Re: US English (was Instruc

Subject: Re: US English (was Instruc
From: Deborah Adair <Deborah_Adair -at- TALIGENT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 1994 14:24:50 -0800

Reply to: RE>>US English (was Instruct
I consider fact that many Americans, myself included, are fluent in only one
language an embarrassment. More and more, that one language is *not* english,
although english is still the predominant language. This poses a number of
problems for everyone, and especially for those of us who communicate for a
living. Consider that, in California, voting materials are printed and
distributed in both English and Spanish. Great. Consider, also, that other
groups are pushing to have voting materials distributed in *their* native
languages. Great, also, except for the cost of producing and distributing
those materials. And what about those folks who aren't functionally literate
in *any* language?

And what about those warnings? How effective is a warning if you have to wade
through 5 different versions to find the one that you can read? How about a
freeway sign printed in 5 languages, are you going to be able to read it
quickly enough to react?

Many folks in our field now have to take into account translation for
documents targetted towards US readers. I'm sure everyone's heard about the
expense of translation for foreign customers, what will it cost our employers
if we all have to start translating for US customers? We all know what happens
when expenses go up...

Legislating english as the standard language isn't a solution in itself, but
it might have to be part of the solution. The very diversity of our population
makes a strong case for a standard language. Expecting a certain level of
fluency in english isn't unreasonable, especially if it continues to be the
primary language taught in our schools. Or are we going to put an even larger
burden on our already broken school system and teach completely

But then, I'm clearly biased, since the one language I speak happens to be
english. :-)

deborah_adair -at- taligent -dot- com

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