Thursday, June 24, 2010

English: Learn to Speak It

Are we going to make language skills the standard of citizenship? Here’s what ordinary Americans have to say about it:

You know what gets my goose? Mexicans. I can’t reckon a single gosh dern word they’s sayin’. If yer comin to this here country, learn the language!

Yeah, cause like, I can’t stand, like, when you’re talking to, like, someone who doesn’t, like, speak English good, like, it’s all, like, so slow to, like, even say a single… what is that called… it’s like… oh right, sentence. What was I, like, saying again?

LOL rite, omg its tuff 2 spk /w teh mexis. Y cant evry1 jus use eng? WTF is /w “jears” instd of “years”? ROFL, laff at own jke.

Seriously, what the fuck? If you’re fucking going through the fucking effort of fucking coming to this fucking country, learn to fucking speak English mother fuckers!

I-i-i-it’s v-v-v-v-v-very diff-f-f-f-f-cul-l-l-lt f-f-f-f-f-for m-m-m-m-me t-t-t-t-to sum… sum… summon the p-p-p-p-p-p-patience t-t-t-t-to listen to p-p-p-p-people wh-h-h-h-ho d-d-d-d-d-don’t s-s-s-sp-sp-sp-speak English.

I have news for you: if they did a grammar and speech tests for voting, no Republican would ever win again.


  1. However, I know a lot of bilingual Mexican-Americans who say the same thing: that if you come to this country to stay, you should learn to speak English.

    My Spanish speaking co-workers at several companies never liked talking to Spanish speakers! "Learn English!" they would consistently remark after the customer was gone.

  2. I've ended more conversations with people born on this soil where I was left wondering at what point they planned to become fluent.

    The fact is, Italians, Germans, Dutch, French, Polish, Czech, Greek, and several other immigrants of various non-darkie origin learn to speak little if any English. Most people find that quaint, for some reason. It's a damn crime if they're Mexican or some sort of Arab (but hey, who can tell the difference, am I right!).

    Those who move here may never become fluent, but their children will be and their grandchildren probably won't even speak anything but English.

  3. English is the dominant language in the United States. Learning it would be handy.

    However, we are also a melting pot society and many other parts of the world have multipliable languages and cultures right on top of each other. Our world is getting smaller, figuratively speaking.

    People who migrate here should put forth an effort to learn the language. But citizens here should put forth an effort to learn other languages and accommodate those who come here but cannot speak fluently.

    I'm trying to get my kids into Spanish and any other language that interests them. I'm spending a little time learning German. Becoming fluent in a foreign language is sort of daunting to me since I've started practicing German.

    Besides, the largest minority group has become the Hispanic population in the US. I'm sure a good many of them speak English. Yet, we would be wise to learn a little Spanish, too, in order to help bridge the gap.

    And provide driver's licence tests in Spanish, too.

    That's my opinion, at least.

    Ginx, I liked the way you made you point. Very humorous and thought provoking at the same time.

  4. I wouldn't ask Americans to learn a second language, just as I don't expect immigrants to be fluent in English. Sure, it might be helpful in some cases, but most Americans need to focus (and double their efforts) on mastering English.

  5. A lingua franca is a good thing. When people speak the same language, they are *slightly* less inclined to go genocidal on one another. Not always, I concede. But a common language creates a sense of social unity.

    The funny thing is that most modern English words aren't even of Anglo-Saxon origin, most were borrowed from other languages. At one point in history the rulers of England spoke French. English was this ghetto hybrid creole of low-life peasants that monarchs liked to make fun of.

    People who profess jingoistic pride in their Anglo-Saxon heritage would be humbled if they realized how cosmopolitan their language is.

    For an entertaining history of the English language, read "The Mother Tongue" by Bill Bryson.

  6. I don't think it's an issue of love for the English language (though there are Anglophiles out there), and I can appreciate the need for people to understand each other. However, trying to say English must be spoken in order to function in America is inaccurate, and I think it's ridiculous to imagine someone could live someplace for any length of time and not pick up some of the language.

    Besides the English language being a French body on a German skeleton, American English is even distinct from "The Queen's English." It also is adding new words on a seemingly daily basis. I think people who worry about the status of language in the US are nuts, and that those people are largely just bigots with no patience.

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