselves into the American way of life

Posted by Sicilian Eagle at May 24, 2006 10:58 AM
Comments
Comment #150848

SE: for once we agree totally :)

Posted by: womanmarine at May 24, 2006 11:12 AM
Comment #150851

Well, SE, you are contributing to the tower of bable by making this anything more than what it is- devisive politics. Hold on, I had to stoke the flag that I’m burning in my BBQ pit. Same B.S. Same Bable.

If you seriously believe you can legislate and control language, you clearly have no understanding of history or language. Et Tu, Brute?

Posted by: gergle at May 24, 2006 11:15 AM
Comment #150856

SE,

Even if your premise is true that No English = No Money, then why would you, a conservative, want the gov’t to decide what language you speak? Next would you propose a constitutional amendment to permit miscegenation laws? Since it is reasonable to propose that if you’re not white then your chance at wealth is greatly diminished.

This proposal is comperable to 1984s Newspeak. We were an inclusive country, you are proposing one more layer of gov’t sanctioned prejudice and control over our private lives. Potete dire pandering politcal? Puede usted decir pandering politcal? Können Sie das politcal Begünstigen sagen?

Posted by: Dave at May 24, 2006 11:28 AM
Comment #150860

womanmarine

Even a broken clock is right twice a day,I think.Thanks!

Gergle
Harry Reid gives new defination to partisian politics followed closely by Pelosi.If the president says black,they say blue.I understand why they do it…don’t get me wrong…they need to keep trying to erode the president’s polls as best they can until the mid-terms..but honestly is a discussion about English being racist really a partisian issue?

Dave
Threshold minimums,that’s why.We need to bring in people who don’t end up on the dole all the time.
See?You’re last sentence is an example of Babel.
:)

Posted by: sicilianeagle at May 24, 2006 11:40 AM
Comment #150868

The official language of Spain is Spanish.
The official language of France is French.
The official language of Russia is Russian.
Etc., etc., etc.

Are they racist as well?

Posted by: Jim T at May 24, 2006 12:07 PM
Comment #150873

Actually, it is “racist” when when you have to “press 1 for English and 2 for Spanish”. It’s either one language or all languages. I’m sure Mexico (and every other Damn Country) has their own language as the “official” language. Reid is a toolbag!

Posted by: rahdigly at May 24, 2006 12:19 PM
Comment #150879

when the repubs have the guts to make a law saying that business’ can only print billboards and ads in english then I’ll take them seriously. Otherwise this smacks of posturing.

Posted by: mark at May 24, 2006 12:26 PM
Comment #150881

If people want to migrate to America and become Americans I welcome them with open arms, no matter where they’re from.
That requires assimilation. Assimilation requires a common language.
E Pluribus Unum-Out of Many,One
Without a common language that cannot be.

Posted by: traveller at May 24, 2006 12:27 PM
Comment #150882

My question is: why wouldnt someone want to learn english. Furthermore, why wouldnt someone want to assimilate into their new environment??? Keeping your native language, traditions, etc… I think is totally fine (in the home, with fellow countrymen…etc), but in general society, I would think that it wouldnt be too off base to expect that if you want to communicate in this country then you would WANT to learn the common language. No???

Posted by: b0mbay at May 24, 2006 12:31 PM
Comment #150885

SE, why don’t you read what Reid said in context?

“This amendment is racist. I think it’s directed basically to people who speak Spanish.”

Is he wrong? Is the amendment not directed at people who speak Spanish? Be honest. This whole illegal immigration debate is directed against Latinos.

If this debate were about national security, then you’d be clamoring for a fence along the US/Canadian border. Every single terrorist that’s gotten into the US illegally came over the Canadian border.

How many terrorists have come over the Mexican border: Zero.

This debate over immigration is directed at Latinos. The amendment to make English the national language is directed against Spanish speakers. It’s racist.

I’m not surprised you’d take Reid’s words out of context to make a strawman argument. I don’t think anyone — not even Reid — disputes the fact that “English is in fact the language of everyday life and commerce and is a stepping-stone for many to break the bonds of poverty.”

SE, your article is either quite disengenuous, or poorly researched.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 24, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #150888

There are many countries that get along just fine with two or more widely spoken languages. There is no threat posed by immingrants, who for one reason or another do not bother to learn English (often it is because they do not have the time or money to complete an ESL program). Despite this, I still think that certain things need to be conducted in the language of the majority, like the education of children.

Jim T., by that logic we should establish the various languages of the native inhabbitants of North America and outlaw English.

Posted by: Warren P at May 24, 2006 12:53 PM
Comment #150890

This whole issue is nothing but BS designed soley for the purpose of diverting attention from the real issues of immigration reform. The language of the US is english regardless of what anyone in congress says.

This is really an insult to the intelligence of the american public. Like Frist’s $100 dollar give away, it fails to address the issue with any integrity whatsoever.

What every american should be screaming about is congress’s apparent arrogance that they are above the law. Hastert’s demand that the FBI return documents taken under warrant in a criminal investigation is proof positive of a double standard.

Under our beloved Patriot Act designed to “protect us”, our government can search your property without a warrant and you cannot even contact your lawyer. But God forbid if we clear out the office files of a guy taking $90,000 cash in bribes and stashing it in the freezer.

If you believe in the constitution, you should be in touch with your congressmen and senators now, demanding that the law is more important than their own self serving interests.

I can’t believe the republicans are going to let Elmer Fudd (oops, Harry Reid) and Nancy Pelosi take the high road on this issue.

Posted by: jwl at May 24, 2006 12:55 PM
Comment #150891

I agree that we do not need to make an official language for the US. This country was founded on immigration and there were many languages. I work heavily with Asians immigrants and find that there chidren learn english but many of the older adults only learn a few words. By the second generation though they are thoroughly speaking english. I think it would be a mistake to make english our official language. I like the current way we have it.

I think it adds character to our nation when we have a true melting pot.

Posted by: Randall Jeremiah at May 24, 2006 12:55 PM
Comment #150893

AP

“SE, why don’t you read what Reid said in context?”

AP..EVERYTHING that guy says is Out of context…always…he is The poster boy for vitrol and partisian politics.

“This amendment is racist. I think it’s directed basically to people who speak Spanish.”

Wrong.Where I live we have 40,000 Cambodians and Vietnamese.Boston has a growing Russian population…it should apply to All.That was a cheap politicial comment,friend.

If this debate were about national security, then you’d be clamoring for a fence along the US/Canadian border. Every single terrorist that’s gotten into the US illegally came over the Canadian border.

If this debate were about national security, then you’d be clamoring for a fence along the US/Canadian border. Every single terrorist that’s gotten into the US illegally came over the Canadian border.

“If this debate were about national security, then you’d be clamoring for a fence along the US/Canadian border. Every single terrorist that’s gotten into the US illegally came over the Canadian border.

How many terrorists have come over the Mexican border: Zero.”

Really?Isn’t cocaine,herion and pot coming in by the truck-load from Mexico?Doesn’t count in your analysis,I presume.

“SE, your article is either quite disengenuous, or poorly researched.”

That’s your opinion.Mine is that 10% of Mexico…10%!! is living in this country illegally and probably 90% of that number doesn’t speak English.On the other had,those Voetnamese and Cambodians are fluent within a couple years.Why?

I suppose that’s racist too,right?


Posted by: sicilianeagle at May 24, 2006 12:56 PM
Comment #150894

SE,

Sorry, that argument is BS and insulting. Are you first generation? Did you or your parents learn English because the law required them? Are you or them on the dole?
Look in the mirror first before you assume that laws fix your prejudices. My parents were 1st generation. They and their parents learnt English as part of their adaptations to live here. My wife and her family are immigrants. Her parents never learned English. None of them were ever on any “dole”.
BTW: How many American English words come from foreign languages, kapisch?

Posted by: Dave at May 24, 2006 12:56 PM
Comment #150896

AP,
“This amendment is racist. I think it’s directed basically to people who speak Spanish. Is he wrong? Is the amendment not directed at people who speak Spanish? Be honest.”


Yes he’s wrong, b/c it’s not racist. Reid is a complete and utter toolbag. Period!


“This whole illegal immigration debate is directed against Latinos.”


85% of the illegals come from Mexico. They’re addressing the crux of the problem with illegals; our southern border states’s hospitals, schools and jails are depleted, bankrupt and overcrowded b/c of the illegals that “migrate” from Mexico.


Just b/c you ignore the problem, doesn’t mean the rest of America should. And, it (certainly) doesn’t mean we’re racist b/c we see there’s a problem; for decades now.

Posted by: rahdigly at May 24, 2006 1:01 PM
Comment #150897
I don’t think anyone —not even Reid — disputes the fact that “English is in fact the language of everyday life and commerce and is a stepping-stone for many to break the bonds of poverty.

So what’s the problem then? If the amendment is directed at Latinos to help them “break the bonds of poverty”, isn’t that a good thing? If you wanted to direct an ammendment at me that would guarantee a better way of life I’d be all for it, wouldn’t you?

Posted by: Craig at May 24, 2006 1:02 PM
Comment #150898

If such a law passes, given our national ineptitude at mastering foreign tongues (Americans routinely rank at the bottom of the list of industrialized countries in terms of proficiency in second languages), it’s a good thing that most of us are already native speakers of English! As human intelligence still remains a national security priority, this lack of language proficiency is not just a testament to our own embarassing parochialism but remains very much a national security issue as well.

One thinks of the the soldiers in the early days of the Iraq War yelling English commands at Iraqis who, oddly enough, speak only Arabic. This was of course followed by that proven Berlitz method of 1) Yell louder 2) If they still don’t understand, start shooting. Hearts and minds, indeed!

It might also be worth noting that despite the 1 billion people around the world with some proficiency in English, it still ranks #2 to Mandarin Chinese. Any coincidence that Mandarin is quickly becoming the most popular foreign language class in US colleges and high schools?

Adios and Zaijian.

Posted by: J. at May 24, 2006 1:04 PM
Comment #150900

Of course in writing about English as a second language, I mangled it as a first: with an extra “the” and also to note that “embarrassing” is of course spelled with two r’s. Thankfully, my girlfriend, a non-native speaker of Englush, was looking over my shoulder as I posted the last message and corrected me.

Posted by: J. at May 24, 2006 1:12 PM
Comment #150901

And then I spelled the word “English” incorrectly. I give up. I’m moving to Mexico.

Posted by: J. at May 24, 2006 1:13 PM
Comment #150902


AP

You said:

SE, your article is either quite disengenuous, or poorly researched.

Now ain’t that the pot calling the kettle black. Remember your little invention of “Bush Blames the Troops”. At least SE didn’t put words in Reid’s mouth.


Posted by: jwl at May 24, 2006 1:14 PM
Comment #150903

I think it is silly to call an amendment racist. It is only a piece of paper. So since I do not believe Reid is silly I think he was calling those who wrote the amendment racist. That would be the only logical conclusion. I personally do not think we need this amendment but I also do not think we need such partisan name calling.

Posted by: Randall Jeremiah at May 24, 2006 1:19 PM
Comment #150911

What is really amazing is that we don’t even have a unified English here in the United States. Regional dialects are common and local definitions of words and situations prevail. Sicilian I am sure that the thousands of people who make MUCHO DINERO on the various spanish radio and television programs might disagree with no english=no money

Posted by: jblym at May 24, 2006 1:41 PM
Comment #150912

Look folks, this is not rocket science. If you want immigrants who only speak English, permit immigration ONLY from English speaking nations. Otherwise, if you need non-English speaking immigrants, we must afford them multi-lingual opportunities to learn English and function in our society until they, or their children do acquire mastery of the language. To invite non-English speaking immigrants and then tie their hands behind their back by not allowing them access to our laws, our policies, our history, and yes, our language, in their own native tongue so they can begin assimilation, is pure folly.

Allow only English immigrants, or, accomodate the language needs of non-English speaking immigrants. See, it really isn’t rocket science.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 24, 2006 1:43 PM
Comment #150915

English is the most useful language in the world. Anyone who passes up an opportunity to learn it is stupid. That is true. It is certainly hard to get ahead in the U.S. if you cannot speak English and that is fitting and proper. I actively disciminate against non-English speakers since I don’t know what they are asking from me.

People can speak whatever they want. I studied classical Greek. It was fun. But I don’t expect others to talk to me if I insist on using the language of Thucydides. If people living in the U.S. want to continue to speak primarily Spanish, it is a dumb idea, but their business. However they should not expect anyone to make accomadations except when that other person thinks it is useful. It is kind of racist to think otherwise.

Posted by: Jack at May 24, 2006 1:59 PM
Comment #150917

Setting English as an official “National Language” is not, in itself, racist. There is no harm in it, because it is just a political move by Repubs. It shows the skill the Repubs have at pandering to their base, and the ineptitude of the Dems to define actual issues and ignore these petty pissing matches.

Posted by: David S at May 24, 2006 2:03 PM
Comment #150918
AP..EVERYTHING that guy says is Out of context…always…he is The poster boy for vitrol and partisian politics.

Wow, SE. I’m blown away by your brilliant oratory, insightful counter-argument and masterful presentation of the facts. Not.

I take you to task for a baseless attack on Reid — and get another one in return. Whatever.

The fact is, if that amendment was directed at Spanish speakers — and I think you know it was — then it’s racist.

So what’s the problem then? If the amendment is directed at Latinos to help them “break the bonds of poverty”, isn’t that a good thing?

Ahh… That’s better. Thanks Craig. If you’re asking me, I’m ambivalent. I don’t particularly think we need a law — unless you’re willing to back it up by having the government provide English lessons for all non-English speakers in the US.

I guess it depends on if you’re willing to wait a generation for immigrant familys to become fluent in English, or not.

Every bit of research shows that Spanish speakers become English-dominant within a single generation — hurray for public school!

Now ain’t that the pot calling the kettle black. Remember your little invention of “Bush Blames the Troops”.

Of course. Everytime I think about President Bush blaming the troops for his strategic errors and micromanagement, it pisses me off. I’m surprised it doesn’t bother you.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 24, 2006 2:03 PM
Comment #150920
Yes he’s wrong, b/c it’s not racist. Reid is a complete and utter toolbag. Period!

Wow. More reasoned and rational dialogue from the right. Thank you.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 24, 2006 2:05 PM
Comment #150942

So why are we thinking so small here? Why not legislate Doctor’s visits? A yearly exam could save lives!

Which American culture are you trying to preserve, white Anglo-Saxon. The melting pot theory went out years ago. So why not resurrect past legislation proposals and make German or French our official language. Better yet, since you want to preserve our culture, why not adopt a Native-American language as our official language? Or is Congress forgetting that the Puritans, one of the first non-native speaking immigrants, supposedly would not have survived without some Native-American assistance. Nor did they ever adopt the local native language as their own. We can now rectify that error.

There is little doubt that learning English is beneficial, if not essential here in the United States. But we don’t need to legislate this nationalistic garbage, which trivializes our immigrant heritage to get that point across. We have far more pressing matters that Congress can disagree on.

Posted by: Cube at May 24, 2006 2:36 PM
Comment #150943

Jack no reasonable accomodation? Why stop there?
Why build ramps? Or print in braille? I know I am tired of having to park so far from those Handicapped spots. We are inclusive! If there are good reasons to learn a language,for example getting paid well,people will learn. And what about hearing impaired people? Imagine the injustice of having to learn sign in order to converse with them. By your logic ,they should be forced to have coclear ear implants!

Posted by: jblym at May 24, 2006 2:37 PM
Comment #150944

Jack,

English is the most useful language in the world. Anyone who passes up an opportunity to learn it is stupid.

You assume that learning a second language is easy. Believe me, it’s not. I tried for years to learn both Spanish and German, and to this day can’t carry on a conversation in either.

I have a friend who was born in the U.S., but moved to Germany when he was still young. Despite living in Germany for over 10 years, studying the language in high school and college, and having a native-German speaker in his home (his mother), he still can’t carry on a conversation in German. He knows a good deal of vocabulary, and can translate written text (very slowly), but he can’t understand people speaking German to him, and can barely ask where the bathroom is.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with the U.S. Government declaring English to be the “official language” of the government — the one that government does business in. But there’s no reason that the government should force the People to speak any language over any other.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at May 24, 2006 2:37 PM
Comment #150945

Nebraska passed an English only law in 1920 to get at all those German speakers. Was that racist? Language is not an aspect of race. I have noticed people of various races speaking English or Spanish. I met a black guy whose native language was Ukrainian. I check my daughter off as hispanic on the government forms because she was born in Latin America.

Spanish speakers are a very diverse group. They say Mexicans can claim to have descended from Aztecs. Peruvians descended from Incas. And Argentines descended from boats coming from Italy. Of course we have native Spanish speakers whose grandfathers arrived with their Horst Wessel record collections just after WWII and very large communities of Chinese and Japanese Spanish speakers. How can it be racist to say anything about that language or its various speakers?

You know the interesting thing about all these diverse groups? When they lived in Spanish speaking Latin America, they learned Spanish. It really is not that complicated.

Posted by: Jack at May 24, 2006 2:37 PM
Comment #150947

“Allow only English immigrants, or, accomodate the language needs of non-English speaking immigrants.”

We already do that now. The extent to which you are affected depends on where you live. I live in Texas. On a trip to a local Home Depot store I was looking for a sales flyer. I could only find 2 or 3 and each one was printed in Spanish. On a trip recently to a CVS store I don’t frequent I tried to find the isle with what I needed. The signs were printed in Spanish. On one of the major freeways there is about a 5 mile section where the Spanish language billboards outnumber the English billboards. So much for assimilating. Accommodating the needs of our Spanish speeking population makes it seem like I’m in a foreign country sometimes.

I have been hearing of towns along the Texas Mexico border that have made Spanish their official language, and school districts where teachers that speak only English are being replaced by bi-lingual teachers (read Spanish/English). I haven’t been able to verify this yet however.

How much do we spend as a country printing ballots in multiple languages, writing computer code to handle multiple languages on voice response units, and a miriad of other things? Trying to support multiple languages has got to be a drain on government and business. Standardizing on a single language doesn’t prevent anyone from immigrating to the country, or assimilating into the culture. For those of you who are fond of pointing to the past as an example of a multi-language society in America, there weren’t laws then to make provision for different languages. English was the language, period. If you didn’t know it, you learned it.

We are so busy trying to be everything to all people that we are losing a sense of who we are as a nation. We are Americans (without an hyphenations) and should not be ashamed to say so.

Posted by: rick at May 24, 2006 2:42 PM
Comment #150948

I support a requirement that fluency in English be a prerequisite to citizenship and that the government should conduct business in English. Going any further than that is an unnecessary intrusion into people’s personal lives.

Posted by: traveller at May 24, 2006 2:43 PM
Comment #150950

SE:

I agree that English should be the official language. I also believe that Reid should not have said what he did; it merely kicks up the tension.

So why do you take every incident about what a Democrat does and then generalize for all Democrats?

Posted by: Paul Siegel at May 24, 2006 2:50 PM
Comment #150956

traveller,

I agree entirely.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at May 24, 2006 2:59 PM
Comment #150957

Paul Siegel,
“So why do you take every incident about what a Democrat does and then generalize for all Democrats?”

That’s what Democrats do to Republicans.

Posted by: traveller at May 24, 2006 2:59 PM
Comment #150959

Paul Siegel and Traveller

I see both sides do that regularly. I understand why though. It seems that those who speak the loudest tend to be saying much the same thing. This does not mean that the rest agree just that they are not as loud as the few.

Posted by: Randall Jeremiah at May 24, 2006 3:01 PM
Comment #150965

Paul

Wow.That’s twice this month you’ve agreed with me.Maybe you should mosey over here to the red side for a while!

Actually,the answer to your question depend on exactly WHICH Democrat you are talking about.

Have you noticed Joe Lieberman doesn’t take pot shots at the president? I like the guy.Old Joementum.

On the other hand,the Democtatic leadership has its eyes on one thing right now…the House elections,and every opportunity to slam the Repubs it takes,it seems.

Which is something that is normal in an election year,no?

Most of the “hot” issues initially screamed about by Reid et al end up as politicial shots only.

Example:The alleged grilling,the “hard questions” that Mike Hayden was supposed to get at the Senate hearings this week.Two weeks ago,all the talking heads were all over the networks on Sunday mornings screaming aboout him.Yet what was the vote? 14-3 something like that,right.

Example:Rove.One columinist on the Blue side breathlessly had him indicted last Friday.Still waiting.

Example:Jack Murtha.Pure politics.Those Marines tried and convicted by him publicially.It’s very sad to see that guy become a caracture.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at May 24, 2006 3:11 PM
Comment #150968

SE, you do know that our language is England’s national language, right? The thing is, many of the states that now define themselves by their languages are the ones having the most problems with immigrants.

Coincidence? No. They defined themselves by ethnicity, race, and language, but when the time came, and they got cheap on the workforce, they brought in folks just like we’re doing now. Then what happened? Well, they started creating these communities of half-citizens, where unemployment, radicalism and other evils flourished.

But we, who have taken in a diversity of races, nationalities, languages, and religions have not had those problems in modern times. Coincidence? Again, no. We let assimilation happen naturally. We don’t force a language on people. The language sells itself.

This is politics by fear. Toughen up border security, relax restrictions on immigration where appropriate, and you’ll have more people making America their home and English their language.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 24, 2006 3:19 PM
Comment #150971

My grandparents on both sides of my family came from other countries. Neither side spoke english. When they got here, they asked their children (as they learned english in school) to teach them english so that they could provide a living for their families. I spoke to them as I was growing up and they explained that English is the language of America so they needed to speak it. They knew that coming over. They also explained that the expectation would be that anyone moving to their country of birth would be expected to learn the language of that country.

I never considered my grandparents “racists.” They accepted the rules of the new country and did not expect the country to pander to their needs, but rather learned to exist and thrive in their new “chosen” environment. I respected them for their decision to adapt themselves to their new home rather than expecting their new home to change to fit their culture. They still spoke their native language like in the “old country” at home as well as among their friends, but never forgot that they were now Americans and were proud of it.

English is and should be the official language of the US.

Posted by: 2ndGnration at May 24, 2006 3:29 PM
Comment #150973

English only in the public arena should be the theme.

China has many dialects.
Germany has many dialects.
Other countries are similar.

Many words that we use are rooted in a foreign language, but adapted to english. That covers many different groups of people.

International airline pilots must use english in conducting their operations.

And lastly, it would not surprise me one iota that a subcommittee of a committee of both the House of Representatives and the Senate confir with Europe to see the latest word on the subject and come up with a piece of legislation that will truly astound everybody. Not for its wisdom, but for its foolishness which congress is so experienced at doing.

Posted by: tomh at May 24, 2006 3:34 PM
Comment #150978

Stephen

Wow.First AP,then Paul Seigel,,the David Reemer,then you…wait…let me get my battle gear on…

ok..all set now..

No offense,but Houston doesn’t speak for America,Steven.
(That’s where you are from,right?).Using your anology,then everyone from my home town (Lawrence Massachusetts,The Immigrant City)should speak Sicilian,because that’s where they came right off the boat.

Instead,learning English and assimilation was the hallmark of the European immigrants.At home,Sicilian was spoken,but on the street it was English.

What pissed off the conservative right recently was the waving of the Mexocan flags…thousands of them..during that “protest” a week ago.

That wssn’t the smartest move,I think.

Spanish is an excellent language…as is Chinese,French,now Arabic,or even Japanese…but that’s it..a second language.

Last week you wondered about our forefathers is that excellent piece you wrote.

Their writings all were in English.

Then again,if you can’t relate to “European” thought on the matter,I can very well understand your reluctance.If I was an American Indian,for instance,my name would be War Eagle,I think .They above all got screwed,blued and tattooed as they say up here,and that’s the real tragedy of our nation’s beginning.

However,in this day and age,I can’t see anyone breaking the yoke of poverty unless they educated and speak English.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at May 24, 2006 3:48 PM
Comment #150979

The language we use and think in frames the way we view the world. The worldview of english speakers is different from the worldview of spanish of japanese speakers. Acculuturalization requires an understanding of the worldview of the primary language users. This is basic language theory.

Reid is not right that insistance on english is a racist concept, instead it is a cultural concept. The same argument for english usuage can be applied to debunk the idea that ebonics is not acceptable. Anyone want to defend ebonics?

Posted by: goodkingned at May 24, 2006 3:48 PM
Comment #150983

SE

There are whole communities in the US where no english is spoken and financially they can do rather well. I agree that they should learn. I also think it may make it easier to make money. With that in mind there are many many people who make good money and do speak any english.

Posted by: Randall Jeremiah at May 24, 2006 4:04 PM
Comment #150990

Hi Randall

America has to compete in a world economy.A unified language help us compete globally,I think.

How about you?

Posted by: sicilianeagle at May 24, 2006 4:09 PM
Comment #151001

You soon won’t have any choices about language or anything else. Our crooked elected representatives’ vote on cloture today in the senate will ease the way to ramming amnesty down our unwilling throats. Say good-bye to the United States of America courtesy of the treasonous bastards in BOTH parties!

Posted by: reddogs at May 24, 2006 4:39 PM
Comment #151035

2ndGnration,

My grandparents on both sides of my family came from other countries. Neither side spoke english. When they got here, they asked their children (as they learned english in school) to teach them english so that they could provide a living for their families. I spoke to them as I was growing up and they explained that English is the language of America so they needed to speak it. They knew that coming over.

You mean that they were willing to learn English, even though it wasn’t the “official” language? …that, perhaps, there was a value in it that didn’t require legislation to bring out?

If that’s true, then why do we need an “official” language? English has dominated this country, and many others since, without ever being our “official” language. To date, it hasn’t required legislation to protect it. If it did, it wouldn’t deserve to be our language.

I agree that people in this country — and any other, for that matter — benefit greatly from knowing English. But it shouldn’t be a requirement.

Now, here’s a challenge for all of you. Since we’re talking about the difficulties and requirements of learning a second language, I’d like to see each of us show our qualifications on the subject. For the rest of this discussion, I challenge each of you to post each of your comments in two languages — English, and another of your choice. And no cheating — you must translate it yourself!! (Or better yet, write it in a foreign language, then translate it to English.)

For the record, my posts aren’t translated, because I don’t speak a 2nd language. I tried learning Spanish in high school, and I tried learning German in college. I didn’t get far with either.

I would suspect that many of you are in the same boat, and thus would understand the difficulty of learning a 2nd language. If not, prove me wrong.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at May 24, 2006 7:18 PM
Comment #151052

rick…
Finally…someone who actually understands!
I could care less what language people want to speak, but when the government finds it necessary to print every document in multiple languages I think it’s getting out of hand.
California prints theirs’ in…what…something like 19 different languages, now?
Why aren’t all the liberal tree-huggers screaming about the enormous waste of trees used to make all that extra paper?
Or just think of all the extra social programs that could be financed with that wasted tax money.

Posted by: Hunter at May 24, 2006 7:59 PM
Comment #151054
I support a requirement that fluency in English be a prerequisite to citizenship and that the government should conduct business in English. Going any further than that is an unnecessary intrusion into people’s personal lives.

That’s by far the most sensible thing I’ve heard here so far. Stuff like that kills a thread. Let’s keep it going:

If this debate were about national security, then you’d be clamoring for a fence along the US/Canadian border. Every single terrorist that’s gotten into the US illegally came over the Canadian border.

Really?Isn’t cocaine,herion and pot coming in by the truck-load from Mexico?Doesn’t count in your analysis,I presume.

It doesn’t surprise me that the Republican Party leader ignored the outgoing administration’s warnings about terrorists, or that President Bush ignored an intelligence brief entitled, “Bin Laden Determined To Strike Inside The US” (which also mentioned they’d try to hijack planes), or that President Bush said he didn’t care about catching bin Laden or al Qaeda after 9/11.

I figured all you tough-talkers would hold his feet to the fire — but to my dismay, y’all DEFENDED him!

Now, even you tough-talkers are saying you think pot smoking is a more serious threat than terrorism. Holy crap!

It’s pretty obvious now that you guys don’t care about national security, and you’re only using terrorism to advance your racist agenda.

The sooner you irresponsible Republicans with your twisted priorities are back in the minority where you can’t hurt anybody — or through your negligence, allow another 9/11 — the stronger America will finally become.

Via con Dios — y estancia fuera de!

Posted by: American Pundit at May 24, 2006 8:04 PM
Comment #151056

Next thing you know, Republicans will be deporting Cajuns in an exchange program for English speaking Hispanics. Careful, them Cajuns don’t speak English too good, but, they got firearm manuals memorized. Does it appear that Republicans are trying evacuate the entire state of Louisiana? I am sure it is just my lack of good English reading comprehension. Makes for a good tin foil conspiracy though!

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 24, 2006 8:09 PM
Comment #151057

Rob Cottrell
You said
“If that’s true, then why do we need an “official” language? English has dominated this country, and many others since, without ever being our “official” language. To date, it hasn’t required legislation to protect it. If it did, it wouldn’t deserve to be our language.”

I would like to know why you think this statement is true. Why if we have to protect our language would it not deserve to be our language. I would like to see a logical support please.

This being said I do agree that we should not have a law stating these things.

SE

I am not sure about that. I agree when everybody speaks the same language then it is easier to do business together. This has never stopped a good business man before.

This reminds me of the ancient Roman and Greece worlds. Everyone usually spoke Greek of some form. This was for everyday commerce at the same time they usually had their language that they spoke and many times two or three others as well. That being said I think that yes it is good to have a common language I just dont want laws requiring that. I think that we already have enough government regulations and would like to have less actually.

Posted by: Randall Jeremiah at May 24, 2006 8:10 PM
Comment #151063

AP
Geez…don’t get your underwear in a knot.Take a deep breath and remember what Mr. Minagi said:”In with the good air….out with the bad air….”

Pot?”HAHAHA!

Cocaine.Herion.Crystal meth.Junkies.Crime.Narco-terrorists.Gangs. M-13.

Connect the dots yet or do you need me to do more research?

Bush and 9?11? How about Clinton,Sudan and Bin Laden?

Selective amnesia caused by imbibing Singapore water,I presume,or just plain residual anger from 2000 or 2004.You Pick.

What’s this racist agenda thing,anyway?Maybe you should ask Condi Rice or the Attorney General how racist George really is..unless you consider both to be sell outs to their races?Say it then…..go ahead…the black lady and the Spanish guy are racists……go ahead….

Geez…

Posted by: sicilianeagle at May 24, 2006 8:31 PM
Comment #151072

Randall,

I would like to know why you think this statement is true. Why if we have to protect our language would it not deserve to be our language. I would like to see a logical support please.

Two words… DEMOCRACY and CAPITALISM. In a democracy, the will of the majority (for the most part) rules. If English-speakers were not a majority in this country, then there would be no reason for English to be our “national language”, officially or unofficially.

In a capitalist society, with (relatively) free markets, different ideas are put up against one another, with the most successful ideas surviving, and the less successful ideas sent back to the drawing board. In this model, if English were not successful in spreading its usefulness (as it has been), then its usage would die out, and a more successful language would take its place.

I’m opposed to making English our “official language” because I don’t believe that we should fight these two forces — capitalism and democracy. Instead, we should allow them to play out (as they historically have) to determine what language will be the de facto standard.

SE,

What’s this racist agenda thing,anyway?Maybe you should ask Condi Rice or the Attorney General how racist George really is..unless you consider both to be sell outs to their races?Say it then…..go ahead…the black lady and the Spanish guy are racists……go ahead….

Reminds me of something Chris Rock said about Bush after he was elected in 2000. He said that Bush wanted to reward all of the african-americans who voted for him — so he appointed them both to his cabinet!

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at May 24, 2006 9:27 PM
Comment #151105

Personally I glad that Congress has finally shown some guts. With the elections coming up I’m actually surprised that they did something this controversial.
It’s about time that folks are told that if they want to live in this country that they need to learn the language.
I’ also not surprised that the left is against this. After all it just might bring everyone closer together instead of dividing them into groups.

Posted by: Ron Brown at May 25, 2006 12:25 AM
Comment #151112

SE-
Okay, we make English the official national language. What does it do? It changes nothing, except for making those who are anxious about Demographic change feel more secure.

Truth is, our country is not the worst country for language confusion. People tend to learn the language, without needing government regulation or some hi-falutin’ resolution out of congress to compel them to it.

I mean, have you considered that this measure may just be the legislative equivalent of comfort food, something that’s getting rolled out because there’s not much meaningful reform the GOP is willing to do in its direction? You can’t control the influx of immigrants, so instead you seek to control what language everybody speaks. Operative word: seek. There are things that we seek to control, and things we actually can, and language is usually one we can merely seek dominion over. Just ask generations of English teachers!

My advice? Get meaningful, effective reform going on immigration, and let the language issues sort themselves out, the same as they always have.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 25, 2006 1:07 AM
Comment #151356

Rob

The fact that we have trouble learning languages show why we should want foreigners to learn English. Better them than us, since they are the ones coming here. AND we always talk about Spanish, but not all foreigners are hispanic. How many languages would we need to speak to all our neighbors if all our neighbors refused to speak English?

Posted by: Jakc at May 25, 2006 5:37 PM
Comment #151370

I agree. Everyone, including the President, must be fluent in English. If they can’t pronounce “nuclear”, think the word “resonate” is “resignate”, can’t match subject number to predicate number, think “subliminable” or “misunderestimate” is a word, or mangle simple syntax, they shouldn’t be president, don’t you think?

Posted by: Mental Wimp at May 25, 2006 6:01 PM
Comment #151508

You misunderestimate our President, Mental Wimp. He counts on that and it has worked on numerous occaisions.

Posted by: goodkingned at May 26, 2006 6:15 AM
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