Should the ‘Spanish as an alternate language in the USA’ be a serious concern? For many Americans it is a serious PITA. The Southwest has been dealing with the issue for…well forever I suppose. Florida has been dealing with it since at least the Cuban refugee crisis. Currently, every state will have some population of people who speak Spanish as their only language.
Proud to learn the language
The USA is an English speaking country. “Learn the Language or get out” is a common thread among most Americans. I have always shared that mindset. One half of my family are Irish Immigrants, and they will tell you they learned the language and were PROUD of it. The other half of my family will tell you they had to learn the language to get directions to the reservation (they had it shoved down their throats). They’ll tell you that they learned it too, so stop whining. Even my Mother-in-law was married into the country and insisted that she go through the entire process of becoming a citizen of this country (she does however speak 5 languages, and also believes in “learn the language”).
I’m all for speaking as many languages as you can. I look up to anyone who can smoothly speak 2 or more languages. I speak English and Japanese, can count in 4 languages, and can say ‘Thank You’ and other rudimentary things in 6 or 7. I ‘Learned the Language”, and continue to study. I do not advocate intentionally printing public signs in anything but English… well that’s not altogether true.
Trying to think BEYOND the absurdity in politics
Recently something absurd happened in the political arena. DUH..Yes, I’ll be more specific, since that’s a no brainer. Purportedly, A man running for an Alabama city mayor’s office is being sued for campaign promises of “All signs must be printed in English”. The whole issue is a croc, sure. However the laughter evoked with my friends got me thinking globally again.
I miss Japan
I really appreciated Major transportation signs in Japan being printed in English.
It was all fun and games for me to go to Sakai city’s back streets and wing it, or the popular areas of Kanazawa in search of the best okonomiyaki, speaking Japanese only. That’s one of my passions, and I can hold my own navigating in Japanese for about 8 hours. But after that, I need a break.
Most Major transportation signs were in Japanese and English. Their Airports, major train stations, etc. should not be too difficult to navigate for a repeat traveler using English. I was very impressed.
[The following is my opinion and collection of observations. This is not a published Japanese paradigm]. Japan as a country could give a rat’s fanny less if you ANYONE living there is uncomfortable with the Japanese language. No doubt in my mind. There are no ‘non-Japanese’ citizens. Third generation Japan born Koreans carry green cards. If you aren’t Japanese blood descendant, you are just someone else. “Learn the Language”, and adapt to the system. They teach English for TRADE. They print signs in English for TOURISM, They do NOT do these to communicate with the English immigrants. The remainder of the signs are Japanese, because the country is a Japanese speaking country.
So where does that leave us?
We are born of natives and immigrants, all mixed together. Pretty much we are mutts. We would need menu’s in 50 languages or more to cover all the LEGAL Immigrants here. However, most LEGAL immigrants are happy (even proud) to learn the language and INTEGRATE into the culture. What about all the Korean and Chinese signs we’d need?
No other country in the world is worried about this issue on their soil. Try telling the French that they need more English signs posted. Something like that must be on Youtube by now. Hilarious !!
It’s all about power and money
Is it true that it would only benefit and strengthen this country for everyone living here act like they wanted to be AMERICAN, and not just to be here for the benefits? Gee, can we check history for an example? How about our first 200 years? People coming from all over the world to be an AMERICAN. That pride made this country strong.
So then as I see it the only reason to create more segregation is greed. The stores and retail venues are happy to make Spanish signs because of the ever increasing money base from Spanish only speaking peoples who are encouraged to refuse to integrate into our society, or who are here on a temporary basis. Power for the politicians who support the same kind of cultural segregation, for the ever increasing Spanish only speaking voter influences.
It’s just not that complicated
If you own a Chinese apothecary in Korea town, NW Atlanta (you know where I am speaking of, right, it’s a cool place) and everything is written in Chinese, then good for you. I don’t care, and don’t want the public money spent caring either. If you can stay in business that way, then the free industry of this country is working. It is a free country. But do not expect anyone to cater to you. No street signs, no welfare office placards written in Spanish, Chinese, Czech, or French..
So this is what I suggest.
- Make a once and for all counter-whiner statement from all 50 Governors in this country. “No whiney dual language talk will be tolerated. Law suits will not be permitted”
- Take a note from Japan – Print MAJOR transportation signs and related printing in English and Spanish. “Am I catering to the immigrants?” Hell no. They can get with the old program and be proud to be AMERICAN and integrate, or get the hell out if they don’t dig it. What I AM doing is promoting trade and tourism with the other those Millions of people that speak Spanish overseas, and even connected to us in the Southern Hemisphere. Have you counted them all?
- That’s it – If your company wants to print assembly diagrams in 4 languages, then good for you. Municipal street signs, and memorandums, etc. will NEVER be printed in anything but English.
At least try…
Hey, I had to have help in a Japanese Bank, so I brought my adopted Sister. Then, I went home and studied what I had learned there. I intend to do better next time.
Look at it this way. I have prepared for half my life to integrate into a Japanese society, because I want to represent myself across the cultural boundaries of USA and Japan as a Technical Design Consultant and troubleshooter. One day I’ll get the opportunity to proceed further. If you ALREADY live in the country of you choice, the LEAST you can do is TRY to adapt. Please don’t stop speaking other languages, just add English to the list.
BTW…If you are gonna shove this issue down our throats, then I demand Japanese signs as well. 😉