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December 12, 2017, 10:09:45 am
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Author Topic: "Welcome to America. Speak English" Truck  (Read 4618 times)
restored2x
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« on: November 06, 2007, 08:39:28 am »

I saw this truck yesterday on 169 as I drove home from work. Nice, big Ford truck with giant lettering on the back window - "WELCOME TO AMERICA, SPEAK ENGLISH". The vanity OK plate also said "SPK ENG".

For some reason, this really got me up in arms. I guess I can understand how the person may feel - maybe. Perhaps someone on here can enlighten me.

Before the discussion begins, let me tell you how I feel initially:

The message on the truck displays ignorance in that it doesn't say, "Learn English", just "speak english", as though every person on earth (or at least an immigrant) is born with a command of the english language and is just refusing to speak it.

The message on the truck is ethnocentric, in that it assumes english is the best or only language an American should speak. Ethnocentricity has it's roots not in patriotism, but in arrogance and cultural bias.

I could go on - but I'd rather hear feedback from you first. Am I missing something? Is this just based in fear (is the guy in the truck afraid those "ferners" are talking about him everytime they speak in their native tongue?) or is there some intelligence behind the message that I'm too dense to decipher?

If this has already been discussed, just lead me to that discussion, or ignore the post, please. (Search turned up nothing)
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RecycleMichael
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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2007, 08:45:14 am »

I agree Restore. He probably is afraid of other cultures.

I think we should yell pig latin at him.

opstay uoryay asistray aysway!
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Wilbur
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« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2007, 09:17:02 am »

I'll stay neutral on the topic of the truck banner, but consider that English is almost a universal language.  

Every airline pilot who flies anyplace in the world is required to speak English when talking with the control tower.

English is spoken as a second language in many European countries, which has to do with business, tourism, ........

While the message on the truck sounds a little ignorant the way it is presented, it certainly is a good lesson for anyone who wishes to meld into America and succeed.
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NellieBly
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« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2007, 09:40:37 am »

I'd like to give the owner of the truck a grammar test to see how well he speaks English. I bet his vocabulary hovers around 70 words.
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cannon_fodder
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« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2007, 09:48:33 am »

When someone struggles with English I make it a point to reassure them "you're English is better than my [insert language here]."  Learning a second language is hard (for me anyway).  The advantages to speaking English here are greater than avoiding someone mocking you for your efforts, most people realize that.

That said, companies:  please hire people that speak English well.  Its frustrating trying to do business - even as a consumer when one party doesn't speak the dominant language.  It will hurt your business (unless you are a Mexican/Chinese/ethnic restaurant, then it adds credibility:).  If they interact with the public, English will help your business (this goes for you too Dell!).
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Chicken Little
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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2007, 09:53:26 am »

quote:
Originally posted by Wilbur

I'll stay neutral on the topic of the truck banner, but consider that English is almost a universal language.  

Every airline pilot who flies anyplace in the world is required to speak English when talking with the control tower.

English is spoken as a second language in many European countries, which has to do with business, tourism, ........

While the message on the truck sounds a little ignorant the way it is presented, it certainly is a good lesson for anyone who wishes to meld into America and succeed.

Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, and Spanish are more widely spoken than English.  And French is still an international language of diplomacy and commerce, so I don't think that English is a superior language or anything.

But, I do agree with you completely that Americans need to share a common language, and it happens to be English.  The problem with this guy's truck decoration is that it's not worth freaking out about.  Language barriers disappear after a generation of simmering in our great melting pot.

It's worth considering that with the retirement of the baby boomers, this country will have 70 million jobs to fill.  Those jobs will get filled by people from all over the world, and teaching English will become very important in the next few decades.  I doubt a fleet of "Speak English" trucks will make a difference, considering one in six won't be able to read it anyway.
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tulsa1603
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2007, 10:17:07 am »

I'm sure this guy has the same mentality of one of my coworkers.  "I hate it when foreigners are walkin' around the mall jabberin' in their funny languages" as though it should matter what language they use when talking to each other.  I have yet to have a problem with a foreign person working anywhere that I didn't get the basic gist of what they're saying.  Yes, it's broken English, but in my experience there are very few (usually the crew on a construction project) who don't speak it well enough for me to understand.
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mr.jaynes
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2007, 10:21:21 am »

quote:
Originally posted by restored2x

I saw this truck yesterday on 169 as I drove home from work. Nice, big Ford truck with giant lettering on the back window - "WELCOME TO AMERICA, SPEAK ENGLISH". The vanity OK plate also said "SPK ENG".

For some reason, this really got me up in arms. I guess I can understand how the person may feel - maybe. Perhaps someone on here can enlighten me.

Before the discussion begins, let me tell you how I feel initially:

The message on the truck displays ignorance in that it doesn't say, "Learn English", just "speak english", as though every person on earth (or at least an immigrant) is born with a command of the english language and is just refusing to speak it.

The message on the truck is ethnocentric, in that it assumes english is the best or only language an American should speak. Ethnocentricity has it's roots not in patriotism, but in arrogance and cultural bias.

I could go on - but I'd rather hear feedback from you first. Am I missing something? Is this just based in fear (is the guy in the truck afraid those "ferners" are talking about him everytime they speak in their native tongue?) or is there some intelligence behind the message that I'm too dense to decipher?

If this has already been discussed, just lead me to that discussion, or ignore the post, please. (Search turned up nothing)



Personally, I do believe we should speak English here in the US, and we should only sparingly accomodate those who cannot or will not learn the language-if that. English is the official language here, so learn it, ya know?
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joebaloney
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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2007, 10:27:42 am »

This post really tickled me. I'm at a coffee shop so I'll get some opinions of other people near me...

Guy #1 sitting next to me:

"The guy's a crusty ol' asswipe and has got nothing better to do than drive around spewing hate at people he's never met for things that have no effect on him whatsoever." He said it reminded him of this Onion news broadcast.

Guy #2 sitting next to me:

"Man, that's one racist dude. God forbid that Americans might have to learn a few words of a foreign language."
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restored2x
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« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2007, 10:29:31 am »

I lived in Latin America for 10 years. When I first went there, I knew that if I wanted to make myself understood, I would have to learn spanish.

It would have been arrogant of me to expect people to speak english. Yet, I met plenty of gringos who would complain when people wouldn't speak english to them. I never understood that attitude - after all, we were the "ferners".

Not once, in all the countries I lived in or visited did I see a banner that proclaimed, "Bienvenidos a nuestro pais. Habla español!" That would have been rude and cruel. Not once did I encounter that kind of attitude. I don't think the truck's message serves the purpose of encouraging immigrants to speak english, nor to welcome them - it is an insult and rude behavior - it is like putting out an "Unwelcome Mat".

I too am frustrated when I try to do business with a company and cannot understand the english spoken. I agree that a certain level of proficiency is required for doing business here, or for an english-speaking market (like an overseas call center).

The issue is communication, not intelligence. Just because you speak english or exclusively english, and an immigrant struggles with his english, does not make that person a moron or an idiot. We should not treat people like retards, or try to make them feel inferior because of a communication problem. This only further isolates the immigrant and assimilation becomes all that more difficult.

The message on the truck comes off to me as bigoted and borderline racist. It is not a sign of patriotism or "americanism". At least I hope it's not.
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cannon_fodder
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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2007, 10:37:21 am »

English is second only to Chinese if you figure in secondary speakers, and even that is debatable.  Some say it is #1 because of Pakistan and India having large English speaking populations.  Not to mention, in China most professional people and many people in the cities speak English.

The language is not superior for any inherent reason, but if you had to know ONE language English would be it.  Chinese is not very helpful outside of China...
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restored2x
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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2007, 10:37:25 am »

quote:
Originally posted by mr.jaynes

quote:
Originally posted by restored2x

I saw this truck yesterday on 169 as I drove home from work. Nice, big Ford truck with giant lettering on the back window - "WELCOME TO AMERICA, SPEAK ENGLISH". The vanity OK plate also said "SPK ENG".

For some reason, this really got me up in arms. I guess I can understand how the person may feel - maybe. Perhaps someone on here can enlighten me.

Before the discussion begins, let me tell you how I feel initially:

The message on the truck displays ignorance in that it doesn't say, "Learn English", just "speak english", as though every person on earth (or at least an immigrant) is born with a command of the english language and is just refusing to speak it.

The message on the truck is ethnocentric, in that it assumes english is the best or only language an American should speak. Ethnocentricity has it's roots not in patriotism, but in arrogance and cultural bias.

I could go on - but I'd rather hear feedback from you first. Am I missing something? Is this just based in fear (is the guy in the truck afraid those "ferners" are talking about him everytime they speak in their native tongue?) or is there some intelligence behind the message that I'm too dense to decipher?

If this has already been discussed, just lead me to that discussion, or ignore the post, please. (Search turned up nothing)



Personally, I do believe we should speak English here in the US, and we should only sparingly accomodate those who cannot or will not learn the language-if that. English is the official language here, so learn it, ya know?



I agree with that.

My problem is with people who care about what language someone speaks when they are not doing official business or are talking among themselves. Why should I care what language is dominant in your home? If someone is having a private conversation, what business is it of mine what language it is done in?

If it bothers me - why does it bother me?
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Kashmir
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« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2007, 10:39:56 am »

All I have to say is I was at Supertarget, and my total was $3.32.  I gave the cashier $5.35.  She said "What eezz thes?" in a very charming, exotic lounge. I said "It's $5.35" The lovely lady then said "Vhat do I do weeth thes? I said "ummmm, you can give me $2.03 change"  "Vhat?" and so on.  I guess everyone else just scans the debit card! LOL!

I don't know where I'm going, but maybe I don't care how well anyone speaks what...just know the currency!!

When I worked for CAP, they told us in training that it was rude to do home visitations, parent teacher conferences in English if the parents spoke Spanish! So on top of my low pay and demanding hours, I gotta learn Spanish!  Sheesh! No wonder I quit social work and went to real estate!

However, when I did real estate I had several possible home-buyers Spanish only speaking.  I would always lead them to another friend who was Spanish fluent and let her have the sale b/c I was terrified of being responsible for something so $$$$$ and everything not being crystal clear for the homebuyer.  And they preferred that anyway, so I lost some commissions there.

[Sad]

So looking back, accommodation has cost me on a personal level time and money.  My grandmother is from South America and being the social creature she is, picked up English superfast and didn't expect any favors from anyone.
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restored2x
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« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2007, 10:42:17 am »

quote:
Originally posted by cannon_fodder

English is second only to Chinese if you figure in secondary speakers, and even that is debatable.  Some say it is #1 because of Pakistan and India having large English speaking populations.  Not to mention, in China most professional people and many people in the cities speak English.

The language is not superior for any inherent reason, but if you had to know ONE language English would be it.  Chinese is not very helpful outside of China...



IF you had to know ONE language. None of us HAS to know just one language. As a culture, we are monolingual. Many civilized, educated cultures in the world would not even accept that posit. Considering that we are a melting pot, and business leaders on a global scale - you'd think we would welcome other languages as an asset and not consider them "below us".
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MichaelC
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« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2007, 10:49:52 am »

I wish we knew more about what terms mean.  Patriotism is basic love of the State, as opposed to Nationalism; which basically revolves around the Nation.  Sometimes Patriotism describes a movement better, as in 4th of July.  A celebration of the state.  But sometimes Patriotism and Nationalism are interchangeable.  Is the old KKK Patriotic, or Nationalistic?   Answer: both?

We are not a "Nation-State", under the original meaning of the term.  Now, definitions change, and someone somewhere though Nation and State were redundant, and so they changed the definition.  Which makes the term completely meaningless.  And by default, makes Nationalism meaningless.

However, try telling that to the Nazi's.  They were hell bent on creating a true "Nation-State."  A state, owned and operated and populated by the German "nation."

We have no nationality.  We are multi-national, multi-cultural.  Is it Patriotism?  That's such a relative poorly defined term, that it might just be.  Depends on who you talk to.
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