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Old 05-12-2004, 07:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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You come to America, you learn to speak english.

If I move to your country, I'll learn your language. Deal?

The original text.

Quote:
Immigrant Remarks By Ehrlich Still Burn
Local Leaders Want an Apology

By Darragh Johnson and Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, May 12, 2004; Page B01

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s remarks last week dismissing multiculturalism as "crap" and "bunk" echoed across the state yesterday, as Democratic and Latino leaders demanded an apology and Ehrlich defended his comments as "utter common sense."

In Montgomery County, the County Council unanimously passed a resolution expressing "deep concern" over the governor's "ill-chosen remarks" and suggested "the phrase 'I'm sorry' as appropriate to the occasion."

In Baltimore, Mayor Martin O'Malley (D) addressed the issue -- in Spanish -- during his weekly radio address, saying, "Few of us would be here if our non-English-speaking relatives hadn't struggled for a few years -- or decades -- to learn English."

In Takoma Park, a half-dozen state and local Latino leaders and about 50 immigrant advocates gathered to decry Ehrlich's "far right" remarks and call for more resources to teach immigrants English.

And in Annapolis, reporters crowded around Ehrlich in the State House foyer, asking him to explain the comments he made on a call-in show on WBAL-AM radio Thursday.

"The words stand on their own," Ehrlich (R) replied. "It's a common culture, and the last message we want to send out is for people to separate themselves. We should celebrate the common American culture, the common American values and the common American language. I think that's common sense."

Ehrlich's original remarks about multiculturalism came in defense of a political ally, state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer (D). Schaefer had been criticized for his announcement a day earlier that he would no longer eat at McDonald's because of an uncomfortable encounter with a cashier struggling with English.

On the radio, Ehrlich said his views are "very similar to the comptroller's" and added, "I reject the idea of multiculturalism. Once you get into this multicultural crap, this bunk, you run into a problem. With respect to this culture, English is the language."

Ron Smith, who hosts the conservative talk show on which Ehrlich spoke, said he was surprised at the governor's candor and said the station has received e-mails from listeners "glad to hear a politician tell the truth."

Retired Chief Master Sgt. Ken Witkin, a 66-year-old Air Force retiree who lives in Fort Washington, is among Ehrlich's supporters.

"I spent 30 years in the Air Force fighting communism," he said yesterday. "I gave up 30 years of my life, and I didn't give it up so I could start learning Spanish." He added, "Every single veteran I've talked to feels the same way."

At the same time, some of the governor's critics have been pilloried for their positions.

Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez (D-Montgomery), who spoke out against Ehrlich's comments last week, said she has received five "nasty messages," including some telling her and her "people to go back home."

CASA de Maryland, a Latino advocacy group, received two similar voice-mail messages, including one that insisted Schaefer "had it right" and they should "ship us to Iraq so we can be bombed on the front lines," CASA's Kimberly Propeack said.

Yesterday, Ehrlich said that the issue has "been hijacked by a politically correct crowd" and that he did not want "to get into this politically correct game."

He declined to wade back into a discussion of Schaefer's complaints about Spanish-speaking immigrants, but he did not back off his contention that immigrants should learn English.

Latino advocates agreed with that goal yesterday, but they said that Maryland is not providing enough resources. In Montgomery alone, 105,000 residents have "limited English" skills, yet the classes for adults who want to learn can accommodate only about 24,000 people, council member Tom Perez (D-Silver Spring) said at the afternoon news conference in Takoma Park. Last year, according to a county report, 2,000 adults were on waiting lists for those classes.

"It's time to put your money where your mouth is," Perez said. "If indeed you want everyone to learn English, support the funding."

Politically, Ehrlich's remarks have provided fodder for his Democratic opponents, with two likely contenders in the governor's race, O'Malley and Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, weighing in.

But one political scientist doubted that the controversy would do much harm to Ehrlich's standing with voters, especially his Republican base. "It's probably not something he should harp on all the time, but it doesn't seem to be a huge risk in the short term," said James G. Gimpel of the University of Maryland.

Still, the governor's remarks could hurt the GOP's efforts to bring more Latinos into the party, said Jorge Ribas, a Hispanic Republican from Montgomery. "The Republican Party is not going to grow with those kinds of comments," he said. "Those comments alienate people."

Last year, Ribas formed the Maryland Hispanic Republican Caucus. But after he complained publicly that the governor had no Latinos in his Cabinet, GOP leaders ousted his group from the party and formed their own Hispanic caucus.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

I agree with this, "With respect to this culture, English is the language."

Personally, I do feel that to have a coherent culture, the members of the society that claim to share the culture, should be able to communicate.

Communication can happen if a majority of its members are multilingual, or the majority speaks the same language.

I favor the members speaking the same language.

As to the comments made in the article, there are some good and some bad. The guy not eating at McD’s because a cashier didn’t speak English so well, I don’t know about. What if that cashier is a recent immigrant, and is learning? One should allow for that.

The people talking about immigrants getting shipped out; pure bigotry. Bah.

I think that exploring other languages, and even being exposed to them, is a positive experience for everyone involved. English grew out of other languages, and some other language will grow out of English.

As to multiculturalism being crap, I don’t think so. But it sure would be nice if we could all speak to each other.
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Old 05-12-2004, 07:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yeah, while I don't think that all the immigrants should be sent home, because you're right, that's total bigotry. But I agree with you completely, you should be required to learn English to live her. It's not a racial thing, it should just be required. It would be a good idea in any country in the world. The general lessening of the difficulty of life for everyone involved is obvious.
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Old 05-12-2004, 07:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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There's no reason not to learn English here honestly

But realistically speaking, there's really no way to get everyone to anyways

And honestly, if they can't serve you, then why are they getting hired to begin with?
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Old 05-12-2004, 07:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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As a Marylander, I made the mistake of voting for Ehrlich in the last election. I believed him when he said higher education would not be hurt in the upcoming election, and was particularly impressed when he came on campus to address the issues.

Boy, was I wrong. Ehrlich has effectively become the enemy of higher education, and has slashed the University of Maryland's budget gratuitously. Couple that with his other actions, and the potential for an campaign opponent who actually matters, and I don't see him surviving the next election.

That said, I feel his ideas have a reasonable foundation but a shitty delivery. It's one thing to say that it's important to unify people through a common language; it's something completely different to say all other cultures are "crap." Stuff like this is just going to bring more Democrats to the polls, which is something Erhlich does NOT need.

That's an election year I'm looking forward to.
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Old 05-12-2004, 07:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I've always said this, and will continue to do.

"Welcome to America, NOW SPEAK ENGLISH"

I would put this for a bumper sticker, but there are to many dicks out there who would actually damage my vehicle because of it.
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Old 05-12-2004, 07:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I beleive in the future in some parts of America its going to be pretty much mandatory to know spanish.

Last edited by Asuka{eve}; 05-12-2004 at 08:15 PM..
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Old 05-12-2004, 08:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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America doesn't have a national language. It is unfair for us to be that selfish and self absorbed to think that even though it isn't a legal issue, they should learn to speak English anyway. On that note, every last one of us could be required to speak Spanish and no one could complain.
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Old 05-12-2004, 08:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I think this guy is a total ass, but I do agree that if you plan on moving here, you might want to learn to speak at least some English.

Doesn't it seem that the only foreigners in the world who <b>don't</b> speak English are the ones who move here?
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Old 05-12-2004, 08:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Speak what your want, I think. If they want to communicate with less people, then so be it.
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Old 05-12-2004, 08:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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People shouldn't be forced to speak english. As mingusfingers said, it's only hurting themselves.

That being said, I do, however, think that employers shouldn't hire people that can't do their job properly because they can't speak english. When I go to order food and can't communicate with the person taking my order because they can't speak english.. well, that just shouldn't be. The person should speak the language well enough to be able to do their job properly. There are plenty of jobs out there that don't require them to communicate directly with the customers.

People should make somewhat of an effort to learn the language of the country. Although, I won't be surprised to see Spanish becoming our country's second national language.
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Last edited by k1ng; 05-12-2004 at 08:39 PM..
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Old 05-12-2004, 09:30 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Destrox
"Welcome to America, NOW SPEAK ENGLISH"

I would put this for a bumper sticker, but there are to many dicks out there who would actually damage my vehicle because of it.
Crazily enough, I actually had a bumper sticker that proclaimed the same message.

Shows how white trash I am huh?
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Old 05-12-2004, 10:03 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by StormBerlin
America doesn't have a national language. It is unfair for us to be that selfish and self absorbed to think that even though it isn't a legal issue, they should learn to speak English anyway. On that note, every last one of us could be required to speak Spanish and no one could complain.
So let me get this straight. If a president signed a piece of paper saying Englsh is our official language, it would be okay to require others to speak it because our wonderful all-knowing government said it is. But since's it's a de facto part of our culture rather than a law, it's "selfish and self absorbed" to expect others to speak our language. Whatever.

You move to Germany, you speak German. Move to China, speak Chinese. So why in the hell is it so wrong for people who move to America to speak English?
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Old 05-12-2004, 10:16 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Damn you and all your friends from England irseg, this is America! You all damn better learn American! Keep your tea and crupets and buscuits and English on your Island!

: )
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Old 05-12-2004, 10:33 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I think it's important for all members of a society to be able to communicate with each other, but I think it's equally important for us to teach our children to speak at least one other foreign language.
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Old 05-12-2004, 10:53 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Honestly, I would like it if everyone here could speak english. It would make my job a lot easier.
But I think we need to provide more area's for them to learn. I used to coordinate volunteers and the people volunteering at esl places said the wait list was always long. I mean, it's pretty simple, even if someone over here didn't want to learn english, they are going to make a lot more if they do.
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Old 05-13-2004, 12:09 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by irseg
So let me get this straight. If a president signed a piece of paper saying Englsh is our official language, it would be okay to require others to speak it because our wonderful all-knowing government said it is. But since's it's a de facto part of our culture rather than a law, it's "selfish and self absorbed" to expect others to speak our language. Whatever.

You move to Germany, you speak German. Move to China, speak Chinese. So why in the hell is it so wrong for people who move to America to speak English?
Because in Germany and China, those are the OFFICIAL LANGUAGES. That's my point. English isn't the official language in the US. I say selfish and self absorbed because it's not our language to push on other people.

Grow Up.
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Old 05-13-2004, 12:20 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by StormBerlin
Because in Germany and China, those are the OFFICIAL LANGUAGES. That's my point. English isn't the official language in the US. I say selfish and self absorbed because it's not our language to push on other people.

Grow Up.
Like I said, you think it's okay if some president signs a piece of paper that says "English is our official language", but not otherwise? There's no law against cheating on your girl/boyfriend, so that's okay too, right?

And why is it okay for immigrants to push their language on us?
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Old 05-13-2004, 12:29 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by StormBerlin
Because in Germany and China, those are the OFFICIAL LANGUAGES. That's my point. English isn't the official language in the US. I say selfish and self absorbed because it's not our language to push on other people.

Grow Up.
I'm sorry, but I think it is our language to push on people. When 95% of the country speaks a one language over all other languages... that more or less make it the official language. Most business that is done in this country is done in English. It makes sense that this is the language that should be pushed on the people moving here. It makes no sense to have the people moving here push their old language on us. How would anything get done? At that point we just become several segmented countries.

Also, what's with the "grow up" comment?
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Old 05-13-2004, 12:29 AM   #19 (permalink)
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We have to remember that English is a very complex language and, especially for the older immigrants, is probably one of the hardest to master. I believe that people that do immigrate to an english speaking country should learn english, and that the government must assist them by making them go to free classes/seminars. Of course, we cannot be too harsh towards those that do not speak perfect english, and as a country that prides itself on freedom and multiculturalism, I believe that tolerance is important in this issue also.
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Old 05-13-2004, 12:35 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Harshaw
I'm sorry, but I think it is our language to push on people. When 95% of the country speaks a one language over all other languages... that more or less make it the official language. Most business that is done in this country is done in English. It makes sense that this is the language that should be pushed on the people moving here. It makes no sense to have the people moving here push their old language on us. How would anything get done? At that point we just become several segmented countries.

Also, what's with the "grow up" comment?
Sorry, I apologize for the "grow up" comment. My mind was elsewhere (slightly intoxicated on my end).

With English, if someone wants to learn it, that's fine, but if they can function in this society without it then that should be fine too. That's all I'm sayin... if it irritates the rest of us, that's none of our business. No one HAS to learn English to live here and I really have no problem with that.
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Old 05-13-2004, 12:36 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by irseg
Like I said, you think it's okay if some president signs a piece of paper that says "English is our official language", but not otherwise? There's no law against cheating on your girl/boyfriend, so that's okay too, right?

And why is it okay for immigrants to push their language on us?
Yes, if the president signs a peice of paper then that's a whole different story. Then they can be FORCED to learn or leave. Until that happens, there really is no language they have to learn. If they can function without learning it then more power to them.
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Old 05-13-2004, 05:07 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I think you have to look at what we want from immigrants. In some cases we want their skills and labour... However, in my opinion what we really want from immigrant is their children.

Immigrant children by and large integrate excelptionally well with their parent's adopted country. They are fluent in the language and go on to be successful contributors to society.

For the most part, birth rates are on the decline in the west. Immigration is one way to increase the population growth and grow the economy.

Personally I have no problem with immigrant who can't speak the language, it is a small inconvenience for the growth of our nations.
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Old 05-13-2004, 05:18 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I'm fully in favor of the President signing that paper.
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Old 05-13-2004, 06:02 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Harshaw
When 95% of the country speaks a one language over all other languages... that more or less make it the official language.

Based on relatively current US Census records, 95 percent seems a little high, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html, almost 18 percent of people responsing to the census, speak something other than English at home.

Depending on where you are, that number would be a lot higher.
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Old 05-13-2004, 06:13 AM   #25 (permalink)
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In the 1800s the immigrants coming to America knew that speaking english was their ticket to finacial freedom. Did they speak the english well? Not really, but they did ensure that their kids did. Because they knew that it was important for them to communicate effectively in order to get a well paying job.

How did they learn? Well they didn't have all these programs and classes that they do now and what they did have was too expensive, but they learned the same way anyone else does
via IMMERSION.
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Old 05-13-2004, 06:52 AM   #26 (permalink)
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There is not much that pisses me off more than having to choose the english option on the phone or at the ATM
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Old 05-13-2004, 07:01 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by ShaniFaye
There is not much that pisses me off more than having to choose the english option on the phone or at the ATM
I'm of the opinion that my card should hold the preferences so that I can just use the freakin' machine.

and to add about the languages in other countries.

I lived in Singapore, Official languages, Malay, English, Mandarin, Tamil. I had to learn to speak a little of this and that in order to properly function within the country. If I just stayed in the tourist zones, it was fine to just speak english.
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Old 05-13-2004, 07:44 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Canada has French and English as its official languages. All our packaging has both languages. In some part of the country the road signs are in both languages...
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Old 05-13-2004, 08:42 AM   #29 (permalink)
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I think it's a good idea for immigrants to be taught english, especially now that the UK is in fact one big immigration hostel.

I don't think it's fair for people to be forced to learn english, thats their decision, what i do have a problem with is the government going 'right, ok, you don't speak english, lets change our country to make it more suitable for you to speak your own language. everyone else already speaks english, so we don't need to worry about them'

it's that kind of attitude that will inevitably cause more racial discord and general badness long term, because as said before, the parents may not know english, but woe betide if the kids don't either.
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Old 05-13-2004, 08:59 AM   #30 (permalink)
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If immigrants don't want to learn to speak English, that's fine. However, they should not seek jobs where they interact a lot with customers and have to speak the customer's language. I've had quite a lot of horrible haircuts and messed up fast food orders because the people couldn't understand a word of what I said.

I understand that languages aren't easy for some people to learn and that they are used to speaking their own language, but come on. I shouldn't have to learn Vietnamese in order to get my hair cut properly in urban Maryland.
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Old 05-13-2004, 09:16 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Get another barber...
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Old 05-13-2004, 09:19 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Charlatan
I think you have to look at what we want from immigrants. In some cases we want their skills and labour... However, in my opinion what we really want from immigrant is their children.

Immigrant children by and large integrate excelptionally well with their parent's adopted country. They are fluent in the language and go on to be successful contributors to society.

For the most part, birth rates are on the decline in the west. Immigration is one way to increase the population growth and grow the economy.

Personally I have no problem with immigrant who can't speak the language, it is a small inconvenience for the growth of our nations.
You are so right on with that. Although the immigrants themselves may not speak English, their kids usually speak both languages. That gives them such an edge with education

Quote:
Originally posted by ShaniFaye
There is not much that pisses me off more than having to choose the english option on the phone or at the ATM
It amazes me how the people get bothered by the smallest things.
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Old 05-13-2004, 09:20 AM   #33 (permalink)
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IMO if you move to a country you learn their language and should try and fit in with thier culture to a certain exstent. I am fed up how my country bends to the will of the miority other wise it might be considered to be racist.

Yet the people of this country are denied accomodation finacial aid so an imigrant can get a free ride.

Now I'm not against imigrants who want to come here and work ahrd and become part of this country, but the fact that all these asylum seekers cross over several other european countries to get to ours sucks as leagly they have to claim asylum in the first country you get to!!!! If someone is genuinly being persicuted your not going to think "ooh not to keen on france I'll think I'll try" (well I can forgive them for not wanting to live in france).

I have to agree that I get pissed off in restaraunts when they can't understand you, if I wanted to work with PCs but knew nothing about them I wouldn't get the job, but if an imagrant can't speak english you can't not employ him as you likely to get sued for racism.

Oh fo a politicaly incorrect world
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Old 05-13-2004, 09:29 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Originally posted by kutulu
You are so right on with that. Although the immigrants themselves may not speak English, their kids usually speak both languages. That gives them such an edge with education
unless they also pickup and emulate their parents accents, that can be a hindrance.

there are people from Brooklyn and Queens with thick NY accents that are actually going to special classes to unlearn their accents because it is a hindrance in corporate business.
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Old 05-13-2004, 10:10 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Quote:
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unless they also pickup and emulate their parents accents, that can be a hindrance.
You can't be serious about that. There are plenty of people born and bred here who have accents that are much worse. Shit just look at the kids speaking ebonics.
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Old 05-13-2004, 10:14 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Originally posted by kutulu
You can't be serious about that. There are plenty of people born and bred here who have accents that are much worse. Shit just look at the kids speaking ebonics.
I am serious about it.. did you miss the bottom line where there are NY people who are retraining to get rid of their NY accents?

I know it firsthand. I have cousins who picked up their parents accents and don't get the same opportunities that I do (even when they have college degrees and I don't). My best friends wife speaks perfect chinese and perfect english, she has found similar situations to my observations.

edit:
and as far as the kids speaking ebonics...

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26. It is essential that I learn to speak and write standard English. This is not "acting white," but acting smart. Larry Elder's Personal Pledge 32 - http://www.larryelder.com/pledge.html
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Last edited by Cynthetiq; 05-13-2004 at 10:29 AM..
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Old 05-13-2004, 10:34 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Location: Central Illinois
If you are hired by a corporation like McDonalds you should speak English. The goal is to make the customers happy, not uncomfortible. If you work for a privately owned business/restraunt then speak whatever language you want, just don't expect me to come eat there. If I cannot communicate with the employees I won't eat there. I researve my right to a choice.

As for being in America and having to speak English, there are portions of the states in which the english-speaking person is in the minority, and if your base language is English then you are descriminated against such as in English-based areas.

It tends to deal with a majority/minority issue.

Edit: How many people have gone on vacation to other countries without learning their spoken language?
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Old 05-13-2004, 10:36 AM   #38 (permalink)
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No one in America should be forced to speak english, nor should they expect to be catered to because they don't.
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Old 05-13-2004, 10:43 AM   #39 (permalink)
Getting it.
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lebell
No one in America should be forced to speak english, nor should they expect to be catered to because they don't.
Amen Brother...
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Old 05-13-2004, 11:11 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Administrator
Location: Manhattan, NY
Quote:
Originally posted by Lebell
No one in America should be forced to speak english, nor should they expect to be catered to because they don't.
for those that do get naturalized they are forced to some degree, and in order to participate in the democratic process IMHO they should be able to read and understand english so that they can be an informed voter.

Quote:
According to the law, applicants must
demonstrate:
• “an understanding of the English
language, including an ability to read,
write, and speak...simple words and
phrases...in ordinary usage in the
English language....”
• “a knowledge and understanding of the
fundamentals of the history, and of the
principles and form of government, of
the United States....”
This means that to be eligible for
naturalization, you must be able to read,
write, and speak basic English. You must
also have a basic knowledge of U.S.
History and Government (also known as
“civics”).
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