Law School Discussion

Poll

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redemption

Re: English as Official Language: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2006, 02:51:42 PM »
Hmm. I always thought that trade existed before the Europeans arrived. I think that AH may have a better line on this. I'll wait.

AH

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Re: English as Official Language: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2006, 03:05:21 PM »
The reason tht most of the country speaks English is because the first immigrants (which most of us were) learned the language to commuicate in public.  I don't expect any less of new immigrants.

Why didn't they learn Native American languages?

Growing up in a place where no one spoke English (literally, statistically non-native speakers spoke english better than native children in the public schoools), I would love for English to become the official language.

So how would making English the foreign language improve people's skill in it? Apparently your experience is that non-native speakers do better.

A- They didn't learn Native American languages because they were colonizing people and NA wereno considered citizens or members of the government (thus the several subsequent legal action to ensure NA rights).  I think the whole point of colonization was pretty much the systematic destruction of the Native peoples and their ciilations in order to conform with European standards (largely British, I stick with English because when the British/French/Spanish fought it out over various territories the British won, if they hadn't we wouldn't be speaking English) and establish a unified country.

B- English would only be the foreign language to FOREIGNERS.  For the rest of us, it would be the offical, native language.  Theoretically, if it is the official language then it would be much more difficult to require job applicants (for example) to speak multiple languages (it could still be helpful, but not REQUIRED).  By not requiring citizens to learn languages that are not part of the official language they would have a more equal chance for employment, etc.

As far as eduation, I didn't really quantify my statement.  I come from a state where over 30% of the student population doesn't greadute high school.  Of those that do grad high school, the vast majority do not go to/grad college and it has one of the largest welfare populations of the country.  Additionally, we are one of the worst states for education (consistently in the bottom ten, usually bottom three).  When I say non-native speakers speak English better, I don't mean they are doing well, I mean that the native speakers are THAT poor off.  I could go on and on with this point, but, essentially, I was trying to say that if the importance of understanding English to excel in society were emphasized we (society, esp. the lower class members of it) would be much better off.

BrerAnansi

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Re: English as Official Language: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2006, 03:26:14 PM »
Eh...would there be any empirical changes in English fluency because of it...not really and besides I tend to think that elevating any language to official status would just spur subgroups to use their political capital to have the language of their constituency designated as such as well...then all we'd have is an escalating number of official languages and a stagnant English literacy/fluency rate.

redemption

Re: English as Official Language: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2006, 04:48:51 PM »
The reason tht most of the country speaks English is because the first immigrants (which most of us were) learned the language to commuicate in public.  I don't expect any less of new immigrants.

Why didn't they learn Native American languages?

Growing up in a place where no one spoke English (literally, statistically non-native speakers spoke english better than native children in the public schoools), I would love for English to become the official language.

So how would making English the foreign language improve people's skill in it? Apparently your experience is that non-native speakers do better.

A- They didn't learn Native American languages because they were colonizing people and NA wereno considered citizens or members of the government (thus the several subsequent legal action to ensure NA rights).  I think the whole point of colonization was pretty much the systematic destruction of the Native peoples and their ciilations in order to conform with European standards (largely British, I stick with English because when the British/French/Spanish fought it out over various territories the British won, if they hadn't we wouldn't be speaking English) and establish a unified country.

So - might is right? Isn't Canada a unified country in the way that the US is? Or Switzerland? Don't they have multiple official languages? Do you think that the command of English of the typical Canadian is less than the command of English of the average American?

B- English would only be the foreign language to FOREIGNERS.  For the rest of us, it would be the offical, native language.  Theoretically, if it is the official language then it would be much more difficult to require job applicants (for example) to speak multiple languages (it could still be helpful, but not REQUIRED).  By not requiring citizens to learn languages that are not part of the official language they would have a more equal chance for employment, etc.

So your goal is to get people to have reason to speak fewer languages? You, the Republican, would want to regulate businesses in how competitive they could be in serving the hispanic/latino market? You wouldn't have to be able to speak spanish to apply for the job of anchor at Telemundo ?

redemption

Re: English as Official Language: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2006, 05:07:44 PM »
Why didn't they learn Native American languages?

well if you buy huntington's argument, it's because they immigrated into the settler community that was founded primarily by anglo-saxons, not into the native american community.

Yes, but Mexicans have done the same in East LA. What I'm wondering is what does any of this have to do with what *should* happen re: the official language?

FossilJ

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Re: English as Official Language: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2006, 05:14:43 PM »
So - might is right? Isn't Canada a unified country in the way that the US is? Or Switzerland? Don't they have multiple official languages? Do you think that the command of English of the typical Canadian is less than the command of English of the average American?

doesn't quebec keep trying to secede?  also, i remember when i was in montreal plenty of people wouldn't understand anything i said in english and i had to dredge up the french.

TITCR

I still agree with the gist of your premise, though, red.  Just agreeing with Stan this this particular example is more complicated than you'd like.

BrerAnansi

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Re: English as Official Language: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2006, 05:21:37 PM »
Maybe I'm biased...I live in NYC where there is a Little Just-About-Everything and more and more signs in government buildings and Mass Transit and the like are are translated into several languages (particularly Spanish) and minority communities are mostly present and accounted for in terms of representation......and as an only slightly related anecdote...once when I was younger I got lost in Spanish Harlem....my Spanish was piss poor and I suppose the English of the people I asked for directions was about the same...because even given New York's easy to understand grid...it took me hours to get out of there by following the pointed fingers of those who tried to help me...my mind was blown by the fact that this self-sustaining community existed harmoniously within our larger English-speaking city without appearing economically or socially deficient when placed against other comparable English-speaking neighborhoods...and that was the day I stopped thinking of English as the absolute language of America....btw, given some of the census's estimates of how the ethnic makeup of this country will change within our lifetimes I wouldn't be so sure about the support thing...but with regard to that I meant the support that would be dredged up for the recognition of other languages and the community that utilizes them once one language or another had a special designation


i would rather doubt that any language other than english would gain enough support to attain official status.  i think the only real way it could be done would be through amendment

redemption

Re: English as Official Language: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #27 on: February 04, 2006, 05:22:57 PM »
So - might is right? Isn't Canada a unified country in the way that the US is? Or Switzerland? Don't they have multiple official languages? Do you think that the command of English of the typical Canadian is less than the command of English of the average American?

doesn't quebec keep trying to secede?  also, i remember when i was in montreal plenty of people wouldn't understand anything i said in english and i had to dredge up the french.

TITCR

I still agree with the gist of your premise, though, red.  Just agreeing with Stan this this particular example is more complicated than you'd like.


Quebe is not trying to secede because it speaks a different language. I'm looking for causal direction and I don't see it. A minority of Quebequois want to secede for other historical/cultural/political reasons. And it's not because concessions were made, but because not enough were. Besides, the southern states tried to secede and they (more or less) spoke English..

redemption

Re: English as Official Language: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #28 on: February 04, 2006, 05:24:55 PM »
Why didn't they learn Native American languages?

well if you buy huntington's argument, it's because they immigrated into the settler community that was founded primarily by anglo-saxons, not into the native american community.

Yes, but Mexicans have done the same in East LA. What I'm wondering is what does any of this have to do with what *should* happen re: the official language?

well i believe the concern is that should we have an influx of people that are incorporating into settler communities, then these settler communities will eventually have about as much to do with the rest of the country as the originally anglo-saxon settler community did with the native populations.

such is huntington's argument, anyway. 

i may just be biased against immigrants.  ;)

Huntington's book is/was pretty shocking. It carries no weight with me and I think that he may have developed Alzheimers (seriously).

AH

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Re: English as Official Language: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #29 on: February 04, 2006, 05:26:34 PM »
This topic is getting beaten to death right now, but I just thought I would respond to the comments directed at me.


So - might is right? Isn't Canada a unified country in the way that the US is? Or Switzerland? Don't they have multiple official languages? Do you think that the command of English of the typical Canadian is less than the command of English of the average American?

So your goal is to get people to have reason to speak fewer languages? You, the Republican, would want to regulate businesses in how competitive they could be in serving the hispanic/latino market? You wouldn't have to be able to speak spanish to apply for the job of anchor at Telemundo ?

First off, I never said might is right.  However, last I checked NA still weren't getting reperations (a major reason Japanese Americans almost didn't get anything for the internment).  It is a hell of a lot easier to get everyone to speak one language than incorporate the dozens and dozens of languages as we would have to rightfully do if we reinstated NA languages.  Native Americans should first focus on being restored past marginalization to near extinction before we get into the language issue (there is currently a school in rural Alaska, funded by the US, which is taught in the language that only that community speaks through grade three- to preserve the culture, at which point they repeat the grade in English and continue the rest of their education in English so that they can function in the rest of the country). 

Canada's two offical languages well relefect the SETTLERS of that country.  Again, at last I checked they gave a large chunmk of the counry to native peoples, but it is the most northern part that is pretty much uninhabitable anyway.  As stan mentioned, Canada isn't really the greatest example of cultural unity.  I think it's a great country, but not perfect (where is?).

As to the second part, youclearly didn't read my all of my post.  At the outset, I explained that I am not a Republican in every sense.  I think it would be great if more of our country spoke at last two languages (as Europeans do), but there is a difference between speeking Spanish to work in a high paying, high profile position and working at the McDonalds in town.  If you are applying to a corporate job, it is likely you will have higher education and speak multiple languages (esp. if you are interested in that segement of society).  My goal is that people in the country be able to communicate with one another in a public setting.  People can speak as many languages at they want!  But we all need the same ground base in order to have the same opportunities.  As someone who is a native born resident, I think I have the right to have immigrants conform to our national standards and vise versa.