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Want A Cheesesteak? 'Speak English'

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posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 01:49 PM

(AP) A City Council member jumped into the debate over a sign at one of Philadelphia's best-known cheesesteak joints that reads: "This Is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING 'SPEAK ENGLISH.'"

During the council's meeting Thursday, Councilman Jim Kenney asked Geno's owner Joseph Vento to take the small sign down. The English-only ordering sign has irritated some activists in the diverse neighborhood of South Philadelphia and drawn national attention.

"It's such an iconic institution and business, one that is that visible for many of our residents, for the region and the world," Kenney said.

Vento, whose grandparents struggled to learn English after immigrating from Sicily in the 1920s, said his staff is glad to help non-native speakers order in English and no one has been turned away because of a language barrier.

"I don't see much of a big deal about learning to say Cheez Whiz," he told ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" on Friday.

I dont know about the rest of you, but i kinda get where these owners are comming from. Their parents HAD to learn English to make it in this country. I think it IS a Spanish trait to not want to let go of their language. I dont know why hispanics can be so stubborn. (I am one) English is not spoken unless absolutely necessary.
Its not disrespect, its just the way Spanish people are!
I cant figure it out- even if you speak English, we cant help mix the Spanish or Spanglish in with it. Its just a thing with us. Cheeze Whizz is not easy to say, any way.
Call it selective speaking, because in an emergency, the English flows out of these people

Truth is stranger than fiction.

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 01:57 PM
I take it the owner of the shop is Italian, and yes his grandparents or parents probably had to learn english.

the hispanics need to learn it as well.....I wouldnt go to mexico and expect everyone there to cater to me and speak my language. The same should apply in vice versa.

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 02:00 PM
let me elaborate, for i live a couple blocks away.

At Pat's, Geno's superior rival, the basic order is your cheese type followed by "wit" or "witout", depending whether or not you want onions.

Pat's is the local favorite, and Geno's hates it when people come up and order "Pat's" style, "whiz wit" and such.

He won't give Pat's advertising on tv, so it becomes an immigration argument in the current national political atmosphere.

Basically, the signs tellin Pat's customers to order plainly, not in Pat's code

Just steak politics

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 02:03 PM
I thought i'd get into the meat of things

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 03:05 PM
Well as the sign says, THIS is AMERICA and they damn well should order in English and properly accented English at that. Fortunately thought we in America dont really have a problem with English not being spoken widely enough for without minimum English it is impossible to sustain oneself in most parts of this country.

In Britain this isnt the case. With rabble from all across the world having migrated into that country a sizable populace of British "citizens" cant speak a word of English! Now this is shocking to say the least when you have a country that is so small. I was in London recently and happened to go by an area called Wembley where they have a local fruit market. I asked one vendor about some mangoes and the ONLY response he could come up for any question was 10pound, 15pound !! Now this is in England the land where English is from! Not only can the man not understand even the most basic question put to him in English he doesnt even bother to find out. Add to this he is trying to SELL things to people ! You can just imagine the number of grannies and wives who never need to interact with the outside world who have ZERO knowledge of the language. In places like France or Germany they wont allow people to survive if they dont know the local language. Heck when I was in Germany it was all "eingangs" and "ausfahrts" . The French being even more fanatic!

I guess it is only the English speaking nations that tend to put up with this sort of indifference to the local language by aliens. Even the English spoken by immigrants who settle in English speaking nations tend to be satisfied in just getting by rather than striving to achieve decent command over the language.

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 03:14 PM
Asking for a well accented English, is very unreasonable. That's totally not necessary. You are saying that people should not have an accent at all.
That is not possible. Different tongues you have spoken all your lives, especially older people, cannot be educated to speak perfect English or any other language.

Lets just say, they should learn English and leave it at that. To me, that is reasonable enough.

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 03:32 PM
I just think the sign could have been written in a nicer manner. Perhaps instead it could've just said "Please order in English."

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 03:34 PM
I find it hilarious that they are thinking about suing. The shop can refuse to serve whoever they want and the sue for everything culture is pathetic.

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 03:45 PM
I'm all for it. Having learned other languages, I can say that if I were to travel elsewhere then I would be a fool if I did not attempt to speak the language. I travelled to S.E. asia as a teen and even there attempted to use what little I knew so that I wouldn't be viewed as some redneck that thought everyone knew English!

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 03:47 PM
I guess it's just me that doesn't really care when someone moves here and doesn't learn the language.

If I go to the store and you can't speak English well enough to help me, chances are I'm not going to buy anything, because I can't find it. If you come into where I work and don't speak English, we won't be able to help you at all. We also won't spend an hour trying to figure out what you're saying through pictures and hand gestures.

If you don't bother to learn English and don't teach it to your children, you will be a second-class citizen in your own country and lose out on opportunities. A very poor choice, in my opinion, but it's their decision to hold themselves back.

After all, I'm only conversationally fluent in one language and that prevents me from applying for certain jobs. I could choose to improve my French, but I don't.


posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 03:48 PM
"Whis wit" and "Whis witout" is English????????

This Indiana boy got sent to the back of the line for speaking English saying "with."

But it was worth it!

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 03:50 PM
Where the heck does any elected official get off telling a private citizen to take down a sign, on their own premises, making a political statement!?

[the] sign has irritated some activists in the diverse neighborhood

Where do they get off calling themselves 'activists' when they are trying to silence a person, in their own property, for being irritating?????

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 04:00 PM
Wait a the sign written in English? How are the non-english speakers supposed to know what it says?

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 04:00 PM

Originally posted by Philadelphite
At Pat's, Geno's superior rival, the basic order is your cheese type followed by "wit" or "witout", depending whether or not you want onions.

Mmm... I love cheesesteak!

So, if I was at Pat's, and wanted a cheesesteak with onions and provolone (I hate da whiz!), would I say, "One Provolone, Wit"?

[edit on 9-6-2006 by Xenophobe]

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 04:15 PM
I used to live at 8th and Alter, just a couple blocks away from Geno's.
The neighborhood was mostly third and fourth generation descendents of Italian immigrants, and first generation Asian immigrants, from what I remember. They always seemed to get along pretty well though... I suspect it has more to do with the frustration of catering to a lot of tourists than anything local.

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 04:16 PM

Originally posted by dgtempe
Asking for a well accented English, is very unreasonable. That's totally not necessary. You are saying that people should not have an accent at all.

Many a time people tend to believe that they are in fact conversing in English but their accents are so thick that it is impossible to decipher what language they are talking in let alone be able to communicate with them . Proper accents play an important part in effective communication. I am sure most cant have perfect accents but attempts should be made to inculcate the desired accent. Also its not that people shouldnt have an accent its more that people should speak in an understandable accent. I dont think this should be much of a problem to the Latinos etc because english is a close cousin of what they are used to speaking all their lives.

It is the Japanese, Chinese and Koreans that have to really struggle. But even they manage to come out with good english, then I see no reason why people who live in a country where English is the official language and speak an European language have problems in learning to speak english!

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 04:22 PM
Can I add something meaningful to this food-oriented thread?

Here's my proposal:

want to vote - speak/write English!

No exceptions. Lo siento, amigos.

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 04:42 PM
So to eat "pat's" I have to order in ebonics? might as well cal it patinqwa's.

"dat be gr8, now, danks to tis eboniks I be is uhm, bi-ling-ual!"

UGH! I cannot stand ebonics, it sounds so ignorant and unintelligent. I would compare it to almost grunting utterances.

I would intentionally make them repeat it until the spoke proper english.

I sure wouldnt want someone coming into my sandwich shop....

"yo mo fo, I be das tis hungway! wat ya got up in da? gima das sub wit no chise, an no onyons! B'otch....gima lotsa da meat...ya ming?"

at least spanish has a damn SYNTAX!!!

[edit on 9-6-2006 by XphilesPhan]

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 04:50 PM

Originally posted by IAF101
I dont think this should be much of a problem to the Latinos etc because english is a close cousin of what they are used to speaking all their lives.

When you speak of Latinos are you speaking of the ones whose "natural" language is a language related to Latin?

If that is the then I may be considered a Latino because I am Portuguese.

Does this mean that I understand English because I understand Portuguese?

In that case, does this mean that you should understand Portuguese just because you understand English?

I hope you know the difference between the Germanic and Latin languages.

As a test, how much of the text below can you understand, if you have never learned a Latin language?

Portuguese text
Quando alguém que tem um estabelecimento comercial está disposto a limitar a clientela apenas aqueles que falam a língua do país mostra que a ignorância aparece em qualquer circunstância.

Neste caso o dono da casa é filho de emigrantes italianos, pode ser que seja apenas o habitual resultado do filho de merceeiro que depois de ter dinheiro se quer esquecer que o dinheiro lhe veio de vender couves.

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 04:51 PM
Oh my yes, times have changed. I had grandparents who immigrated to the US around the turn of the last century, he was in his early 20's and she in her late teens. He never learned English but she did. All eleven children grew up speaking Russian. He didn't speak English and wouldn't allow anything but his native tongue to be spoken in the home. They didn't learn English until they went to school--my mother included.

Probably the reason he didn't learn English is that he had his coal-mining job lined up right off the boat and after getting to this part of the country there were enough Russian speakers that the new-comers had no trouble getting along. As it is in England with the emigre enclaves? The grandmother, in the meantime, had spent time off the boat in NY sewing doilies and fancy laces before he went back to the 'old neighborhood' to find a bride. A Russian bride who knew English and how to garden and how to sew. Hopefully how to cook and use a stove too, eh? **

The same grandfather had spent seven years in Italy picking grapes to earn the fare to come to the US after having been conscripted and deserting the Russian army in his teens. The question is did he bother to learn to speak Italian? Probably enough to get by at the barber shop.

**Here's a sad part of the story that gets me every time: She was actually his second wife. The first one blew herself up lighting a gas stove the day after the wedding! I often wonder if it was an accident or on purpose--suicide or murder being the possibilities. Or she had just never seen a gas stove before?

Make my steak wit cebollas fritas, con muchos cebollas fritas, por favor.

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