“You need to make sure your child can speak Spanish.”

So sayeth Senator Obama. I fully endorse his suggestion that our education system — or, better yet, parents (Yes, they have an equally important as, if not more valid than, right and duty to educate chilrden than the State has.) — ensure that Americans possess the ability to speak two, if not more, languages. I am, how-ever, uncomfortable with his specific assertion that our children need to learn to speak Spanish. Yes, as the American population becomes increasingly Hispanic in origin (unless, bucking trends, we “Anglos” start making many more babies, which I fully advocate), Spanish will become even more prevalently spoken; however, English remains, for now, at least, a lingua franca of the world, and, undeniably, in this nation (and Obama contends that immigrants will learn English, anyway). The ever-strengthening power of China would incline me to suggest that Mandarin should be the second language of choice; how-ever, never will I make such a claim, because, well, I loathe Red China. Learn LĂ«tzebuergesch, the native dialect of Luxembourg, instead: that country, ancestral home-land of the Origers, is a pretty swell place (or so I hear; I’ve yet to visit, though, some-day, I intend to remedy this).

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2 Responses

  1. As someone who thinks that language opens reality to us and shapes our perception and interpretation of reality, I welcome America becoming more of an multi-lingual nation. I think it will improve our philosophy, for one thing.

    There are dangers, to be sure, but given the growing inter-connectedness of the world, I’d say it’s good for us to have the capacity to communicate in several languages. Spanish makes sense, but then, as you point out, so do others.

  2. Kyle, welcome back to NCM.

    I think you’re spot on with your comment. As some-one who, additional to English (and ig-Pay atin-Lay), only a smattering of poorly recollected German, I regret that I’ve not made the attempt to become a polyglot. I don’t disagree that Spanish makes sense; my concern lies more with what sort of agenda one suggesting this may have. I do believe that English needs to be support as the common language of this nation, and fear, perhaps unduly, that with-out sufficient re-enforcement, paired with the rapidity of the increase in the Hispanic population and attempts to facilitate immigrants’ greater participation in civic life with-out demanding that they learn English (as Obama, perhaps dubiously, claims they will, anyway) we risk further fracturing, rather than strengthening, American society. I could be wrong.

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