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English First, Common Sense Second

July 8th, 2009 by justinb
"The biggest thing I don't like about New York are the foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?" -- John Rocker

"The biggest thing I don't like about New York are the foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?" --

Does the United States need a national language? Should federal documents and services (driver’s license exams, election ballots, etc.) be provided solely in English, no matter what language the recipient speaks?

English advocacy groups in the US, including , Speak English and Pro English, are once again pushing for a vote to make English the . They contend that this law and its aftereffects will be the “push” immigrants need to fully assimilate into US culture.

Eliminating interpretation and translation services will supposedly save taxpayer dollars. Proponents of English First feel that denying basic services to those who don’t speak English will actually be beneficial to speakers of other languages and ultimately ease racial and cultural tensions.

One idea for forcing English on to people is Tennesee Councilman ’s plan to charge people who call 911 a dollar a minute for the use of an interpreter.

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7 Responses to “English First, Common Sense Second”

  1. English First, Common Sense Second | spanishbrite.com Says:

    [...] original post here:  English First, Common Sense Second addthis_url = 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spanishbrite.com%2Fenglish-first-common-sense-second%2F'; [...]

  2. Laurinha Says:

    Mmmm, me parece algo muy delicado…
    Me produjo rechazo ese primer comentario de John Rocker, lo sentí muy discriminatorio. Se supone que NY es la capital del mundo, la ciudad más cosmopolita de la tierra, a donde todos los habitantes del planeta pueden ir a cumplir sus sueños, como en la canción homónima.
    Es repugnante sentir que una persona habitante de esa ciudad, no entiende el valor de la integración que la propia ciudad muestra al mundo.

    Me parece que se debe ser al reves, primeo el sentido común y luego el idioma. Es que el mundo gira, todos estamos conectados, y hay que buscar las formas de convivencia conjunta no de separar como en una Torre de Babel.
    ——————————————
    I think it’s a very delicated subject…
    It cause me reject the first commeto by John Rocker, I felt it very discriminatory. It’s suposes that NY is the world’s capital, the most cosmopolitan city on earth, to where all the citizens of the planet can go to fulfill their dreams, like in the homonimous song.
    It’s disgusting to feel that a people resident of that city, doesn’t understand the value of integration that the city ifself shows to the world.

    I think that it has to be the other way round, first the common sense and then the language. Because the world keeps turning around, we’re all conected, and have to find ways of coexistence together not of tearing apart like in a Babel Tower.

  3. Laurinha Says:

    Mmmm, me parece algo muy delicado…
    Me produjo rechazo ese primer comentario de John Rocker, lo sentí muy discriminatorio. Se supone que NY es la capital del mundo, la ciudad más cosmopolita de la tierra, a donde todos los habitantes del planeta pueden ir a cumplir sus sueños, como en la canción homónima.
    Es repugnante sentir que una persona habitante de esa ciudad, no entiende el valor de la integración que la propia ciudad muestra al mundo.

    Me parece que se debe ser al reves, primeo el sentido común y luego el idioma. Es que el mundo gira, todos estamos conectados, y hay que buscar las formas de convivencia conjunta no de separar como en una Torre de Babel.
    ——————————————
    I think it’s a very delicated subject…
    It cause me reject the first commeto by John Rocker, I felt it very discriminatory. It’s suposes that NY is the world’s capital, the most cosmopolitan city on earth, to where all the citizens of the planet can go to fulfill their dreams, like in the homonimous song.
    It’s disgusting to feel that a people resident of that city, doesn’t understand the value of integration that the city ifself shows to the world.

    I think that it has to be the other way round, first the common sense and then the language. Because the world keeps turning around, we’re all conected, and have to find ways of coexistence together not of tearing apart like in a Babel Tower.

  4. Pneuche Says:

    hmmm, great post

  5. Pneuche Says:

    hmmm, great post

  6. Andy S Says:

    I would like to weigh in on this.

    First let me say that I am an ex-patriot (An american living in Germany).

    When I came here it was hinted (strongly) that in order to be fully
    integrated into the culture you had to speak german. No problem because that was the reason I came here. In the eight years I have
    been here I have become fluent in the language and it has helped me
    integrate into the culture. Not only that you have to speak german
    (or know somebody who can help you) to get all legal matters taken
    care of.

    Americans that come here and expect everybody to speak english to them
    are looked down upon (even though most germans do understand at least
    english–and some are even happy to speak it). But it is a matter of
    consideration and respect to be a guest of a country to embrace that
    part of what makes that country. Yes german is the national language
    of Germany.

    No I consider the situation in America. I was born there learned
    english as my mother language. The big difference is that English is
    not the national language as it is here in Germany.

    One thing that seems clear to me is that people have always come to
    America for a better live and to live the American dream. My ancesters
    did when they came from Germany 130 years ago. However what is
    different is that when they came they kept their culture, but learned
    english.

    I came to Germany knowing I would have to learn a foreign language. I
    never anticipated that I would have to learn a foreign language to live
    in my *OWN* country. That is the bone of contention. We certainly
    have visitors that come to America that speak no words of english and
    this has never been a problem, but people who intent on making a life
    should really consider what comes (or should come) as part of that
    package.

    Respectfully,

    Andy S

  7. Andy S Says:

    I would like to weigh in on this.

    First let me say that I am an ex-patriot (An american living in Germany).

    When I came here it was hinted (strongly) that in order to be fully
    integrated into the culture you had to speak german. No problem because that was the reason I came here. In the eight years I have
    been here I have become fluent in the language and it has helped me
    integrate into the culture. Not only that you have to speak german
    (or know somebody who can help you) to get all legal matters taken
    care of.

    Americans that come here and expect everybody to speak english to them
    are looked down upon (even though most germans do understand at least
    english–and some are even happy to speak it). But it is a matter of
    consideration and respect to be a guest of a country to embrace that
    part of what makes that country. Yes german is the national language
    of Germany.

    No I consider the situation in America. I was born there learned
    english as my mother language. The big difference is that English is
    not the national language as it is here in Germany.

    One thing that seems clear to me is that people have always come to
    America for a better live and to live the American dream. My ancesters
    did when they came from Germany 130 years ago. However what is
    different is that when they came they kept their culture, but learned
    english.

    I came to Germany knowing I would have to learn a foreign language. I
    never anticipated that I would have to learn a foreign language to live
    in my *OWN* country. That is the bone of contention. We certainly
    have visitors that come to America that speak no words of english and
    this has never been a problem, but people who intent on making a life
    should really consider what comes (or should come) as part of that
    package.

    Respectfully,

    Andy S

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