Date: Fri, 1 Sep 1995 10:22:04 -0600 From: Marianna Di Paolo 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. >[dInIs] > 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 m.dipaolo[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Linguistics Program 2300 LNCO University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT 84112