Monolingualism vs. Bilingualism — Totseans

Monolingualism vs. Bilingualism

fanglekaifanglekai Regular
edited August 2010 in Life
What do you think about monolingualism in the US? Is the country really monolingual? Should we adopt a bilingual approach to education? Should we remain "English Only"? What about other countries? Should they adopt English as a second language? Would you raise your children to be bilingual or monolingual? Discuss.

Comments

  • skyclaw441skyclaw441 Regular
    edited July 2010
    The majority of the country's population is in fact monolingual, most of white America anyway. I'm in a pretty rural area (Central Iowa) so I wouldn't know about say, California or Arizona (where Spanish has a very strong foothold), but around here you'd be very hard-pressed to find someone who speaks a second language or who even has a remote interest in one. It is hard to know how many people in the country do in fact speak a second language, and the languages spoken in the US other than English are diverse (New York has the highest lingual density in the world, there are people who live in NYC who are the last living speakers of a few languages in fact). I'd say that on the surface the country is quite monolingual because English is everywhere, and only in unique ethnically-oriented pockets can you see other languages in use (i.e. the Southwest, Northern Maine, large cities).

    I do think bilingual education should be adopted for those who wish to seek it. In some settings it would be a challenge due to strained and dwindling budgets, but those who can afford it should set it into motion. Language teaching should also begin at an earlier age. I applaud elementary schools who teach basic Spanish vocabulary around here, it's the first step in a long process to gear students in a rural, monolingual setting toward bilingualism. I think it would in fact be beneficial because communication would be so much easier around the world. The US is no longer the only superpower, we have the Eurozone and China to compete with (with the Eurozone having 200+ languages already). Not everyone is going to speak English around the world, and the economy is headed toward globalism fast, whether you like it or not.

    In that respect, other countries should introduce bilingual education if they can, be it in English or not. English shouldn't be made to infiltrate other countries as a second language, however, and we must not strip the world of languages. Instead we need to enhance our knowledge and use the many tongues of the world to our advantage, whether through trade or maintaining a diverse global culture in the face of globalism.
  • MayberryMayberry Regular
    edited July 2010
    In Canada, we're bilingual with English and French. I've had to learn French since kindergarten, but the problem is, after 12 years, I still can't do jack with it. I know the basics, sure, but if you plopped me in the middle of France, I would be clueless. There really is no point in making a second language mandatory if the course is not effective and if the students don't actually want to learn it. It's a waste of the teacher's time and a waste of the student's time. If someone genuinely wants to learn another language then they can do that and actually get some results.
  • monotonedmonotoned Acolyte
    edited August 2010
    Most counties have bilingual education.
    For non-english speaking counties English would be the first foreign language you learn.
    But as Mayberry said you can't do shit with it, unless you're stuck in a situation where you absolutely have to use it. But on the other hand, if you've learned a bit in school, even if you forget everything after a few years, it'll be easier to pick up again when you want to learn. But a foreign language is hard to learn and even harder to maintain. You have to constantly practice and update yourself, esp if you're not in the environment.

    Knowing languages is definitely an advantage. Everything from job interviews to impressing ppl to eavesdropping or whatever lol.

    Don't think I'm gonna have kids, but yeah I would want my child to be like me. Not just to know another language, but also to have experienced another culture.
    Which brings me to another point. The more you understand the culture, the easier the language becomes. There are many things that are unable to translate eg. expressions and basically stuff within the culture.
  • fanglekaifanglekai Regular
    edited August 2010
    If I have kids I'm going to make sure they're bi or tri lingual. In the US it helps immensely with jobs and getting laid. It makes you seem more educated, cultured and sexy (if you're white).
  • skyclaw441skyclaw441 Regular
    edited August 2010
    fanglekai wrote: »
    If I have kids I'm going to make sure they're bi or tri lingual. In the US it helps immensely with jobs and getting laid. It makes you seem more educated, cultured and sexy (if you're white).

    This. Absolutely. I'm definitely not going to have kids, but if in the small chance I actually get laid and do have kids, I'm going to make sure they're at least tri-lingual.
  • fanglekaifanglekai Regular
    edited August 2010
    I learned Spanish to prepare for the invasion and ultimate takeover of our country. I suggest that others do the same. Knowing spanish gets you latinas too. They love white guys who can speak their language. In any case, there's no harm in learning another language. It's a great skill and really helps broaden one's perspective.
  • edited August 2010
    fanglekai wrote: »
    I learned Spanish to prepare for the invasion and ultimate takeover of our country. I suggest that others do the same. Knowing spanish gets you latinas too. They love white guys who can speak their language. In any case, there's no harm in learning another language. It's a great skill and really helps broaden one's perspective.

    el fagotadoras del spicadas del grandas.

    am i spic-king correctly ?
  • CrazzyassCrazzyass Regular
    edited August 2010
    In the majority of countries most citizens speak English as a second language. I think it's stupid that we don't incorporate bilingualism into our culture. What makes America (or what used to make) America such an awesome country was the vast diversity of it. All of the immigrants that came here did not assimilate: they meshed together and formed a unique American culture, one that was united but at the same time allowed celebration of cultural differences. This right-wing garbage being spewed about how we're all supposed to be white, christian, and english speaking to fulfill our national heritage is complete bullshit. Fly your Mexican flag. This is America, dammit. We do what we want. We are who we are. Conformity is anti-American.


    Or it used to be, anyways.
  • AmieAmie Regular
    edited August 2010
    I think everybody should learn a second language. I know, next to my mother's toungue, English (pretty fluent) and French (can do a nice accent, but make a lot of mistakes and often don't know the word for what i want to say). People from English- Spanish- and French-speaking countries usually don't bother to learn a foreign language because they all think "EVERYBODY knows English / French / Spanish, right?" which is incredibly short-sighted.

    But I honestly don't get the whole language-debate going on in the USA. People who move to an English-speaking country need to learn English, it's that simple. If you don't want to learn the language, why on earth do you want to live there? Tourists, ok, no problem, but residents? It's not like English is such a hard language to learn, I learned all the English I know from watching movies, gaming, listening to music and reading &t in the good old days. If you moved here I'd expect you to learn the local language, not keep talking English and want us to learn English to help you live in our country.

    I mean, foreign cultures are welcome and all, but AFAIK American federal law states that the official language of the USA is English. Since the foundation of the USA everybody, both immigrants from all over the world and citizens have obeyed that law without questioning it, because it is just so damn logical. And now, one specific group of immigrants suddenly refuses to learn English, and you're actually considering making Spanish a second official language because of them? Is it because they're a minority that they suddenly don't need to abide the law anymore? And if that were the case, it's not like you're considering giving the korean / chinese / german / arabian immigrants the same rights, is it? I really don't get it.
  • skyclaw441skyclaw441 Regular
    edited August 2010
    Amie wrote: »
    And now, one specific group of immigrants suddenly refuses to learn English, and you're actually considering making Spanish a second official language because of them? Is it because they're a minority that they suddenly don't need to abide the law anymore? And if that were the case, it's not like you're considering giving the korean / chinese / german / arabian immigrants the same rights, is it? I really don't get it.

    I think it's because we have so many Spanish speakers in the country. I mean, good lord, there are tens of millions of them. If we have a place where Spanish is very prevalent, why can't it be at least acknowledged? And also, I think it's just the older Latinos that are not learning Spanish, because they have kids that can speak English for them. I mean, a few might refuse to learn simply because they can live a hispanophonic lifestyle, and people aren't going to do something they generally don't feel necessary to some extent. If someone can get by in all Spanish without a whole lot of effort, they probably won't learn English if they don't want/need to already. However, I think most hispanics have done a good job, at least the ones in my area anyway.
  • CrazzyassCrazzyass Regular
    edited August 2010
    Amie wrote: »
    I think everybody should learn a second language. I know, next to my mother's toungue, English (pretty fluent) and French (can do a nice accent, but make a lot of mistakes and often don't know the word for what i want to say). People from English- Spanish- and French-speaking countries usually don't bother to learn a foreign language because they all think "EVERYBODY knows English / French / Spanish, right?" which is incredibly short-sighted.

    But I honestly don't get the whole language-debate going on in the USA. People who move to an English-speaking country need to learn English, it's that simple. If you don't want to learn the language, why on earth do you want to live there? Tourists, ok, no problem, but residents? It's not like English is such a hard language to learn, I learned all the English I know from watching movies, gaming, listening to music and reading &t in the good old days. If you moved here I'd expect you to learn the local language, not keep talking English and want us to learn English to help you live in our country.

    I mean, foreign cultures are welcome and all, but AFAIK American federal law states that the official language of the USA is English. Since the foundation of the USA everybody, both immigrants from all over the world and citizens have obeyed that law without questioning it, because it is just so damn logical. And now, one specific group of immigrants suddenly refuses to learn English, and you're actually considering making Spanish a second official language because of them? Is it because they're a minority that they suddenly don't need to abide the law anymore? And if that were the case, it's not like you're considering giving the korean / chinese / german / arabian immigrants the same rights, is it? I really don't get it.


    The United States has no official language, you dumb racist fuck.
  • fanglekaifanglekai Regular
    edited August 2010
    Crazzyass wrote: »
    The United States has no official language, you dumb racist fuck.

    Yep, but all official documents are in English. If you need help with anything federal, you can get an interpreter.
  • AmieAmie Regular
    edited August 2010
    Crazzyass wrote: »
    The United States has no official language, you dumb racist fuck.

    I am not completely familiar with the American legislation, but I figured it would be mentioned somewhere English is the official administrative language of the US governement. If not, my bad.

    About the so called racism: I was typing a long reply but figured it deserved it's own thread because it's a completely different topic, which I'm about to create. The only thing relevant to this discussion is that I am not a racist.

    Edit: The other thread is here.
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