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Old 06-20-2013, 02:54 PM   #91
PlainJane
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I don't think it's rude to speak a language other than English when out and about in the US. The woman was rude, not you. If I ever moved to another country that did not predominantly speak English, I assume I would learn the language, but would also continue to speak to my family in English in situations where it was appropriate.

I don't think speaking another language in front of someone who doesn't understand is always rude. It's situational to me. In my grad school there are a large number of Korean students, many of which who are still struggling to learn English. I don't think it's rude if they speak in Korean to one another in front of me. It often happens because one student won't understand a concept that was explained by our English speaking professor. They'll discuss in Korean and once everyone is on the same page, generally they'll start talking to me in English.

My friend's parents sometimes speak in Spanish while I am present. I'll be in the same room, but not in that instance speaking with them. It doesn't bother me in the slightest. I can pretty well tell that they're not speaking about me. It seems they do that a lot of the time as a form of affection toward the other. I think it's sweet.

Now what does bother me is when people speaking in a foreign language don't seem to see the need to speak at a normal decimal level. I assume it's because they think people can't understand what they are saying and feel more free with what they are saying, while others might speak more quietly for privacy. This is of course not the norm, but it drives me crazy when it happens.

I'm pretty good at reading body language, so it's possible that's why it doesn't bother me as much when people speak other languages in front of me. Often I can get a pretty good understanding of what people are saying even when they are speaking another language.
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Old 06-20-2013, 03:29 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by Lorelei Lee View Post
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.
I didn't say it was the official language. It is the language peope that came here for years have been using. Until the last couple decades, the ones moving to this country have been learning that language. They embraced the culture they were moving in to. Now that we are suppose to be politically correct, English speaking citizens are expected to now learn other languages to make others feel more at home.
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Old 06-20-2013, 03:59 PM   #93
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What "culture?" Really, not being rude-I just want to know what the perception of an American culture is. Is it the Judeo-Christian view of what America should be?

I realize that my views are clouded by the fact that I grew up in a large city of great diversity, and never noticed a "culture" as such. Yes, our melting pot is in fact a salad and I think we are richer for it.
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Old 06-20-2013, 04:04 PM   #94
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I didn't say it was the official language. It is the language peope that came here for years have been using. Until the last couple decades, the ones moving to this country have been learning that language. They embraced the culture they were moving in to. Now that we are suppose to be politically correct, English speaking citizens are expected to now learn other languages to make others feel more at home.
I'm sorry, but that is factually inaccurate. Other cultures have always taken multiple generations to assimilate into this nation, and even then frequently held dearly to their cultures and traditions. During the years they were assimilating, they were ghettoized and frequently assailed by their adopted country's population for refusing to "become Americans." You simply weren't there to experience it and are only experiencing the assimilated end-product. It was less than 70 years ago that this country actually put many of its Japanese citizens into concentration camps out of a fear that they were not "American enough."
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:34 PM   #95
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It is against the rules at most casinos to speak in a language other than English at a poker table.
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:11 PM   #96
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i'm sorry, but that is factually inaccurate. Other cultures have always taken multiple generations to assimilate into this nation, and even then frequently held dearly to their cultures and traditions. During the years they were assimilating, they were ghettoized and frequently assailed by their adopted country's population for refusing to "become americans." you simply weren't there to experience it and are only experiencing the assimilated end-product. It was less than 70 years ago that this country actually put many of its japanese citizens into concentration camps out of a fear that they were not "american enough."
How dare you interrupt with facts!!!!!
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:15 PM   #97
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I don't think it's rude at all.
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:18 PM   #98
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I've lived in a foreign country which I believe makes me much more sympathetic to those who are unable to speak the language. I lived in Germany for a year as a military wife and only learned the most basic terms. I'd taken Spanish and French in school and never dreamed I'd end up in a German speaking country. It's isolating and scary.

I've also lived in an area of New Mexico where it's very common to hear Spanish and also Navajo. Businesses in the area where I used to live often had signs stating that they spoke Navajo. How do we feel about elderly Navajo who don't speak English?

In some states, the historical language was Spanish. New Mexico has signs at the state border which say "Bienvenidos A Nuevo Mexico." Place names and street names are often Spanish or Native American. From preschool on, dd learned Navajo phrases and Spanish phrases.

There seems to be much less of this drama that everyone needs to speak English all the time that I've seen in some other areas. The state flag features the Zia Pueblo symbol and when dd was a little girl in school they recited the salute to the flag, "I salute the flag of the state of New Mexico, the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures." I've always thought that was a lovely sentiment.
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:55 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by A_Princess'_Daddy View Post
I'm sorry, but that is factually inaccurate. Other cultures have always taken multiple generations to assimilate into this nation, and even then frequently held dearly to their cultures and traditions. During the years they were assimilating, they were ghettoized and frequently assailed by their adopted country's population for refusing to "become Americans." You simply weren't there to experience it and are only experiencing the assimilated end-product. It was less than 70 years ago that this country actually put many of its Japanese citizens into concentration camps out of a fear that they were not "American enough."
But that just goes to prove how very important it is to assimilate at least to some degree lest one become an outcast.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:00 PM   #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueStarryHat
What "culture?" Really, not being rude-I just want to know what the perception of an American culture is. Is it the Judeo-Christian view of what America should be?

I realize that my views are clouded by the fact that I grew up in a large city of great diversity, and never noticed a "culture" as such. Yes, our melting pot is in fact a salad and I think we are richer for it.
Exactly. It's never been a melting pot, it's always been a salad.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:02 PM   #101
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But that just goes to prove how very important it is to assimilate at least to some degree lest one become an outcast.
Or maybe it goes to prove how very important it is not to make outcasts out of people who are going through the same process all of our ancestors went through.

As a teacher we are told that it takes 7 years for a child learning English at school to "catch up". At my school, our kids start at 3, and so we expect that they'll be proficient in English at 10. Now these kids have several huge advantages over adults. They're in an environment 7 - 9 hours a day, 180+ days a year that is designed to teach the English language, supported by fluent adults. Most new adult immigrants don't have that, instead they're spending those hours working, often at jobs with co workers who also aren't fluent. They're young and their brains are more plastic, and finally to get credit for having "caught up" they only need to make it to a 10 year old level, not an adult level.

If it takes a young child that long, why are we as a society so judgemental of adults who need time to do the same thing, or even those who find the task overwhelming or nearly impossible?
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:07 PM   #102
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It doesn't bother me at all. What bothers me is when signs & things are printed in languages other than English...usually things are printed in English & Spanish. It really bothers me. I truly believe that anyone who wants to live in the US should learn English and that it's part of being an American. If we were to go to any other country (that does not speak English), we would be expected to learn their language.

Unfortunately, the US doesn't have an official language.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:07 PM   #103
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But that just goes to prove how very important it is to assimilate at least to some degree lest one become an outcast.
I'm not following your point?

My point is that today's immigrants ARE assimilating, at least for the most part, but it will take generations for them to be fully ingrained in American culture. Expecting somebody who arrived in this country a few years ago, or even 20 years ago, to be fully assimilated is not realistic, nor is it what happened in the past with other immigrant populations who took 50+ years to gain a foothold in this country (and most still hold dear to their cultural heritage to this day, as indicated by the popularity of St. Patrick's Day). And institutionalized oppression of those who do not assimilate fast enough is not an effective method of driving more rapid assimilation, it is, instead, a means of further separating the new culture from the dominant one.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:10 PM   #104
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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.
I don't recall ever hearing that there is a Russian population in Texas. However we do have a great many citizens from Greece, Norway, India, Pakistan, various eastern Asian nations and so on. As I pointed out, I have many relatives from Holland that have learned English too.

I do understand that it takes a great deal of work to learn English but it is done on a routine basis by many. I'm not saying that other cultures learn more easily but perhaps they feel more of a need to do so since bilingual generally means English and Spanish at least in Texas.

I want to add that in fairness, I never had a problem with learning Dutch in the Netherlands since just about everyone knows at least some English. I even attended school not knowing a word of Dutch because the teacher could so easily translate for me and the kids could talk to me too. I realize that it's a lot easier at that age though.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:11 PM   #105
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Wow, this is a very interesting discussion. Therefore, I'm really surprised that the trigger happy censors on here haven't shut the thread down yet.
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