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Thread: Make sure your child can speak Spanish- Barack Obama

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    ^^^ Sorry, that is BS. There are PLENTY of Europeans who can't just 'hop over' the border to the neighbouring country. I live in Ireland right now and still plenty of people learn other languages. There is WAY less chance of being able to use Spanish here than in a lot of American cities, but everyone learns a foreign language at school (usually Spanish, French or German) in addition to Irish and English. That argument just doesn't wash with me, sounds like an excuse for being too lazy to bother.

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    Elite Member katerpillar's Avatar
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    Please - Americans can't even speak English!

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    It's one thing to speak the language of the country you either choose to live in or are even born in. It's another to learn a foreign language as part of your general education. I don't think the 'native' English speakers here realise how lucky we are that the rest of the world has adopted English as the 'international language'. I'm always very impressed by the high standard of English among GR members who have it as a second or even third language. If we all suddenly had to speak Hungarian or even French in order to get by in international communication I can just imagine what would happen.
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    I don't know about all school districts, as it's different in each city, but in NYC when I was a student a foreign language was a required course. Our choices at that time were Italian, French, German, Spanish or Russian. Latin was required later on, and in college I was also required to take a language.

    The world has adopted English as the international language up until now, as the greatest economic powers have lain with GB and the US. As the world changes, other languages are coming to greater importance in the business world, but Spanish isn't really one of them.

    Mandarin, Hindi, Portuguese are the languages of the most rapidly growing economies...Spanish has less importance than English in the global market.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carmina View Post
    ^^^ Sorry, that is BS. There are PLENTY of Europeans who can't just 'hop over' the border to the neighbouring country. I live in Ireland right now and still plenty of people learn other languages. There is WAY less chance of being able to use Spanish here than in a lot of American cities, but everyone learns a foreign language at school (usually Spanish, French or German) in addition to Irish and English. That argument just doesn't wash with me, sounds like an excuse for being too lazy to bother.
    Well, from what I understand people in Europe can travel from country to country as easily as Americans can visit, say, Colorado if they live in Virginia. So for Europeans there is a lot more opportunity to visit foreign countries and be immersed in a different language.

    I took 5 years of Spanish and 1 year of Latin in school and the only time I have used it in real life is when I once asked a Hispanic janitor at the mall food court where the high chairs were. My family was not wealthy enough to send me overseas for study abroad or even on a vacation.

    Quote Originally Posted by msdebagain View Post
    nope. either you speak MY language in MY country, or go home. but, we're so goddamned busy catering to the 'outsiders' we cant operate our own land. grrrrrrrrrr
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    Last edited by Tati; July 24th, 2008 at 09:21 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PurpleHaze View Post
    ^ though it seems like it mostly is.
    out of curiosity do students in the states have to learn a forgein language? or is it all voluntary/ an optional subject? then again i have no clue how it is handled in other european countries?! all i know is that in germany we have to learn english and at least in "gymnasium" you have to learn one more. usually you can choose between french and latin (mostly students that want to be doctors or such choose that).
    Foreign language was always mandatory when I was in school. I took it in middle school, high school, and continue to take it in college now. I've taken both Spanish and French, and can understand others when they speak in Spanish. I think learning other languages and about other cultures is extremely important- but at the same time we shouldn't have to do it to cater to immigrants. That's not the point of foreign language courses. And if they come here they should try to learn the language (not saying it can be learned overnight, but at least TRY).

    But on another note I am similarly impressed by many of the posters here from other countries who know English. It's amazing since it's one of the hardest languages to learn.
    Last edited by nycgirl; July 10th, 2008 at 10:04 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PurpleHaze View Post
    ^ though it seems like it mostly is.

    that's a pretty general statement....sort of like us saying 'all europeans smell bad and have poor hygiene'...and I've known lots of Europeans that only know one language......it's just depends on the individual...

    yes, there are plenty of Americans that can only speak one language, but America is a big big place.... not that much smaller than all of Europe as a whole.......and lots of Americans are bi/ tri- lingual

    Ironically W can speak Spanish......can Obama?
    Last edited by witchcurlgirl; July 10th, 2008 at 01:52 PM. Reason: added to post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honey View Post
    Errr, I don't think that is true, silly man
    It is true in a way - most Americans I have crossed paths with overseas can't speak the native language of the country they are in ... I usually can't either.

    But heres the thing .... almost everyone speaks English, so why learn another language anyway?

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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    that's a pretty general statement....sort of like us saying 'all europeans smell bad and have poor hygiene'...and I've known lots of Europeans that only know one language......it's just depends on the individual...
    that's exactely why i said seems like imo there's a difference in saying "it mostly is" or in your case saying "all europeans smell bad and have poor hygiene" compared to saying to "it seems like..." but maybe i am just petty minded

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    [QUOTE=witchcurlgirl;1277409]that's a pretty general statement....sort of like us saying 'all europeans smell bad and have poor hygiene'...and I've known lots of Europeans that only know one language......it's just depends on the individual...

    yes, there are plenty of Americans that can only speak one language, but America is a big big place.... not that much smaller than all of Europe as a whole.......and lots of Americans are bi/ tri- lingual

    Ironically W can speak Spanish......can Obama?[/QUOTE]


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    Learn english or leave!

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    I deal with a lot of European tourists on a daily basis and I'm surprised how many of them barely speak any English. I was truly surprised because I was under the impression that they are stereotypically good at languages due to their geographical environment/history/educational background etc. They may have learned other languages through school but that doesn't necessarily mean they are fluent. So I agree with the poster that said it really depends on the individual.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snuffy View Post
    But heres the thing .... almost everyone speaks English, so why learn another language anyway?
    Why not? It's never going to hurt to be bi- or multilingual. I think it's always very good thing if you can speak one or more languages beside your mother tonge, at least at a conversational level. It's handy as a tourist and in international business - you might be surprised by how many people overseas aren't able to speak English as a second language, but often they know French, Arabic, Spanish or something else as a second language instead. When I went to Malaysia, I noticed a lot of the locals could speak only very, very broken English... but were able to chat away fluently in French or Mandarin!

    I admit, I don't really know any languages other than English myself, but I'm learning! I figure it's never too late to add another language, and there's no rush... you can always go at your own comfortable pace.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PurpleHaze View Post
    ^ though it seems like it mostly is.
    out of curiosity do students in the states have to learn a forgein language? or is it all voluntary/ an optional subject? then again i have no clue how it is handled in other european countries?! all i know is that in germany we have to learn english and at least in "gymnasium" you have to learn one more. usually you can choose between french and latin (mostly students that want to be doctors or such choose that).
    It's really not. I've lived and worked in several European countries. I speak English and French as first languages (was raised speaking both) and I still struggled in countries where neither of those languages is spoken. A few times, people in Germany, Italy, Sweden, etc. criticized me as a "dumb American" because I couldn't speak their language. The fact that I was fully bilingual didn't mean shit to them. I was an idiot because I couldn't string together a sentence in Swedish or German.

    Frankly, why would I learn either of those languages? Swedish is pretty much useless outside of Sweden, and German isn't terribly useful outside of central Europe. Both English and French are spoken worldwide.

    The most monolingual people I saw on planet Earth were the British. I think they're even more monolingual than we are despite studying foreign languages at a higher rate and living on Europe's doorstep.

    There's a reason for that: they speak English already. Australians are also fairly monolingual, and most English-speaking Canadians I've met cannot speak French to save their lives. People who already speak English as a first language don't really need to learn another language because English is the world's most widely-spoken language. For speakers of other languages, English is an obvious choice when shopping for a language to learn. For us...what do we pick? Americans may plump for Spanish. Canadians may go for French, but they don't really need to to deal with the Quebecois as many of them speak English anyway. I don't understand their accent very well so when I visit Quebec I usually speak English anyway. What language should the Brits focus on learning? You could make a case for Spanish, as they seem focused on colonizing parts of Spain. You could make a case for Polish, as the UK has absorbed a large number of Polish migrants whose English is limited or absent. I could go on and on.

    In France, I encountered a lot of people who couldn't speak English at all; they didn't know a single word of English. I didn't expect anyone there to speak English and it wasn't an issue if they didn't, but many friends there wanted to practice their English with me. I was always accomodating, but a lot of them could barely string a sentence together despite years of instruction in English. Overall they can stumble along in English better than we Americans can in their language, but that doesn't mean that everyone in France is able to switch effortlessly between the two languages and communicate effectively with a monolingual English-speaking tourist needing directions. The French are also very much like us in that it pisses them off when people come to their country and don't take the time to learn the simplest of phrases in French, such as "I don't speak French, do you speak English?" or "where is the bathroom?" We can't really fault them for that; we're the same way!

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