Learn Our Language | Teen Ink

Learn Our Language

December 30, 2008
By Dsmit BRONZE, Luna Pier, Michigan
Dsmit BRONZE, Luna Pier, Michigan
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"God hath not given me a spirit of fear, but that of power, love, and of a sound mind."

This is a headline story right here! It has to be one of the top issues in the country today. I am referring to the "Press two for Spanish" issue. Why is this even an option? If someone wants to become an American badly enough, they should take the initiative to learn the language that is spoken here: English. I mean, does the government not know that by allowing a language barrier to exist inside our country, they are potenially limiting the progression of the country. There should not be a need for any type of translator in our country. How can we be called the top country in the world if the citizens within it are not able to communicate freely? "Press two for Spanish" is also one of the most annoying statements that can be uttered over the phone. Spanish is not the only problem either. It is all the gibberish and nonsense that has to be endured before actually having the opportunity to speak to a customer service officer or telephone operator. I believe that Americans need to keep it simple. Diversity is grand, but when it pertains to the language, there is a problem. I have a simple solution that will unify our country and tear down the language barrier: Learn our language or go home!

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This article has 201 comments.

yah yah said...
on Nov. 14 2010 at 6:46 pm
I think that if you want to come to our country to live for a while, you should learn our language. If I were to go to A country for a long time I would need to learn they're language. I understand it is hard but so is everything else. DEAL WITH IT!! Jobs are hard life is hard. why is this so hard!!

on Oct. 27 2010 at 9:01 am
susu.ali BRONZE, Minneapolis, Minnesota
2 articles 0 photos 16 comments
i agree too...i'm surprised whoevr wrote this article is languageist (language racist lol) i speak too languages, i am a child of immigrants. i love this country and my home Somalia (in east Afirca) i was lucky becasue i learned somali first, than english before i started preshchool. i would just ask the author. what if you moved to Italy of Indonesia or South Afirca how would you liked it if ppl told you learn the language or get out???

on Oct. 26 2010 at 6:58 pm
whatshername GOLD, Carlsbad, California
14 articles 1 photo 112 comments
Im sorry but thats ridiculous. us americans can be so self-centered and think that every other country should do things to make our lives easie .So you should just press 1 and move on

on Oct. 19 2010 at 9:18 pm
OneBlackGirl BRONZE, Indianapolis, Indiana
2 articles 0 photos 36 comments

Favorite Quote:
Love the difference!

Have you ever learned English? It's much more difficult to learn if your not raised in an English speaking home than any other language. Also, most hispanics I know speak better English than I, but their parents don't speak English well because (and it has been tested) learning a language is even harder as an adult. Does your parent speak a second language... do you? If not why should hispanics have to speak a second language. That's dicrimination.

Dsmit said...
on Oct. 12 2010 at 12:11 pm
Of all the people who have said, "Why English?" you are the only one who has made a valid argument.

on Oct. 5 2010 at 2:28 pm
Phantom_Girl GOLD, Ft. Carson, Colorado
14 articles 0 photos 279 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If it comes out of the lion's mouth...it will be on the test."
-Mr. Bala

Don't forget that originally, English wasn't spoken on this continent. Native American languages were the first. If the Native Americans had to learn English instead of us learning Cherokee, maybe it should be us learning Chinese instead of Chinese immigrants learning English? Just my opinion.

on Oct. 5 2010 at 2:25 pm
Phantom_Girl GOLD, Ft. Carson, Colorado
14 articles 0 photos 279 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If it comes out of the lion's mouth...it will be on the test."
-Mr. Bala

I sort of agree with you. While I don't think people should be kicked out of the country if they can't speak English (learn our language or go home?)-I do understand that it makes things much simpler for us and for the immigrangs. Further more, I don't understand why a person would want to go to a country and not attempt to learn the most common language, but that's their choice. The only question I have is-why English? It is by no means the first language spoken in this land. Have you forgoten the Native Americans? What would happen if the Apache rose up and said "Learn our language or go back to Europe"? There language was here first, after all. And they'd have a hell of a lot more right in kicking us out.

on Sep. 9 2010 at 8:19 pm
SlightlySarcastic BRONZE, Livonia, Michigan
3 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world... but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices." - John Green

"... by allowing a language barrier to exist inside our country, they are potentially limiting the progression of the country."


While I agree that a language barrier can impede progress, there's one hitch in your position. Why should everyone learn English? Or rather, why just English? How many people do you know who were born in English-speaking households that can speak a second language? I've been to a school in France where they start learning a second language at the age of ten, and I stayed with an Austrian family for five days and spent time with a fourteen and a fifteen year old who spoke English as well as I do, and better than half the people you see on the internet. Why does the solution have to be that everyone else must conform to our standards? America is supposed to be the Melting Pot. We blend together bits of every culture in our music and our art, and English itself is made up of bits and pieces from other languages (Which, by the way, is what makes it hard to learn.) Why can't we try to meet the rest of the world halfway, instead of cutting ourselves off by insisting that everyone speak English? 

I must add one more point as well - from your article, it sounds like the only reason you brought up the issue is because customer service recordings and telephone operators have options for other languages. The thought that it inhibits progress seems to come second to that. Just so you know, if two is Spanish, one is probably English. Just press the button.

on Aug. 5 2010 at 6:20 pm
earlybird_8 BRONZE, Roberts Creek, Other
4 articles 0 photos 115 comments

Favorite Quote:
The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

While I do agree that it's important for everyone to be able to communicate with each other, I don't believe that people should "learn our language or go home". Technically, America took over a huge chunk of Mexico, where they speak Spanish, a century or two ago. Should people who spoke spanish have been forced to learn a new language just because the people who spoke it had a bigger army? I understand that this was a long time ago, but take Canada as an example. Both the English and French settled there, but they managed to set aside their differences (admittedly they had to fight a lot first) and now the country has two official languages, and a large portion of the population is bilingual. I think that the this would be a good way for the US to go. Although, what undermines your argument is that the English isn't the official language of the united states because the people who founded the country wanted to be open to other cultures, so this entire post goes against the spirit of the constitution.

annalena224 said...
on Aug. 2 2010 at 2:19 pm
I agree with you, Losing but not Lost. Not to mention the fact that it's totally racist. Racism never goes away, it just changes colors as opportunity arises. People are just so ignorant, everybody comes from somewhere. WE stole this land from the Native Americans. It's US that were to learn their language. So much for calling the U.S. the melting pot of the world....

on Jul. 30 2010 at 6:37 pm
SocialCollision SILVER, Hampton, Georgia
9 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"When we\'re taught to love everyone, to love our enemies, What value does that place on love?\" Marilyn Manson

Your bringing up a nice topic, BUT I have to disagree with you. It's their problem if they don't learn English. We are just as responsible to learn Spanish as they are to learn English!! When we know that more Hispanics are coming into the States, we should automatically realize that we should all have BASIC knowledge on each others language!  

on Jul. 28 2010 at 11:35 am
♥♫music4ever25♥♫, Phoenix, Arizona
0 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
shoot for the moon, even if you miss you'll land among the stars! :)

hmmm this makes sence, to a point. if someone was in our nation for a long time (let's say 10 years or more) and have therefore become a citizen and has a job, then yes, they need to learn our languge not only for our benefit and there's. this is not to say that english is the only languge they can speak. However if someone has been here maybe a year then truth be told that could be an extreme request.

on Jul. 15 2010 at 3:06 pm
ayesha1208 BRONZE, Weslaco, Texas
2 articles 1 photo 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It is our choices that make us what we truly are, Harry, rather than our abilities."
- Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I think the article might have been better written if you had supported your opinion with facts. I won't tell you whether I agree or disagree with the opinion because that is irrelevant. However, the writing concerns me. Some concrete facts might have given the argument a better spine. Just my two cents.

on Jul. 1 2010 at 10:46 pm
MCRlover2011 BRONZE, Kemp, Texas
4 articles 2 photos 85 comments

Favorite Quote:
Be yourself, don't take any one's (ugh they keep editing this T_T) shit and never let them take you alive!!!- Gerard Way

I'm 50/50 on this i really am some days i'm pro learn english and other days i'm like eh it's a hard language to learn...

taco5 SILVER said...
on Jun. 4 2010 at 12:25 am
taco5 SILVER, Palo Alto, California
5 articles 3 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all," -Helen Keller

Are you criticizing immigrants that don't learn English, or the telephone help system? 

on May. 14 2010 at 10:09 pm
weirdpeepl BRONZE, Catonsville, Maryland
2 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
what's normal?

i agree with you. i've been to paris, and it's amazing how many people know english. while this is a big tourist spot, so is washington dc. why should people in another country learn english if we don't bother to learn theirs.

on May. 11 2010 at 8:20 pm
amelia.adams246 BRONZE, North Richland Hills, Texas
2 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
In the end, a friend is someone that cares and doesn’t judge. A friend loves, laughs, and helps you through the hard times with hugs and smiles. A friend comforts with words or sometimes just an ear.

I have to be 100% honest, I think that you have to be one of the most narrow minded and arrogant people in America. This nation was built on the idea of everyone having equal rights, democracy, freedom, and a the idea of a melting pot. If it were not for the immigrants during the like 1880s or so...America would be almost nothing because while the rich white man ran the nation, it was the immigrants who didn't speak English that were the motor to the nation. It is still the same way today. Immigrants are still here doing our dirty work for less than what they should be paid just to feed their families because the average people in America wont do those jobs. So who cares if they don't speak English...they are what makes America keep running the way it does. 

on May. 7 2010 at 9:06 pm
MojoStealer95 BRONZE, Amherst, Virginia
3 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Sitting in an English Garden waiting for the sun, if the sun don't come you get a tan from standing in the English rain. I am the eggman, they are the eggmen, I am the walrus! Goo goo g'joob.

I disagree completely, have you even been out of the country to a non-English speaking country? Have you ever learned a second language? If you've never done any of these you really have no right to say that.

TheJust ELITE said...
on Apr. 8 2010 at 2:33 pm
TheJust ELITE, Ellenton, Florida
254 articles 202 photos 945 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I feel that a hero is somebody who will stand up for their values and what they believe in and that can take any form. People that have values and have thought them through rather than those who just do what they’re told."-Skandar Keynes

"When it’

It's annoying, I agree, but it's our own fault. Did you know America does NOT have an official language? That's why we have things written in three or four different languages. Everyone belives English is official, just because that's what the majority speaks, but it's not.

on Mar. 30 2010 at 2:30 pm
theblazingstar101 GOLD, Foley, Alabama
10 articles 1 photo 21 comments

You ask how America can be called the top country in the world if the citizens within it are not able to communicate freely. Would not allowing Latinos to speak their language be going against the vary thing you ask?

And you seem to be specifically speaking about Latinos, but I ask you this: what about the deaf? the mute? the mentally disabled that cannot speak English? Should they leave the country as well?

Personally, I disagree with you. I believe that the blending of all aspects of culture is what America represents. I agree that learning English would be good, but what about Americans? I think we ought to have some initiative to make an effort and learn other languages. Most countries teach their children to be billingual from birth. Is America too good to be billingual?

And if you think about it, the more Americans that speak Spanish, the more we can communicate with other countries and the more we can help those immigrants learn English.

And while I disagree with your points, I understand and respect your point of view. However, if you are going to write an article about the subject, I think it needs to be better written. You don't actually show any evidence to prove your claims, and you seem to be specifically targeting a certain group. Or have you never listened to an entire phone recording? Because I've heard 'Press one for English',  'Press two for Spanish', 'Press three for French'. But you're not addressing the issue that way. You seem to be treating it as an issue merely between Latinos and Americans.

And has it ever occurred to you that maybe the business asking the question does business in places other than the USA?