Ich verstehe heute die Mehrheit Amerikanisch Einwanderer spricht Spanisch. Es bedeute

I’ve always heard that Navajo was a particularly beautiful language. I’ll just zip on over to Border’s and pick up Navajo for Dummies. Or maybe Cherokee for Dummies, since they actually have this neato alphabet.

If only those native Americans would pick a single native language, then we could make that the official language of the United States!

Funny how people will completely ignore current statistics, while wholeheartedly embracing family anecdotes.

Here’s a hint: nobody’s going to tell you, “Back when Grampa Vlad came over from Russia to start our family’s life in America, well, he was kinda crappy at learnin’ English! 'Fact, he could barely order a durn turnip at the grocery! Yessir, no head for languages, that one.”

I respectfully beg to differ. It would seem to me that the inability to communicate would have a direct impact on how much one can contribute to and / or particpate in day to day living in this society. Perhaps “mandatory” is the wrong word. I think “necessary” is appropriate here.

Yeah, I can’t begin to tell you about all the jobs I’ve lost in the States because I don’t speak Spanish.* It’s just not right.

*Pero en Colombia consigué trabajo sin hablar español. ¡Que vaina!

Yeah, while we’re trotting out the ancestors, I’ll point out that my German ancestors were not that quick to embrace English. If it hadn’t been for anti-German sentiment born of World War I, they’d probably still be speaking German. And these are people who came in the 1850s and '60s, mind you.

My in-laws and their family came here from Portugal forty years ago. I would say that their command of English varies from good to poor. However, even the poorest has a better grasp of English than I do of Portuguese, or of any other language for that matter. Learning another language is difficult, and it only gets more difficult as you get older. It is no surprise that those who come here tend to stay with others who speak the same language. We are social beasts by our nature, and we tend to group where we can be understood.

Don’t look to the immigrants, but to their children. A teacher (my apologies, I can’t remember your name) once posted here that she would take immigrant children in her class anyday. They are the tranlators, the decision makers, the problem solvers - because they are thrust between their parents and this new culture and forced into adult encounters and negotiations. My wife was an example of this. She came here at the age of seven with no English, and was able to tranlate for her family before she was in High School. She went to college and became a teacher herself. Many of her students were also from other countries, and she saw the same traits in them that she had at their age.

Duffer, I don’t have your anger that the world is not adapting to my perceived values. I live in a “port” city with immigrants from all countries, and I feel all the richer for it.

Here’s hoping that this won’t harm anyone else:

“Wenn ist das Nunstruck git und Slotermeyer? Ja!..
Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!”

The big reason why assimilation seems so slow, IMHO, is that the homeland of many of these immigrants is so close. It’s easier to move from Mexico City to Los Angeles than from New York. “Back home” is a short drive away; anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days if you don’t stop. If they have money, they can fly home from just about anywhere in the continental US in three to five hours.

By comparison, for the immigrants arriving in the US in the 1920s and before, the journey took at least a couple of weeks. “Back home” could just as well have been on another planet.

Since other people are touching on this myth that Spanish-speaking immigrants are not learning English, I’d just like to mention that it’s rather a myth that German-speakers did! My great-grandfather was born in Pennsylvania - and yet, as a child, he spoke only German. He didn’t learn English until he was a teenager. In fact, settling into enclaves like that was the norm for German immigrants. At the start of the 20th century, fully 6% of children received their primary education entirely in German.

It’s funny how constant certain things have been throughout America’s history. There’s nothing new under the sun - and there’s always politicians who wish to exploit people’s lack of knowledge of history in order to pander to baseless fears. Anti-immigrant hysteria has a long, colorful history in the United States; I just hope this round ends soon.

Trouble is, it’s already been pointed out that there’n aren’t many Spanish speakers who expect that either. Why do you think most of them are learning English, as was demonstrated earlier in the thread?

You’re coming off a bit whiny, duffer dear.

Um, so the fact that immigrants are learning English - and likely more quickly than ever before, is a “kneejerk” or something “irrelevant”?

So you’re saying that businesses shouldn’t be allowed to pursue whatever customer base they wish?

Huh. I thought you were a capitalist.

What part didn’t you understand of the evidence posted earlier that they are learning English, and faster than most immigrant groups did historically?

Claro que sí. ¡Conseguí, idiota! :wink:

I don’t buy this. I knew a few legal immigrants, green card holders, and they were sometimes outright hostile towards the illegal immigrants. The legals also made every opportunity to converse in English, even when I tried my hand at speaking Spanish. Of course that could have just been because they felt it was less painful for them to speak English than to teach me Spanish.

I know, it’s just an anecdote so it carries no weight. I’m just passing on what I witnessed.

What bothers me most about complaints like this are that they unfairly invalidate my future in-laws’ existence. My girlfriend is Cantonese, and her family came here (to Canada, different country but same idea) as refugees after the Viet Cong took over. They’ve been here for 25 years, and her parents barely speak any English (or French) and what they can say is heavily accented. Yet somehow they’ve managed to be contributing members of society. They work hard (too hard), pay taxes, own property, and obey the laws of this country. And quite frankly, I can’t think of anything else to ask of them. Nothing about their lives serves as a detriment to me or any other person here. In fact, their presence, to my mind, enriches this country by bringing new aspects of a foreign culture to a place that might not experience. Like food, festivals, sports, etc. Who cares if they can’t really speak English, they still contribute and make this country better. Plus they provided my with a cute girl to fall for (who’s English is the same as mine, and who’s Cantonese is pretty rough).

The other thing I hate about this complaint is this notion of assimilation. What a sad, bland, generic world it would be if everyone assimilated. Imagine if people from various cultures all came to your country and then changed to be like everyone else. No Chinese restaurants, no Bollywood movies, no Oktoberfest. Blah. Whenever I hear someone say that immigrants should adapt to our culture it makes me mad. What’s so much better about our culture that it should be on top? Quite honestly, the only things I expect from immigrants are the same things I expect from everyone, everywhere: obey the laws, participate in the democratic process, don’t leech off the system unnecessarily, and respect all human rights. That’s it. If they want to stay Spanish, Chinese, or fucking Samoan, what do I care? And if businesses want to make money off them, and they are willing to pay, great. That’s why we have so many specialty channels on TV up here, in Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi, Tagalog (I think), German, etc, because there’s a market, and I say wonderful.

Eh, maybe I was wrong. Or at least pissed beyond coherency. Forget about it. Moving on.

Forget it? Maybe in a minute.

Moving on to what, exactly? Your next wrong, incoherent, pissed-off diatribe against some group of people you feel threatens you?

Sometimes I feel threads like this should require an exit exam, essay format, in which an OP must set out how he came to realize that her/his opinion was not informed by the available facts, not graced by a decent regard for the reality of sharing the planet with others, some of whom are different, and not possessed even of the virtue of consistency. In Duffer’s case, this might read as follows:

"I was wrong. It was wrong to assert, with no evidence and contrary to what several posters tried to tell me, that large numbers of present Spanish-speaking immigrants are resisting assimilation by refusing to learn or speak English. It was wrong to claim, with no evidence and contrary to what several posters tried to tell me, that previous generations of European immigrants (i.e., my forebears) worked harder to assimilate than current Spanish-speaking immigrants from this hemisphere, and it would have been an irrelevant and needlessly divisive argument even if it had been true, which it isn’t. It was wrong of me to fault my company for pursuing profit by serving some of its customers in their first language, and doubly wrong of me to blame the customers for the fact that because of them, my employer may soon require skills that I don’t have and don’t really want to learn. And it was wrong of me, once all of this became clear, to try to ignore all this and shrug off the whole thread with a “forget it - moving on,” rather than confronting these issues in a way that might make it less likely that I or others who may have been persuaded by me, will make these mistakes in the future.

“I am upset, justifiably I think, that my employer twisted my suggestion for Spanish-language training the way it did, deciding that it might be cheaper to train already-bilingual employees in the job than the already-employed to be bilingual. They may have been correct, but it was a poor reward for the loyalty and willingness to adapt on the part of those employees. Still, in blaming the least culpable party in this chain of events, I betrayed a lack of tolerance that I regret and would like now to discard.”

Then, essay completed, a poster gets to post again elsewhere.

Calm down, Soupster.

As much as the view that duffer is expressing frustrates me, It’s hard for me to get too angry about it. Because this is an idea that’s being repeated over and over - immigrants are coming to this country and refusing to learn English. And there’s nothing a normal person could do by observation of the world around them to determine that that’s false - and in fact, in any major city, you’ll hear people speaking all sorts of languages walking down the street. So it’s not obvious that immigrants are learning English. People tend to believe the things they’re told; that’s part of human nature - we basically assume, until we have real evidence otherwise, that people are being honest with us.

So it’s not surprising this idea was plausible to duffer. It isn’t plausible to me, but I wouldn’t have been able to contradict it until a couple semesters ago when I took a course in the sociolinguistics of Spanish in the United States. In reality, there’s no evidence at all that Latinos aren’t learning English. But that hasn’t stopped politicians and newspaper columnists from saying it. How is the average person who doesn’t have specific experience in that particular area supposed to realize that it’s a complete fabrication?

Assimilation by immigrants is, and has always been, a generational process. Some people who move to the U.S. as adults will develop excellent mastery of English, though they will usually be left with a strong accent. Some people won’t. It’s been like that since the country began - but in all cases, their kids learn English. While the children may well be bilingual, their children - the grandchildren of the immigrants - rarely retain much proficiency in their ethnic language at all. And that cycle has been pretty constant. But the truth isn’t a useful political tool, since it doesn’t tend to stir up the blood as much. That’s why politicians lie as they have been in regard to this issue. That’s why the newspaper editorialists lie. Lies like that are eminently useful, and most people don’t have the very specific expertise required to refute them.

Excalibre: That’s an explanation, but not a justification. The idea that immigrants aren’t learning English fits right in with the idea that immigrants are an evil, lazy ‘invasion’ about to destroy America as we know it. Personally, I don’t feel that Hispanophones have any need to prove that they’re learning English, even if they are, though I won’t pursue the point because I’m not sure many agree. However, show me someone who has a positive view of immigrants and believes the falsehoods that you claim is easy for anyone to soak up, and I’ll eat a hat made of delicious veggies and cheeses. The reason people absorb the lies is because it fits with what they want to believe.

That’s always good advice. But as I relax, I’d like to better articulate what upset me. It isn’t so much that I find some opinions wrong, repugnant and frustratingly persistent. It’s the lack of accountability that contributes so greatly to the persistence. In other words, nothing in this thread so ill-became the OP as his leaving it, with a non-disavowal and the advice to forget it and move on. In a place that values truth, that wouldn’t be nearly good enough.

And that’s why, when this and similar lies crop up, you don’t let the liars or repeaters of lies tell you to forget it and move on, so they can wander off to seek a more sympathetic or ignorant audience.

I’ll concede that I’m being more than a little schoolmarmish on this. But when you dump trash in a public place, damn it, you’re supposed to pick it up and apologize, not tell passersby to just ignore it. That serves only to create a society that not merely condones, but encourages bad behavior.

You’re not being schoolmarmish at all.

I thought your response was brilliant.

Part of the trouble here is that duffer is, in my experience, a bit disinclined from admitting he was wrong. I’m not sure we’ll get any better out of him. I think it’s best to simply tell him the truth, as we have done, and not attempt to browbeat him into publicly recanting his views. I think the educating part has been accomplished, and that’s what counts.

No, but there is some value in making people realize that before they try to organize a mob they should consider the possibility that the mob might turn on them instead. A little fear of the consequences might deter some thoughtless words and deeds.

Como quieras, socio. I still got the job. So there!