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#32 - 03/14/00 07:42 AM Global English and Official US English  
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ter Offline
stranger
ter  Offline
stranger

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Denver Metro, Colorado, USA
My wife is from the Philippines and speaks Tagalog and Spanish as well as some German, having lived in Europe for some time. I enjoy listening to her speak with her sister in Tagalog or their particular Filipino dialect and then picking out the English and Spanish that is included in their dialog. My father was born and raised in Germany. I was never taught any German and when, as a boy, I listened to my father and his brother converse in German I often wished that I knew it.

Both my wife and I believe however that having one main language helps keep a nation together and also helps bridge ethnic and racial differences within a nation. Having a global language, English as it turns out, will also bring the world closer together and promote understanding among peoples.

We don't believe that the U.S. Government or state governments should be removing incentives to learn English for immigrants coming to America. By requiring government documents and other communication to be printed or spoken in other languages, those who believe that they are helping immigrants are slowing their progress here in America. Surely few U.S. Citizens would consider living in another country more than a month or two without learning as much of that country's primary language as possible. The same should be the case for others coming to the U.S.

I've come to the conclusion that communication is THE key to settling problems large and small, avoiding wars, and allowing civilization to keep up with technology. Global communication over the Internet and its successors may well be the salvation of the human race.



#33 - 06/14/00 11:35 AM Re: Global English and Official US English  
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Bingley Offline
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Bingley  Offline
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Jakarta
In reply to:

Surely few U.S. Citizens would consider living in another country more than a month or two without learning as much of that country's primary language as possible.


Don't you believe it! I live in Indonesia and am continually surprised how many foreigners (not just Americans but they are certainly amongst the worst offenders), even after spending years here, are unable to stumble their way through a simple sentence.

Bingley



Bingley
#34 - 06/14/00 03:07 PM Re: Global English and Official US English  
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jmh Offline
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Learning other languages

I'm always apalled by the attitude British people have to learning other languages. I love to be able to communicate in the language of the country I am visiting, even if it is just to say please and thank-you. Many people seem to think that the rest of the world should learn English and we don't need to bother. I'm always impressed by people from Holland, for example, who use English as a language when they visit other countries because they know that so few people try to learn their language.


#35 - 06/14/00 11:57 PM Re: Global English and Official US English  
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Bingley Offline
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Now, it seems to be a very British or maybe English-speaking thing for please and thank-you to be so important. A lot of Indonesians use the English "thank-you" in conversations in Indonesian (usually as "Thank-you ya") to acknowledge small favours and keep the Indonesian equivalent "terima kasih" for real gratitude. They've also adopted "sorry" ("sori ya") in the same way.

Incidentally, I notice the spellcheck doesn't recognise thank-you. Does that mean computers are inherently impolite?

Bingley


Bingley
#36 - 06/15/00 12:44 AM Re: Global English and Official US English  
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Denver Metro, Colorado, USA
:-) The spell checker probably doesn't recognize the hyphen. I, for one, have never found a polite computer regardless of the country of its origin.


#37 - 08/31/00 05:18 PM Re: Global English and Official US English  
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apples + oranges Offline
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Canada
>>I've come to the conclusion that communication is THE key to settling problems large and small, avoiding wars, and allowing civilization to keep up with technology. Global communication over the Internet and its successors may well be the salvation of the human race.<<

Do you mean to say that everybody in the world should learn to speak English? Or did I misunderstand you?

If that's what you meant then be careful, it might start another world war. People from other countries love their languages. It is something that identifies who they are. They will fight to the bitter end to keep their language alive.


#38 - 09/01/00 11:49 PM Re: Global English and Official US English  
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>Do you mean to say that everybody in the world should learn to speak English? Or did I misunderstand you?

No, that is not what I meant at all. English just happens to be the language that comes closest to being a global language presently. I did not imply that a global language should replace a native language. It should supplement it. "Communication" is the key word in all relationships, small and large, locally and across the world.


#39 - 09/09/00 07:37 AM Re: Global English and Official US English  
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Bingley Offline
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Bingley  Offline
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On the other hand some of the most bitter conflicts in the world are between people who do speak the same language -- and thus presumably can find out how much they disagree about.

Bingley


Bingley
#40 - 09/13/00 05:27 AM Re: Global English and Official US English  
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wsieber Offline
old hand
wsieber  Offline
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Switzerland
Hi Bingley,
Once again I would like to applaud your very perspicacious comment ! Many years ago I was among those who thought that a common language was SUFFICIENT to understand each other, and peace would follow.
Now it seems that the only thing we tend to respect is the unknown, the exotic, because so little of it is left ("biodiversity" etc.)


#41 - 09/13/00 11:48 AM Re: Global English and Official US English  
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Jackie Offline
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Now it seems that the only thing we tend to respect is the unknown, the exotic, because so little of it is left ("biodiversity" etc.)

This bothers me, and enough that I have taken a bit of time
to try and figure out why. Your biodiversity comment makes
me think of the environmentalists' fight to save various
life forms from extinction due to man's encroachment. They are trying to ensure that all life-forms are respected.

And yet, the comment is preceded by the idea of, and is in a thread about, using a common language. So--I shall address that issue. Please note my disclaimer: by the time and location in which I am living, I have no first-hand experience of one language being subsumed by another.
I know that this is currently in progress in Ireland,
Scotland (thanks to Jo's article), and Aotearoa, and many
other places. There are probably almost no native Americans in the contiguous 48 states that do not speak
English.

Interestingly, we are having more and more awareness of other languages, particularly Spanish, and particularly in public signs, etc. I believe this is true throughout the nation, and that our West Coast has more Asian influence than we do, although I can drive a few blocks and see (not read!) signs in Vietnamese.

But what bothers me is that I don't believe that an
overtaking by language is always a sign of disrespect. In some cases, yes, but I think most of the time it has been a
matter of sheer numbers. More of a side effect, if you will, of a physical invasion, than a deliberate attempt to
eredicate a language.

I am delighted to hear of efforts by the Scots, the Maoris,
aborigines, etc. to maintain their language and culture,
and especially to hear that Gaelic may be turning back from
extinction, as Bill Bryson fears in "The Mother Tongue".

The fact that I can see signs written in another language, and have heard of the efforts by the above-mentioned minorities would seem to indicate that the majority DOES
in fact respect them, not the opposite.




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