Date: Fri, 1 Sep 1995 10:22:04 -0600

From: Marianna Di Paolo m.dipaolo[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]M.CC.UTAH.EDU

Subject: Re: ADS-ANS deadline September 1 -Reply

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.



Since this recent court decision seems to me to be a more pertinent topic

for this list than uudecoding, I thought I would take the opportunity to

jump in. I was just interviewed by a local radio talk show host about this

incident. Although he is an avowed right-winger and is on a conservative

radio station that broadcasts throughout the region dominated by Salt Lake

City, he agreed with me that it is good to promote early childhood

bilingualism and that it is very unreasonable to call it "child abuse" as

the judge in the custody hearing did. Unfortunately, I didn't get to hear

the subsequent discussion between the host and the callers, but my guess is

that it was largely pro-bilingualism. Why? Because the LDS (Latter Day

Saints/Mormon) Church promotes second language learning and seems to be

(recently??) also promoting language maintenance. I am fairly sure that

this is connected to the missionary functions of the LDS Church. But maybe

someone out there can say more about this. In spite of the supposed

positive regard for bilingualism, I still get more xenophobic responses to

my name here than I remember getting in Texas and it would also be no

surprise to hear that Dennis' Ann Arbor incident actually happened in Salt

Lake City. And like Dennis, I may be more sensitive to the contradictory

attitudes towards bilingualism because I am an early childhood bilingual.

Anyway, I think that it's important to keep in mind that Amarillo is

probably one of the least bilingual of the Texas cities of its size because

of its social history. I think that it would have been very unlikely for a

judge south of the "language line" in Texas to decide that the mother's use

of Spanish was abusive.

Marianna Di Paolo


Linguistics Program

2300 LNCO

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT 84112