In today’s society, not many products in America are labeled in English. You know that almost anything you pick up will be translated, in smaller font underneath into what we usually expect, Spanish or the occasional French translation. America, if it wasn’t all ready, is becoming a very diverse country and we can only expect our population to grow.
“When you come to America, you better speak English,” is a phrase I hear so often. I do agree with this statement because English is our spoken language and if you would like to live here or visit then you should learn it. Usually not long before or after I hear someone say this, they were just bragging about their summer trip they spent in Puerto Rico, France, Spain, Germany, or anywhere abroad.Then I’m suddenly confused and rather shocked at how hypocritical they sound because not only did they not know some of the most basic phrases or questions of the language of that country they had just visited, they also didn’t even take the time to learn it. In that case, what was the sense in going in the first place?
It is great to experience the culture and do touristy things, but you also take in so much more when you can at least get by trying to speak some of the language. I feel that if someone is going to tell another that they need to speak English when they live here then they should definitely learn the language of the country they are going to visit. Now, I’m not saying to speak it fluently, but it would be respectful and open minded of someone to be able to ask simple questions and say every day phrases to communicate with the locals just as a tourist or new immigrant would try here.
English is not the only language in the world, although a good amount of people like to think it is. Sometimes I feel that the Spanish speaking population of our country is looked down upon not just as the stereotypical “illegal immigrant” but as unintelligent also. Just because someone has a very strong accent and does not say every word “properly” does not mean they are ignorant. I actually look at people who can speak more than one language as very intelligent and can probably teach me more than they realize. I know this does not apply to everyone but I wish people would be willing to learn more about the person that they were just complaining about because I’m sure they have a better story of how they got here in the first place than you may think.
Learning new languages can be fun and guaranteed to be beneficial for you in the future. Yes, it takes time but everyone understands that life is a constant learning process and if you put your best foot forward to learn a language then you will soon realize that it actually makes you think differently in a sense and more curious about other people from other countries. So next time you hear a person speaking something other than English don’t just assume anything about them, instead try to actually listen and see what words and phrases you recognize. Sometimes your best teacher can be yourself.