Friday, April 11, 2008

Isn't English our OFFICIAL language?

I thought it was. It was the only language that I ever learned. But lately, I'm starting to feel like the foreigner in my own country!

Now, I realize that this nothing new to other people in other parts of the country. New York, California and Texas I'm sure have been this way for years. But it has only been in the last 10 or so years that I've noticed so many foreigners living in Maryland. And so many of them do not have a working knowledge of English. at. all. It's getting a bit frustrating.

Last night, being the geek I am, I was in the library picking a few books. It was supposed to be a quick in and out. I spent most of my time there - in line. A line that was getting longer and longer because of two Chinese speaking customers. A couple was trying to decipher their library card history. Actually, I think they butted in line, totally oblivious to the long line of people forming behind the checkout desk. No matter how many times the librarian attempted to explain the paper to them, they keep coming back with more and more questions, most of time repeating themselves. Another woman with two kids was having a difficult time understanding the rules and procedures with the late fees related with a DVD. My problem with this lady was, if she was having such a problem communicating with the librarian, why didn't she ask one of the kids to translate? Usually, the kids speak the native language. I figure maybe she was trying to get in some English practice and I applaud her for that. However, that line was getting hella long. Maybe that wasn't the best time to practice???

Now, before anyone takes offense, I realize that learning English is not easy. Not easy at all. But if you been in this country over 10 years and you still can't even put together a sentence in English, that's a bit of a problem.


Pan/Thanatos said...

Blame closed communities.

I came here from the Ukraine when I was 8, but had no Russian speaking friends at all. Within 6 months I was speaking conversational English.
My cousin, also came here at 8, had only Russian friends. Now we're in our mid 20's... I can barely speak Russian, and his English is on a middle-school level.
You see the same thing with chinatowns and Jewish "ghettos".

Cat said...

that's the good thing and bad thing about our country. there is so much diversity but many times it's situated in ethnic "ghettos" so some people don't get the practice of learning the main language because they can get by pretty easily without it. its the reason why some are pushing for spanish to be another official language...

Miz Motormouth said...

We speak English in this country. Case closed. It's not discriminatory. If you are Chinese and you move to France, the French don't bend over backward to learn Chinese. You better learn some damn French! The same should be the case in America. Also, thanks from pointing out that Hispanics are not the only immigrants here. A lot of hatred gets dumped at their feet. There are plenty Asian, African, Middle Eastern, etc. immigrants in this country than need to learn English too. Why aren't more American capitalists opening ESOL schools? Shoot, maybe I should!

Not Your Average Male said...

WAAAAAAAAIIIITTTT... you still go to the library? (j/k)

Don't feel bad -- you spoke the truth. You weren't rude or incendiary in your commentary. You state a seemingly self-evident truth. There is nothing wrong with keeping your culture (I'm proud to be Nigerian-American), but you have to make an earnest effort to learn the national language of your chosen home. If I moved to Greece now, you can bet your bottom dollar I'd be spitting Greek like a pro within a year or so. It's a win-win situation for both you and your new countrymen.