I’m going to bring up a topic that probably won’t be construed as being politically correct (PC). While I’m not purposely trying to offend anyone (this time) with my writing, I’m sure someone will not take these words to heart in the spirit in which it was written.
Most of my life I have had a fascination with language. I would take different courses, use audio tapes (way back when), use bilingual chat rooms for practice or get together with people who spoke the language I was trying to learn. I have learned some American Sign Language, Spanish, Tagalog, French and Hungarian. While I am not fluent in any of these languages, I can utter a few words to having small conversations.
That being said, I couldn’t help but think about why I was listening to music on the radio and the next commercial was completely in Spanish. It was actually a commercial for Verizon. I started to question is it because I live in California? Is it because as a society we’ve gotten completely complacent in assimilation? What if I wanted to know what the commercial was about? There wasn’t another version offered in English.
Those questions prompted more questions. If I lived closer to the Eastern Canadian border, might this commercial been in French? What about a commercial in Tagalog, Korean, Chinese or Japanese? After all, we are on the Pacific coast with a fairly large Asian influence. When does it stop or will it ever stop?
As someone born in the United States, who grew up learning English, it’s almost as if someone like me no longer counts. Companies are bending over backwards to accommodate foreign language speakers. It’s not a matter of immigration, for this particular observation. It’s a matter of facts.
The United States, while not having an official language, has the understanding that English is the language of this land. All of our courts, legal proceedings, contracts, treaties, etc. are all in English. While some people will need an interpreter during certain situations, the written language is English.
When did the country change it’s thought on no one has to at least try to assimilate with the language and customs here? It’s one thing to be a tourist and “get by” while you are visiting in the USA. It’s another thing to live here for say, five plus years and still only speak your native language.
I understand English isn’t the easiest of languages to learn. Yet, being immersed in the culture can effectively aid in learning the language quicker, IF that’s a priority. With making interpreters available in almost every agency, only hiring bilingual employees for companies not doing business out of the country, by not requiring employees speak English while working (unless it’s related to foreign business), does this country a disservice.
How many languages will the DMV offer a driving test in? Will driving instructors be required to be multilingual because someone couldn’t be bothered to learn English? Will the road signage be in 15 different languages at some point? I believe if someone is going to make a residence within the United States, then it’s only common courtesy and decency to make an effort learn the language. There is no excuse for multi-generations in one family, living in the U.S., who don’t speak English.
To me, this is offensive. I should not have to change to accommodate someone else’s willful neglect at assimilation. This country has gone PC-happy. People who have grown up here are being told you are no longer a priority; in so many words. I encourage my children to learn other languages and to learn about other cultures. The fact is we are Americans, we speak English, and we have a right to be proud of that.