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Old 05-16-2012, 06:47 AM
 
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No, I'm not bothered by having to press a button on a phone, and I'm thinking the OP should reconsider "hardship" a little bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HistorianDude View Post
I thought you guys wanted immigrants to learn English? If you don't want it be their second language, what are you suggesting? That it be their third language, after being required to learn some other language in between?
A lot of immigrants do speak more than one language already when they come here. Second language presumes it's their second language, which isn't always the case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dane_in_LA View Post
Ehm - the English (notice the upper-case "E", "English" being a proper noun) taught in ESL classes is "just English". But as most immigrants arrive already speaking a language, English is by necessity their second language.
Just this past Saturday, I went to a BBQ with a bunch of international students from various countries. Most of them spoke at least two languages before coming here, and were picking up two languages (American Sign Language and English, since they are studying at a bilingual English/ASL university), making English their fourth language, and sometimes fifth or sixth language. Many of them do plan on eventually immigrating here because they want to pursue a career in the U.S.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charolastra00 View Post
My great great grandparents moved to the USA from Russia in the first part of the 20th centuries. Their children served in WWI and WWII but they lived their lives functioning ENTIRELY in Yiddish/Russian. Even some of my great grandparents and their siblings, born here, were more comfortable speaking Yiddish in most situations and conducted the businesses they opened here largely in Yiddish.

So this is nothing new.

Most ESL classes are taught by volunteers. The ones that aren't often charge a fee and have waiting lists (including the program at a multi-service center where I interned- 1 year waiting list).
I had a Russian friend in high school, and once her parents came to visit for a weekend. At the time, they had been in the U.S. for 10 years, so I assumed they spoke English. Well, when they showed up at our door, they only knew a few words like "hello" and "thank you". Obviously I knew Russian, so we could communicate, but what really surprised me was the fact the mother had a job as a nurse--without knowing English! I can't remember what the father did, but he had a job too. I have no idea how they managed to be employed without knowing English, but they did.

There are immigrants who will find a way to not learn English even if there isn't a Russian option on the phone, at the bank, at the DMV, etc. The options for Spanish on the phone and so on might make it a bit easier for Spanish-speaking immigrants who don't want to learn English, but the biggest factor is their attitude. Immigrants who want to learn English will, and immigrants who don't want to, won't, no matter how unaccommodated they are in public services. And those who want to learn English will learn it in spite of those services being available.

Last edited by Yac; 05-17-2012 at 03:27 AM.. Reason: 4 posts in a row merged

 
Old 05-16-2012, 07:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
This has been answered in part, but I thought I'd add this link to the discussion.

Harvard Kennedy School - A Better Welcome for Our Nation's Immigrants

A century ago, religious, civic and business groups and government provided classes in English and citizenship. Historian Thomas P. Vadasz found that in Bethlehem, Pa., a thriving town of about 20,000, roughly two-thirds of whom were immigrants, the biggest employer, Bethlehem Steel, and the local YMCA offered free English instruction to thousands of immigrants in the early 20th century, even paying them to take classes. Today, immigrants face long waiting lists for English classes, even ones they pay for.

There have long been alternative language newspapers and so forth in the US. My in-laws come from a town in Nebraska with a huge Swedish population, and until fairly recently the restaurants had menus in Swedish. My church gave services in Swedish until some time in the 1960s, this in Boulder, Colorado.
It was exactly the same in Nebraska with the Czechs. My MIL still speaks heavily accented English (and fluent Czech) and she was born here. She learned to speak English fluently in school, because her parents didn't speak it well, and they spoke Czech at home, church, etc. You could live your entire life in some of the small towns out here and not speak much English, but people owned farms and businesses, paid taxes, served their country, and they considered themselves proud Americans. It's ALWAYS been this way with immigrants. The new immigrant parents may not speak English well, but the kids will be fluent and bilingual.
 
Old 05-16-2012, 07:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pandg20 View Post
The problem is we teach them English and then they go home and speak to their children in Spanish and then we have to teach their children English and then they grow up and speak to their children in Spanish and the cycle repeats itself over and over and over and our tax dollars go out the window over and over. If these people would speak English at home it would stop right there but they don't, they won't. I know a woman who has been in the country for over 35 years, she can speak English but chooses not to. All three of her children had to take English as a second language and she still needs a interpreter. Well all three of those kids are now having kids and guess what they to will have to take English as a second language too! What a waste!! My family came from Germany. That's right they spoke German until they came here and then they spoke English and that was the end of it. How come Spanish speaking people get special treatment compared to the rest of us? Teach the parents and then leave it at that, make the parents responsible for teaching their kids English and put a stop to this cycle or it will not end!! Not a benifit if they just keep speaking their language at home and not teaching their children, its a waste.
Baloney. Part of the problem is that it's much more difficult to learn a foreign language as an adult--your brain isn't as adaptable as you age, and it's harder. The kids pick new languages like a sponge--that's why many school districts are starting to teach foreign language in early elementary vs. starting kids in jr. high or high school--the younger you are, the quicker you will pick it up. My kids started learning Spanish and French when they were 6 . We have kids at our school from all over the world (faculty kids) who speak a different language at home, and although the parents may have a tough time with English, the kids are fluent and multilingual quickly. Have you ever spent time at a University? Lots of the faculty from other countries may read English fairly well, but speaking it clearly is an entirely different issue. Of course they speak their native language at home, and in the process they give their kids the best of both worlds. Speaking multiple languages fluently is a VERY GOOD thing.

I don't get some of you...
 
Old 05-16-2012, 09:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TriMT7 View Post


"ESL" is for immigrants who DON'T speak English to LEARN English.

Why on earth would you have a problem with that? You appear to be so hung up on the "as a second language" part you're missing the point of the classes. It has nothing to do with establishing which language they will use primarily in their day to day life in the United States!
Wrong. ESL is about making English the second language, Spanish the first. In schools here, children are taught in their own country's language of Spanish and are given a little introduction to English on the side. They are not being taught that it's all that important to learn English.

English is now offered pretty much the same way Latin and Greek are -- it's nice to learn a second language.

English needs to be the First language, the primary language. If the immigrants want to live in a Spanish speaking nation, they should consider staying home or relocating to one of the 22 or so Spanish speaking nations.
 
Old 05-16-2012, 09:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mb1547 View Post
Baloney. Part of the problem is that it's much more difficult to learn a foreign language as an adult--your brain isn't as adaptable as you age, and it's harder. The kids pick new languages like a sponge--that's why many school districts are starting to teach foreign language in early elementary vs. starting kids in jr. high or high school--the younger you are, the quicker you will pick it up. My kids started learning Spanish and French when they were 6 . We have kids at our school from all over the world (faculty kids) who speak a different language at home, and although the parents may have a tough time with English, the kids are fluent and multilingual quickly. Have you ever spent time at a University? Lots of the faculty from other countries may read English fairly well, but speaking it clearly is an entirely different issue. Of course they speak their native language at home, and in the process they give their kids the best of both worlds. Speaking multiple languages fluently is a VERY GOOD thing.

I don't get some of you...
Then why would you move to another country as an adult? Would you insist that Americans should relocate to other countries when they cannot learn the languages of those countries or don't wish to make any effort?

Would you insist that millions of Americans should relocate to Japan or Germany and insist that everything be provided to them in English? Or maybe stay home if you cannot adapt or learn anything.

A motivated adult can learn another language in 3 to 6 months. We don't see other immigrants having the same difficulties, the Vietnamese for example do not require everything be handed to them in their language, Filippino immigrants do not require us to have their language as the first option in a telephone call.
 
Old 05-16-2012, 09:43 AM
 
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I can remember when travelling south from Canada I was often asked by americans "what's up with that dual language crap up there?" "That must be terrbily expensive to maintain".

Now I simply reach over to the nearsest shelf in the grocery store, or any other retailer and hand the questioner a package stocked on the shelf with the Spanish side facing outward to illustrate how stupid that inquiry is.
 
Old 05-16-2012, 09:46 AM
 
Location: San Diego
32,948 posts, read 30,201,927 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malamute View Post
Wrong. ESL is about making English the second language, Spanish the first. In schools here, children are taught in their own country's language of Spanish and are given a little introduction to English on the side. They are not being taught that it's all that important to learn English.

English is now offered pretty much the same way Latin and Greek are -- it's nice to learn a second language.

English needs to be the First language, the primary language. If the immigrants want to live in a Spanish speaking nation, they should consider staying home or relocating to one of the 22 or so Spanish speaking nations.
I'm starting to change my mind about it since the next generation looking for jobs will have an upper hand on those who don't speak English. At least jobs that pay well.
 
Old 05-16-2012, 10:00 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nimchimpsky View Post
No, I'm not bothered by having to press a button on a phone, and I'm thinking the OP should reconsider "hardship" a little bit.
There shouldn't have to be a choice of what language to press.
 
Old 05-16-2012, 10:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malamute View Post
Wrong. ESL is about making English the second language, Spanish the first. In schools here, children are taught in their own country's language of Spanish and are given a little introduction to English on the side. They are not being taught that it's all that important to learn English.

English is now offered pretty much the same way Latin and Greek are -- it's nice to learn a second language.

English needs to be the First language, the primary language. If the immigrants want to live in a Spanish speaking nation, they should consider staying home or relocating to one of the 22 or so Spanish speaking nations.
Some districts teach the kids in their own language and then provide supplemental English instruction, and others throw them into the classroom with a sink or swim immersion attitude--it's done both ways. Ours provides supplemental English instruction and special classes, with the thought that the child needs to continue to learn science, math, etc. to stay at grade level, even if they don't speak English. We have a number of ESL kids at our school, and by the time their first year is out, most of them are fluent in English just from interacting with other kids. The ESL kids we have here are both Spanish and Vietnamese speaking. The Valedictorian of my oldest son's graduating class this spring is HISPANIC and is a graduate of the ESL program here. It think there are tons of myths and urban legends on this issue, and not a lot of people dealing in facts.
 
Old 05-16-2012, 10:03 AM
 
14,307 posts, read 11,176,297 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1AngryTaxPayer View Post
I'm starting to change my mind about it since the next generation looking for jobs will have an upper hand on those who don't speak English. At least jobs that pay well.
It would be a cold day in hell when I would learn Spanish to accomodate unassimilating Hispanics and illegal alien Spanish speakers. What we need is a class action lawsuit over discrimination against native English speakers in their own country!
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