Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Language Barriers

OK, I know this blog isn't always serious. But I feel like I need to address an issue that seriously annoys me. It's the one we're I hear people say "If people live in America then they should speak American". First of all, do I really have to point out that there is no such thing as the American Language. If you type "American Language" into a search engine, the only thing your going to find is "American English." "Why" you might ask? Well, It 's because the common language in The United States is ENGLISH. That's write people. Let me spell it for you E-N-G-L-I-S-H. English. To say someone speaks American would make no sense. Would you like them to speak North American, or South American. In either event, you're going to have a problem. America is made up of people who originally, be it through ancestry or more recently, spoke languages other than English.

I actually heard a woman complain about her child learning spanish from a TV show that she parked her in front of for hours a day. Her exact words "I don't want her learning spanish when she can't even speak english yet." It's been shown that children who grow up bilingual actually do better in school. So why, I would ask, would there be a problem with a child learning more than one language during the time when, and it has been proven, it's easiest for them to learn. Wouldn't it make more sense to teach them at that age when they don't even know that they're learning because everything is new to them? I mean goodness, we live in a global society now, and while many countries do speak english now, why not give our children everything we possibly can to help them get ahead in the world?

Don't even get me started on the people that say things like "foreigners come to our country then they should speak english". Let's turn this around. Does that mean that when we visit another country, we should speak the language there? If we go to France, should we all speak french. IF Spain, spanish..Kenya, swahili or Brazil, portuguese? Those same people will look at you with a dumb look and go "No, they should speak english" Well, my question to these people is always the same. "Why? Why should they speak english?" I never can get a good answer. They don't know and they don't think about what they're saying. Why should a French person speak english in a country of people that speak french? and so on. Its ridiculous to think that America is so great that everyone should speak our language just to make our lives easier. Contrary to popular belief, the world doesn't revolve around Americans and our needs. I believe that the United Sates is a wonderful country and I'm glad that I was born here, but I think that many of our citizens are just full of themselves. We rely so heavily on the "look after #1" philosophy that we tend to forget that there are other things out there in life and in the world. Shouldn't we expect the same amount of thought and energy from ourselves that we expect to come from other people and other countries in the world? How can we tell someone else how to live and learn if we don't follow the same advice we dish out. Have we become a society of "Do as I say, not as I do" people? I don't know about you, bu t I aspire and hope that now and someday I can be better than that person who can't see his can't see what's right in front of them and rather than learn something would force others to give up part of who they are so that they can be the same type of close-minded people we're all forced to deal with everyday.

I say, let your children learn as much as they can, be it math, science, other languages, cooking, sports or anything else that will make them better and more intelligent people. If your child is learning a language you don't know, maybe you should take some time out and learn it with them and make not only them, but yourself smarter in the process. And if you find yourself confronted with someone who doesn't speak english, don't condemn them for it. Ask yourself What you would do in the same situation if you are in some country and you don't speak the language. Ask yourself how you would want someone to treat you if the situation were reversed.

And ,on a side note, we are the only country in continents of North and South America that believes we are the only people who can be termed American. Yes we took the term and made it our own, but if you tell someone from South America you are American, you just might get the response of "yeah, me to. Are you North American or South American? Which country are you from?"


Bev Love said...

I cannot agree with you more. I always try to learn the basics in the language of the Country I am traveling to. IMHO it is just common courtesy. I also, living in San Francisco, meet many tourist who don't speak English well - if at all. I give them full marks for trying. I actually got a kick out of watching TV in Paris in French. Not everyone can stretch their mind around the concept that the whole world does not revolve around America. C'est la vie!

D said...
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