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Old 06-20-2013, 10:26 AM   #76
PrincessKsMom

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Originally Posted by ckay87 View Post
Well the 70+ year story is an extreme example, but I just know that learning a new language as an adult is an incredibly difficult thing. I have a lot of admiration for anyone who manages to do it and a lot of sympathy for non-native speakers in our country. Kids learn easily, adults have to study and practice extensively.

And it's easy enough to learn some common, conversational words/phrases in a new language, but it's quite another thing to learn enough to understand detailed instructions at, for example, the DMV. And we DO want people to understand, THAT is the most important thing. What bothers you more, some signage in Spanish (that you can easily ignore) or a bunch of confused people in front of you in line?

I know it's just what "irks" you, that's ok - you're not alone. I just cannot for the life of me understand why people get so annoyed with pressing 1 (how hard is that?) or happening upon some translated text. But that's just me. I just love the sound of other languages, I very much wish I were bi-lingual, and I actually (no lie) USE the Spanish signage to work on my own, limited learning of Spanish (I do, I'm a nerd!)
I didn't say it would be easy. But many think Americans are arrogant for traveling the world and not bothering to learn enough passable language for the country they are visiting. And that's just on vacation. But people want to move here, live here, work here and function here and not learn the language or expect everything to be offered in their language and we're the ones with the problem?

My opinion, unpopular as it is.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:26 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by Shmily1
I don't really care what language people are speaking to each other in. It doesn't bother me because they are most likely not speaking to me. I do care that I have to press 1 for English. This is America and that is the language of America. The rude lady at the store was probably tired of pressing 1 too.
Nope, there is no official language for the United States. The most common language is English, of course. But we don't have an official language.

A business that wants to cater to those who don't speak English is a smart company.

And considering what I heard on NBC News last week, i. e. , that the largest ethnic group in this country, the group with the largest population growth, is hispanics, I'm thinking we will eventually become officially bilingual. Just as Canadians who don't speak both French and English nay find themselves at a disadvantage, Americans who don't speak both English and Spanish will be at a disadvantage.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:29 AM   #78
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I have more fun not letting people know that I understand them in Spanish, that's due to my appearance. A number of times the people were embarrassed for what they said around me, especially women.

My daughter has a part time job in a restaurant while she is away at college. She has a strong resemblance to Paris Hilton looks wise. She waited months until finally letting the Spanish speakers now what they had been saying about her and others over time. Yes, they were embarrassed. So it works both ways.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:32 AM   #79
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My mother and grandmother usually spoke Dutch when they were out and about. They knew English but enjoyed speaking with one another in their native language. They never did this when other people were with them.

It is hard to learn another language. I've seen various adults do it over the years so it's not impossible as some would have you believe.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:34 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by PrincessKsMom View Post
Okay, I'll admit it. It bothers me. I think we should have an official language -- English. I think if you are going to move to a country you should learn the language and use the language. I don't think everything should have to be published in 10 different languages to accommodate everyone. You want to live the dream, you want to be accepted, make some changes. I would never think to move to a spanish speaking country and not learn the language. I had a friend whose family member was here for 70+ years and didn't speak a word of English. Never bothered to learn. But she knew how to work the system. It was always the way that you came here you learned the language. You were proud to be an American and that included learning the language.

Flame away. And FWIW, I'm a very liberal person when it comes to most things. This just irks me.
I won't flame you but its not as simple as that. There are pockets of populations here, like in South Florida, where Spanish is extremely prevalent. When you have grandmothers coming over, at 70, it is difficult to learn a new language. I have no issue if they don't learn English. Their life has been tough enough.

But those people aren't really the norm. Most young people coming over do try. They get here with nothing and they try to find places where they can learn. I have people who work around here and come by my office to help them. Eventually, they have kids and families grow. These kids DO know the language. They aren't keeping their kids from learning it, they are however, making sure their kids learn Spanish. Its a blessing to be bilingual and know more than one language.

There is also a lot of creole spoken down here due to the the proximity of Haiti.

And yes, while there are some who just don't care and are obnoxious about it, its really the minority and not the majority. You might hear them talking to each other but that is what is easiest for them and it doesn't mean they aren't trying or don't know ANY english, its just they are just speaking what is easiest.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have issues with people coming up to me, in a business environment, and just start speaking Spanish. I do believe the polite way is to ask. If I see someone struggling , I will usually offer to help translate or just let them now I speak Spanish, but I do find it rude to just walk up to someone and start yapping. It isn't difficult to learn "Do you speak Spanish" or as some would say.. Do Ju speak espanich?
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:37 AM   #81
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I have no issue with people speaking another language to each other. Ido have a problem with people who expect that "we" should speak it too.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:37 AM   #82
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And let me add some interesting census bureau projections.

By 2060 there will be no "majority". The non hispanic white population will be the largest minority grouo, making up about 43% of the population. About 1/3 of the population will be hispanic.

"Press 2 for Spanish" isn't going away any time soon.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:42 AM   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessKsMom View Post
I didn't say it would be easy. But many think Americans are arrogant for traveling the world and not bothering to learn enough passable language for the country they are visiting. And that's just on vacation. But people want to move here, live here, work here and function here and not learn the language or expect everything to be offered in their language and we're the ones with the problem?

My opinion, unpopular as it is.
I think your opinion is extremely popular, I hear this kind of thing all the time, actually.

The exact point is that it IS difficult and until adult Spanish speakers get around to learning the advanced level of English required to understand complex, very important instructions, I'd rather provide them with a translation. It makes life easier and more convenient for ME. Nobody wants to have to deal with a bunch of confused people!
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:45 AM   #84
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Originally Posted by joviroxx View Post
I won't flame you but its not as simple as that. There are pockets of populations here, like in South Florida, where Spanish is extremely prevalent. When you have grandmothers coming over, at 70, it is difficult to learn a new language. I have no issue if they don't learn English. Their life has been tough enough.

But those people aren't really the norm. Most young people coming over do try. They get here with nothing and they try to find places where they can learn. I have people who work around here and come by my office to help them. Eventually, they have kids and families grow. These kids DO know the language. They aren't keeping their kids from learning it, they are however, making sure their kids learn Spanish. Its a blessing to be bilingual and know more than one language.

There is also a lot of creole spoken down here due to the the proximity of Haiti.

And yes, while there are some who just don't care and are obnoxious about it, its really the minority and not the majority. You might hear them talking to each other but that is what is easiest for them and it doesn't mean they aren't trying or don't know ANY english, its just they are just speaking what is easiest.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have issues with people coming up to me, in a business environment, and just start speaking Spanish. I do believe the polite way is to ask. If I see someone struggling , I will usually offer to help translate or just let them now I speak Spanish, but I do find it rude to just walk up to someone and start yapping. It isn't difficult to learn "Do you speak Spanish" or as some would say.. Do Ju speak espanich?
I completely agree and understand what you're saying. But if you don't try to use the language you won't ever learn it. If we print everything in multiple languages where is the incentive to learn English? I have had interaction with a few people who I know speak English (deal with them on a daily basis) and then they speak to me in Spanish. When I explain I don't speak Spanish, I get "oh? Why not? You should." And then continue to try to give me certain words in Spanish and English. Excuse me? If you speak English and I tell you I don't speak Spanish and didn't ask for a Spanish lesson, let it go.

I understand our country is diverse and that's what makes us great but I feel like we our losing our national identity. Someone once explained it as "we used to be a melting pot, where all of the new flavors were combined to make a great soup. Now we're more like a salad - everything when combined goes together but there are definite, distinct flavors that remain separate from the whole."
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:46 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by ckay87 View Post
I think your opinion is extremely popular, I hear this kind of thing all the time, actually.

The exact point is that it IS difficult and until adult Spanish speakers get around to learning the advanced level of English required to understand complex, very important instructions, I'd rather provide them with a translation. It makes life easier and more convenient for ME. Nobody wants to have to deal with a bunch of confused people!
BTW, just so we're clear, I'm not specifically pointing out Spanish speakers only. That's just where I have the greatest interaction.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:48 AM   #86
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You really only see this refusal to mainstream among some Hispanic groups also. At least that's how it appears to me. Other cultures seem to be way more eager to assimilate for some reason.

I'm one who doesn't mind if people speak only Spanish or whatever but I also won't be able to communicate. I feel bad when people call our company and want someone who speaks Spanish but no one is available and I am.
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:53 AM   #87
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It is against the rules at most casinos to speak in a language other than English at a poker table. But other than that and a few other similarly obvious kinds of exceptions I have no problem with people speaking languages other than English in public, I guess I wouldn't be allowed to travel anywhere outside the English-speaking world if conversing in a language other than the dominant language was forbidden.
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:01 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by PrincessKsMom View Post
I completely agree and understand what you're saying. But if you don't try to use the language you won't ever learn it. If we print everything in multiple languages where is the incentive to learn English? I have had interaction with a few people who I know speak English (deal with them on a daily basis) and then they speak to me in Spanish. When I explain I don't speak Spanish, I get "oh? Why not? You should." And then continue to try to give me certain words in Spanish and English. Excuse me? If you speak English and I tell you I don't speak Spanish and didn't ask for a Spanish lesson, let it go.

I understand our country is diverse and that's what makes us great but I feel like we our losing our national identity. Someone once explained it as "we used to be a melting pot, where all of the new flavors were combined to make a great soup. Now we're more like a salad - everything when combined goes together but there are definite, distinct flavors that remain separate from the whole."
I understand this perspective, but that romanticized version of history is not accurate. Poor immigrants to this country have existed in ghettos (which despite the current use of the term are defined as "a usually poor section of a city inhabited primarily by people of the same race, religion, or social background, often because of discrimination") since its inception. The poor immigrants of history (by which I mean to exclude those who emigrated with great wealth) did not hop off the boats and immediately assimilate; they weren't allowed to, and even if they'd been allowed to, they didn't have the resources to do so. And they did not immediately and unilaterally learn the English language, either, as any trip to a "Chinatown," "Little Italy" or "Little Bavaria" will make quite plain.

Furthermore, this "America is going to heck in a handbasket" theory, including complaints about the refusal of immigrants to assimilate is also not new. There was an entire movement called "jingoism" that originated in Great Britain in the 1870s and took root in America in the 1890s that expressed these same concerns, as well as the concept of American exceptionalism that plays upon these themes as well.

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You really only see this refusal to mainstream among some Hispanic groups also. At least that's how it appears to me. Other cultures seem to be way more eager to assimilate for some reason.
When I lived in Boston, it was common amongst the Russian emigre population, and in Des Moines now it is common amongst the large Serbian and Bosnian populations, so I disagree with your assessment. I think the Hispanic population is larger and therefore frequently more noticeable, but learning a language as an adult is incredibly hard and I don't think it's automatically done by other cultures any more easily than with the Hispanic population.
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Old 06-20-2013, 01:47 PM   #89
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And let me add some interesting census bureau projections.

By 2060 there will be no "majority". The non hispanic white population will be the largest minority grouo, making up about 43% of the population. About 1/3 of the population will be hispanic.

"Press 2 for Spanish" isn't going away any time soon.
I agree. A huge section of our customer base is Spanish-speaking, and we do have "Press 1 for English, Press 2 for Spanish" in our call center script. I get calls a couple times a year demanding we remove the Press 1, because this is America, we're unpatriotic, etc. I don't understand getting so worked up about such an insignificant thing.

There is reason for the options. Here, not everyone in the call center can speak Spanish. Having the options directs the callers to the right queue, which shortens the wait for everyone. We had English as the default for awhile, with an option to press 2 for Spanish. The problem is that a lot of people immediately press 0 as soon as the phone picks up, and if they only speak Spanish, they end up waiting, only to get to someone who can't help them. Since we added Press 1 for English, wait times have gone done 57%.
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Old 06-20-2013, 02:10 PM   #90
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I think there are really three different scenarios here.
1. A group is out in public, speaking among themselves in a different language. I can't begin to imagine how anyone would think that's rude! I don't care one lick what the group next to me is speaking or if I undertsand them or not. I stopped assuming people were talking about me when i was 14 or so. If you really think that the strangers near you don't have better things to do than to talk about you... well... being that self-centered is far more rude than speaking a different language.

2. People within your group speaking in a language that some members of the group don't understand. Yeah, I think that - by and large - that's rude. Even if they aren't doing it to purposely exclude people, it's still rude to not include the entire group in a conversation as much as possible. I get that it might be easier sometimes, but even in those situations it would be nice to make an effort to follow up and explain what was said in the foreign language. No one likes to be left out.

3. Business or organizations publishing or communicating in multiple languages. This is the USA. Which does NOT have an official language. True, in most parts of the country most people speak English, but that is not and NEVER has been universally true across the country. If communicating in multiple languages (with the other languages varying by region based on population) helps a business or organization interact better with some of their customers, of course they are going to, and SHOULD, do that. That doesn't seem like a problem to me.
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