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#281076 12/04/06 10:41 PM
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That was quite a lengthy response. Thanks.

The point is that language binds us and those communities become quite separate. I have people from other nations here as well, but after a period of time, the overwhelming majority chooses to communicate in English. Thank goodness because I don't think I can master 10 or so languages.

When you refer to your bilingual society in which you live, are you referring to Canada? If so, let us not forget how the French-speaking people of Quebec pushed to break from the nation because they felt that the English-speaking government of Canada does not represent them. They wanted to create a separate country where French was the dominant language.

In societies where more than one national language has been allowed to exist, such conflicts are not rare. Let's look at Belgium where the Dutch-speaking and French-speaking communities are in dispute over the language issue. The use of two dominant languages has created a dual-society. Each side works independent of the other and decides important issues such as education within the area dominated by their language. Conflicts are arising when people move from one area to the next and do not learn the language dominant there.

Conflicts over language can even turn bloody, as we have seen in Moldova. Moldova is a small country sandwiched between Romania and the Ukraine and was formally part of the Soviet Republic. There is a clash between Russian-speaking residents and Romanian-speaking residents over which language to embrace. This has led to an open revolt in one area and armed conflicts.

I could continue to list examples throughout the world; however, I think you get my point. It has often been said that language unites and it can divide. I doubt that any exclusively Spanish-speaking people will dispute this in this forum. The reason is because they don�t read these messages. If they belong to a forum, it is likely one in the language that they understand.

I enjoy helping people and being bilingual has allowed me to do so. However, I have also seen that there is a divide between the exclusively Spanish-speaking community and the exclusively English-speaking community. After all, how can they share viewpoints and experiences relying solely on a rudimentary language of exaggerated hand gestures?

As for the person who does not learn English, they are limited in their ability to truly take advantage of everything this country has to offer. Many jobs and opportunities will be closed to them because they will be isolated by language. My father came from Denmark without knowing any English. He worked as a laborer in kitchens until he learned the language. He then spent the rest of his career as a prominent executive chef working throughout the country and even did several television appearances.

I say all this to say the following: multilingualism is great as long as a nation�s people share one common language among all of the rest.

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#281077 12/20/06 07:45 PM
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We moved from Colombia to Boston because a company in the Sates needed my husband's knowledege as an Opretions Research expert and it was an interesting and well paid job. They paid our re-location, visas, etc.. We moved as any professional does when they get a better offer. We didn't come looking for the American dream because we could have had it anywhere. I speak 3 languages and my husband 4. Our kids are bilingual and I see with my children that a bilingual mind works different, I belive a person that speaks several languages has a great advantage.But I also believe that if you are the newcomer you have to adapt to your new enviroment, not make the enviroment adapt to your needs.
On the other hand, when I was working with the Colombian branch of IBM I remember a joke an american consultant used to tell:"How do you call a person that speaks 3 languages? Tri-lingual...2 languages? Bi-lingual....one language:...American.


Maria Mizrahi.
Ethnic, eclectic and exotic jewelry with ecological conscience
www.baloka.com
#334589 08/18/07 07:11 AM
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Hello all,

I think we have a natural fear of the unknown. shocked Like fear of the dark, it really is a fear of what we can't see in the dark more than the darkness itself. More what is hidden and we can't see that scares us. I think this is the natural tendency with all things we do not know and have totally no control over. I currently live in a predominantly French area and I get about a fourth of the conversations that go on around me. I don't find it bothersome until I go to an event where I am supposed to be included and can not join in the conversation. But then I think, well shame on me for not just learning the language seeings they can speak at least one of mine. blush After several years of living in that type of environment I know what it is like to be on both sides of the fence because when I speak Spanish they don't get me either but the funny thing is, the French folks around my area are so open and willing to translate for you or speak your language if you were supposed to be included that you A) feel worse cause you become a burden to the topic or B) really know when you weren't invited to the convo. It's also really interesting to speak a language everyone is so into... instant entertainment, let's get Becky to talk Spanish. hehehe


Rebecca Cuevas
Hispanic Culture
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