Thursday, August 02, 2007

habla What?

As someone who travels to many countries on a regular basis, I try to be sensitive to the host people and their language. Obviously I cannot speak the languages in all the countries I visit, but I work at not being demanding regarding the native population speaking English.

The same courtesy is not extended to us in this country. People, legal and illegal (I don't much care what the PC term is - the law is the law) come here and expect us to adopt their language - or at least not learn ours and live in their cultural ghettoes while the government panders to them with everything printed in their own languages and free interpreters when they get in trouble with the law.

Last Saturday I got home in the afternoon and actually had a couple of hours to myself. I turned on the TV and tuned in to ESPN. The Pan American games broadcast was on. Only one problem: the whole thing was in Spanish. No subtitles; no English. Even some of the commercials were in Spanish.

I complained to the cable company and they told me all I had to do was use the SAP function on my TV. Is that anything like "press 2 for English?"

I enjoy many cultures; I try their foods and coffee, I dabble in learning at least some phrases in their languages even though I spend very little time in any one culture at any given time. BUT THIS IS AMERICA. We speak English.

It's time for that language amendment. Let's have an English-speaking country. If people want to speak Spanish, Hindi, Russian, Chinese - or any other language with friends and family that's fine. But the public and governmental language of this country should be English.

Thank you.