Date: Fri, 1 Sep 1995 10:16:44 -0400
From: Dennis R Preston preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU
Subject: Re: ADS-ANS deadline September 1 -Reply
I am especially fond of some of the most recent reponses to coded messages
which suggest that the sender is rude. For old childhood bilinguals like me, I
feel they are uncomfortably close to generally unfortunate US responses to
If one says something to his or her own speech community, another (even if
only an unratified overhearer [a term I am especially fond of, by the way]),
often responds angrily.
One of my favorite anecdotes comes from an Ann Arbor friend (just to show that
such xenophobia is not limited to what the hoity-toity may think of as
backwater areas). He was out for a stroll in one of the many public green
areas of Ann Arbor. Two young women speaking Arabic (which my friend is capable
of identifying, by the way) came strolling along the path in the other
direction. A local, walking near the young women and in the same direction,
turned to them and said (in what my friend decribed as a most unpleasant tone,
probably an understatement), SPEAK ENGLISH!
While we are on this general topic, did others see in their local newspapers
the notice that a judge in Amarillo TX found a woman guilty of child abuse
because she spoke only Spanish to her pre-school age child at home? Her avowed
purpose (since she is fluent in English) is to create a bilingual child.
Bilinguals, aint no bilinguals around these parts, pardner. What did a former
president say? Millions for elitist second language teaching but not one
penny for lower-status language preservation. If we are not careful, we may
succeed in English Only and end up with the peaceful and unified culture which
Serbo-Croatian provided the former Yugoslavia.
Wow! I must have got up on the Ann Arbor side of the bed today.
preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]pilot.msu.edu