Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 20:01:35 -0700 From: Rima & Kim McKinzey Subject: Re: English Only Ok, I'll stick my 2 cents into this mess. I was taught that the purpose of speech (or writing) was communication. It is therefore mostly the responsibility of the speaker/writer to take care of that communication. Assuming communication to be a good and important thing, and I do, it is therefore incumbent upon the speaker/writer to achieve it. If I were in an other language speaking country, I would do my utmost to learn that language. I would find it crucial to be able to talk to and understand people/signs/ and what was going on around me. I would not think it reasonable for everyone there to necessarily accomodate my linguistic limitations. On the other hand, if there were an emergency or legal issue, I would very much want to find someone who spoke English and would go out of my way to do so. I would also appreciate it if emergency/danger/warning type signs were in English as well as other languages. If I wanted to function in that country, it would be my responsibility to learn their language. It would be their responsibility to make that learning accessible and inexpensive (if not free). I think it very important for people in this country to be able to communicate with each other. This creates at least some understanding and the possibility for friendship/goodwill/neighborliness/etc. This says nothing at all about what I would speak at home, teach my children, write in my diary. Like so many other things in this country, the English Only issue seems to be gone at backwards. ESL classes should be readily accessible, funded, popular. It should be abundantly clear to non-English speakers that their employment/educational/financial futures are severely limited by not speaking the predominant language used here. Yes, there are many more or less monolingual non-English speaking communities around the country, and if I were living in one of them - and had to function at all - I would try to gain at least a rudimentary knowledge of that language. But they should also learn English. It's a difficult issue that needs to be approached from both directions - the teaching and the learning. I know I'm not offering a solution, but at least I'm adding to the confusion. Rima