Re: US English (was Instructions for Stupid People)

Subject: Re: US English (was Instructions for Stupid People)
From: Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 1994 16:26:27 -0500

> What do my fellow tech writers think about the US English debate?

> LaVonna Funkhouser

When *my* ancestors came to America in the early part of this century,
English was *not* the "offical" language by law. However, there was a
tremendous incentive to learn English in order to survive in America. My
grandparents learned enough to get by. My folks and their brothers and
sisters grew up speaking English *and* Polish (and Slovak). As I recall,
nobody really complained about not having things in two languages around
where we lived.

Where you stand in this discussion depends on what you think is the more
desirable goal; promoting a national culture or promoting a culture
where sub-cultures are valued. In my opinion, you can do both and still
require that *citizens* have some basic fluency in English. Whether you
can do that effectivelty with legislation, I have my doubts.

People never do things just because the law says to do them. People
generally respond to incentives. If there is a perceived incentive for
people to speak a single language in our culture, it will happen.
Accomodating bi-lingualism, it seems to me, is a *dis*incentive for a
single language.

I for one think that there are less common cultural grounds for more and
more segments of our society, and that we need more rather than less to
survive *as* a viable society. Respect for diversity is good, but
without the context of a viable common social structure, you get
Balkanization. That's no good. I think a single language is important,
and I think we're stuck with English.

|Len Olszewski, Technical Writer | "Truth does not stick to glossy |
|saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com|Cary, NC, USA| paper." - William Horton |
| Opinions this ludicrous are mine. Reasonable opinions will cost you.|

Previous by Author: Re: Allergic reaction...
Next by Author: Re: Writing for the avid non-reader.
Previous by Thread: Re: US English (was Instructions for Stupid People)
Next by Thread: Re: US English (was Instructions for Stupid People)

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads