This is America. Speak English!
I hate that saying and I'll happily confess that ultranationalistic racism and xenophobia propelled me even harder to learn Spanish (I took German for 6 years in school).
Aside from personal learning, potential career growth, and a general fascination with language, the fact that some people are so triggered by hearing non-English conversations and seeing non-English words in public has inspired me to learn, practice, speak, and enjoy Spanish in public.
...Maybe I'm just petty, but I LOVE hearing languages that aren't English. I'm fascinated by multilingual people. I want to trigger any and all bigots, especially if it's as simple as saying a phrase in another language. :) America does not have an official language, and all languages are beautiful.
Thank you, Duolingo, for providing people the opportunity to expand their horizons and learn more. Thank you for recreating bridges between people rather than walls.
This is America... so speak any language you want!
The title of your post threw me off, since those sentiments have been expressed here. I'm glad that you meant just the opposite of the title.
I agree that the title caught my attention. It is a great point that the USA does not have an official language at the federal level (although some states seem to think it necessary to change that at the state level).
My native language is English, but my wife and I typically speak French when we are visiting the USA. We get the odd look of surprise, and then even more surprise if we shift into perfect English lol. It is important that people get exposed to other languages, and not fear them.
Hearing that phrase makes me want to revert to Eskimo words I was exposed to growing up in rural Alaska.
I don't remember a lot of these words.... (Kupiaq, illiguaq, nilluq....). But at least they are more American than their English counterparts.
Maybe I should be studying a Native American language. I'd prefer my heritage language (Iñupiaq).... But Duolingo offers Navajo, which is cool.
Have you checked out about the presentations from Duocon:
(Re)Connect: Heritage Languages and the Internet Noah Buffini Higgs | NoahHiggs How are the needs of minority and heritage languages addressed by online resources? How might their needs be affected by and change due to how we use the Internet? Noah is an Engineering Master's graduate who is also a Course Contributor on Duolingo's award-winning Irish team.
Also other discussions at https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/34237577
I would say based on things such as this, it is a dream Duo also shares.
Wonderful! And @ethanlee, thank you for your post and the provocative title. You'll get a lot of readers with your talent.
that sounds like a wonderful idea! I hope you find a way to study iñupiaq!
My dad was born in Alaska and spent nearly 16 years of his life there! We plan on moving back.
I am definitely ready for the next installment of Diné Bizaad (Navajo). :)
Not sure I agree. I think it's very rude to go to someone else's country and not make the effort to speak their language - worse still, expect them to speak yours.
And if you really have to do it, and you know they ARE going to speak your language, then you start your conversation with an apology for not speaking theirs or not speaking theirs very well.
I would hope for the same respect if someone comes to my country that I would try to show them in theirs. I don't expect all the visitors to be completely fluent in English, that's not practical and it's good to welcome them whatever language they speak, but I would expect them at least to make the effort.
Similarly, I would try to make the effort to respect their customs, traditions and manners if I go to their country, and I would certainly put some of mine on hold while I'm there if there's a conflict with theirs. And I would hope that they would do the same when they come to my country.
It's all about respect. If you're a visitor, it's up to you to show respect to your host, not the other way round.
I live in the US, so I will confine my comments to the US. Having said that, I believe that most speakers of other languages make an effort to learn and speak in English when they come here. Most foreign speakers do attempt to speak English to others. English speakers become angry when they see foreign speakers talking to friends or family in public in their native language. That's not disrespectful. It is however VERY disrespectful for English speakers to take it upon themselves to be the language police and make loud, arrogant, rude, snide comments to people in public, saying, speak English, or something of the like. That behavior is not English speakers feeling that they have been disrespected. That's English speakers feeling threatened by the unknown. That is an English speaker being a small minded person.
Time for a wake up call here. I think the point of the original post, and the point I would share, is that I can speak any language I want, and it is nobody's business unless I am talking to them. I can travel to the USA and speak French or German or Spanish or any other language, and no one should be offended by that. If I am speaking to an American, I will speak English unless I know they speak another language, but otherwise I can speak to anyone I want in whatever language they want. No one should be offended by that.
I would add that my native language is English. I have traveled all over the world and I will typically speak English or French to the people that I am travelling with. No one cares. And ironically, I usually end up speaking English to people from other countries because their English is so much better than my foreign languages are (although I agree with the point that you should try when visiting a foreign country).
But in the USA more than any other country I have visited, there seems to be a greater sensitivity to hearing people speak other languages. If I am not talking to you, you should not care what language I speak.
Many people in the US are native spanish speakers and lived here from before their area was part of the US.
"US does not have an official or national language at the federal level. However, English is considered the official language in 32 states in what has been referred to as “English-only movement.” 30 of the 50 states use English as the official language while Hawaii established both English and Hawaiian as the official language. Alaska recognizes 20 indigenous languages alongside English as official languages."
"...And if you really have to do it, and you know they ARE going to speak your language, then you start your conversation with an apology for not speaking theirs or not speaking theirs very well..."
Can't speak for other countries, but as an American, in the US where we have no official language, and most of our population comes from immigrants or their descendants. No, just no. Way too presumptive and divisive to get mad at people who don't know English or don't know it well.
Maybe they are tourists, maybe they are learning the language because they just got here, maybe they are embarrassed about their strong accent. Maybe they have a friend in from another country who doesn't speak the language but is visiting them. Maybe they are just exercising their 1st Amendment rights, and talking how they'd like, they speak English but prefer to speak another language with their family for reasons of cultural affinity. Maybe they are practicing speaking a language they've been learning with the help of Duolingo. Maybe as long as they are not talking to us directly it's not really our business.
Seriously folks we all need to get a grip.
As noted by others, behaviour described in your first paragraph is probably practiced by more Americans than by any other people in the world.
That can also depend on how long the visit is. Someone planning to live in France for 5 years and someone planning to change planes in a French airport en route from one non-French-speaking country to another don’t have the same obligations and incentives to learn French...
I recently spent about a month each in Prague and Budapest. Both cities were full of tourists from all corners of the planet. Literally, everyone spoke English to each other regardless of their native language. It starts with locals involved in the tourist trade who speak English to all tourists. When a group of tourists consisted of Chinese, Germans, French, Indians and a dozen other countries were on a guided tour together, they spoke English to each other. Sometimes, it is simply necessary to communicate. The country with the largest number of people who can speak English is China, not the USA, and Chinese tourists are everywhere.
I was insulted by someone who was speaking their native tongue. I could tell they were speaking rudely of me due to the look they were giving me. I don't instantly jump to conclusions though, so I left it be. I live in the US so people speaking Spanish is most common here.
Whether what you are talking about is relevant is very dependent on what they are doing.
Are they simply having a conversation with another person who speaks their language? Why on earth do you care? I don't think it's rude to go with my family to France and have a conversation walking down the street in English because that's what we speak. This is the main situation where people have been criticized for not speaking English and it's completely absurd and probably racist (I've never heard of anyone criticizing a European for speaking their native language while in the US, it's always Spanish or Chinese or something).
Are they trying to interact with people here who speak English? Then yes, I would say if you come here from another country, you should expect that you may have to speak some English to interact with us, or at the very least, be very understanding if someone does not speak your language and you have trouble.
The only time I get irritated with people who do not speak even basic English is when they are actually working in a service job. If I'm in a restaurant in the US I expect to be able to ask the server a simple question or order in English. I would not expect to be able to move to France and get a job immediately serving the public, and I don't see why the same isn't true here. Either spend some time studying before you move here, or get a job not interacting with the public when you first get here while you study hard. You don't have to be fluent.
9 years ago we moved to Korea when I was 49. I am now 58. If I had come in my 20s, I would have learned this language a lot faster! I have been studying the language while working full time. I am trying hard to learn Korean, but I am still not fluent in it. I am thankful for the gracious Koreans who encourage my poor efforts, and for many Korean friends who can speak to me in English. No one here shouts at me, "This is Korea! Speak Korean." However, sometimes I can't understand medical, financial, or legal terms, and I am thankful for Korean friends who translate to help me.
So when I go home to visit the US, I don't feel critical of people using their native languages with their family and friends. I hope they are trying to learn English, but maybe they are having a hard time learning it. BTW, I am a right wing conservative. Please don't lump all conservatives together. NOT all of us think rudeness is OK!
This isn't about people not learning English who are new to the country or something. A Family can be extremely fluent in English and still have the right to speak any language they want whenever they are out. This is about some Americans' prejudices and angers about diversity and any sort of differentness. Just look at the news. Watch the videos of people getting jumped, cursed out, or threatened because they are percieved to not be American enough (neverminding the fact that many ARE Americans).
Don't make excuses for the bigots who scream at the Hispanic mother and her child at Walmart, or the woman who screams "go back to your own country!" when she hears the Indian couple speaking their native tongue. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SPEAK ANY LANGUAGE and you shouldn't fear being accosted in public for doing so. This is about race as well.
Oh, and this post is clearly focused on the issues happening in America, but maybe your country is similar (like in parts of the UK). I know that Duolingo is global and that you personally may not be in the States.
Just respect each other and others' differences. The world isn't just about you and people who look or speak or act like you do.
I agree with being allowed to speak your language. If you want to speak French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, or any other language, then sure! It is also great that we have so many resources to learn those languages. What is your view on people living in America who simply refuse to learn the language? I am not talking about elderly people or those who can’t learn it.
If you move to a country, you should learn the language, old or young, or whatever. If you want to move to a new country, and make it your home, then make it your home. That doesn't mean losing the culture you came from - of course you wouldn't want to do that, so of course you'd still do whatever you like in terms of how you want to keep your culture alive in your life - but refusing to adopt the language and customs of your new home is just absolutely wrong, rude, and offensive. It's taking advantage of the country to move to - the country that welcomed you. It's basically saying, well, I want your safe country, and your benefits, and all that you have to give to me - but I refuse to give back, or show you any respect. Also, if you refuse to learn the language, how will you get any kind of job???? Is the person's plan to just be a leech, and never work? Obviously this doesn't apply if you are of retirement age, but, even then, as I said, it's just wrong not to learn the language - it's taking advantage of a country that welcomed you, while refusing to give back. And this applies not just to American - and I'm not American, by the way - but to absolutely anyone who moves anywhere from any country. If you can't show your new home any respect, you don't deserve to live there. That is my opinion.
Excellent retort Juliaska777. You just succinctly explained the most salient points. Cultural diversity is important, but not at the expense isolationism. We all need to speak multiple languages, not just one, but there has to be a common denominator that connects us all. Here in the US that is English.
The common denominator depends on where you're from. In the Southwest, it could be Spanish - with a heritage going back to the early 1600's. On the Navajo reservation it's Navajo. As a volunteer tutor of ESL, I can guarantee you that the majority of the people here who don't already speak English want to learn.
KLGregonis You are so right! I live in the Southwest also. The Spanish language was here long before the English lanugage arrived. In our State, in addition to Spanish and Navajo, we have several other native languages spoken at home and taught in schools. When the Anglos showed up here, they literally beat the languages out of children. This was even happening forty and fifty years ago. Now these parents and grandparents want their children to speak their native languages. And yes, you are right. Most people who come here want to learn English. Kudos and a lingot to you for volunteering!
I cannot agree with you enough. The Americans tried to forcibly "Americanize" Mexican children, and they beat native languages out of the indigenous tribes wherever they went. After and while subduing them in every other way possible, of course. (If you've ever wondered why indigenous languages are not more widespread here in the States, that's why.) Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_assimilation_of_Native_Americans
Reminds me a lot of the American forbears, the English, who tried to beat out the other languages spoken throughout the Isles. Two of them technically were stamped out, even though they have since been revived (those two being Manx and Cornish). This is actually why the Celtic languages needed to make a comeback in the first place.
If you don't believe me ... there's a great story from StoryCorps about it called "Facundo the Great". Link: https://youtu.be/s8FheuSE7w4
Yes, this stuff happened. It might even still be happening in some places. So, anytime I see somebody yelling at someone else to "Speak English" ... my immediate response is to yell back at them, "Lern deine Sprache, Ausländer!" (Learn your language, foreigner!) Because it is not okay to tell anyone what language they should be speaking. If it's important enough to someone to assimilate, for heaven's sake, they'll do it on their own - they might need some advice and guidance from time to time (who doesn't?), but they don't need anyone telling them what language they should or shouldn't speak!
Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.
The Spanish language was here long before the English lanugage arrived.
That's because the Spanish were in a position to (often violently) coerce the natives to speak Spanish before any English-speakers had any chance to do the same for English.
In general, the behaviour of the Spanish in the New World in respect of its pre-existing populations was very much worse than that of English-speaking colonisers.
It is strange, therefore, that you defend Spanish on the grounds that it got there first, and then pillory the English-speakers for doing a much milder version of what the Spaniards had already done.
Wow, they actually forced them to not speak the language? That’s terrible.
It is terrible and it happened to the native people throughout North America.
The "Native American" reservations and I expect the system of "Indian" schools was the basis for the death camps under Hitler. He took that idea from America. Horrible legacy.
It's about being able to communicate with one another. The common language in the US remains English. People there should learn it so they can communicate with one another.
They can communicate with you just fine if they need to.
The thing is "Speak English" is what gets yelled at random families talking among themselves just being out and about.
StarShineMC it depends on where you live. English isn't the most dominant in all areas in the US nor in all US territories. Not to mention, that dominant language usage can change in a single generation.
English is currently the most overall common language in the US because violence made it so. Should the standard be, whichever language is backed by the most violence should be the one everyone should learn?
All that aside, the truth is, the current language barriers in the US are fabricated.
You could say the same about any language. It became common because the people who spoke it killed the people who didn't and took their land. That's what the Spanish did and Portuguese to create Latin America. That's what what indigenous people did. If you're going to make that argument, you can't single out English.
I don't know how to break this to you, but all dominant languages are dominant because of violence.
Mexico is the largest Spanish speaking country. Do you know the second largest? The US. So maybe everyone in the US should be studying Spanish too.
Including communicating with other immigrants.
Just letting people use Spanish instead and offering options in Spanish instead doesn’t solve the dilemma. I mean, how about when a Vietnamese native speaker and a Portuguese native speaker need to talk to each other in the US? Which language are they supposed to use?
I live in the southwest USA as well. Learning Spanish is helpful here and in certain areas it is the lingua franca. However, I would never dream of yelling at someone "Speak Spanish, this is America!" I'm not about imposing my culture on others or "showing off my privilege" so to speak. Those people are pretty insecure.
Only the people that get told this speak English just fine. Immigrants usually get this shouted at them when they're doing things like Grocery Shopping, Getting Clothes, or just being out and about talking with their family or being on the phone (Often talking with people from another country who may not speak English) They do this because it's 1. Easier 2. For Privacy. No one is going down to City Hall trying to get zoning permits for building a pool - only able to speak Tegulu or Tagalog or whatever completely random language.
This occurrence only ever happens from cranky jerks shouting at random families (Who are almost always citizens) inside of Walmart or where-ever mundane errand-running business.
If you're not involved in that interaction, you have no NO say over what language they use just because it makes YOU feel uncomfortable. Maybe take a minute to think about how they feel being in a different place where they have to learn a new language
There may be a handful of people who don't adjust, but that's completely rare - And that's not just limited to foreigners, either. There are tonnes and tonnes of people in their own native countries who act like clueless jerks in public, too. In the cases of America and Canada, there is no one set way to behave. There's no singular meaning to being "An American/Canadian" You'll get a different response from different people. Every. Single. Time. If you try to make a (fallacious) appeal to "Tradition" you'll find out a lot of these immigrants are a lot more "Traditional" than the citizens that are complaining about them
I guarantee you 100% of the time, people speaking a language other than that country's language (America doesn't have an official language, mind you) down at the grocery store or bank or what have you - speak English perfectly well. It's just other people being [adult word] jerks and continuing to try to impose their imperialism
None of what you said is anything but a parroted response used by bigots to excuse their bigotry.
I respectfully disagree. There are circumstances in which this cannot and will not happen, and I do not believe that it is for us to judge. In my family that moved here many years ago, the dad was hired here for his expertise in a certain type of research. He brought his mother, his wife and three sons. His mother was retirement age, but his wife was not. However, she was a homebody and never learned to drive nor learned a single word of English. Did she "refuse to give back or to show respect?" I don't think that is the case at all. She raised three sons who learned English and became United States citizens. As far as people moving here and adopting the language and customs of their new homes, again I urge you not to judge. We Americans are notoriously terrible for doing that. There are over a million Americans living in Mexico (some for more than twenty years) who have never bothered to learn Spanish. Americans are the terrible for this, but are really quick to judge newcomers to the USA. I've lived and gone to school on two other continents, where virtually none of the other Americans bothered to learn the language, even though some were there for many years. They had special American schools so they didn't have to bother to assimilate.
I think that’s shameful. If we in the US are constantly demanding others to speak English (when English is really the language of England and their refugee ancestors), what makes us so supremist that it’s beneath us to learn the languages of the other countries we relocate to? It’s pathological conceit.
It's called circular logic, also fallacy of appeals to the majority. Yeah, I studied debate. Just because a majority of people speak English in a country or region does NOT mean everyone there "should" speak English. There are many millions of people in this country who speak Spanish! While most of them DO want to learn English, if all of them learned English, that just means that eventually the entire world "should" speak only English! Because English is already the world lingua franca that people speak everywhere, so as you force everyone to speak primarily English in English-dominant countries, this encourages less and less diversity.... because Americans moving to other countries frequently can't bother learning the local language since everyone there often already speaks English. Basically, it's encouraging linguistic/cultural genocide to insist upon EVERYONE learning English here or only speaking English here. This was the original intention of actual genocide by Europeans against Native Americans - to force cultural homogeneity because they couldn't stand the idea of anyone different from them!
@YukiNeno I cannot reply to you directly, so this will have to do. I interpret your argument to mean that we Americans only need English to do whatever, and so shouldn't need to learn a new language ... which is rather ironic, considering this is a language-learning forum based in the United States. And of course I'm here, as an American, along with plenty other fellow Americans. ;)
That said, it's rather odd to say that we shouldn't have to learn a minority language - we already don't, since such a thing technically doesn't exist here - but Spanish, German, and Portuguese aren't exactly minority languages on a global scale. And indeed, in many countries where other languages are majority languages, English very often is itself a minority language. So that depends on how you look at the issue - the United States isn't the only country in the world, after all. :)
And, of course, there are many benefits to learning a new language aside from the language itself - improving memory, teaching one to better think outside the box, allowing one access to viewpoints outside of those offered in one's own language ... the list goes on. These things, more than necessity, are the reason why two years of a foreign language were required in my school. There's no such thing as a language entirely without benefits. :)
Now, here's a hypothetical - what if you had the choice to save a language? Would you do it? I mean, I'm learning Welsh and Irish - that should say enough about my viewpoint - but I'm curious to hear your take on this.
Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.
Vakker Nobody is forced to learn English in the USA nowadays but if you don't learn it you will always be at an economic disadvantage where the predominate language is English
You seem to be very critical of people who's only language is English-a language supposedly of violence and oppression.You never mention Spanish, Portuguese, French etc which are spoken widely in the Americas. Why is the history of these languages any different to English? Is it correct that your only language is English? LOL
You have a good point, and yes, she was a good person and a good mother. As for the Americans in Mexico not learning Spanish, I honestly don’t support that. I mean, it is harder on them, and it would be best to learn the language and be able to communicate with others in the country. It goes both ways, I guess. But yes, it isn’t really disrespectful, but it would be easier if others tried to learn the common language. I know you can probably pay taxes and bills, not sure if they are in Spanish thought. I know Irs.gov is in a few different languages, including Spanish, so maybe.
Federal law requires those IRS forms to be available in other languages, and must include Spanish because the United States Territory of Puerto Rico has a law requiring all official forms to be printed and available in Spanish.
Unlike most countries in the world, the United States does not have an official language. Do you think that's an accident, or do you think that was a deliberate choice?
If you look at the history surrounding the writing of the constitution, it was a deliberate choice. They paid tribute to the many different peoples that, even then, were contributing to the country.
You have an interesting point there.
I also think it could be always useful to also ask in this issue :
- For whom is it the home of the free ?
- Such as how could the society choose to create better freedom, not just for individuals, but importantly for communities. How do you create these healthy communities where all individuals and diverse communities are able to thrive and also get along with other diverse communities in respectful ways. How we talk is also part of this.
When you speak to someone in a language you both share, you speak to their mind.
When you speak in someones first language, you speak to their heart. To deny someone the choice and ability to speak the language of their parents, is to deny them their Culture, their Heritage, and their Identity.
When we steal the Culture, Heritage and Identity from a community, we also steal from ourselves the chance to learn and see and understand the world in more ways. It also denies us the chance to understand our own community and language in deeper and more enriching ways. There is a opportunity cost.
Juliaska are you for real? I find your post highly rude, offensive, and wrong. English is not "the language" of "America." English is a European language brought and forced upon people in North America by white colonizers who didn't give a single damn about the Native Americans who welcomes them. So why should anyone care about "a country that welcomed" them, run by mostly old white people living off a history of genocide for which neither they nor their people ever made amends? This country is built on outright murder, slavery, and cultural genocide, so don't even talk about how "rude" it is that people don't learn English here. If a white American goes to France and doesn't bother to learn French, I will roll my eyes at them, but if anyone especially a brown person comes to the US and doesn't learn English, I will never judge them! Also there are plenty of jobs you can get here without speaking any English. I've worked in restaurants where some of the new hires arrived speaking no English and they got by just fine! I took the opportunity to work on my Spanish with them instead of complaining they didn't speak English!!! jfc
I guess I don't agree with what you are saying in principal. The fact is, should you learn a new language to make your transition to a new world easier, allowing you to assimilate better into society, absolutely... but to insist that it is "taking advantage of a country" and "refusing to give back" because one feels they can survive in a predominantly English or otherwise speaking country without learning the native language is going too far. It's not about disrespect, and it is definitely not a refusal to offer any kind of advantage to your new "homeland." Assuming that the culture of those who wish to preserve it would remain intact is also kind of misleading- especially when close to 90% of those who are forced to speak a language different than their parents typically will not speak their ancestral language at all. Perhaps you and I just see this very, very differently. Your comments came off, to me, as sort of nasty with a silly amount of dramatization. Also, ideals like these have set off some pretty disgusting laws in the United States. 41 million people in the U.S. speak Spanish. Yet ideals that "English" is the "American" language (which is fallacious, America has no official language), have led to lawmakers instituting laws that force teachers to teach only in the English language even if there is an overwhelming majority of Spanish speakers in the class. I do understand why you feel the way you do, and that convenience dictates those who live somewhere not of birth would best be advised to "do as the Romans" so to speak, for their own good, for sure ... I just can't see how choosing not to means any kind of disrespect towards ones new home.
I wonder what happens when "someone like that" meets good people with the misfortune of parenting non-verbal autistic children citizens of the same country as that language-prejudiced person. Some people can do everything except learn any verbal language!
100% agreed. I am Romanian and we have some similar problems with the Hungarian Székely minority living in the Szeklerland/Ținutul Secuiesc/Székelyföld. The great majority are good and friendly people and have done their best to learn the official language of the country they live in (Romanian - knowledge of which BTW should also help them with learning some other Indo-European languages, such as English). Still, there are some who completely refuse to integrate and to learn the language, clinging to some sort of Hungarian nationalist fantasy about their lands rejoining Hungary (they used to be part of Austria-Hungary prior to WWI, which they lost). This kind of attitude is a big problem that creates rifts between different communities and nationalities, which are compounded by the fact that they can't even get their "enemy's" version of things, due to the simple fact that they don't understand him. I feel that the pursuit of diversity at all costs in Western countries tends to obscure these kinds of problems, of people who move to Western countries but are actively resisting integration. Thankfully we in the East - just like in some parts of the US - are not so politically-correct and we tend to notice it.
Long-story short: don't brag about your ignorance of the language of the country you live in. On a similar note, don't make a fool of yourself by being a jerk to people who may just be tourists.
Wqtor, I agree one should speak the majority's language, but minority languages should be protected. For example, Finland treats its 8% Swedish minority as equals and Swedish is an official language. In Italy, regions with a sizeable minority or majority (Germans in South Tirol & French in Val d'Aosta) have a bilingual status. However, there is no threat of irredentism in these countries. Eastern Europe is more delicate given its history.
I completely understand where you're coming from, and how it can seem like people are taking advantage of willing countries. However, often times, people aren't just refusing to learn a language. Okay, so many people have to move because they simply have no choice. They were pushed out of their own country because of the bad conditions. In those cases, (or even just for better work) they don't have years to learn the language in advance, which is how long it would take. So they move here, and I get that learning the native language is important. But, it takes time. I find it really hard to believe that people will just continue to not fit in at the expense of their language. We're humans, we are hard-wired to try and fit in. But again, it simply takes time. While they're in the process of learning, they're gonna speak the only language they know how to, weather others can understand them clearly or not.
It takes time to learn a language to fluency. It does not take an extraordinary amount of time to learn the basics, and then you learn more even faster because you are literally living in the country.
I don't think anyone is saying that they are ashamed of their English heritage. I also agree with the point that if you move to the USA you should learn English, and if you are visiting the USA you should try to speak English (or the language of whoever you are talking to).
What I disagree with strongly is the suggestion that I have to speak English when I am in the USA. I can speak any language I want. Even though English is my native tongue, I often speak French on purpose when in the USA because it gives my wife and I a little more privacy (at least in English speaking areas).
The original point was not a debate about whether or not you should learn English. It was that people need to seriously relax if they hear two people speaking another language when in the USA. You should not care what language people are speaking if they are not speaking to you.
Uncle Jonny lost his hearing through illness when he was about 5 years old. His sister (my grandmother) and he would speak to each other in Dutch when they wished to speak of something privately. I was a silly child at the time and I somehow believed that deaf-people speak Dutch because they are unable to whisper in English. Now, I'm older and know better, and at over 60 I'm finally learning some phrases in Dutch.
Not arguing here, I'm just curious: how is learning a country's language "giving back"? I've had many family members live and work in the US without being able to speak one word of English. That didn't stop them from paying rent and taxes.
Most people do not choose to leave their homes, families, and friends to move to a new country; they are compelled to by circumstances like war, violence, or economic need. Putting some kind of extra moral responsibility on them to learn the language of the place they've been forcibly displaced to is pretty gross. There are many communities in the U.S. (and elsewhere in the world) where a person can arrive, live, and work predominantly in their native language without actually learning the language of the majority population there. There's nothing wrong with that. Most people will learn some of the local language for all kinds of reasons, but that's up to them--not you.
The U.S. founders deliberately chose not to have an official language imposed by the state, and it's one of the best things they did.
We do not have an official language in America so if you speak Spanish or something rub it in our faces that we don't have an official language. We deserve it.
I completely agree with you 100%. Thank you x1000000 for not being afraid of being politically incorrect. This false altruistic, virtue signalling vision of grandeur is actually destroying countries. Look at Sweden, France and Britain... if people are watching CNN, MSNBC ABCDEFG, etc, etc, then they are not getting legitimate coverage on the actual pressing matters here or worldwide. Considering the current--insane--political division in the U.S, we really need more mindsets like yours. Things don't have to always be based on left or right wing, democratic or Republican--why can't we just come together as "countrymen and countrywomen" to fight and strive for the greatness of our country? The country that loads of migrants risk their lives and finances to get here every single day--for many, via very illegal means... which totally undermines the time and sweat my parents endured to legally naturalize us as official Americans. Don't talk to me about oppression and suppression that these people are running from because my parents have been scarred for life from the BS IN Vietnam back then. Their neighbors' guts, limbs and brains, scattered outside their homes, on their windows while their classmates' body parts can be seen disbursed out on the pavement.... all due to the duplicitous commie scoundrels planting bombs randomly and nonchalantly to make a statement of utter fear--this was a "normal" weekday for young students back then. We have always been and always will be so grateful that this great nation opened its arms for us. We are tax paying, law abiding US citizens that have happily integrated and assimilated into the sovereignty of the United States; however, we have not lost our cultural heritage of Vietnam and France. I speak and write both pretty decently. We cook Viet food and sometimes French dishes. Nonetheless, when push comes to shove - I am AMERICAN.... FIRST & FOREMOST, and proud as all heck! I have grievances against other Vietnamese [my own people!] folk here who refuse to try to learn English and/or to assimilate into the US ways. My social/cultural frustrations don't care about skin color, gender, religious doctrines, political affiliations or sexual preferences. What I do care about is that everyone needs to respect and honor our Constitition and implemented laws and regulations. Immigrants can show their gratitude by doing just 2 simple things:  try to learn lingual basics so that  you can read, understand and RESPECT the law of the land that is giving you shelter. God bless The USA. Amen!
Hey now...We capitalist Americans aren’t pure as the driven snow either. Please don’t put us on pedestals. We’ll disappoint you...if we haven’t already.
Onyx.Rose You seem to judge people on the languages they can or can't speak Don't judge my family.You no nothing about them,especially about which languages they speak. Which languages are you fluent in?
Where did you get that impression? You misinterpret it as a judgment, when that’s not my intent.
From what you seem to be communicating, your ancestors were English-speaking economic refugees, who you keep insisting that they were just regular immigrants. (There’s no such thing.) You even said they were peasants. That’s not exactly without a reason they left their home country. What you also seem to be communicating is that you’re also English-only, and English should be the only language spoken. If so, why? This makes people socially and culturally poorer and more bland overall, as they in time lose both. But maybe that’s on purpose.
My problem happens to be English-only people, who demand everyone speak English and nothing else. As a result, people like me are stuck in one gear...being fluent in only English, but have little flexibility in any other language...because I didn’t get to learn anything other language until I reached middle school, and even then, it wasn’t required until maybe college, if you were lucky. But by that time, how much money did you have to pay out for that?
Should I be happy being only fluent in English, thinking my precious only language is the only one I should care about? (It’s not even that blessed proper English, thank...whoevers.) Well, so much for getting to understand what anyone speaking other languages are saying. I might have something in common with a few of them, but I guess I’ll never truly find out, now will I?
I have been living in the US for a couple of decades, and I have never met anyone who straight up refused to learn English. I have however met many people wouldn't because of a lack of resources, time or money.
Too true. I work with a program that provides free ESL classes - the students are handicapped in learning by time, ability to get to the class, lack of access to other resources( many can't afford internet or TV), fear, ( of making mistakes, "failing" somehow), their lives in general and oddly, because I have mostly Hispanic students and live in Tucson, an inability to find places to practice because the people they interact with in stores are all bilingual and switch to Spanish. Money is not a problem for my program, it's free except for their time and the cost of a pencil, since I give everyone a folder and a notebook. There's also the normal barriers of lack of confidence, a feeling that it should be easier to learn a language, and not feeling that they're getting what they want from their time.
Kudos for what you're doing, and for talking about it here. What we've been hearing about the US lately has been rather onesided. Good to hear your voice.
"What is your view on people living in America who simply refuse to learn the language?"
My view is, this literally never happens. No one comes to NA (US and CA) and absolutely refuses to learn English. That just doesn't exist because they literally couldn't function in the country. This is a myth perpetuated by people with an agenda.
Just because they can't speak it perfectly doesn't mean they can't understand it well enough. Maybe for first gen, where it's often broken English - They're already extending themselves speaking English, why don't you meet them half-way and be more patient
My thoughts exactly. That was a preposterous question that you responded to.
My bad, I guess I assumed from something I heard several times. I have seen Spanish speakers switch between Spanish and English thought.
- Ok, I assumed it probably was possible closer to the border. But, it is more or less possible for people living with relatives who speak the language, but yes, rare or impossible. I’m not saying a lot do
I think it depends greatly on the area. There absolutely are people living in parts of this country who speak Spanish and do not plan on learning English, because most people around them also speak Spanish. There are some other immigrant enclaves where it's large enough for this to happen - Chinatowns, for instance. This is especially true for women who do not have jobs, and socialize only among their own immigrant community.
It does not happen very often if someone is not living in a group of other immigrants who speak their language. If a Chinese couple moves to the middle of Kansas for some reason, there's a really high likelihood they'll both be at least somewhat proficient in a few years, because they have to.
I think nobody should be obliged to learn a new language and nobody should be mistreated or discriminated for not learning it.
Having said that I think if you decide not to learn a dominant -or official- language you should also be respectful when other people can't understand you and expect that you won't have access to the same services since remaining part of a monolingual minority would curtail your access to many possibilities including social connections and job opportunities.
I am elderly and I am currently learning 4 languages. I did French at school (in the UK) and, although I passed the orals 3 times, I failed the written exams 3 times! I always felt embarassed about that. If in France, I can get by but completing the Duolingo course gave me a lot more confidence. I then started on the German course which I like but find the grammar difficult. Then I started learning Spanish and Dutch - great! It all helps to keep the brain active.
There are many people who came from non-American continents, who have yet to learn the many surviving indigenous languages of the land.... How long should we wait?
English is not the language of the land; it is the language of genocide in North America. My view of people living in North, South, Central, and Latin America who refuse to learn English is that it's none of my business. Some do not have money, some do not have time, some do not have energy, some do not have internet access, library access, disability access, etc. Some have other priorities, like learning one or more other languages. There are many reasons why people can't or won't learn this or that language. Many people in the Americas who don't speak English instead speak several other languages. Plenty of places in the world get on without English, as did Turtle Island for about 130,000 years. But people act like it is impossible. It's not. It is only that people aligned with colonialism punish those who don't learn it. It is part of the ongoing genocide campaign against indigenous people and our cultures. I speak English. I don't speak Cherokee, Comanche, or Ojibwa. This is a very sad thing. Why don't I speak these languages of the land?
If English is a language of genocide, then Brazilian Portuguese and Latin American Spanish are languages of genocide, rape and slavery. The conquistadors weren't exactly peaceful settlers and they didn't peacefully coexist with the natives solely because many Latin American people today have Spanish and Native Blood.
That is also very true. Languages are forced upon people. They are used as a weapon of power. Btw how many of you knew that the founding fathers were considering adopting German instead of English? Would that have made Americans a more exacting people? Might it have affected the outcome of the Second World War.
Well, English is a Germanic language, so close enough I guess....
(Edit: I didn’t say I was a fan of the thought. That was a sarcastic remark, just in case anyone missed it. Both English and German were bad “founding father” ideas. How about Iroquois? Or how about just no invaders at all?)
Oh, I almost forgot that rape and slavery didn't exist in North America... It's amazing what you can learn...
Not an American here, but simply a Chinese from a small country called Malaysia here to express my views. We have plenty of resources to learn our native languages as much as English and our official/national language, Malay, but some people choose to not go to schools specialising Chinese education, Tamil education, the two most common languages here aside from English and Malay. I think that if you have resources you should learn at least one of them so there is no excuse to not know how to speak Chinese while being a Chinese-Malaysian especially in the city areas where Chinese and Tamil schools are common.
When I lived in Texas, I had a 4th or 5th generation Mexican friend who didn't speak Spanish and I was getting him started. "This is America, speak English" was rudely spoken to us when we were in a Valero gas station convenience store, located on Culebra Road, in San Antonio, Texas. We laughed at the irony. His family was in San Antonio long before it was taken by the US.
Especially in America, it is really easy to reply to that stupid phrase: "You are on Navajo land, speak Diné bizaad!" "You are on Inuit land, speak Inuktitut!" "You are on Oneida land, speak Oneida!" ... There is not a spot of land where English was the first language.
I'm going to take a wild guess that your rude new friend was not indigenous...heh
I agree, but being an American from a foreign country, even though it is one where English is the primary language, I am a huge believer in assimilation. I wouldn't dream of going to live in a foreign country without having at least a basic grasp of the language. Which may or may not be why I'm trying to learn Norwegian now!
Edit: Oh, and just to add - I think it's hugely sad when someone does move to a new country, does assimilate, but then discards their home culture entirely. By all means assimilate, but teach your kids about their ancestoral culture and language. I sure wish my Norwegian-American wife had learned Norwegian - both her parents spoke it!
going to live in a foreign country
This still accepts that framing that there is a significant portion of permanent residents who refuse to learn English.
I doubt it's a stretch to say the kind of American who bugs out upon hearing a foreign language is likely to make uncharitable assumptions. When you meet a stranger, she seldom announces how long she's been in the country, and how long she intends to stay.
My assumption when I meet someone who speaks no English is that he is probably a tourist, or is in the process of learning English. I don't think my assumption stems from my being a bleeding heart; it's just the most likely explanation!
While I have yet to hear any Japanese speakers where I live, in my city there are a lot of Spanish and Chinese speakers (occasionally some French or German, but rarely) and it is always so cool to listen to a language spoken right in front of you other than English!
Hopefully once I get Japanese under control I can learn some Spanish, or refresh the Mandarin I learned in high school :D
All the linguistic and ethnic diversity in America ain't a threat to English as the world's intercultural lingua franca. So those of us Stateside, learn the "foreign" language of the nearest indigenous tribe still around, see about getting adopted into it, and make America NATIVE again?
Quechua is spoken in my household, along with English and Spanish, although it is not my own heritage. I'm involved with a group that promotes it. We have classes on Mondays in the offices of the Endangered Languages Alliance in Manhattan. They have sometimes had Lenape classes there too, which is the original language here and where I grew up.
... spoken in my household ... Endangered ...
Thanks. That is interesting:
Quechua, usually called Runasimi in Quechuan
languages, is an indigenous language family
spoken by the Quechua peoples, primarily living
in the Peruvian Andes and highlands of South
America. ... it is the most widely spoken language
family of indigenous peoples of the Americas, ...
probably some 8–10 million speakers. ... 25% of
Peruvians speak a Quechuan language.Wikipedia
Great topic. Thanks for posting this. Keep up the
good work. בס״ד
I daresay it's the "speak English!" mentality and associated non-Native nativism that led to Mahud Villalaz, a man originally from Peru, having acid thrown on him in Milwaukee recently: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/nov/04/milwaukee-man-arrested-allegedly-throwing-acid-illegal-us-citizen
Quechua is on the top of my list to study. I so would like to be able to do that here on DL.
PeaceForce, You would fit right in here in New Mexico! I can go to the closest WalMart and hear (at least) 3 indigenous languages, Spanish and English on any given day. My town is nestled between two Pueblos, and is primarily of Spanish and Native American heritage. Sadly, we have plenty of "speak English" and "go back to your own country" mentality even here. Throwing acid on another person--hateful, disgusting, but not surprising.
I also like having many cultures and hearing many languages however I really think this is topic is a poor topic. As a country, to function as a country you need a language people can communicate in. If you want to live in the USA, you can speak whatever you want, but I would expect no services, a hard time finding a job if you do not want to learn English.
If you immigrate legally to the USA, why would the government be expected to provide services to you in your native language?
Chinese, Indian, Italian, etc.... are all good, but everybody does need a common language in a country.
I agree with your comment, however Indian isn't a language. They speak various languages, including Tamil, Gujirati, Hindu, Marathi, Telugu, Sindhu, and others. There is also multiple Native American dialects.
My thought was this was more about how many Americans get offended when speakers of another language speak in their native language to their family/friends/etc rather than "not wanting to learn English".
Exactly. These people being yelled at to 'speak English' might actually be perfectly fluent, but just be speaking their native language while out and about doing daily errands. So when people yell at others to speak English, it's for no other reason than to suppress other languages, and force people to speak English and only English, nothing else allowed.
haha maybe they all should get on the Navajo Duolingo course and stop speaking their foreign English then.
Definitely good that we have the opportunity to learn new languages right at our finger tips!
I doubt that was the intent. As least someone was able to voice the frustration. Somebody had to do it.
95% of American speak English. 13.4% of Americans speak Spanish. 1.1% of Americans speak Chinese. All other languages are less than 1%. It is estimated that about 1 in every 5 Americans speak a language besides English. I am not trying to take any particular stance. I am just throwing out some information. Draw your own conclusions with it.
I have always been interested in languages, but one moment in my life made me determined to learn some more. It was during the 80s, and I was working in the oil industry in Stavanger Norway. It was a Sunday and I had gone down to the restaurant at the hotel to get some dinner. They had a limited menu being Sunday, and it was in Norwegian. A table of very loud Americans were sitting a couple of tables away. OK, I've also encountered similar loud Australians, the nationality was not important. When the waiter came to their table, they said "What is this sh^&, don't you speak English" The waiter patiently but nervously explained what was on the menu. At this stage, I spoke passable Norwegian, but usually ordered my meals in English. When the waiter came to my table, I asked which vegetables they had today in Norwegian, and then said jeg får kyllingen vær så snill". (I'll have the chicken please). There was no way I was going to associate myself with these rude individuals on the other table. One of them said "Well I would have taken him to be Italian" (I suppressed a chuckle)
I didn't want to be just another loud foreigner.
Thank you. It’s tough to be an American, especially when you have obnoxious people with yankee complexes (original obscene meaning intended) representing you in other countries. #NotAllAmericans
Jim there is no reply button on your reply to me about anti-semitism in Britain so i am answering on this comment. Of course you are right. I should have said England not Britain I have no idea what Scots think about this subject
I live about 15 miles from the Mexican border in San Diego. I’ve lived here most of my life, yet I only speak a few words of Spanish, which is embarrassing. Since finding Duolingo, I’ve made it my mission to finally learn Spanish. It’s so easy to use Duolingo and its fun.
It is great you are learning Spanish! I am happy to see that more and more people in the US are getting interested in languages. So maybe one day, we will stop hearing that phrase in the headline. :o)
In Australia, schools have started to teach the original Native language of their area to all students. I would love to see that happen around the world - that everyone has the chance to learn the local native languages, especially with Native American languages, of course, but also with Native African and Oceanic languages, and Asian and European minority languages.
I agree with almost all that you wrote. My only question is will the effort of learning a new language help us see that many speaking and writing English don't make a similar effort in English. Here we are constantly tested on grammar and spelling in our respective target languages.
If I may suggest something, it would be for us to look at what we write with the goal of refining our writing. That's what writers do every day. Even here the Mods look two or three or more times at what they have written to be sure it's as clear and as well written as it could be.
In your message above, may I suggest looking at a sentence or two with that goal in mind?
I could only find one sentence: "So maybe one day, we will stop hearing that phrase in the headline."
My edit would be to change "hearing" to "reading" since we usually read or see a headline rather than hear a headline.
If you do this kind of review with the goal of refining your writing better in English, you'll also be doing it in your work in the target languages, I think.
Good luck to all in any language!!!
First: No, I wrote "hearing" and I meant "hearing". The phrase in this headline is constantly said out loud to people who speak other languages than English in the US, so, when someone says that very phrase (which happens to be the headline of this thread), people HEAR it. And I really wish no one had to hear this terrible phrase anymore.
Second: You seem to be under the impression that English was my mother tongue, but it is not. It was not even my first second language. It was my third second language.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.” -- My pursuit of happiness involves learning languages, among other things. I'm not trying to irritate anybody else by doing so; it's just something that I believe makes me a better person. If other folks don't like it, well, their rights end where mine begin.
Lovely reminder. Just what do you mean, however, by saying
"If other folks don't like it, well, their rights end where mine begin"?
Happens to me ALMOST all the time with Indonesian when I speak it irl or online people tell me eather "whaaa??", "speak english plz" "lmao speak english", etc etc and most of my Indonesian comments I post online get removed. But yet anyone else that speaks Indonesian and other languages are okay and get praise. It really stinks :( But then again, some natives have said my Indonesian is good so there's that.
Stick with it! Gradually you should have less and less negative feedback. There will always be some troublesome people, but that's their problem.
What?!! you can speak Indonesian fluently?! How can I not envy you.
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
I am not fluent, but I am working on getting there.
Makasih @joe dan @schoner !!
I think online they delete comments in foreign languages because they don't know what they say and don't translate them, so they could mean anything.
Ah, yes. The time-old tradition of telling other human beings how to live their lives and what they should or should not do based only on your own limited view of the world shaped by your family, upbringing and culture. ;)
This ALWAYS brings about civil understanding and discourse.
I know the OP was being facetious.
Adding to the sarcasm... If everyone would just do and think the way I feel they should then the world would be a better place. So get on board, people! You're making me mad when you don't toe the line the way I want you to. >:(
This is America, speak Navajo, or Hawaiian! You can learn them on Duolingo.
Once my family was visiting Los Angeles "Universal Studios" as we would go there on occasion to have a break and have fun. We would see SOO MANY different cultures there, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Hindi and it was FASCINATING! :) I once sat next to a woman from India she couldn't speak English and it reminded me of when YEARS ago I started taking Hindi ( the teacher moved only a few days after starting the lessons) that I could have been able to speak to this woman in Hindi had I been able to take the lessons. It made me more DETERMINED to one day take up the language again so if I did happen to run into another person from India that DIDN'T speak English, I could try out Hindi! I STILL have that dream! I HOPE to one day get back into it again with an online one on one native teacher like before. :) Never give up on learning something that is meant to be! :) I wish you luck in your language learning journey Ethanlee333! :)
I'm lucky enough to not live in an overly-racist part of the US, and languages are abundant here, which makes me so happy! Other cultures are so fascinating to me, and I'm so excited to learn to speak a variety of them proficiently. Let's take down these bigots fellow language nerds!
ummmm - I am everrrrrrr so glad you are an active and respected member of our community.
But, please remember this is an open community, and all are welcome here to learn a language.
I am guessing you are saying this tongue in cheek, by how you have worded it.
And that you are fully aware of your super power.
That especially in a situation where verbal abuse is occurring, that responding directly to the person lashing out the verbal abuse is rewarding the abuser. And can even be a form of abuse in itself. If they are putting on a tantrum, it may also be that they are immature, and are seeking attention.
If you give them that attention it can be seen as a reward by them and a challenge to some to continue and be worse. Even though you may be "telling them off". It also gives them more fuel and encourages them to engage in worse abuse.
Instead - down vote and do not respond to them. This deprives them on the attention they are seeking.
Also, instead, if it is you get a chance, and you feel safe, (always keep yourself safe first), consider giving power and respect and support and kindness to the person(s) and community that the offensive person is seeking to attack.
Not to talk about the incident. Instead to check they are ok, and guide the conversation to a more appropriate discussion. In this case, on Duolingo, of course about language learning, and the value of their culture.
I sooooo hope to continue to see you engage and grow and learn through the years also through this Duolingo community corgi.. You are a treasure to know.
The United States doesn't have an official language. Where I grew up I heard Swedish, Ukrainian, German, Hungarian, Polish and Italian spoken in the background. Parma Ohio USA 1954 to 1966.
Sometimes I get "Why the *** are you learning a language of a potential enemy, are you stupid or what?! They (insert any nation name, not even the countries of my target languages! they just don't care which language it is!) are gonna overcome us, they plot against us, yada yada" here in my country. How on Earth can learning be stupid? It's like a workout for one's mind!
Just a bit of historical fact that a few people seem to be getting wrong:
The first European settlers in North America were NOT Spanish. They were Norse, and spoke Old Norse. The first recorded settlement was set up by Erik the Red around 985 AD, after he travelled first to Greenland, found it too cold, then west and south to North America where he found it more to his liking. There is some evidence that the Vikings from around this time explored the Atlantic coast as far south as the Bahamas and set up farming settlements, but this is unproven.
And as for the "native Americans", although the distant history is a little obscure, they almost certainly came from Asia, particularly Siberia, across what is now the Bering Strait and down through Alaska. This immigration slowed but did not necessarily stop completely when the Bering Strait became submerged by rising sea levels. There are significant linguistic similarities in their languages and those that developed across Russia and Siberia, which are too numerous to be coincidence. There is also genetic evidence for this, which suggests there were three distinct groups of immigrants with different ancestry that entered North America from this direction.
Technically, English isn't legally recognized as the official language of the United States, although it is for some states.
America's culture is a literal melting pot of other cultures, so saying to "speak English in America" is a bunch of baloney
Yes, I totally agree! I speak Telugu, one of many Indian languages and I do speak it often in school and in public with fellow speakers and I've had people say this to me so many times before. Glad to see you share the same opinion! Tape m'en cinq, mon ami!
Some of us are in America, some of us aren't. I am, maybe you aren't.
Wow. This place you call “America” is a European construct, built on someone else’s territory. Even the name “America” was named after Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian explorer and friend of Christopher Columbus.
You’d think we should be speaking Italian instead of English...or Spanish at least (since Columbus worked for the Spanish Crown)...but I guess the English Protestants beat all the Catholics with that one.
I'm not in America, but this website and all its servers are, and thus all these words I'm typing and you and anyone else are reading are, so this, indeed, is America, from the moment that it is posted.
I don't really think that additional commas are strictly necessary for parsing the sub-clause, but, if you prefer:
...and thus all these words I'm typing, and you and anyone else are reading, are...
I'm not American but I can relate so much to this. I'm Greek and here in Greece during the past 3-4 decades but especially in recent years there has been an influx of immigrants coming from our bordering countries, mostly Albania and Bulgaria, and the middle east.
Especially in the past but even now, people often give you weird looks here when they hear you speaking a language that's not Greek or English, with many people even finding it funny.
I personally was really annoyed with that from a young age and I'm so happy there are services such as duolingo that make learning foreign and sometimes even more obscure languages easier for literally anyone. With duolingo's community getting bigger day by day I really hope one day this problem ceases to exist in Greece and in other countries with the same problem as well.
As a Mexican living in Texas... I have an open ended discussion point here. What predominant language is spoken in Mexico or Spain? Is it OK for both citizens and non-citizens alike of both those countries to announce that ANY languages other than Spanish can and SHOULD be predominant there?
For example, is it OK for my Caucasian friends to travel to Mexico and announce "Hey, I'm American, you Mexicans need to learn MY language, accept my diversity or else!" I would sincerely think not.
My roots, family history and heritage lie in Mexico. It is well expected that Spanish is the common language of their country and I respect that. So why can some countries like Mexico have their own predominant language but the United States can not?
Granted, I am NOT saying that any languages other than English should be forbidden and hindered from the US. However, I AM saying that there should NOT be anything offensive about a country wanting to announce English as their predominant default language.
"This is America... an English speaking country that allows anyone the freedom to speak any language you want!"
That's a useless analogy because immigrants don't come to North America and refuse to speak English. They may not be fluent, but there is ALWAYS an effort
The offense comes from bigots shouting "You need to speak English" to random families in grocery stores and stuff - when those families are talking among themselves. No one is going in trying to get mortgages or sitting at City Hall requesting zoning permits without speaking English.
MasoMeese, what you say is exactly what I saw in Los Angeles. The new kids in school would compare homework notes written in Spanish, but practice speaking short and then longer sentences with us monolingual students until after a couple of months they spoke English fluently. The mothers would find work in hair and nail salons where they were not often able to practice English because their clients, in the smaller towns, spoke little or no English. The children would provide translation services for the parents (from what I observed over several decades).
When i hear that here in Texas, i cuss them out in Spanish even though i'm from Oklahoma.
I know what you mean - I love walking round London hearing all sorts of languages, some I understand, some I don't. It is really fascinating and makes me feel as if I am in an open and friendly world.
This is also what I feel, in my travels through Melbourne. Or when I travel to other countries. Thank you for putting this in words.
Thank you so much! I agree with you, and on the few occasions I've heard someone denigrate another language, I've stepped up in defense of multi-lingualism (which auto correct is telling me isn't actually a word, but oh well). One of my favorite things to do: use the Spanish language option at the automated check-out stands. A community of people who advocate for more outreach to other nations and cultures is exactly what we need at this time.
"Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves. Wars begin in the minds of men, and in those minds, love and compassion would have built the defenses of peace". -- U Thant
(edited for quotation marks in wrong place)
This is not unique to America. A friend of mine was born in the Philippines, and now lives here in Australia. She was minding her own business sitting on a bench near the library, and talking to her mother in the Philippines on her phone in Tagalog.
Some idiot came up to her and said "Why are you talking in a foreign language in my town?" She finished her phone call and took him to task. "If you think it's a problem, let's go to the police station and sort it out right now" As with most people of that type, he was a coward and slinked away.
People have the right to have private conversations in their own language. Everybody in the office was horrified to hear what had happened, and complimented her for standing up to him.
- and he had the gall to say it was his town. That sort of behaviour needs to be challenged by everybody who values freedom. People like that are a tiny minority here, but they do exist.
I’ll remember that if I finally master a language and this ever happens to me.
I am very familiar with these ugly Americans and, as an American, I'll do everything I can not to be like them. I'll learn another language, I'll pick up a book once in awhile, and I'll give different foods a chance.
I'm pleased that you are insightful - perhaps much more than many of your countrymen/women.
Mark Twain said something profound about travel and ignorance. If only more Americans would (or could afford to) travel outside of the USA, it'd do wonders for their country.
Hey I do the same thing when it comes to dancing
This is Mexico, dance la cumbia or quebradita. What is that silly line dancing you are talking about?
Mexico's more hermetic than the US when it comes to spoken languages but there are certain areas where foreign languages are often spoken and we have indigenous population that is bilingual and communicates with their peers in their indigenous native lang, and nobody raises an eyebrow.
If someone said that to me while I'm visiting the US I'd reply with all the profane words I've learned from rap videos, plus some other words I've learned from Shakespeare and Byron too.
This is America... so speak any language you want!
♡ ♡ ♡ ♡
If you consider the Central and South America are America too- and democratically do a head count of who speaks what language- then its really the least we can do to say "Hola!" to our neighbors- if you're an American that is. But Spanish is also the language of conquistadors who destroyed so many cultures, their beliefs and languages, so I understand if you'd rather not speak it.
The Conquistadores destroyed the pre-columbian cannibalism, sodomy and human sacrifices in deed.
I love listening to people speaking tonal languages: Mandarin, Thai, Vietnamese, etc. It's so relaxing. And yeah, I don't get the reflexive hostility at all.
"This is America. Speak English!"
As we are struggling to learn French, German, Russian... the person who arrives to any new country has similar challenges. Learning a new language takes time and effort, and some people just can't invest the time and energy. Like old people, or someone who is trapped in working 2 minimum wage jobs. But if you immigrate to any country, you are much better off if you learn the language and the culture as quickly as you can. Go to bed with that English book under your pillow!
There's an old saying that someone who speaks two languages is bilingual, someone who speaks three languages is trilingual, and someone who speaks one language is American!
Learning just one new language is a challenge - I'm sure all of us learning with Duolingo can attest to that. Anyone who speaks multiple, even with making mistakes, is far more intelligent than me, and so I relish hearing other languages spoken. In my personal experience, the smartest people I have encountered are those who speak multiple languages and have a big vocabulary. I think Duolingo has made me a better and a smarter person because it has helped me develop certain foreign language skills, learn many new ones, and even help improve my English! This is such a wonderful community and I am very glad to be a part of it!
I have found it funny that people will say that even to people speaking Native American languages. Or expecting ASL to be simply signed English even though written English is a secondary language to some ASL users.
And also surprised when they learn there are many different signed languages.
This is an interesting post on ASL resources: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/4641091
Did you also know that ASL is great when at a noisy party, to talk across the room even. Also when doing activities such as scuba diving ?
by 2034, The USA will have more people of color than whites. Some white folks are quite concerned that "their country" is disappearing. They have no way to fix that since the birth rate for US Caucasians is about 1.7 per couple. So, to me, that explains their need for a southern border wall, and the rest of the immigration propaganda going around. However, I think that apps like Duolingo do a wonderful job of bringing folks "de todo el mundo juntos" for the basic joy of celebrating diversity and culture. Don't worry about the bigots. Their presence will fade in time. Until then, practica tu espanol!
I get the reason the US wants to have a common language. But the outright anger some (definitely not all) US citizens have at even hearing people talk to each other in another language even though they are not even in the conversation, has always been frustrating to me.
It says a lot about a person who gets mad like that, and none of it is good.
He he!. The title confused me, I recognize. But after having read it, a smile came to my face. I like exploring other languages and try different alphabets. True ... Thanks Duolingo!
Hey everyone, Please remember to chill about this topic.
Often when I get hot under the collar, I take time out and read https://www.duolingo.com/guidelines. And even today, I still find that a document that I read frequently. For such a short piece it certainly says things well.
Also, https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/34690060 in another go to post I often stop by and visit.
Wishing all of us all the best with our language learning.
Thank you each of you for your caring and supportive comments to others and other communities around our diverse world.
@daKanga, thank you for this reminder. Comments in this discussion definitely got under my skin. And if I had taken a break before responding, I would have comported myself differently. Again, thank you.
Moderators are human too! We need to be mindful and observe our emotions, and try not to react. Your comments are informed, well-written, and true. There were a few down-votes, perhaps from trolls, but now they are coming up in favor.
That said, to find a person who apologizes is rare. You are a treasure Usagi! As is daKanga. Thank you daKanga for the links. I also need to go re-read those!
During many years of teaching I have seen the arrival of displaced children with no English, who became fluent in quick time. After nearly a decade of study I can just about get by in Italian as a second language.
this is amazing! I also agree I think foreign languages are absolutely beautiful :)
I live in Gujarat, an Indian state where Hindi and Gujarati are primarily spoken. My mother tongue is Tamil, a language that is spoken in the southern states, mainly Tamil Nadu. It was hard for me to communicate with people since I did not know either language. But they never once thought that I had to speak their language and they never took it upon themselves to exploit my disability. Treat others how you would like to be treated.
I agree with this. America has been sort of culturally washed out, so bringing a new language or tradition into your life is a good way to make your everyday life more interesting. As someone who has seen videos and have heard of this happening (I've never seen it happen irl before), it seems that the people who disrespect other languages other than English and are racist towards other cultures are all white/caucasian, and are older. I have NEVER seen a younger generation do this before, and I hope that as issues are solved, these past and older generations can learn to accept all cultures other than theirs. I am not saying that everyone is like this, but unfortunately there are some people who can't handle not understanding what someone was saying, even if it has nothing to do with them.
It drives me insane when people use that phrase. I kind of like hearing people speaking different languages. Motivates me to learn more.
I agree with this post! It's very interesting hearing other languages, and if anything, I feel as if we need more people who speak other languages here in the U.S. Wanna know something even sadder? The Cherokee people ( Or Native Americans if you will ) have their own language and are still disrespected the same way as every other "foreign" language despite them truthfully being native.
I totally agree! I am from Australia and heaps of people I know are from different cultures, and it's really cool to hear them speaking a different language. Besides we are so lucky to live in such an amazing world with many cultures and languages, it's stupid not to want to learn an embrace them! keep thinking the way you do!
People tend to feel threatened when you're capable of doing something they can't :P. Especially if it makes them feel stupid. If you're good at something that fits a social ideal (like French seems to in the US) people will happily accredit you, but if you're good at something that doesn't fit the social ideal (like Spanish seems to in some regions of the US and languages like Arabic), many people tend to question your competence and have a negative attitude towards it. To a stronger extend than most people realize, society decides what you're (not) "allowed" to be good at. The same thing applies to many more things than just languages. Racism isn't necessarily the core issue behind it but it's definitely co-occurring. It's a type of social policing against anything that doesn't fit an artificial social standard, these people who are strong on social policing also tend to be more inclined to be racist since skin color and other personal attributes construe the BS social ideal they push.
Bravo! I sure your sense of deep consternation over people using that "this is America, speak English!" The racism, xenophobia, isolationism and America first attitude behind that is so deeply offensive to me. You are exactly right in addition to our native American siblings, this country was built by immigrants who each came with rich language and made this place better.
RabbiChava, I'm sure you meant well. However, the idea that "this country was built by immigrants" is a pretty thorny ones. Colonizers invaded an already inhabited and cultivated continent. Then they used kidnapped slaves and many workers from other countries who they treated badly and many they didn't even allow to immigrate here if they were not racially and/or ethnically preferred by the colonizers. Those who held and still hold the majority of violence-backed power here are colonizers. There is an important difference between a colonizer and an immigrant. I do not feel threatened by immigrants. They want a better life. Colonizers have an agenda that includes more violence, whether physical or institutional or both.
Usagi, who do you consider a colonizer?
My relatives are from Norway, Germany, Ireland, and Denmark, and they all immigrated here after slavery was illegal, to Minnesota or Illinois. They never owned slaves. They never committed genocide against the indigenous people of the US. Do you consider them immigrants, or colonizers?
Nul713058 Colonization is in part active cultural practices. So, I can't speak for them. I am Cherokee, Comanche, have family living with the White Earth Chippewa Tribe (But, not sure why yet. As far as I know, we aren't Chippewa), Scottish, and French. I don't plan to outline all of the components and mechanics of colonialism or how it is alive and well today. That's work I invite others to do for themselves. But, I believe it is not enough to simply be non-racist, but to be anti-racist. (And I don't mean simply race-based prejudice or race-based discrimination. Those aren't synonyms for racism.) Racism is a huge mechanic of colonialism. And in that, I certainly have colonizer tendancies. I was separated from the indigenous side of my family, raised by the white side of my family due to some things that happened in my childhood. The white side of my family has a strong legacy of racism and many members actively practice overt racism. So, I've been working to recognize and unlearn certain behaviors and habits of thinking. People will have to answer the question for themselves on whether or not they are continuing the work of colonizers. In some ways, I do. And I'm working to change that.
Nul: Are you excusing yourself? Were your relatives then actually immigrants...or refugees? Why did they leave their home countries? Did they relocate freely, were they fugitives, or were they forced out? Did they realize there were already people living on the land they came to thousands of years before they got there? Did you get to ask them any of these questions or others like them? Or are you assuming they were just immigrants? What if they weren’t? What are the real stories? Hint: Ireland and Scandinavia have historical backstories. As for Germany...well....
Uh...I wasn't around in the 1800s, so, frankly, I can't answer your questions.
Whether my ancestors were "refugees" or "colonizers" isn't exactly the point I was getting at. Usagi mentioned "colonizers", and "immigrants". I have my own feelings of the word "colonizer" but I won't share them here, as it isn't relevant. The only question I have, is what distinguishes an "immigrant", from a "colonizer." But it appears I will have to do my own research.
On your questions - I cannot be sure my relatives were "forced out". But I like to think that they came during the Irish Potato Famine, which was where the Irish people were actually starving, or came over as indentured servants, which was where they came over by boat, and worked for others until they could afford their freedom.
On your last point - what does where they originate from have to do with anything? Are they "worse" immigrants, because they came from certain countries? (Note that I do not wish to hijack the discussion. I simply do not understand what you mean by, "As for Germany, well..." (I can assure you that my immigrants were all here before the 1800s, but even if they weren't, what difference does that make?)
In reply to Onyx.Rose, about "nearly everyone coming from Europe transformed from pariahs to colonizers," they were literally colonists whether they were pariahs or not, and any children they had here were literally colonists at birth.
"Colonizer" seems to not mean the same thing as "colonist," though.
A lot. As history seems to show, the persecuted become the persecutors, the oppressed become the oppressors. No matter what the circumstance, nearly everyone coming from Europe transformed from pariahs to colonizers, and later, imperialists. For a bunch of people abandoning their homelands for someone else’s territory, and then invoking “manifest destiny” as if it were the promised land to be cleared out for their residence, don’t you think that’s rather vain? And...to add insult to injury, English is forced on everyone, something you would expect imperialists to do.
I wouldn’t be that surprised if other countries took notes for later.
I agree so much! Plus, they think that English is America's language when really it is the language of the Natives. I love how duolingo has Navajo for everyone to learn (largest Native American language spoken today)
And how many of us, if we’re lucky to be able to travel abroad, expect others to speak English?!
Far too many, judging by other replies here...
I kinda pity the people that get easily offended by others for being superficially different to them, like speaking a language they don't know, because they so often get scammed by people that are superficially similar to them simply because they crave familiarity that much
That seems to be true. People do tend to get ripped off by those who pretend to be like them. It’s kind of amusing. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, even out in Nature.
For a second I thought you were gonna back up the "This is America speak English" and I was gonna get triggered. But I completely agree with you! People move to America to have freedoms, and if religion can be one, language is definitely one of them.
Agreed, I think if you have moved to another country you should (if you are able) have the manners to learn that countries language ... this does not require you to forsake your own culture.
They assume that you're gonna speak them in English around the world, even in Hispanoamerican countries. That thought is so sad but mostly prepotent...
People address a foreigner in English if they speak it and if one's proficiency in the local language is poor. However, if one speaks relatively well the local language, they speak in it. A way of becoming more proficient is going to smaller towns, e.g. in Spain, if you travel to Oviedo, Burgos, Pamplona, Leon, Zaragoza, etc...you won't get too far with English. Even in Germany, in Saxony and Thuringia, speaking German is necessary to get around. Moreover, just being able to get monuments, the train station and the beach is not my idea of travelling abroad. I enjoy interacting with the local people. Unfortunately, English speakers often seek out other English speakers to explore a place. It is fun to get know Australians and Canadians but it would be more fun to get to know the locals.
I mean, people have to learn the language of the country they are moving too. Obviously that doesn't mean they can't use their native language, of course they can.
This entire comment section makes me want to throw my computer out the window.
Great attitude! The more languages one learns, the wider one's horizons become. I speak Arabic, French, English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and German. Thanks to speaking these languages, I feel at home travelling in many countries. I love communicating with people. I also enjoy overhearing conversations in public. I am transformed reading newspapers and novels, watching movies and plays and chatting with people in these seven languages. I also observe and hear unilingual people and am sure they would think quite differently had they known more languages, travelled to different places and known people from different cultures. The younger one starts learning a foreign language, the easier it is and the better it is. So, carry on learning!
In my experience people most apt to say such things barely have a grasp of the language themselves, despite speaking it all of their lives. The empty barrel makes the most noise.
Good for you! I also love hearing different languages. All are unique and sound great in a different way.
I think that other languages are cool aswell I live in an area where quite a few people speak spanish America is made up of many cultures so yeah speak whatever language you want.
Honestly, when I saw that title...I was getting ready for a fight. Glad to see I'm not having to get my claws out :)
I am sooooooo glad you choose to not get your claws out !
Roos like me get a bit trembly when people bring out their claws.
Thanks so much for being such a treasured member of our language learning community.
The Roman empire has gained strength for centuries by letting barbarians in and making them Romans in 1-2 generations. After Adrianopolis battle (376 ac) , they were no longer able to guarantee this and Goths & others decided they could speak their language and do not mix up any more==> Collapse of the Roman empire dates 476 AC. My 2 cents
I know someone who moved to Japan (and even married someone Japanese), but refuses to learn the language except for a word here and there. His spouse does the translating. He was a lawyer from Lake Oswego, Oregon, USA. He’s also a right-winger.
Stupidity has nothing to do with nationalism. Speak the language you want.
I'm no American, nor is English my first language, but i don't really see the point in this post to be honest. There is this popular English saying "When in Rome be like a Roman". Most of us here are learning the language either of love or interest in said language and culture. Or others for travel or fitting into another culture you wish to visit.
For me its a bit of both. And such has been made possible for me after learning English. Whole new world of possibilities were opened up for me after learning a Key languages that is spoken all over the world helping tie all languages together. It would be dumb to go to Japan and expect the people to speak in our language. We are going to a foreign territory, where we don't belong. And it sounds more reasonable for me when asked to fit in on a foreign territory by me speaking their language instead of the entire national to speak ours.
And it does not sound unreasonable for me if the language of the ethnic majority is expected to be spoken by us.
Yes, but post it on the right forum. Don't speak latin on the duolingo in english forum, that is just annoying and confusing.
All of this is extremely off-topic and it's filling my inbox. Can we get back to discussing Duolingo issues? There are many good fora on this topic so perhaps this discussion could go to one of them. Anyone who is on this site appreciates the advantage of learning another language or of retaining your first language while learning the language of your newly adopted country. As a Canadian I have always thought that having two official languages was a definite advantage. We can speak to the English speaking world as well as the francophonie in their native language.
Please also consider choosing to "unfollow" this post.
I also assure you, this post will slide into our great sea of history, including the Duolingo great sea of history.
However how we conduct ourselves at this moment, can have echoes into our future. Also - gosh - can I tell you, this is a very problematic post from where I stand. This I agree with you. Where does it cross over our guidelines, how to keep focus on language learning.
All gray areas in a sea of diverse people with a wide variety of ideas. It is quite a tapestry and stressful, I do agree. I am ever so thankful that there are so many people also engaging and moderating the discussion, including each and everyone who engage in considerate and kind ways, and try to steer the conversation to language learning issues, and also being healthy for our global community to interact to all others in a respectful way. That each of us here are valued. And where possible to steer our interactions for the purposes of language learning.
Same here, and personally, your profile picture is my favorite I've seen. (Plus Ultra!)
I know !
I was soooooo pleasantly surprised. Also about the quality of the discussion many are having, and also trying to also keep it on focus for both language learning, and how we are global community that enjoys and supports diversity and understanding.
And that it is also a platform we we can also get to express kindness and sharing and caring.
Thank you AlanFC for being such a treasured member of our community.
Had you stopped your rant with your love of other languages and your desire to improve yourself, I would have applauded and supported your efforts. Once you slid into a comparison of your superiority, I lost that appreciation. Bigotry is often the lens of bigots, who proclaim their superiority over others they view as bigots. I have seen and heard this false elitism for decades.
I agree to speak any language you want! ...In situations where you're speaking the same language as someone else. I hate when someone gets mad at people for speaking another language in public to another person.
I only agree to speak English in the US in situations where the other person only speaks English, especially in public to employees that one is trying to get a service from. Like when someone is ordering food in a restaurant and doesn't speak English to the English-speaking cashier/waiter. I really hate when people don't learn English for those situations because I think that if someone wants to be understood, it's their responsibility to make that happen. I don't think other people are obligated to struggle to understand someone speaking another language if they're in their own country.
Even though we don't have an official language on paper, let's be honest... if you want to function in society here, you need to speak English, unless in very niche areas.
Do not expect anyone to speak English? In the United States of America people speak two languages such as English and Spanish. I speak around seven languages. Just face it. We live in democracy so we speak whatever language we want. Also every country has its own national language. I have travelled throughout two third of the European continent. If you speak Spanish and respects the people from Latin America, then they will respect you. I hope I made myself clear.
So many people these days are so... Misunderstanding, I like to think of it. Sure, you can say cruel or rude, but I like to just say misunderstanding. And they are! Although this problem is about many things, language is something that's always been a separation between people. Why? You're absolutely correct, ethanlee!
As an immigrant to the US, I think it would behoove anyone who comes here and plans to stay for a while to learn the language most commonly spoken which would be English. And I would say the same for any other state/country/nation.
Although I do agree the US needs to work on it's bilingualism, it has a very bad testament for a country of so many different nations and backgrounds. Many people in Europe speak 2 or 3 languages.
You had me in the title, not gonna lie. I was very surprised that this was a positive article.
I agree with you, and to be fair ... your title is a bit click-baitey.
Go easy on me: I'm a boomer and this is my first time on teh interwebs
little roo goes off topic ...
Six white boomers, snow white boomers, Racing Santa Claus through the blazing sun. Six white boomers, snow white boomers, On his Australian run.
Sorry about roo's divergence.
Be you first time or long time here on the Duolingo forums.
Here you are welcome.
I hope between you and I we can help spread the gift of language learning and perhaps tie it up with ribbon of kindness, acceptance and diversity.
Welcome aboard me hearty !
America is not a country !!! It is a continent ! So of course people don't speak only english in the continent
It can be both.
You can also differentiate, as they do in Spanish, between América (with an accent, the continent) and America (the shortened form of the United States of America.) Or you could say the USA, but that's kind of long.
The title of this definitely made me click here, but after reading what you said, I'm glad that you talked about freedom of speech!
The hate filled version of that sentiment is clearly wrong, but I do think there is are few factors that do make it a good idea for each country or region to have a common language, or even two.
For example I live in the UK about 30 miles from Wales. Any migrant to Wales in order to function there to function in Wales (and in the context of the broader UK) should probably learn English, but also learning Welsh as a courtesy to the actual place you have moved to is pretty much called for. Don't forget, if you move to a place, you are asking to be welcomed....it is one of the strange things about human society, most places will welcome you but there is something a little rude about expecting it.
(Moving to a place you also want to expand your horizons and not necessary just communicate with people in your community - using the UK as another example, I am pretty sure there are places where you could get by speaking just Hindi or Urdu - but if you learn English, not only can you speak to the British people, but also the other immigrant groups who have learned English in addition to their native language. And yes, that would be true about Welsh and Scottish gaelic too....I love the thought of someone from Botswana having a discussion in Welsh with someone from Brazil!)
ahhh - now in Europe there have been many an occasion where people from two different speaking regions, if they meet for example at a restaurant, will use a third language (that is NOT English) to speak. It may for example be German, Italian or Spanish or French.
In Europe, to pass your Baccalaureate you are required to speak at least one additional language. Not a bad idea.
Learning another language also allows you to understand your own language and the limitations it has for how you think.
Learning another language allows you to also see different ways to think.
It does open up new worlds of opportunity for you.
"The limits of your language are the limits of your world." Ludwig Wittgenstein. :)
Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.
"but if you learn English, not only can you speak to the British people, but also the other immigrant groups who have learned English in addition to their native language" is so key!
You might like the part about learning Gaelic in http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/crossing_continents/europe/1369247.stm . :)
It is certainly something that made me check out this post.
It is in a way something like story, that it is a way to attract attention to an issue.
I am ever soooooo glad of the content of the header post by ethanlee333.
They are a good writer, and I love how they are showing respect to others.
When someone moves to a new country to live (not vacation) and makes little or no attempt to learn the new country's language, that person dooms him/herself to second or third class citizenship for the rest of their lives. They will fail to integrate into their new homeland. They will be held back in all ways -- including importantly vocational success and advancement. They will be cut off from so much in their new home unless they choose to live in a tiny bubble. That said, today's America is a mosaic, not the melting pot of the past. Learn English if you live in the US, but keep up your native language and culture. Teach it to your children. Take pride in your cultural and ancestral heritage. But master the language of your new country. (Your 87 year old grandmother is exempt from this if the new language is too much for her.)
You are very right. More than not wanting to learn the language, new comers cannot find the time to take a course. More seriously, if the society is racist, they don't get a job by the majority community but work for members of their community, in which case they don't get to speak much the country's language. However what is very common are ex-pat communities in countries where they choose to retire, e.g. Americans in Provence, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Mexico, Brits in Spain, the French in Morocco. They have the free time to learn but they rarely do. They prefer to socialize with other ex-pats. I have little sympathy.
You shouldn't have made that BS your post title, it seems like it has attracted all the people who actually say those words to people. It seems like everyone who agrees with you is getting downvoted on this thread while we have this Juliska making the very argument you're complaining about getting over 70 upvotes for a nonsensical, anti-diversity, ranty post. On a freaking language website, of all places. You'd think the responses would yield the opposite here if anywhere!
i agree but if you don't speak english at all coming to america would be very impractical
Your tital for your post says the opposite of what your actually taking about.
Learning more than one is very good for the brain and can help you when you travel(especially if you speak the language of the country you are traveling too) I am fluent in English y en Espanol. Currently learning Portugues! But, if you just speak one language, there is nothing wrong with that either!
Come on over to Germany and spend some time in Berlin or Cologne - you'll be astonished to see how many languages are being spoken there, particularly in bars and clubs! :-)
The title caught my eye, but I could not agree with the last sentence any more!
bruh you scared me there!!! but im so proud to hear it <3 if only duo offered more native languages