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Should All Citizens Be Fluent In English?

Poll: Should All Citizens Be Fluent In English? (66 member(s) have cast votes)

Should all citizens be fluent in English?

  1. Yes (25 votes [37.88%])

    Percentage of vote: 37.88%

  2. They should at least try learning it (39 votes [59.09%])

    Percentage of vote: 59.09%

  3. No (2 votes [3.03%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.03%

Vote

#1 User is offline   fotaku07 

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 08:56 PM

After seeing Tim James political ad announcing that if he becomes governor he'll change the driver's test to only be in English rather than 12 languages. http://www.youtube.c...h?v=B9ohsvJHkbY

Politics and such aside what are your personal beliefs on the situation?

The USCIS requires that people pass an english test to become a naturalized citizen... but it's pretty simple. Basically if you get 30% right you pass. (I wish my college classes were that easy!) If you have a disability or are elderly you are exempt from this test.

To become a Japanese citizen from what I've heard one must be able to hold a conversation and be at a 3rd grade level in reading.

In Germany one must "have a sufficient command of the German language. Knowledge of German is an essential prerequisite for integration into their society."

To become Dutch the requirement is "You are sufficiently integrated in Dutch society and are able to read, write, speak and understand Dutch."

What do you guys think?

#2 User is offline   Kaay-chan 

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:02 PM

I don't necessarily think that people should have to be fluent in it, but considering the fact that it's basically the unofficial official language of the country, it's still important to have a basic understanding of it and be able to hold a decent conversation in it.

This post has been edited by Kaay-chan: 28 April 2010 - 09:02 PM

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#3 User is offline   Ishoku Osero 

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:06 PM

I honestly think we're way too lenient here. I had a customer at work that expected me to be able to converse with her in Spanish to help her find English books for her daughter. A lot of my co-workers know a lot of languages, but none of us working that particular day knew Spanish, and we were yelled at in a language we don't even understand for at least ten minutes before we had her escorted from the store. I'm so sorry I only know a bit of German and Japanese, and my co-worker knows French, and my other co-worker knows Hebrew, of all things (he's a Pastor, it's pretty awesome ).

I'm honestly not looking forward to the future considering how many areas there are in the country already that make you learn certain languages in school (a lot of times it changes depending on the area you live in). There are a LOT of different languages, and I firmly believe English should be the only official one in this country. I don't want to learn a language I'm not interested in for the benefit of people that won't even attempt to learn the language we speak here. Other countries expect you to at least be able to hold a decent conversation in order to live there (or heck, even just vacationing there, it's only common courtesy ), so I don't understand why we (as a country ) often fail to do the same.

This post has been edited by Ishoku Osero: 28 April 2010 - 09:07 PM


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:12 PM

View PostIshoku Osero, on Apr 28 2010, 10:06 PM, said:

I honestly think we're way too lenient here. I had a customer at work that expected me to be able to converse with her in Spanish to help her find English books for her daughter. A lot of my co-workers know a lot of languages, but none of us working that particular day knew Spanish, and we were yelled at in a language we don't even understand for at least ten minutes before we had her escorted from the store. I'm so sorry I only know a bit of German and Japanese, and my co-worker knows French, and my other co-worker knows Hebrew, of all things (he's a Pastor, it's pretty awesome ).

I'm honestly not looking forward to the future considering how many areas there are in the country already that make you learn certain languages in school (a lot of times it changes depending on the area you live in). There are a LOT of different languages, and I firmly believe English should be the only official one in this country. I don't want to learn a language I'm not interested in for the benefit of people that won't even attempt to learn the language we speak here. Other countries expect you to at least be able to hold a decent conversation in order to live there (or heck, even just vacationing there, it's only common courtesy ), so I don't understand why we (as a country ) often fail to do the same.

You mean Rabbi? lol

Anyways, I agree with you here. I know a little bit of German and Japanese, but I have no interest in learning Spanish because of all the Spanish speaking people here. I don't like the language and I have no intention on learning it. I'll learn what I want to learn, not what I "have" to learn.

Though, I do wanna learn Polish and Russian. I've had people who speak Russian and Polish try to talk to me in their language because they think I know it. Some ask if I do, which is nice of them.

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View PostFoolish Humon, on 13 June 2010 - 07:19 PM, said:

Ladies ladies ladies, if you find a man whose only concern about a woman is her breast size, he just may be dumb enough to believe you if you say you have Ds when you have Bs. :thumbup:

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:13 PM

Honestly Yes I think people should be able to Speak and Understand English. Moreso Understand it than speak it. Its so frustrating when Im at work and trying to do my job when I cant understand what they're asking me or when I try to ask them questions about what they want and they just stare at me.

Like the lady yesterday who had a problem with her credit card bill and didnt speak hardly any english. Im trying to explain it to her and she has no idea what Im saying and then proceeds to attempt to argue with me about it in spanish. She finally got fed up and left.

I suppose that it may make me ignorant, but i feel that if I were to live in a different country where people spoke another language I would be expected to learn and understand their language and I think the same should apply to our country.


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#6 User is offline   Ishoku Osero 

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:14 PM

Nope, a Pastor. He knows Hebrew and a couple other languages because he likes to directly translate the text from older versions of religious documents. He's very, very interested in learning about all sorts of religions. I've had him speak in the different languages he knows before, it's really cool. I look up to him like crazy. xD

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:15 PM

View PostIshoku Osero, on Apr 28 2010, 10:14 PM, said:

Nope, a Pastor. He knows Hebrew and a couple other languages because he likes to directly translate the text from older versions of religious documents. He's very, very interested in learning about all sorts of religions. I've had him speak in the different languages he knows before, it's really cool. I look up to him like crazy. xD

That's really neat. =3
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View PostFoolish Humon, on 13 June 2010 - 07:19 PM, said:

Ladies ladies ladies, if you find a man whose only concern about a woman is her breast size, he just may be dumb enough to believe you if you say you have Ds when you have Bs. :thumbup:

#8 User is offline   Keiichi-chan 

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:21 PM

even as someone who's had friends who spoke either chinese or spanish as their first language, yes you should definitely learn the language of the country you plan to live in till you die. i realize english is an especially hard language to pick up if you haven't been raised with it, but still...=\

#9 User is offline   fotaku07 

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:23 PM

Thanks for all the replies so far ^^

View PostIshoku Osero, on Apr 28 2010, 10:14 PM, said:

Nope, a Pastor. He knows Hebrew and a couple other languages because he likes to directly translate the text from older versions of religious documents. He's very, very interested in learning about all sorts of religions. I've had him speak in the different languages he knows before, it's really cool. I look up to him like crazy. xD


That's pretty awesome. I wish I knew Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek. It'd be interesting to read stuff in the original language.

#10 User is offline   Sweet Sunshine 

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:25 PM

I don't think ALL citizens should be FLUENT, cause really it takes a lot of work and studying to be truly fluent in another language, especially English. I'll go with Japan's specification, the ability to hold a conversation and read at an elementary level. :o I mean, you wouldn't go to France or Italy or Japan and yell at their shopkeepers for not speaking English, would you? D: That's just excessively selfish.

Same with the Spanish thing. Just because there's a large population of Spanish-speaking people in this country, that doesn't mean we all have to speak Spanish too. D: Sure, it'd be nice, but it's more the foreigner's responsibility to learn than the native's and that should go for any country. That also means every other country shouldn't have to learn English to accommodate their American visitors. :< Yep, I said it.

This post has been edited by Sweet Sunshine: 28 April 2010 - 09:26 PM



#11 User is offline   Ishoku Osero 

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:30 PM

View PostSweet Sunshine, on Apr 28 2010, 10:25 PM, said:

I don't think ALL citizens should be FLUENT, cause really it takes a lot of work and studying to be truly fluent in another language, especially English. I'll go with Japan's specification, the ability to hold a conversation and read at an elementary level. :o I mean, you wouldn't go to France or Italy or Japan and yell at their shopkeepers for not speaking English, would you? D: That's just excessively selfish.

Same with the Spanish thing. Just because there's a large population of Spanish-speaking people in this country, that doesn't mean we all have to speak Spanish too. D: Sure, it'd be nice, but it's more the foreigner's responsibility to learn than the native's and that should go for any country. That also means every other country shouldn't have to learn English to accommodate their American visitors. :< Yep, I said it.


No worries, I basically said it too.

#12 User is offline   Keiichi-chan 

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:34 PM

^i don't think the governor or topic mean people in other countries, though. ^^;;
i hate the idea americans have that people in every other country should accommodate them, but
on the other hand, english is the official language of this country. if you're visiting another
country, you should make an attempt to learn a few basic words and phrases of their official
language, and if you plan to LIVE in an english-speaking country, you should probably plan on
learning english.

yeck though...after seeing that ad, there is a slightly 'birther' sort of subtle anti-immigrant vibe
to it..
=\

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:34 PM

I get that some people come to this country because conditions in theirs are harsh and they save all their life to try to give their children a better life than they had. Its hard to learn english. That being said, you can not really function in this country without it and if you expect to live here, you should learn it. Just like I would expect to have to learn German if I randomly decided one day I wanted to live there.

Plus, we would save a lot of money printing official documents in only 1 language...Money that we as a country could really use, especially right now. If nothing else we could use the money we spend there and put them into other programs to better our nation.
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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:35 PM

What we need is a universal translator implant.
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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:35 PM

I voted for attempting to learn it, but I'll further explain my point of view. It all depends on your definition of "fluent". They should be at least be able to understand native American English speakers and be able to get their point across in English. I've worked with and gone to school with foreigners (typically Indians), and I'm not sure you would be able to call them fluent. They definitely struggle with it, however, they definitely KNOW English and with some effort they can get their point across (if through some difficulty them finding the right words and I able to understand them through the accent), but they still speak English pretty well for it being their second language. This, I believe, is acceptable.

However, if a person expects everyone else to cater to them and learn a second language when we primarily speak English in this country, is honestly pretty arrogant. I wouldn't move to France and expect everyone to learn English for my sake; I'd learn French. America should be no different.
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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:38 PM

View PostKeiichi-chan, on Apr 28 2010, 11:34 PM, said:

^i don't think the governor or topic mean people in other countries, though. ^^;;
i hate the idea americans have that people in every other country should accommodate them, but
on the other hand, english is the official language of this country. if you're visiting another
country, you should make an attempt to learn a few basic words and phrases of their official
language, and if you plan to LIVE in an english-speaking country, you should probably plan on
learning english.

yeck though...after seeing that ad, there is a slightly 'birther' sort of subtle anti-immigrant vibe
to it..
=\

Actually the United States has no official language, English is just the most spoken language. We are the only nation in the world to have such a distinction.
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#17 User is offline   fotaku07 

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:41 PM

View PostSweet Sunshine, on Apr 28 2010, 10:25 PM, said:

That also means every other country shouldn't have to learn English to accommodate their American visitors. :< Yep, I said it.


I agree... I've been to Japan twice and don't speak any Japanese (well maybe just baka... but that's hardly a word to use when visiting lol) I felt bad when I got into situations where I couldn't point or communicate. So I'm going to learn the language before my next trip... or find a translator to hire.

On another note... angry customers who can't speak english are a good example. But I've experienced the language gap in a more friendlier way... my neighbor is Korean and speaks broken english. Her fiancee doesn't speak any. They're awesome people and I wish I could hang out with them more.. but because he doesn't speak english he won't even try to get to know me. :\ My neighbor also mentioned that she wish she knew english better because she wanted more diverse friends.. but being comfortable with speaking Korean every friend except for me is also Korean.

So in a way not at least understanding english segregates communities and builds up walls that I think really we'd be better without.

Has anyone ever volunteered to be an ESL teacher?

#18 User is offline   Keiichi-chan 

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:42 PM

View Postjsieczkar, on Apr 28 2010, 10:38 PM, said:

Actually the United States has no official language, English is just the most spoken language. We are the only nation in the world to have such a distinction.

D:

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:43 PM

View PostUnlucky Slayer, on Apr 28 2010, 10:35 PM, said:

What we need is a universal translator implant.

Needle right to the brain. :< Let's do this.


#20 User is offline   fotaku07 

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:45 PM

View PostUnlucky Slayer, on Apr 28 2010, 10:35 PM, said:

What we need is a universal translator implant.


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 10:08 PM

I pretty much agree with what everyone's posted. English may not be our official language, but the majority of people here speak it. What sense does it make to move to a country and not know how to communicate in the language. As someone who's trying to learn as many languages as I'm able, I think it's fun to meet people who don't have English as their first language, but if you want me help you, I'm going to need at least a few words in English. So, I'm not saying they need to be fluent, but they should be able to speak a significant amount of it.
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Posted 28 April 2010 - 10:19 PM

When you're in Rome.


Seriously. We are too lenient on immigration and you know what, if they were like that to my ancestors I would know Gaelic and Norweigian but no. They had to throw away their language to be citizens and had really tough lives while we pretty much let immigrants now join on the free money and stuff wagon. I'm not saying that everyone has it easy that's an immigrant, but from what I've seen in working customer service...it just sickens me. I absolutely hate it when kids have to translate what their parents want to say because they cant speak even a little bit of the language. I mean TRY people. Freaking TRY. I know it is difficult to learn a second language but if you are going to have a new life in a new country at least be able to COMMUNICATE with a vast majority of the people instead of forcing us to learn YOUR language. I mean if I were to move to a different country I would learn the language. It just makes sense.

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 10:21 PM

I agree. I hate it when kids have to translate for their parents. I get that all the time. They say something to their kid in whatever language they speak and the kid comes up to me and asks the question.

It annoys me so much.

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View PostFoolish Humon, on 13 June 2010 - 07:19 PM, said:

Ladies ladies ladies, if you find a man whose only concern about a woman is her breast size, he just may be dumb enough to believe you if you say you have Ds when you have Bs. :thumbup:

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 10:24 PM

View PostLina, on Apr 28 2010, 11:21 PM, said:

I agree. I hate it when kids have to translate for their parents. I get that all the time. They say something to their kid in whatever language they speak and the kid comes up to me and asks the question.

It annoys me so much.


To me it feels like a slap in the face. Really it does and it happens all of the time. Not to mention the amount of theft and it is not racial profiling...I actually witness it.... <_<
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Posted 28 April 2010 - 10:26 PM

It's getting to the point (or maybe it's been like this for a hot minute) where not even the kids know English. I remember one of those game demo things at Targets was acting up and this dude and his daughter wanted me to help fix it. Neither of them spoke English. They were very good at gesturing though.
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Posted 28 April 2010 - 10:28 PM

View PostSka_Toranpetta, on Apr 28 2010, 11:24 PM, said:

To me it feels like a slap in the face. Really it does and it happens all of the time. Not to mention the amount of theft and it is not racial profiling...I actually witness it....

Last week, these Indians opened a display case to get some Black Forest Cake slices and put them in the bags that you put bagels in and you aren't supposed to do that. You are supposed to ask an employee because there are price stickers and they are supposed to be packaged properly.

They told me they did it before. I was furious and told them that they aren't supposed to do that and that they could get in serious trouble. They are lucky I didn't call a manager.

Luckily, I caught them before I started writing on a cake.

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View PostFoolish Humon, on 13 June 2010 - 07:19 PM, said:

Ladies ladies ladies, if you find a man whose only concern about a woman is her breast size, he just may be dumb enough to believe you if you say you have Ds when you have Bs. :thumbup:

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 10:29 PM

View PostSka_Toranpetta, on Apr 28 2010, 11:19 PM, said:

When you're in Rome.


Seriously. We are too lenient on immigration and you know what, if they were like that to my ancestors I would know Gaelic and Norweigian but no. They had to throw away their language to be citizens and had really tough lives while we let pretty much let immigrants now join on the free money and stuff wagon. I'm not saying that everyone has it easy that's an immigrant, but from what I've seen in working customer service...it just sickens me. I absolutely hate it when kids have to translate what their parents want to say because they cant speak even a little bit of the language. I mean TRY people. Freaking TRY. I know it is difficult to learn a second language but if you are going to have a new life in a new country at least be able to COMMUNICATE with a vast majority of the people instead of forcing us to learn YOUR language. I mean if I were to move to a different country I would learn the language. It just makes sense.

Had this all the time at Sears. There was one guy who came into the hardware department all the time, couldn't speak a lick of English, so he had his son (couldn't have been more than about 5) do all the speaking for him.
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Posted 28 April 2010 - 10:42 PM

View PostSka_Toranpetta, on Apr 29 2010, 12:24 AM, said:

To me it feels like a slap in the face. Really it does and it happens all of the time. Not to mention the amount of theft and it is not racial profiling...I actually witness it.... <_<

So you would prefer to try and discipliner broken English then deal with a translator. Heck before my grandparents died when I was little half the stuff they said my dad had to convert into English so that we could understand it. For a century now this is how it worked the first generation were never fluent in English, but their kids learn English and the native language. The grand kids speak English and maybe the home language. I'm only second generation American and everyone in my family can still speak Polish to some extent, but my generations kids probably won't unless they want to. The only thing that changed from when my grandparents got here is the 24hr news media and the fact that it is illegal to hang sighs that say Pols, Krauts, Catholics, Jews not wanted. These signs were prevalent in Buffalo, and Chicago, people have found new ways to go after immigrants. The really amusing thing is that when Americans go overseas they do expect everyone to also speak English.
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Posted 28 April 2010 - 11:02 PM

View Postfotaku07, on Apr 28 2010, 10:41 PM, said:

I agree... I've been to Japan twice and don't speak any Japanese (well maybe just baka... but that's hardly a word to use when visiting lol) I felt bad when I got into situations where I couldn't point or communicate. So I'm going to learn the language before my next trip... or find a translator to hire.


While I'm far from fluent, I do know some Japanese. I always felt bad as well when I tried to do something that requires communication... at say the post office. When I was in Tokyo for a week, I decided to ship most of my luggage back as having only a carry-on when traveling is so much more pleasant. I assemble some phrases to ask the people there (asking them if I can send my luggage through the post office). I ask the guy there if I can send luggage and it seems like he said yes. I go back there carrying my luggage (a wheeled duffel bag), but he then changes his mind and says I can't do it. He eventually tries to tell me to buy a box that he points at, which I eventually answer him that I want it in a way that he understands. I ask him if I can fill the box there at the post office, but i quickly find out it will take some doing as the box wasn't big enough to take the whole duffel without some rearranging. I go back to the hotel and manage to get the package filled and sealed (the box came with tape and plastic straps which was nice). Go back to the post office and ship the thing without anymore hassle. A few weeks later after I'm back in the USA it arrives. :clap:

When it comes down to it.... it's actually kind of fun trying to communicate, but I can understand natives might not be too thrilled to deal with foreigners. :lol:

I do think it's a good idea for people to try their best to learn the native language of a country. This is especially true for kids that go to school here. I don't understand the need to separate them. Or at least they should try to transition them into normal English thought classes as soon as possible.

#30 User is offline   Matt PNiewski 

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 11:02 PM

Yes, people who live in America should learn English. But knowing the English language should not be a requirement for moving here. Everyone should try. But learning a language isn't something that happens over night. I work a customer service job, and I am so excited when I see somebody who spoke nothing but Portaguese before putting together a few simple sentences. Especially since many of these people are self taught. Not everyone can afford classes, and I know from experience self teaching is a pain in the butt. I mean, give these people SOME credit.

Yes, I know, there are people who don't learn at all. And that's terrible. But you can't do anything about them without causing problems for just about everyone else.

I got an anecdote about that. We had a couple guys in our line at work, and they didn't speak English at all. And after a lot of confusion, they left. The customer behind them makes a comment to the cashier "Don't you hate that?" and the cashier says "Yeah, well, it's tough. I mean, my Grandparents came her from Germany...." and the person says "Yeah, well, they speak English." And she says "Yeah. NOW they do."


I say it's time for everyone in America to shut the hell up and learn another language. How the hell can we expect other people to learn a language when the majority of the country is only fluent in English? Heck, many High Schools no longer require more than a semester of Spanish, French, or German (the ones offered to me). Want the Immigrants to speak English? Fine. But first, learn to speak Goddamn Spanish. No, I'm absolutely serious. Don't even THINK about complaining about another human being not understanding your language, when you are not even trying to learn one of your own.

This is a thing that has been pissing me off since High School.

Hell, I don't even care if people learn Klingon. At least learn something. I have been learning Gaelige, and I can read it pretty damn well. I do have issues speaking, and producing sentences still takes time. But the language is pretty useless, but as long as you learn how other languages work.

Another rant, how did people become so bad at understanding each other that the language barrier is a much bigger one than it was in the past? Explorers and Missionaries didn't need to know the words, they would learn, and teach. Traders could find common ground. Now you can't even understand what the guy in the check out line wants?



EDIT: This is not raging at anyone, just rage in general. I would also say that a great compromise between making all people know English before coming into the country would be to make Low-Cost English Language classes available (meaning Mandatory) to incoming immigrants.

This post has been edited by Matt PNiewski: 28 April 2010 - 11:13 PM

Jimmy Olsen to the Real Life Superheroes.

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