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Does Spanish in the U.S. actually present an inconvenience?

 

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  #1  
Old April 14, 2014, 01:40 PM
Zarnium Zarnium is offline
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Does Spanish in the U.S. actually present an inconvenience?

Every time there's a news article about the prevalence of Spanish in the U.S., there are always a bunch of commentors who say absurd things like "Mexicans need to assimilate and stop speaking Spanish, it makes me really angry when I see people speaking Spanish at the bus stop" or "Lowe's started putting up signs in Spanish, so I refuse to shop there anymore." These are obviously the most petty of the complaints, but since I don't live near a heavily Hispanic region of the U.S., I wanted to ask; is there really any major inconvenience or hardship to English-speakers caused by people speaking Spanish in the U.S.?

Frankly, I don't see what the big deal is; if Spanish-speakers want to move here and they continue to speak Spanish with other Spanish-speakers, get jobs where they can speak Spanish, and patronize businesses that they can speak Spanish at, it's no skin off my back. I suppose instances where a Spanish-speaker goes to an English-speaking establishment and demands to be served in Spanish are obnoxious, but I'd say that has more to do with that individual's rude behavior than anything directly related to the speaking of Spanish in the U.S. I don't see a problem with Spanish-speakers using Spanish in public, or in business settings where its appropriate, or with them using it with their children.

I may not live near many Spanish-speakers, but I do live in a college town where there are a lot of Chinese students. They speak Mandarin to each other, and they eat at Chinese restaurants where they order in Mandarin. Mandarin can usually be heard any time you go outside, and there are sometime signs and notices in Mandarin. The Chinese people don't always speak especially good English, but it's good enough that aren't any major communication barriers. This being said, none of the non-Chinese people here care, and it doesn't present any inconvenience to us. I don't see how the situation with Spanish-speakers is any different except that there are a lot more of them and they have a lot more political baggage tied to them.
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  #2  
Old April 14, 2014, 03:33 PM
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Inconvenience isn't the real issue. Those who are complaining are simply bigots, in my opinion. They have little to no tolerance for people who are different.

For some reason, Americans seem to be less tolerant of people who speak a foreign language. Perhaps this is because almost all who initially came to America were happy to embrace a new tongue (if their mother tongue wasn't English).

I don't know of a Spanish-speaking person living in America that refuses to learn English and insists that all Americans learn to speak Spanish. That sounds absurd.
Why can't an American who thinks everyone should learn to speak English see the same absurdity?

This has all been discussed before.
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Old April 14, 2014, 06:03 PM
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This ignorance has a funny side, and if I am not mistaken, an example of which I brought up in past threads. I fired someone who used to say "talk American!" to non-English speakers. Ignorance is sometimes worn with pride like fancy jewelry. Speaking English as opposed to talkin' American would have seemed suspiciously Un-American
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Old April 14, 2014, 08:35 PM
Zarnium Zarnium is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
I don't know of a Spanish-speaking person living in America that refuses to learn English and insists that all Americans learn to speak Spanish. That sounds absurd.
Well, I've read comments from people who swear they've seen this happen. I doubt that it's very common, but I don't want to assume anything, either.

I'm with you, I don't see any reason to think that Spanish being present in the U.S. is a problem. I suppose It conceivably could be if Spanish were to overcrowd English to the extent that it was at risk of going extinct in North America, but it's nowhere near that point currently, and it isn't at risk of becoming so in the future. English is the second or third most common native language in the world (depending on who you ask), and it has immense international clout. It's not in danger of disappearing.
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Old April 15, 2014, 08:52 AM
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Good question, Zarnium and good replies from others. The only inconvenience I see is to serious students of Spanish who happen to be strict constructionists, trying to learn castellano castizo and having to work through a hodgepodge of Spanglish words that have inflitrated it.
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Old April 15, 2014, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zarnium View Post
Every time there's a news article about the prevalence of Spanish in the U.S., there are always a bunch of commentors who say absurd things like "Mexicans need to assimilate and stop speaking Spanish, it makes me really angry when I see people speaking Spanish at the bus stop" or "Lowe's started putting up signs in Spanish, so I refuse to shop there anymore." These are obviously the most petty of the complaints, but since I don't live near a heavily Hispanic region of the U.S., I wanted to ask; is there really any major inconvenience or hardship to English-speakers caused by people speaking Spanish in the U.S.?

Frankly, I don't see what the big deal is; if Spanish-speakers want to move here and they continue to speak Spanish with other Spanish-speakers, get jobs where they can speak Spanish, and patronize businesses that they can speak Spanish at, it's no skin off my back. I suppose instances where a Spanish-speaker goes to an English-speaking establishment and demands to be served in Spanish are obnoxious, but I'd say that has more to do with that individual's rude behavior than anything directly related to the speaking of Spanish in the U.S. I don't see a problem with Spanish-speakers using Spanish in public, or in business settings where its appropriate, or with them using it with their children.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
Inconvenience isn't the real issue. Those who are complaining are simply bigots, in my opinion. They have little to no tolerance for people who are different.

For some reason, Americans seem to be less tolerant of people who speak a foreign language. Perhaps this is because almost all who initially came to America were happy to embrace a new tongue (if their mother tongue wasn't English).

I don't know of a Spanish-speaking person living in America that refuses to learn English and insists that all Americans learn to speak Spanish. That sounds absurd.
Why can't an American who thinks everyone should learn to speak English see the same absurdity?
I really like what Rusty has said.

My wife is a native Spanish speaker. She use to come home
from work saying that the boss had told her not to speak
Spanish at work. She told him, look, you speak English and
can express yourself in English. I feel the same with Spanish.
This would go on and on from time to time. I've had people
give me bad looks for speaking Spanish. Have had people
be rude to my wife and me when speaking Spanish in public.
Now there are so many Spanish speakers around it doesn't
happen much anymore.

This book below is really good and I got a lot of insight from it.
If you want an over all background on what has gone on
in the U.S. with Spanish speakers get this book. I saw
it for $5.00. It's an old book. At the time it was written
many of the things it talked about were tabu. You have
to remember The United States and Mexico had a bitter
war and Mexicans were considered the enemy. I have a
U.S. History book that talks about the Mexican American
War being dirtier than the Viet Nam War. It says for example
England and Spain were enemies and Americans saw Mexicans
who spoke Spanish as the English saw Spainards. Funny how
to many English speaking Americans all Spanish speakers are
the same. There is a kinship amoung all Spanish speakers in
the U.S. regardless of which of the 21 Spanish countries they
come from.


North From Mexico- The Spanish-Speaking People of the U.S. ...

Last edited by Rusty; April 15, 2014 at 07:00 PM. Reason: fixed quote - removed copied material
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Old April 15, 2014, 08:56 PM
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I agree with everyone else -- those who have problems with people speaking Spanish in the United States are simply bigots. English isn't even the official language in this country (there is no official language), nor is it native to the US (it's an import from England). Personally, I love the diversity of hearing different languages on the streets. It's one of the things I miss most about living in a larger city.
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Old April 16, 2014, 12:55 PM
Zarnium Zarnium is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haven View Post
I agree with everyone else -- those who have problems with people speaking Spanish in the United States are simply bigots. English isn't even the official language in this country (there is no official language), nor is it native to the US (it's an import from England). Personally, I love the diversity of hearing different languages on the streets. It's one of the things I miss most about living in a larger city.
To be fair, most of the anti-Spanish people I've seen also want English to be established as the official language... which itself is still something that I think is unnecessary and pointless.
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Old April 17, 2014, 11:58 AM
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I disagree

It's annoying to me that when you asked if this were a real problem everyone immediately started calling the other side racists. Like let's just give up on making clear cut arguments and start saying the other side is intolerant instead.

If you want a serious answer to your question go to a conservative forum and ask them. I don't agree with what they have to say, but it's unfair and weak to demonize them just because they don't think the same as we do.
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Old April 17, 2014, 04:53 PM
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Aside from the question appearing in the thread's title, the question was
Quote:
is there really any major inconvenience or hardship to English-speakers caused by people speaking Spanish in the U.S.?
This question was preceded by the original poster's own statement of disdain, indicating that he disapproves of absurd people who react in a critical way when they hear or see the Spanish/Mexican language used in the U.S.

All who posted thereafter apparently saw no 'major inconvenience or hardship to English-speakers caused by people speaking Spanish in the U.S.', since they all agreed with the original poster's indignation.

It looks to me like the question was answered.
Does the original poster concur?
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