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US English. Yahoos, unite!



Paul Simon joins the proud body of yahoos: "Count me in as a yahoo. Anyone not learning English in the US probably has a fine future cutting lawns, washing dishes, and making up motel rooms. What parent would want to pass on that socioeconomic reality to his child? I've also (pre-foreign service) lived in countries where I did not speak the language. Without any bilingual crutches, I learned FAST: Daily lunch hour lessons at my own expense, and evenings of study. It worked. The local citizens were much friendlier and life was much sweeter afterwards".

Robert Crow says: "Maintenance and encouragement of native languages at the expense of English, as appears to be the case in many "bilingual" education programs, is a recipe for permanent second-class status. Basically, it means limiting one's ability to function in the larger society in which there is the richest menu of opportunities. I sometimes think that the efforts to maintain non-English languages as primary languages in some schools are promoted primarily by truly bilingual "community leaders" who wish to maintain the power that they derive as the interpreters of the larger society to those who do not have the ability to communicate with it directly".

My comment: This is sadly true A deep problem in the US system is that politicians try to find a group with a weakness or a grievance to exploit for their own personal political advancement. Rob Gaudet asks about bilingual education. In practice it has not worked. Note that I am a language specialist and strongly support the study of foreign languages, but that is a quite different and very complex matter.

Ronald Hilton - 5/4/02


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