Thursday, December 14, 2006

Okay, Habla Espanol?

I'm not sure what all the hoopla is about. We've always been a "melting pot" in this country, let's be honest. But there seems to be this wave of "Speaka Ze English?" gripping the country. And while I "Speaka Ze English," I personally could care less what you speak. What's the big deal if people sing the national anthem in Spanish? Who cares if we all end up eventually speaking Spanglish? Or Spanish?

I recently heard someone go on a rant about it, and I've received more than my fair share of forwards stating in no uncertain terms that we should demand our legislators pass some sort of law making English our official language--but no one has yet to make a case about why it seems to matter. Sure, someone mentioned something about our "culture" being robbed form us, that Spanish-speaking people are here to "rob us of our cultural heritage." But as I look at our language, what is known throughout the world as "American English," our culture, such as it is--a meshing of several languages, traditions, art forms, architectures--we have assimilated many "foreign" words into our everyday use. Be it "amigo," "malaise," "bouquet," "chaise lounge"--you'd be hard pressed to make a complete sentence without a word which didn't originate in England proper! Most of our city names alone reflect the amalgamation of the cultures we have absorbed and--get this newsflash!--we still function as a country while saying things like "Hamburg," "Las Vegas," and "New Orleans."

Even if we were to all suddenly in 50 years be speaking Spanish alone (which, even with the so-called "worst" scenarios, wouldn't happen), who cares? Interestingly enough, the same people who worry about speaking Spanglish also worry about gay marriage, abortion, and flag burning--all things shown to not only not affect anything in any way, shape, or form--don't help or harm humanity in any meaningful sense. Now, if we are debating whether the homeless should eat soup or salad, I'd say "At least we're feeding them!" and at least a small part of our human plight would be in the works of a practical, helpful solution to an actual problem.

4 comments:

Ergo said...

I think the irony lost to many is that the ones asking for English to be made the national language by legal fiat are the very ones robbing America of its essential culture--its Americanism. They are the greatest threat to that one value most unique and precious to Americans: the Freedom of SPEECH. It is what makes America such a distinct country from the rest of the world. That is what they are attacking.

Darkmind said...

This issue is kind of a toss up for me. From a cultural standpoint, they are not trying to rob our culture, they are trying to add thiers-not the same thing. I say, bring on the culture! But from a language standpoint, I think they should probably learn some English. If I were going to live in France for the rest of my life (not sure why I would do that, but for the sake of argument) or even to visit regularly, I would probably learn a little French-at least to a functional level, not demand that they learn English. True, we have no official language, but English is the most prodominantly spoken language here and being able to speak and understand it seems like it might be a usefull skill. The percentage of American citizens that do not speak english is such a tiny one, that maybe they SHOULD conform. The language barrier is more than just an annoyance, but in a medical emergency or similar situation it could be fatal. It reminds me of something I saw on TV about this spanish speaking woman who got a prescription that said take "once" per day, but in Spanish "once" means "eleven" and she overdosed. But at the same time, I think there should be mandatory language instruction in schools. In South Africa, it is not uncommon to find people who speak 11 languages, because like us, they have so many cultures living in one place and none of them talk the same! So they have compulsory language instructions in public schools. Maybe a consideration?

mom said...

hello jason! oh my darkmind i was going to type almost the same thing after jason told me he wrote something about spanish stuff and i didn't have the time to comment at the time but i couldn't understand what he would write about spanish stuff so i had to read what he wrote and after i read it said to myself tomorrow morning i was going to comment on it. this to me is funny but i might be the only one that thinks so. :) i agree that if you are going to have other people from other coutries living here they should learn english. i would have to do that in another country because it would be the right thing to do but thank goodness i don't see this happening in my lifetime (i hope) since i would not be to good at learning another language. i have enough problems with english. and that country probably would be paying me to stay here after they heard me try to speak there language! :) well, anyway, i have no problems with people coming over but i do run into problems understanding some people with the heavy accents and i never no what to do when this happens since i think some of these people might think i might be hard of hearing since i say 'what' a lot and that has to be very annoying to them. i did visit other countries in my lifetime but never lived in any of them and when i heard other americans say things like thank you and other common words always wanted to do that but couldn't. i grew up pa dutch like and that is probably what ruin my language. :) now that is a dying language. i remember everytime the grown ups wanted to say something us kids shouldn't hear the pa dutch language started. :) and you know when you spell out your words i still have trouble with that. :) i need a pencil and paper. something must be wrong with my brain! :) but i do have a good attitude. :) that should count for something. i thinking we all have to much time on our hands anymore and are coming up with things to get to excited about and some of us should take more of a chill pill. well, anyway, got to go. jason you pump out these blogs fast! i can't keep up. i don't have time to read all these things but if it brings you some help in typing it all down you keep up your good work. :) love and prayers ps i even have problems with all this word verification stuff! :)

mom said...

hello jason! oh my darkmind i was going to type almost the same thing after jason told me he wrote something about spanish stuff and i didn't have the time to comment at the time but i couldn't understand what he would write about spanish stuff so i had to read what he wrote and after i read it said to myself tomorrow morning i was going to comment on it. this to me is funny but i might be the only one that thinks so. :) i agree that if you are going to have other people from other coutries living here they should learn english. i would have to do that in another country because it would be the right thing to do but thank goodness i don't see this happening in my lifetime (i hope) since i would not be to good at learning another language. i have enough problems with english. and that country probably would be paying me to stay here after they heard me try to speak there language! :) well, anyway, i have no problems with people coming over but i do run into problems understanding some people with the heavy accents and i never no what to do when this happens since i think some of these people might think i might be hard of hearing since i say 'what' a lot and that has to be very annoying to them. i did visit other countries in my lifetime but never lived in any of them and when i heard other americans say things like thank you and other common words always wanted to do that but couldn't. i grew up pa dutch like and that is probably what ruin my language. :) now that is a dying language. i remember everytime the grown ups wanted to say something us kids shouldn't hear the pa dutch language started. :) and you know when you spell out your words i still have trouble with that. :) i need a pencil and paper. something must be wrong with my brain! :) but i do have a good attitude. :) that should count for something. i thinking we all have to much time on our hands anymore and are coming up with things to get to excited about and some of us should take more of a chill pill. well, anyway, got to go. jason you pump out these blogs fast! i can't keep up. i don't have time to read all these things but if it brings you some help in typing it all down you keep up your good work. :) love and prayers ps i even have problems with all this word verification stuff! :)