May 21, 2006

If English Was a Requirement for Immigrants...

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Left: China One Buffet promotional banner on Sylvania Avenue

(Toledo, OH) President Bush has expressed approval of two competing bills that have passed in the Senate. The more controversial of the two calls English the "national language," while the second calls it a "common and unifying language."

If perfect English was spoken by all residents, though, we might miss out on beauties like this.

I have eaten at the China One Buffet. Twice. The food quality was everything one would expect from a buffet, the restaurant was clean, and English appears to be the second- or third-most spoken language in the restaurant.

If people feel better believing that English is the law, so be it. The reality, however, is that immigrants (whether legal or illegal) will continue to speak whatever language with which they are most comfortable.

And they - just like we sometimes do when traveling abroad - will occasionally mangle the "official" language, much to the amusement of the locals.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Funny!

-Sepp said...

I think the English language part of the law is meant to assimilate them. English is the language of the land, the language of business and, the language of government. I don't expect an immigrant to be speaking oxford english but, I would expect they at least make an effort.

Anonymous said...

Yes, too funny.

Stephanie said...

Requiring English doesn't mean they stop speaking their native tongue, it means we stop paying to have documentation in whatever language is most convenient for them.

-Sepp said...

Thats exactly right Stephanie but, to take it one step further, when everyone is speaking different languages with no desire to assimilate we'll all soon be living in our own ethnic enclaves and further balkanize the country.

dusty said...

I like your post, a little humor in the face of another distraction created to draw attention from whats really important..god,their good at that aren't they? :P

Dariush said...

"Thats exactly right Stephanie but, to take it one step further, when everyone is speaking different languages with no desire to assimilate we'll all soon be living in our own ethnic enclaves and further balkanize the country."

This is pretty much what you see already, in parts of the country that aren't ethnically homogenous.

The thing is, immigrants naturally tend to congregate -- out of a desire for comfort, protection, familiarity, etc.

With previous waves of immigrants, it was usually the second generation that assimilated, almost never the first. The public schools were the instrument that helped this process along the most, but we all know what's happened with them.

Unvarnished Ruth said...

OK, History Mike, you are doing what needs to be done. Keep it up. The first time I heard this stinkin story about badges I fired off an email to the irresponsible publication, "Who dreams this stuff up?"
Since then I've learned more about the source, and now I'm more scared than ever that we are being softened up for another war.
A story line based in prejudice and ignorance is being burned into our brains. Ahmadinejad=Hitler. Iranians=Nazis. 2006=1937. Bush=Churchill. Nuclear power plants under construction for decades=nuclear bombs aimed at Israel.
A little lie here and a little innuendo there until Americans are ready to believe anything. Then one day, if the warmongers wish, they can create an incident, point the finger at Iran, and boom. And we Americans will be all conflicted and confused about the killing. We'll think, oh well, these are the hard choices you face when dealing with Nazis. Too bad about the collateral damage, and lucky we have smart bombs. Thanks, troops, for defending our freedom.

historymike said...

Thanks, unvarnished ruth. I was a bit battered after the war-mongering trolls wanted to beat the drums of war against Iran while I was focusing on the lies in one media story.

If - a big IF - it turns out that Iran: a) develops nukes; and b) intends to use them in a offensive capacity, I will join the chorus condemning them.

As it stands, though, they probably have more than a few of the 100 Israeli nukes pointed at them as we speak. Their desire for defensive nukes makes sense, though I would prefer a de-escalation of the nuclear race.

Why are the war-mongers so quiet about Israeli, Indian, and Pakistani nukes?

bernie said...

If - a big IF - it turns out that Iran: a) develops nukes; and b) intends to use them in a offensive capacity, I will join the chorus condemning them.

Yes, and I won't try to stop burglars from entering my house until AFTER they are already inside. Just because I see them building scaffolds to get in means nothing. IF, and it's a big IF, they do enter I will join the chorus in condemning them.

I enjoy your articles, although once in a while you let your politics blind you.

Kate said...

There is nothing wrong with multi-culturism or being bi-lingual. The complaint is that we are expected to accomodate two languages in our local, state and federal services.

To drive, participate in your kids education and achieve higher educational opportunities in the US - they need to also speak english.

Do you think any of us could move to any other country and say "Change your roadsigns, school books and educate all the teachers and government employees to speak english because I will not learn to speak your language?" It's an unreasonable premise.

In the act I read no reference to an attempt to control the language that an immigrant chooses to speak - only that in an English (Americanese) speaking country - they learn a minimum level of literacy to be able to function.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Mike,
"And they - just like we sometimes do when traveling abroad - will occasionally mangle the "official" language, much to the amusement of the locals."

Proving that we're all human.

How sad it would be if we could only travel to and visit countries in which we could speak the "official" language.

That said, I do favor English as our official language.

Now, lets get to work helping our own president become fluent in it ;-)

Kate said...

HAHAhaha hooda. Nicely done.

Who was the last one - was it Quayle? The one who always mangling stuff.