Thursday 17 April 2014

English Only?

     Recently, I was at a recovery event waiting for it to begin. People were pleasantly conversing with friends. Man A was sitting to my left. Women B and C were sitting to my right.

     Women B and C are both American citizens. In fact, both were born in the U.S.A. [Man A and I were also born here]. Women B and C are fluent in both English and Spanish. I speak English, some Spanish, and bits of A.S.L., French, Portuguese, and Tagalog. I don't know what languages Man A speaks besides English and that really does not matter.

     Women B and C started off in English speaking to only each other. They casually switched to Spanish, as is their custom. They switch back and forth between the two languages. I am used to that. I do it also at times. [Although I learned Spanish later in life, I have had several dreams entirely in Spanish]. Women B and C were not speaking of private matters. They certainly were not speaking about Man A.

     Suddenly Man A proclaimed loudly, "English only. That's Man A's rule."

     "There is no rule like that here," I told him.

     He insisted. "Yes there is and it's Man A's rule."

     "Man A does not get to make the rules here."

     Woman B turned to me and showed me a cool pic that she had taken with her cellphone.

     "Lo siento," I said to her. She nodded.

     The recovery event then started. The recovery event was in English and everyone spoke English during the recovery event. In the middle of the recovery event, Man A left. That is his right.

sapphoq itching for a coffee says: English is the official language of the United States of America. American citizens and people who are looking to relocate here [legally] from other countries ought to have a good enough command of the English language. I have no quarrel with that. I support that.
     Kids from Canada and from various European countries are taught to communicate effectively in several languages in their schools. The average American child-- maybe-- gets to learn one other language besides English. In my view, that should change.
     With technology, even small schools can combine classrooms with each other in order to give their children the opportunity to learn several languages [and by that I mean not limiting their choices to Spanish or French].
     To be able to communicate in several languages other than our native tongue and to have some understanding of the history and cultures of people who speak those languages is truly a gift. To insist that "all American kids learn Spanish" is just as wrong as insisting that a private conversation before an event be held in English.

No comments: