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Old 01-12-2009, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
1,636 posts, read 2,898,658 times
Reputation: 226

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This is a person's blog where he writes about his perspective on the assimilation of previous immigrants. Don't be offended by the language used toward "whiners".
This isn't trying to passed off as a legitimate news article.
Just an opinionated blog using a study as a source to back up his argument.


Greg Laden's Blog : When Do Immigrants Learn English? Likely, not when you think.

Quote:
This is 1981, and everybody in this neighborhood speaks Italian, because they are Italian. Second and third generation, yes, but Italian is the language of the home and the workplace.
Quote:

I swear to you that this is true: Many American born English-only saps truly believe that the immigrants of yore got off the boat (back in, like, 1888), enrolled in the most readily available ESL class, and by Friday were speakin ina broken Englisha aceneto. How offensive, and how stupid.
Quote:
. But the concept that these earlier immigrants became instantly Americanized ... a truly absurd idea ... is so entrenched in the minds of the Now/Me/X generation that people actually get mad at you (or at least, at me) when this reality is pointed out to them. Well, now there is a new study to back this up.
Quote:
We present quantitative and qualitative evidence about Germans in Wisconsin, where, into the twentieth century, many immigrants and their descendants remained monolingual, decades after immigration had ceased. Even those who claimed to speak English often had limited command. Quantitative data from the 1910 Census, augmented by qualitative evidence from newspapers, court records, literary texts, and other sources, suggest that Germans of various socioeconomic backgrounds often lacked English language skills. German continued to be the primary language in numerous Wisconsin communities, and some second- and third-generation descendants of immigrants were still monolingual as adults.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:11 PM
 
8,973 posts, read 14,615,066 times
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I won't get into an extended argument here,and I have bad luck opening attachments....but I DID read your post, and some of it may well be true...but much of it apparently takes place a long time ago.

Germans in Wisconsin, for example, remained German-speaking for a generation or more, according to the 1910 census. OK, fine. I'm sure a German-speaker wouold get along fine in rural Wisconsin, running a farm with German neighbors, long before farms had much connection with the "world outside". Other immigrants may work in isolated 'sweatshops' as well...generations before any sort of need was seen for 'grunt workers' to be educated, or to see any need at ALL for them to participate in American society, unless they wanted to.

I see VERY little here, though, that would be relevant today, a century later. You're not advocating, are you, that immigrants today..even illegal ones...can, or should, stay isolated on remote farms or otherwise 'out of the mainstream?'....Sorry, but that kind of life just isn't possible anymore, except for a very few 'hermits' and recluses...otherwise, in a modern, high-tech society, we HAVE to stay connected...and there's little way we can 'accomodate' those who lack the skills to 'fit in'. They could get along fine, "out on the farm".....but what percentage of our society today lives on isolated farms?

Good human interest story...but if you're trying to show that assimilation isn't important now, because it wasn't important THEN, I'm afraid you've lost me.

Drunk driving wasn't a serious matter, either....back when people drove a horse and buggy. Drunk driving is a BIG thing today. 1910 was a LOOONG time ago.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:43 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
1,636 posts, read 2,898,658 times
Reputation: 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by macmeal View Post
I won't get into an extended argument here,and I have bad luck opening attachments....but I DID read your post, and some of it may well be true...but much of it apparently takes place a long time ago.

Germans in Wisconsin, for example, remained German-speaking for a generation or more, according to the 1910 census. OK, fine. I'm sure a German-speaker wouold get along fine in rural Wisconsin, running a farm with German neighbors, long before farms had much connection with the "world outside". Other immigrants may work in isolated 'sweatshops' as well...generations before any sort of need was seen for 'grunt workers' to be educated, or to see any need at ALL for them to participate in American society, unless they wanted to.

I see VERY little here, though, that would be relevant today, a century later. You're not advocating, are you, that immigrants today..even illegal ones...can, or should, stay isolated on remote farms or otherwise 'out of the mainstream?'....Sorry, but that kind of life just isn't possible anymore, except for a very few 'hermits' and recluses...otherwise, in a modern, high-tech society, we HAVE to stay connected...and there's little way we can 'accomodate' those who lack the skills to 'fit in'. They could get along fine, "out on the farm".....but what percentage of our society today lives on isolated farms?

Good human interest story...but if you're trying to show that assimilation isn't important now, because it wasn't important THEN, I'm afraid you've lost me.

Drunk driving wasn't a serious matter, either....back when people drove a horse and buggy. Drunk driving is a BIG thing today. 1910 was a LOOONG time ago.

Not suggesting any of that at all.
I couldn't be suggesting assimilation wasn't important then, because it happened anyways. There's no communities here where Germans have gone several generations speaking German. It got absorbed into the English speaking population.

Just suggesting that we have to put things in perspective.

I wonder if back then, people were scared these Germans would never assimilate. They pretty much stuck to themselves, and were able to carry out lives in their communities without speaking English. (Isn't that the fear with Mexicans?)

The Germans were able to do that, but there was no splitting of the country. Even though simultaneously, there was probably Italians in New York living the same exact way. Speaking Italian in their Little Italy.

It wasn't just rural Wisconsin. It was also New York, Chicago, and according to the article, 1980s Boston.



I just don't see anybody here going several generations without learning English(like the Germans in the article) these days.

With media such as television, movies, and the internet, I suspect it's a lot harder to go generations without learning English while living in the United States.

I think the fear of Spanish speakers is nothing new, and no matter how much people try to convince me, I don't see how these newly arriving Latinos are any different than previous immigrating groups, at least as far as language and assimilation.
Unless Spanish really is being "forced" on real Americans, which nobody has explained to me how that's happening, I don't see how English will lose it's place as the primary language in the U.S. And as long as it's the primary language, people are going to absorb it.

People like to combine the numbers of illegals and immigrants coming, with the Hispanic population which has already been in place.
I don't think the immigrants will come at a fast enough pace to overshadow the numbers of assimilated Hispanic-Americans to somehow push out English.

People are scared of the predicted numbers of the increasing Latino population in the United States, but I'm pretty sure that whenever it is that Latinos become a much larger part of this country, much of that number will be those who have already assimilated(folks like me!).



Maybe I'm wrong.(shrugs).

Last edited by antialphabet; 01-12-2009 at 10:52 PM..
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:34 AM
 
8,180 posts, read 11,035,044 times
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My experience with immigrants from the turn of the century would be my grandparents. Both arrived between 1900-1908 through Ellis Island. They were children, and their families could not speak English. My great grandfather had an interesting rule ..... speak English or get a beating. My grandfather and his sisters learned English. And quite unlike today, there were no ESL classrooms. It was the sink or swim method. I don't know how my grandmothers family learned English, but they all did. As did the majority of the people living in their ethnic enclave. Yes, Czech was still spoken (well, not at my grandfathers house anyway ), but the majority of immigrants learned English to one degree or another.
I am in no way saying that all immigrants should be able to become fluent in English. But they should all at least try. And unlike my great grandfather I am not recommending such a draconian solution to becoming bilingual. I think it is great that people want to keep their ethnic heritage alive.....but I don't think it is right to demand government forms, schools, post offices and work places to become bilingual to suit an immigrants desire to remain monolingual. The only institution that should offer translative services in as many languages as possible would be health care.
It is my understanding that in Florida, there are place where people are going generations without learning English. A poster on this very board wrote about his native born family members in Texas who speak almost exclusively Spanish. How many generations have they been here?
If I were to immigrate to any non English speaking country, I will be expected to learn that countries language. There will be precious little hellp for a non whatever speaking person. Certainly I couldn't demand all forms to be printed in my language, and federal signs (such as no swimming etc...). I wouldn't be able to demand that the police either become fluent in English or at least have an English translator standing by just in case I need them. See, that would make me an 'ugly american'. Yet, when Spanish speaking immigrants come here and do the same thing they are merely wishing to keep their culture alive and if you question it, then automatically you become a xenophobe or a racist or a monolingual mouth breather.
Finally, other countries have a cohesion that we do not. We are not all of X ancestry as the majority of England is English or France is French etc... We are a varied people with many, many customs coming together. We need the ability to communicate, we need the ability to have one cohesive trait amongst us --- and that would be language. English is the language of our laws, and of our constitution. Spanish should be taught -- why not? It is also a part of our history. As is German, as is French, as is Russia. Newer immigrants are also adding to our country -- so languages such as Chinese, Korean and Hindi also ought to be an option to learn. And I cannot say it enough.....yes! People should be able to speak whatever language they wish to in addition to English. Noone is saying that all other languages should be banned. How ridiculous! But we do need one common language, otherwise how on Earth are we ever going to fully appreciate one another?

Last edited by camping!; 01-13-2009 at 08:27 AM..
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Old 01-13-2009, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Cumberland Co., TN
20,015 posts, read 20,514,746 times
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Quote:
Unless Spanish really is being "forced" on real Americans, which nobody has explained to me how that's happening, I don't see how English will lose it's place as the primary language in the U.S. And as long as it's the primary language, people are going to absorb it.
I havent experienced this first hand but have read enough posts from people in the boarder states and FL to know that English speaking Americans are turned down jobs because they dont speak English. That in some areas classrooms are taught in Spanish where the majority are non English speaking immigrants. And some businesses district are >90% conducted in Spanish.

I do know from experience that job preference if given to those that speak Spanish. That all government and most private businesses provide all communication in both English and Spanish which does not encourage or give necessity for immigrants to learn English. Therefore English speaking Americans are being forced to learn Spanish in order to compete. As this trend continues and with just the large numbers of immgrants (legal or illegal) into areas more and mores states will become like the boarder states. This is how I see Spanish being forced. And this is the difference between immigration in the 1900s and today. Early immigrants may have kept their language in their communities but did not demand government to provide everything in their native language. But then they probably did not demand government welfare services either.
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Old 01-13-2009, 09:34 AM
 
Location: Mesa, Az
21,148 posts, read 36,622,458 times
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For the record: WW I (1914-1918) pretty much put an end to the widespread use of German in this nation---------it became rather 'unsafe' to use that tongue. In fact: several American communities changed their names to repudiate their German origins.

Note too in both wars we fought against Germany--------the latter lost both times, to be polite.
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:51 AM
 
8,973 posts, read 14,615,066 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArizonaBear View Post
For the record: WW I (1914-1918) pretty much put an end to the widespread use of German in this nation---------it became rather 'unsafe' to use that tongue. In fact: several American communities changed their names to repudiate their German origins.

Note too in both wars we fought against Germany--------the latter lost both times, to be polite.
Apparently the 'nativist xenophobia' you speak of (re: Germany) had disappeared by the Cold War...and "Moscow, Idaho" was able to keep its name.

Somebody told me that "Berlin, New Hampshire" is pronounces "BURL'in"....not "bur-LINN". Wonder if that's tied in to your story.

If this 'anti-Hispanophobia' keeps up, I shudder to think what might happen to the names of Colorado....or Nevada....or Montana.....or even Los Angeles, Santa Barabara, Las Vegas, or San Francisco....or Rancho Santa Margarita...what a mess THAT would be. THe Postal Sevice would HATE it...
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:01 PM
 
Location: CITY OF ANGELS AND CONSTANT DANGER
5,409 posts, read 11,070,242 times
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no way, i still see (post WWI & II) movies that use german very liberally, without any form of translation. it was accepted that most people spoke enough german to understand. or had a friend helped them understand.

"town without pity" comes to mind

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArizonaBear View Post
For the record: WW I (1914-1918) pretty much put an end to the widespread use of German in this nation---------it became rather 'unsafe' to use that tongue. In fact: several American communities changed their names to repudiate their German origins.

Note too in both wars we fought against Germany--------the latter lost both times, to be polite.
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:31 PM
 
8,180 posts, read 11,035,044 times
Reputation: 2873
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Originally Posted by the one View Post
no way, i still see (post WWI & II) movies that use german very liberally, without any form of translation. it was accepted that most people spoke enough german to understand. or had a friend helped them understand.

"town without pity" comes to mind
Oh, come on! German was not the unofficial second language of the United States at the time of WWII. There was no assumptions made that all Americans could at least understand some German because it was so prominently spoken.
As far as the movie "Town Without Pity" goes, it took place in post WWII Germany -- of course there would be German spoken! If there weren't subtitles during those parts, then I would bet that another actor had the role of 'translator' for the natives. But to try to assert that Hollywood made movies in German for US release with no subtitles because all of the populace at that time had more then a passing familiarity with the language is a load of bs. Name some more movies with German 'liberally' used without any translation at all. No subtitles, no actor explaining what was said, nothing.
As to this swarm of Germans that can only speak German -- maybe you are thinking of the Amish? Huddinites? Mennonites?
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Old 01-13-2009, 01:53 PM
 
Location: Maryland
15,179 posts, read 15,813,362 times
Reputation: 3028
Quote:
Originally Posted by antialphabet View Post
This is a person's blog where he writes about his perspective on the assimilation of previous immigrants. Don't be offended by the language used toward "whiners".
This isn't trying to passed off as a legitimate news article.
Just an opinionated blog using a study as a source to back up his argument.


Greg Laden's Blog : When Do Immigrants Learn English? Likely, not when you think.
You continue to ignore the obvious: Spanish-speaking “immigrants” of today are quite a contrast from previous immigrants. First, and foremost, they have no ‘desire’ to assimilate. Moreover, the growth of the Hispanic population in this country undeniably correlates to the massive growth of Hispanic illegal aliens and their US-born offspring. Deny it if you wish; it’s a fact. To their detriment, they have been indoctrinated with a delusional sense of entitlement, which precludes the need for assimilation.

The ‘new’ Spanish-speaking “immigrants” are here for one reason -- to get what they can. They are not here to become a member of the melting pot, or to embrace the “American” culture. They are certainly not here for the betterment of our society; nor do they have aspirations to ‘give back’ even a minute portion of that which they have undeservedly received.

Yes, they want and DEMAND a piece of the pie and the coveted “American Dream.” However, they do not feel beholden to learn English, or to abide by our laws; in part due to their disdain and unmitigated lack of respect for our country. Sadly, our government has facilitated and reinforced this mindset by accommodating them in every conceivable fashion, notwithstanding their illegal status.

No other group has been coddled to the extent of our current illegal aliens. More importantly, no other “immigrants” have so obscenely abused the taxpayers of this country. In spite of taxpayer generosity, and the pandering of our government, businesses, and special interest groups, most Spanish-speaking illegal aliens fail to show a modicum of appreciation, let alone humility. Their arrogance is pervasive and unprecedented.

I really don’t know how many ways we must elucidate this dichotomy for you to finally “get it.” Nor do I know how many threads you will feel compelled to start to discuss this topic. I sincerely hope you will soon receive the response you so fervently seek.
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