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Foreign Language Signs- The Assasination of English In Your Face, and on Your Turf

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posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 07:08 PM

PODcast: Foreign Language Signs- The Assasination of English In Your Face, and on Your Turf (reply 2)
Podcast Reply to Majic's and Marg's Replies

length: 06:30
file: atspodcast_159.mp3
size: 3045k
status: live (at time of posting)

posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 08:14 PM

Originally posted by TrueAmerican
Come on people. Wake up. This is not ok.

I think it's not ok with you and that's perfectly fine, but it's ok with me. There is no ‘universally ok’ on this subject in my opinion.

This is not about the American communities that have sprung up in other countries, and the resulting english signs that may have been put up. That's their problem. This is MY problem. YOUR problem. In OUR country.

It's not a problem for me. You don’t want to compare this to what happens in other countries when we Americans go there, but I don’t see how we can NOT make the comparison. When you were in the Dominican Republic, if you had wanted to hang a sign outside your window in English “Guitar for Sale” would you expect the authorities to come and tell you that you have to change that or take it down? That’s private property.

As regards the people in Atlanta who have their Spanish signs up, maybe they don’t care about your business. Maybe they figure if you want to know what the place is. You’ll come in. But I don’t agree that they have an obligation to make sure you understand what they’re saying.

How far do we go? I think Majic made a very good start on defining a demarcation line that I could easily live with. If it’s public property in the US, then there should be English signs and directions (with other languages if desired). If it’s privately owned? The proprietors should be able to put up whatever they want as long as it doesn’t break the laws of the land. I think they’d be wise to put it in English, too, but they shouldn’t be obligated.

Majic - Fantastic response.

posted on Sep, 14 2005 @ 02:40 AM

PODcast: Foreign Language Signs- The Assasination of English In Your Face, and on Your Turf (reply 3)
Majic replies to TrueAmerican's reply in not quite "point/counterpoint" fashion. :^)

length: 06:21
file: atspodcast_170.mp3
size: 1118k
status: live (at time of posting)

posted on Sep, 14 2005 @ 04:35 AM
I live in China, and amongst the expatriates here, guess which nationality of foreigners:

* complain the most about the lack of sufficient English road signs.
* complain the most about locals in the service industry or government administration that don't speak English well enough.
* complain the most about lack of English documentation.
* make pathetic attempts at, or just flat out refuse to learn the Chinese language.
* congregate and live in "foreigner" areas making their own "little *nation*".

All of this, despite the fact that the Chinese go out of their way to accommodate English-speakers whenever possible. In fact, if a foreigner learns to say , "Hello" in Chinese, the locals will lavish you with praise.

It seems that many Westerners have the attitude of, "When you're in my country, you must learn the language and become one of us. When I'm in your country, you must provide every convenience so that I don't have to do the same."

I won't tell you which nation these folks come from, but I'm sure you have a fair idea.

Goose..gander...double standards...etc etc...

posted on Sep, 14 2005 @ 07:01 AM

PODcast: Foreign Language Signs- The Assasination of English In Your Face, and on Your Turf (reply 4)
mulberryblueshimmer adds a few comments

length: 05:20
file: atspodcast_175.mp3
size: 2504k
status: live (at time of posting)

posted on Sep, 14 2005 @ 10:21 AM
Since USA is a very young country and his population is formed mainly by immigrants and their descendants i found that opinion very strange.
Foreigns cultures (and costumes) contributed a lot to what american culture is today.

But i do agree that the signs should be, at least, bilingual.

posted on Sep, 14 2005 @ 11:42 AM

Originally posted by wecomeinpeace
It seems that many Westerners have the attitude of, "When you're in my country, you must learn the language and become one of us. When I'm in your country, you must provide every convenience so that I don't have to do the same."

I can confirm that attitude. Seen it many times.

posted on Sep, 14 2005 @ 04:38 PM

PODcast: Foreign Language Signs- The Assasination of English In Your Face, and on Your Turf (reply 5)
Reply to mulberry regarding foreign language signs

length: 05:27
file: atspodcast_179.mp3
size: 2552k
status: live (at time of posting)

posted on Sep, 14 2005 @ 09:41 PM
I agree with you, True American.....when I travel to foreign countries, I happily accept that I should try to speak their language (and don't expect them to speak english to me). I too picked up the language quickly in only a few weeks.

It is true that Texas is morphing into a hispanic community, and in fact, a local business had on its sign, "We speak English here".....I had to do a double take on that one, and wondered to myself if that business received complaints (this is NW Houston area by the way).

The school districts also accomodate the hispanic community by providing teachers that teach "English as a second language" (but I don't believe they are actually teaching english, as I have substitute taught these classes before, and they allow the students to exclusively speak their language.

I wonder how many of the illegal immigrants are receiving government aid, etc, and how much that costs us in taxes....(oh they have rights too).

Also, more and more job descriptions only want applicants that are bilingual

I think it is too late to really do anything about it, I think I better get some spanish friends and learn the language quick!


posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 04:48 AM
What does illegality have to do with foreign signs??? I think those two topics are very different.

In case you didn't know there are Spanish speaking people in the US that are legal residents or citizens. Why assume foreign language speaker = illegal?

Here in Britain we have to provide translations for all our government services or point to where people can get those translations. At last count we published our most commonly read leaflets and forms in 17 different languages. Other local authorities publish more depending on the number of multicultural residents living in their area.

There is a difference between state/city info provided in English and other languages, and a private shop with signs in Spanish. Have you ever been to Chinatown in any large US city? A good majority of signs, street names and restaurants are in Chinese.

[edit on 15-9-2005 by nikelbee]

posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 05:19 AM

English is the accepted language spoken in the US and also the business language accepted in the rest of the world.

But is by far the most spoken language in the world when it comes to population.

Just to set the record straight, The chinese language Mandarin and Spanish precede English on the list of most spoken languages.

1. Mandarin 885 million people
2. Spanish 332 million people
3. English 322 million people
4. Arabic 235 million people


posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 07:37 AM

PODcast: Foreign Language Signs- The Assasination of English In Your Face, and on Your Turf (reply 6)
mulberryblueshimmer replies to true american and attempts to answer the question posed in the last podcast

length: 08:32
file: atspodcast_185.mp3
size: 4002k
status: live (at time of posting)

posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 08:42 AM
< tick, tick, tick > Is this thing on?

I am so enjoying this conversation and I think it's a very important one. There are many valid points being made and ideas brought to light that I had not previously considered, such as foreign franchises and the 'cheapening' of culture by 'fake' Irish pubs and so on that Mulberryblueshimmer brought up.

I live in a highly Hispanic-populated area and Mexican culture is important here. And when I see the cheap imitation of the Mexican culture (the 'Americanized' version, if you will) that MBS spoke of, I don't feel invaded exactly, but I feel a little miffed on behalf of the Mexican people. It's like a stereotypical version of what the world thinks of when they think 'Mexican'.

I wouldn't say I'm exactly offended, but I do think it's unfortunate that people don't take the time to really find out what's real instead of applying some stereotype for the purpose (usually) of making money.

I tend to think I know my position on things and feel pretty confident in that. However, hearing the flow of open conversation here and new aspects I hadn't considered, helps to stretch my mind and examine my judgments.

So, even though I kinda feel like I'm on Global Ignore in this thread, I wanted to thank the participants for continuing to educate me and make me think, my favorite thing to do.

[edit on 15-9-2005 by Benevolent Heretic]

posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 08:54 AM

Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
So, even though I kinda feel like I'm on Global Ignore in this thread...

A: Did you hear that? Who said that?

B: ...'twas but the wind.

Sorry...couldn't resist.

[edit on 2005-9-15 by wecomeinpeace]

posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 06:55 PM

PODcast: Foreign Language Signs- The Assasination of English In Your Face, and on Your Turf (reply 7)
Reply to all or most on page 2

length: 17:25
file: atspodcast_189.mp3
size: 4083k
status: live (at time of posting)

posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 08:32 PM
True American – Excellent PODcast and thanks for including me!
I was just trying to be funny. Please no need for apologies! And your PODcast was far from boring! Your best so far, in my opinion.

This weekend, I will become a PODcaster. Truuuust me, it’s not that I don’t want to PODcast, it’s that I’m ignorant about it. I have everything I need, but just don’t know what to do with it. I’m having help come over probably Saturday afternoon. Until then, my fingers will have to do the talking.

Where’s the line in the sand? The simple answer is - I don’t know. I think it might be different for each person. If faced with the situation, I’m sure I would approach a line that I personally felt encroached upon. If there were a law being broken, I would not hesitate to call someone and ask it to be enforced if I felt it was affecting my life. I’m the kind of person that I don’t care what you do as long as it doesn’t affect me. But when it begins to affect me, it becomes my business.

No, it’s not ok that I would have to learn Spanish to live in my neighborhood. I wouldn’t mind learning it, but I want that to be my choice. It wouldn’t be ok if signs of foreign languages absolutely surrounded me. I would feel just fine, though if the signs were bi-lingual. All of them. As long as I could get by, I wouldn’t care what else the signs said.

How does it make me feel? I prefer the question - How would I feel? I can only imagine but if there were so many Spanish-only signs that it was really bothering me, I think I would feel disenfranchised. Like I wasn’t being represented. Like I was maybe deprived of the right to understand what was in the buildings around my home. Like the Spanish-speaking people didn’t care about me as a customer or my feeling of belonging. I would feel like I should do something about it, either talk to them (my first choice) or check into the law, call someone and write some letters.

I think the only difference between you and me is that it would take a whole lot more signs until my triggers were flipped. And that’s not a judgment at all, just an observation.

I understand your position much better after your last PODcast. And let me make it clear that I agree with you for the most part. English is the official language of the country and I don't think that should be changed even in communities of foreign-speaking people. And I absolutely agree that people who come here to live should learn the language and put their children in English classes.

And I understand and accept that some aren’t going to. But then they’re the ones that should have to endure for not learning English, not the other way around.

The true question is where is the line in the sand? And I think for me, I wouldn’t mind a few shops or restaurants here and there having foreign signs, but there would be a point that it would bother me, I just can't say where that is, never having experienced it..

Have you tried going into these places of business and suggesting a bilingual sign? If they thought it might bring in more customers, they might consider it. Would a bilingual sign be ok with you?

I live in New Mexico.

Mmmmm… Noodle pizza…

[edit on 15-9-2005 by Benevolent Heretic]

posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 08:53 PM
Heh, thanks BH. If you can talk half as good as you write, we're gonna have some great conversations when you get your rig up.

As to would bilengual signs be ok with me? I'd have to say in the areas that would seem appropriate, such as tourist areas. But even with bilingual signs, I still feel (to a lesser degree) all of those things you pointed out above in your well made post. I don't know if that's wrong or it's right, but it just me I guess.

As to the noodle pizza, that's just the beginning. I suppose before long we'll all be eating dogs, cats and a few other things. Yup, this is America, all right...

posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 08:20 AM
Hi TrueAmerican,

I've been following this thread and it is starting to get very interesting. As Benevolent Heretic said, that last podcast was your best yet. Well done! And thumbs up for attempting to answer everyone.

I have an oppinion on the subject and would like to share it with you. I live in England and I work in London. I don't know if you have been to London at all, but apart from the architecture and the history, London has lost its identity entirely! There is hardly any indeginous population in London anymore, it is a total mish-mash of different cultures and languages. I can get on the public transport and quite often be the only english person there! There are many signs and people talking in different languages. But you know what? This to me is totally normal. If everything was in English and all the people talked English all the time, I would think "WEIRD!". I, like many of the people in London have been stripped of my identity and I think this is what you are worried about in your original post.

This is a very touchy subject in this country, if I wasn't anonymus here than I probably wouldn't be commenting. The overly political correctness state of this country makes me feel racist for even discussing this with you. Indeed if I was to talk to anyone about it I would be bullied into agreeing that culture and language diversity is nothing but a good thing.

Ok so this is London, which we can accept is going to be different because of all the tourists there and because it is a major world city. But what about Leicester, which is a small city about 100 miles north of London. Well, I used to live in Leicester and at last count the population of which was about 52% Indian. Because of this English was the minority language. In certain parts of Leicester if you went to school you HAD to learn Urdu and you where not taught Christianity but Sikhism and Hinduism.

So these are the facts, but what of my oppinion? Well I believe as you do, that if you are going to leave your country of origin and live in a new country then you are doing that because you want to. And because you are going to a new country, you MUST respect the people and the language there. At first yes things are difficult, like when you went to the Dominican Republic, you had to find you way. Did you arrive at the Dominican Republic and demand that everyone speaks english? No you did not. You learn't the language so that you could communicate effectively. Did you set up a comunity in the Dominican Republic and declare it Little America or something like that? I doubt it.

There are people here in England that do not know English, and they have no desire or inclination to learn English. The reason for this? They don't need to. Almost everything is in every language imaginable. And the most important thing: money, is universely understood.

I am beginning to rant here, but to me this is just not fair. There is no meaning to being English anymore. You do not see any Union Jack's or St. Georges Cross's (English flag) being proudly displayed anywhere. My nationality is non-descript and it is getting moreso every day.

This brings me to your question of how would I feel if signs started popping up in different languages where I live. And my answer to that is I would feel nothing. Slightly disappointed that my country is getting even more diverse but not angry or surprised at all. Why is that? Because my exposure to cultural diversity has desensitised me to further diversity. Like I said previously, the only thing that I would notice and seem strange is if the opposite was happening and that everyone spoke English and all signs were in English too.

posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 09:27 AM

PODcast: Foreign Language Signs- The Assasination of English In Your Face, and on Your Turf (reply 8)
Foreign Language Signs- reply to TheObserver

length: 03:41
file: atspodcast_196.mp3
size: 862k
status: live (at time of posting)

posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 10:03 AM
Thanks, Observer, for yet another wonderful perspective on this issue. Lead balloon here, too. Another Way Above. I think it’s clear that the original questions, “Where do we draw the line on signs” and “How does it feel to be inundated with foreign signs” have led to some issues that are much deeper than I originally suspected.

Even if we don’t go into illegal immigration and driver’s licenses, exploring the feelings beneath the signs question alone is a huge issue in itself. Bear with me while I explore this new perspective for a moment.

What came to mind when reading Observer’s post is how I’ve heard African American’s say they want to ‘preserve their heritage’ or ‘remember their roots’. And I’m not sure I’ve ever really understood that. But I got a glimpse at least of real understanding when I read Observer’s post.

The overly political correctness state of this country makes me feel racist for even discussing this with you.

This was my feeling as I wrote the paragraph above. But I think the more we do talk about it, even though it’s uncomfortable, the more we’re going to understand our own feelings about it. Our own ‘fear’ of losing our heritage in our own country. And that’s where this all started; with how TA feels and wondering if we feel the same.

As I look at the foreign cultures and other races in this country (US) I see rich culture and customs, beautiful colors, fabrics, wonderful foods, art, traditions, pride. I can certainly understand how one would wish to preserve and not lose their heritage! Even though they live in a foreign country (to them) I can understand why they wouldn’t want to just give up their background and ‘assimilate’ into American culture (whatever that is).

And what is that? What is ‘American culture’? For any foreign culture (Chinese, African, Mexican, Italian) certain images, smells, colors, foods, sounds come to mind. When I think ‘American Culture’ I get McDonald’s and Andy Warhol, Sports, God/Religion, Fatty food, Fast-paced lifestyle, Workaholics, Pharmaceuticals and Christmas… And not one of these things do I identify with.

I’m sure there’s more to it, but I, of all people, an American, should be most attached to ‘American Culture’. I should be able to list indications of my proud heritage, right? Maybe I’m just drawing a blank right now, but I can’t think of much that fits the ideal of ‘American Culture’. Much I’m proud of, anyway…

When I Yahoo’ed “American Culture”, I got kind of a joke site (about McDonald’s, David Letterman and baseball), and then right into “African-American culture” and “Native-American culture”, both of which I can envision quite easily… Something’s wrong with this mental picture!

And to bring this home, the lack of my own identity as a white, regular American, is, I believe, attached to the potential fear or encroachment I would feel as the foreign signs popped up around me more and more. My uncertainty of what American Culture really is and my lack of being able to identify with a feeling of heritage is what would cause any feelings of disenfranchisement as other cultures showed themselves proudly and freely around me.

I’m with you, TA, I want to have a positive identity as an American. I have a positive self-image. I’m fond of myself, but it has nothing to do with my culture or heritage, and I’m really kind of sad about that...

True American, I wish I talked as well as I write, but I don’t.

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