Author Topic: Re: Thank You for Speaking English  (Read 1274 times)

JNTB

  • Beginning to See the Wedge
  • *
  • Posts: 27
Re: Thank You for Speaking English
« on: July 25, 2006, 01:18:50 PM »
Quote from: "MommaSquid"
Quote from: "Amor Fati"
And most recently there have been renewed movements to print official government documents only in english, and other shit like that.

You have a problem with this?


I have to say both Yes and No. From a legal perspective, it's necessary for laws and contracts to be written in English because translating such things and their meanings in another language presents nightmares to the legal system and social expectations. I'm actually a proponent of passing a law that says that all laws and contracts must be written in English. However, I am against a law that says on a blanket basis that English is the official language of the USA. In reality, it would have no teeth and it would send an ugly signal about the USA to the rest of the world.

I think it is helpful to have certain documents printed in other languages. The USA has always been an immigrant nation and by all evidence will continue to be. In the first 150 years of the USA, the illiteracy rate was quite high, so printing documents in other languages was pointless. We had a lot of born-and-bred US citizens who couldn't read English and many of the immigrants couldn't read their own languages. It was quite common to have verbal translators on hand at immigration stations. In the last 50-60 years, immigrants rarely enter through just a few naval ports, like New York or San Francicso. Like everyone else, they fly into the USA at just about any airport. The phrase "just got off the boat" has an archaic meaning. Literacy is quite high compared to 70 years ago. Written documents become necessary because the world is more complex and simple instructions cannot be provided verbally at 2-3 immigration stations as the immigrants exit their vessel.

I believe that many people think that English is a birthright. It's not. The only reason English is such a predominant language is because we write the books. We publish more works than any other country in the world and our works have significant economic impact. That's why English became so prevalent. If you want to know the language of science, it's English. If you are a scientist and can't communicate in English at least in a passing manner, you will not be taken seriously. Science is the economy. What most people don't realize is that until about the early 1970s, French was the predominant language spoken by all commercial pilots of the seas and skies. If you didn't speak French, you couldn't fly a plane internationally. So, every pilot had to learn some French because that was "lingua franca" of air traffic control towers and airports. The French at one time controlled the world. That ended. And, sadly, so will English.

English is just a mismash of other languages. German, Greek, Latin ... it's all in there somewhere. We even anglicize words from other languages, and other languages adopt our words (computer terminology worldwide is nearly universally English). English is in power because that is the language of the economy and published books that contain valuable information that others need. No law can change that.  The language that people speak will actually change that. The Native Americans had their language, they were invaded by the Spanish which became the predominant language, then the French, then the English. Some claim that the Spanish have risen again, but they need to look in the rearview mirror.

Our language isn't a function of law or "by gosh it should just be that way", but rather our language is a function of the value English speakers provide to the rest of the world. Right now that is science and technology. This issue of language is another reason why you don't want the Chinese doing scientific research and development. Chinese is the most spoken language in the world; Spanish is second. About 1/5 of all people on the planet speak some form of Chinese. The true rate of Chinese literacy is unknown. China has become an economic powerhouse and they are getting bigger. Do we want the Chinese investing in stem cell research, publishing those papers only in Chinese and monopolizing the industry? Forget about publishing government documents in Spanish, Korean or Tagalog, because you will be rearraging chairs on a ship that has already sunk.

My daughter is the product of a Cuban-American marriage. I speak passable Spanish, but to my dismay my daughter speaks less than that. We are working on that issue. I recognized in high school that history shows that different languages are predominant at different times in history for different reasons. No law controls history. I learned that Spanish was a language I needed to know because more people in the Western Hemisphere speak Spanish than English, so I took Spanish classes for years. My marriage to a Cuban was a coincidence, and a good one because I learned Spanish much better as a result. My daughter just finished a Chinese summer program for talented and gifted students. I wish she had gone through a Spanish summer program, but guess what -- there wasn't one available in our area. (The program also had two native Spanish-speaking students in it.) At least she is learning about China and the Chinese language. She will need those skills in the future. The numbers bear out that fact. I must make sure that she is academically and  economically prepared for the future.

I decided a long time ago not to swim upstream. It's a lot of time and energy wasted. I get to enjoy a lot more of the world if I join the flow. My 3 cents.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by JNTB »
Religion is a pyramid scheme with 501(c)(3) tax-free status.

Tom62

  • Global Moderator
  • Blessing Her Holy Hooves
  • *****
  • Posts: 4043
  • Gender: Male
(No subject)
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2006, 01:44:34 PM »
Looks like I'm not likely to become a US-citizen with my lousy 55%
score  :cry: .
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Tom62 »
The universe never did make sense; I suspect it was built on government contract.
Robert A. Heinlein

Aullios

  • Made of Star Stuff
  • *
  • Posts: 60
(No subject)
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2006, 01:48:04 PM »
Quote from: "Tom62"
Looks like I'm not likely to become a US-citizen with my lousy 55%
score  :cry: .


What a loser :)

I managed 100%.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Aullios »

Big Mac

  • Buddies With Uncle Bert
  • ****
  • Posts: 1226
(No subject)
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2006, 01:50:04 PM »
Well we don't want any of your waffles, ya Belgian! Just kidding.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Big Mac »
Quote from: "PoopShoot"
And what if pigs shit candy?

Aullios

  • Made of Star Stuff
  • *
  • Posts: 60
(No subject)
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2006, 02:03:12 PM »
Quote from: "Big Mac"
Well we don't want any of your waffles, ya Belgian! Just kidding.


Actually waffles sound pretty tasty right now.

BRB getting maple syrup.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Aullios »

Big Mac

  • Buddies With Uncle Bert
  • ****
  • Posts: 1226
(No subject)
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2006, 02:10:36 PM »
Just get it from Jassman or another Canadian.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Big Mac »
Quote from: "PoopShoot"
And what if pigs shit candy?

Tom62

  • Global Moderator
  • Blessing Her Holy Hooves
  • *****
  • Posts: 4043
  • Gender: Male
(No subject)
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2006, 08:17:24 AM »
Quote from: "Aullios"
What a loser :)

I managed 100%.


Well at least I didn't cheat by looking up the answers on the Internet :wink: .

I'm just wondering how high you would score on a foreign citizen test. Try this one, if you think that you are so smart: http://www.teleac.nl/nationaleinburgeringtest/#
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Tom62 »
The universe never did make sense; I suspect it was built on government contract.
Robert A. Heinlein

Tom62

  • Global Moderator
  • Blessing Her Holy Hooves
  • *****
  • Posts: 4043
  • Gender: Male
(No subject)
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2006, 08:29:16 AM »
Quote from: "Big Mac"
Well we don't want any of your waffles, ya Belgian! Just kidding.


Well, we don't want your lousy beer, fast food and foreign politics. Just kidding(?)
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Tom62 »
The universe never did make sense; I suspect it was built on government contract.
Robert A. Heinlein

Aullios

  • Made of Star Stuff
  • *
  • Posts: 60
(No subject)
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2006, 02:00:35 PM »
Quote from: "Tom62"
Quote from: "Aullios"
What a loser :)

I managed 100%.

Well at least I didn't cheat by looking up the answers on the Internet :wink: .

I'm just wondering how high you would score on a foreign citizen test. Try this one, if you think that you are so smart: http://www.teleac.nl/nationaleinburgeringtest/#


That's not fair, I can't even read that :p
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Aullios »

Big Mac

  • Buddies With Uncle Bert
  • ****
  • Posts: 1226
(No subject)
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2006, 02:28:37 PM »
Quote from: "Tom62"
Quote from: "Big Mac"
Well we don't want any of your waffles, ya Belgian! Just kidding.

Well, we don't want your lousy beer, fast food and foreign politics. Just kidding(?)


Then why did you people take David Hasslehoff? We Americans thank you for that!
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Big Mac »
Quote from: "PoopShoot"
And what if pigs shit candy?

Tom62

  • Global Moderator
  • Blessing Her Holy Hooves
  • *****
  • Posts: 4043
  • Gender: Male
(No subject)
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2006, 02:40:56 PM »
What has David Hasselhoff to do with beer, fast food or foreign politics?
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Tom62 »
The universe never did make sense; I suspect it was built on government contract.
Robert A. Heinlein

Big Mac

  • Buddies With Uncle Bert
  • ****
  • Posts: 1226
(No subject)
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2006, 02:44:45 PM »
Quote from: "Tom62"
What has David Hasselhoff to do with beer, fast food or foreign politics?


What do you have to do with David Hasslehoff, Mr. Von Baron? :D
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Big Mac »
Quote from: "PoopShoot"
And what if pigs shit candy?

Tom62

  • Global Moderator
  • Blessing Her Holy Hooves
  • *****
  • Posts: 4043
  • Gender: Male
(No subject)
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2006, 02:55:17 PM »
No comprendo. I not good speaking Ingles, I have only 55% of cititzen questions good. Questions not include David Hasslehoff :oops: .
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Tom62 »
The universe never did make sense; I suspect it was built on government contract.
Robert A. Heinlein

Big Mac

  • Buddies With Uncle Bert
  • ****
  • Posts: 1226
(No subject)
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2006, 03:04:08 PM »
Quote from: "Tom62"
No comprendo. I not good speaking Ingles, I have only 55% of cititzen questions good. Questions not include David Hasslehoff :oops: .


How about some Brautworst! Yah yah!?

Das droht uns wenn wir versagen- darum kampf bis zum sieg!

Eucopas sieg dein wohlstand!!!!
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Big Mac »
Quote from: "PoopShoot"
And what if pigs shit candy?

Tom62

  • Global Moderator
  • Blessing Her Holy Hooves
  • *****
  • Posts: 4043
  • Gender: Male
(No subject)
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2006, 03:26:34 PM »
Ja, ja ich habe a very big Bratwurst. Meine Frau is damit very satisfied, ja.
German Bratwurst ist better dann American Hamburgers.
Together with ze "freedom fries" von froggies, wir "Old Europa" werden siegen.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Tom62 »
The universe never did make sense; I suspect it was built on government contract.
Robert A. Heinlein