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.