Re: English only - My $.02

Subject: Re: English only - My $.02
From: Helena Jerney <hjerney -at- HUDSONBAY -dot- BITNET>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 1994 10:33:56 +0800

> Canada came up once - and so did Switzerland. Switzerland doesn't
> get the immigration we do in the US. This changing populace separates the US
> from the Swiss.

Exactly, so let's not use other countries experience in a debate that
involves a unique situation in the world.

> Canada is in a royal mess. Yes, the history is
> different, going back to the French-Indian war during the Napoleonic
> era; however, this legislated division about language is fairly recent
> and it has only made things worse. The Quebec government now must
> go around and remove signs in English in the province. There are
> "grass-roots" organizations making the govt. go into communities
> where people coexist peacefully and force them to change the
> signs around, stirring up debate.

As for Canada, the only legislated language division was not imposed by
the Canadian government, but rather by Le gouvernement du Quebec. And I
agree it caused problems, but they had nothing to do with having two
official languages accross the nation, but rather affected Quebec only.
The government of Quebec wasn't *made* to change signs by any "grass-roots"
organizations, they passed the law themselves.

Once again, let's not bring other countries that have completely different
experiences into a debate that involves as unique a situation as this.

> If anything, "English-only" is a state of denial. Latin language has
> made many inroads into America. Some people don't like change and they
> don't want to acknowledge that America is becoming less and less a
> pasty-white country. I see a similarity between language and money
> in America. Some people don't want to change the way the language
> works and others don't want to change the artistry on US money. Language
> is not static, however, and won't respond to the kind of control the
> legislature has over the way money looks.

As for whether the US sould have an official language, I'll agree with this
point, language is not static and it will do what it wants whether
we legislate it, like it, or not. I speak three languages and I'll
be darned if someone tells me that one is more valuable than the other through
legislation. I will use the language that is spoken wherever I am (if I can
speak it), but I will not devalue the others or others that speak them.


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