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Old 03-17-2012, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
455 posts, read 589,640 times
Reputation: 318
A fair point, but my understanding (and please correct me if I'm mistaken) is that immigrants up until the last 40 years or so did make a point of learning English as a second language because they had to to survive. Bilingual education, with the exception of a couple locales and an uncharacteristically strong German/English program in the early part of the 20th century, didn't really come about until 1971.

So in the past, you had multilingual populations, but they were still largely English-speaking multilingual populations. Not that everyone could (or would) do a great job, but if you had kids, you made sure they learned English because that's what was taught in schools. It's also common sense: if I emigrate to, say, Germany or Italy, even though I could probably find and enroll my kids in an American program in English, I'd much rather make certain that they learned the native tongue simply for their own good.

But there is a fair amount of distance between that kind of pragmatism and an expectation that everyone should speak English. The same pragmatism tells me that I should learn some Spanish because I'm moving to Texas (particularly since my wife already speaks it). Any type of 'you must learn xyz tongue' movement seems to become too polarized and angry too quickly, but in a historical context, there is definitely a change in the effect of immigration on communities if you compare insular, racial or cultural "enclaves" where people aren't so much assimilating as they are setting up their homeland in miniature versus a melting pot where everybody has got to deal with everybody else every day. That's not just a US thing, either - it's a big deal all over Europe as well.

I don't know what the right answer is but I have a feeling it's one of those things people feel strongly about but have a hard time discussing without boiling over. The hardest-working people I know are 1st- or 2nd-generation immigrants. Generally speaking, I'd sooner hire one of them than two kids from the pool of upper-middle class American kids I went to school with, myself included. They do speak English, though, and made damn sure their kids did ... after learning their mother tongue. Impressive stuff.
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Old 03-17-2012, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Volcano
11,471 posts, read 9,098,792 times
Reputation: 9008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquitaine View Post
A fair point, but my understanding (and please correct me if I'm mistaken) is that immigrants up until the last 40 years or so did make a point of learning English as a second language because they had to to survive. Bilingual education, with the exception of a couple locales and an uncharacteristically strong German/English program in the early part of the 20th century, didn't really come about until 1971.
Different parts of the country, different practices. But yes, English as a second language has been taught for hundreds of years, and primary education has been taught in dozens of different languages all along.

The "melting pot" metaphor for America has been around since the 1700s, but I think the "salad bowl" metaphor is more apt. Different cultures keep certain features intact through many, many generations, and different parts of the country carry strong regional flavors derived from the ethnic background of the predominant settler.

Matter of fact, it occurs to me that the most apt metaphor might actually be "fruit cake."
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:28 PM
 
Location: Texas
182 posts, read 122,523 times
Reputation: 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by CptnRn View Post
In previous posts you say that you call yourself a yankee who moved to Austin only 3 months ago. So what qualifications do you have to actually speak about this? My wife and I have lived here for 35 years and have had only 3 collisions each, only one of them was with an immigrant (a student from South America, he had insurance and quickly paid for the damage he did). The rest of them were "Yankees". Many of the brown skinned inhabitants of Texas have family roots that precede any Anglo immigrants to the area. Perhaps the numerous close calls you have had were your fault, perhaps you drive too aggressively, like many del norte's. I have yet to encounter many businesses here where most of the workers don't speak english. Where are these businesses? Looks to me like you are making this stuff up.
The thread asked a question which encouraged my opinion. Before making the move here, I have been to Austin in the past several times. I see that you have lived here a lot longer than I have. That doesn't mean that there is no validity to my experiences. Also, I have lived in Arizona and Southern California. So, I think I know quite a bit of the lifestyle of living in a border state. I am not an aggressive driver. I'm rather defensive.

I'm glad to hear that you haven't encountered the same situations that I had on the road. Maybe it is a horrible assumption. But when a Mexican is driving with no license plates, it leads me to believe that they are illegal.

About businesses speaking english: If you are thinking in terms of brick and mortar businesses, then there isn't many if you are comparing that to the amount to the total number of businesses in Austin. Maybe saying the word "numerous" was inaccurate. I can't find the right word at the moment. But saying that, they aren't noticeable would be inaccurate too.

As I stated in the last post, I love racial diversity. I just hate the fact that they don't speak little to no english.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
A study of history reveals this as a misconception.

English is not the native language of Texas, nor of much of the country. Texas was part of Mexico before it became an independent republic, and Spanish was the predominant language spoken here for many years. Before that it was the language of the indigenous Tejan people. So in Austin, where perhaps a third of the population speaks Spanish, an expectation that everyone speak English is unrealistic, and stressful.
Good point! Well taken. It's something that I'm learning to deal with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquitaine View Post
But there is a fair amount of distance between that kind of pragmatism and an expectation that everyone should speak English. The same pragmatism tells me that I should learn some Spanish because I'm moving to Texas (particularly since my wife already speaks it). Any type of 'you must learn xyz tongue' movement seems to become too polarized and angry too quickly, but in a historical context, there is definitely a change in the effect of immigration on communities if you compare insular, racial or cultural "enclaves" where people aren't so much assimilating as they are setting up their homeland in miniature versus a melting pot where everybody has got to deal with everybody else every day. That's not just a US thing, either - it's a big deal all over Europe as well.

I don't know what the right answer is but I have a feeling it's one of those things people feel strongly about but have a hard time discussing without boiling over. The hardest-working people I know are 1st- or 2nd-generation immigrants. Generally speaking, I'd sooner hire one of them than two kids from the pool of upper-middle class American kids I went to school with, myself included. They do speak English, though, and made damn sure their kids did ... after learning their mother tongue. Impressive stuff.
I feel that bilingual Mexicans provide great value to society and their own job skills. I speak Spanish but not as fluently as a native. Although, when they get irate because my fluency doesn't match theirs...that is where I have the problem.

When Capital Metro, big box retailers, and others have signs in both languages, it does help Spanish-only speaking Mexicans to shop, do business, and travel. But then it also encourages them to not learn English because everything is there for them in Spanish.

I have enjoyed living in Austin thus far. I haven't given up on it yet. It's something that I'm learning to deal with.
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:39 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
16,135 posts, read 21,684,706 times
Reputation: 12160
Quote:
Originally Posted by kallenfranchise View Post
The thread asked a question which encouraged my opinion. Before making the move here, I have been to Austin in the past several times. I see that you have lived here a lot longer than I have. That doesn't mean that there is no validity to my experiences. Also, I have lived in Arizona and Southern California. So, I think I know quite a bit of the lifestyle of living in a border state. I am not an aggressive driver. I'm rather defensive.

I'm glad to hear that you haven't encountered the same situations that I had on the road. Maybe it is a horrible assumption. But when a Mexican is driving with no license plates, it leads me to believe that they are illegal.

About businesses speaking english: If you are thinking in terms of brick and mortar businesses, then there isn't many if you are comparing that to the amount to the total number of businesses in Austin. Maybe saying the word "numerous" was inaccurate. I can't find the right word at the moment. But saying that, they aren't noticeable would be inaccurate too.

As I stated in the last post, I love racial diversity. I just hate the fact that they don't speak little to no english.



Good point! Well taken. It's something that I'm learning to deal with.



I feel that bilingual Mexicans provide great value to society and their own job skills. I speak Spanish but not as fluently as a native. Although, when they get irate because my fluency doesn't match theirs...that is where I have the problem.

When Capital Metro, big box retailers, and others have signs in both languages, it does help Spanish-only speaking Mexicans to shop, do business, and travel. But then it also encourages them to not learn English because everything is there for them in Spanish.

I have enjoyed living in Austin thus far. I haven't given up on it yet. It's something that I'm learning to deal with.
It also encourages visitors from Mexico to shop, do business, and travel in our fair state.

If only being (at least) bilingual were as automatic in the U.S. as it is in European countries.
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Old 04-05-2012, 09:44 PM
 
4 posts, read 3,997 times
Reputation: 14
The allergies are horrid! I didn't know about cedar fever when I moved here last year. It is like having the flu for two months, except you don't have the flu. You can't stay home when you feel crappy. You have to go around, trying to function as a normal human being because "its just alllergies." That is something people must be warned about ! Other than that, I love Austin. It is really makes the SF Bay area( where I am from) seem over rated. I can deal with the intense, muggy heat which makes one feels like one is in a steam room fully clothed. I think the traffic is pretty normal when you compare it to other big cities.
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:30 PM
 
Location: SW Austin
206 posts, read 173,208 times
Reputation: 64
we dont have allergeis down here in this part of town. the cedar are all up norht.
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX!!!!
3,736 posts, read 5,204,922 times
Reputation: 1656
Quote:
Originally Posted by suit-n-tie white guy View Post
we dont have allergeis down here in this part of town. the cedar are all up norht.
Bull-oney I was dying from the end of December to the end of February this year and I live SW.
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:22 AM
 
Location: The Great Lakes Area
36 posts, read 30,692 times
Reputation: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeandmich View Post
Whats the worst thing about living in Austin to you?

The transplants from other states who carry their racial baggage with them!

They need to observe the friendliness of the southerners first before putting their feelings in to action.
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:07 PM
 
Location: The Great Lakes Area
36 posts, read 30,692 times
Reputation: 24
Plus, people who move to this area try toooooo hard to fit in rather than be themselves. As a result, I think they get it all wrong...
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:13 PM
 
2,643 posts, read 2,211,230 times
Reputation: 2780
And you know this from one trip, one that was confined to an extremly small area of the city?

Way to show your ability to leave your baggage behind... You ever wonder if maybe the problem might be you?
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