English or other languages?

Call the tune - Talk about whatever!

Postby musicfan » Thu Jul 13, 2006 6:18 pm

This is America. The America that was built on the backs of foriegn language speaking people. America that originally belonged (if a land can truly belong to anyone) to non-English speakers. People speaking their native languages did not pull prayer out of schools. Nor did non-English speakers make it so that some people do not recite the Pledge correctly. Most everyone down here still says the Pledge correctly . . . whether their native tongue is English or Spanish. Of course, they still pray before football games down here too. Still, none of that reflects whether or not these people speak English or another language primarily. Most of the cleaning people at my school also speak only Spanish. I kind of always figured it was because they were working two to three jobs to make ends meet and they didn't have time to take and English as a Second Language course. Sure, let the government and governmental procedures be in English only, but let people speak whatever language they want. On a final note, even down in deep South Texas (where I'm from) where 50% of the population (or more) speak Spanish as their first language English is still the first option on phones.
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Postby TJ » Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:20 am

Have they taken prayer out of schools? I thought that students were allowed to pray in a way which doesn't disturb or disrupt. Until last year my son was in high school, and I remember seeing all kind of flyers for special interest groups, including prayer groups of different faiths which would meet on school grounds. Even during the day, my son had a classmate who would go wash his feet and pray at different times of day, even during class time, and that was only last year; however, it's one of the more liberal counties in Maryland, so maybe they tolerate that kind of thing more. I'm really surprised that djsykes lives in the same state my child went to school, because it shows a vastly different perception of what is happening. If djsykes is upset that the teachers don't make the students pray to Allah every morning because the students don't follow that faith, then yes, it may seem unfair to not have faculty involved in such things, but fortunately for the non-Muslim students, the government and its representatives (in this case, the school employees) cannot promote one kind of faith over another, whether it be Judaism, Islam, or Hinduism. Regarding the Pledge of Allegiance, as originally written, it did NOT contain "under God." That was inserted fifty years earlier, in response to the USSR having a severe anti-religion stance. Further, it is incorrect to say that the Pledge has been removed or changed; that case was decided in 2004, and not on the grounds of religion, but sidestepped it on the basis of the father's standing to bring the case. What exactly are you objecting to? Cheers!
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Postby jnday » Fri Jul 14, 2006 2:24 pm

TJ, you mean that "under God" was inserted later. An update can not be made to something that had not been written yet. And yes, the Pledge has undergone a few changes. It was originally written by a Baptist minister (who did leave the church because of bigotry and hatred... it's sad when churches fall like that). Originally written it read, "I pledge allegiance to 'my flag'..." which was changed to "the flag of the United States of America." And again later, according to my source, the phrase "under God" was added per the request of a group known as the Knights of Columbus. My source of that information did not elaborate as to why, so you could be right. Still, the pledge as I memorized it in elementary school binds America to God, and I feel that if the majority of the United States ever mutually agreed to abandon that tie and our support of God's people Israel, we would be in some serious trouble. I didn't expect this language issue to be such a hot topic, or for it to take any twists. Boy, we sure know how to pick 'em and change 'em around. Smile
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Postby TJ » Fri Jul 14, 2006 4:31 pm

I actually saw it taking this turn eventually. It was echoed in the comments about the instruction manuals; there was a certain incomprehension that there was more than one reason for all those languages. It was about that which I was commenting, not the earlier religious discussions. However, there is a certain way of looking at things which is intolerant to anything but what one values for oneself, and inevitably it happens to any discussion which gets at the freedom to either have one's own ideas, or the freedom to have someone else's values imposed on them by law. *laugh* You are correct; I mistyped "earlier" for "later" regarding the Pledge being altered. Regarding the "why," it was because the USSR had made bold moves towards atheism, and so adding "under God" to the pledge sealed our identification with being "a Christian nation," as I believe our then president said. However, you have to understand that blacks still knew their places at that point, and that was eventually tossed out by those judges insisting on writing laws from the bench. It's thanks to the Constitution that those laws were struck down, including those against interracial marriage, in spite of the opposition of folks who felt such marriages are ungodly. It's interesting that tradition allowed such intolerance and slavery, and yet tradition is what the NY courts recently used as a basis for a ruling instead of the letter of the law. Personally, I think that it doesn't matter if the majority holds the belief that blacks or other minorities shouldn't have the vote or other rights; that's why we're a democratic republic, instead of a pure democracy, to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. Hey, you're in college... do you have the chance to take a class on Constitutional history? Required classes like these really broaden a student's perspective, and help someone see things from a different angle, and be challenged by alternate viewpoints. I highly recommend it! Cheers!
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Postby Sarah » Fri Jul 14, 2006 8:15 pm

Originally posted by TJ Are schools required to teach speakers of other languages in their native language? I thought that was what ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes were for, similar to giving help to children with disabilities; the goal is to help them get where others already are. I'll have to look into who requires full education in other languages...
At least one school district in Western Alaska requires that grades K-3 be taught exclusively in Yup'ik. In later grades they learn English, but also continue with Yup'ik. The reasoning is that preserving language is part of preserving culture. The grandparents and some parents of the current group of kids were raised in an era in which missionaries and the government tried to wipe out the Natives' language in the name of assimilation. Kids were sent away from their families for school, some as far away as BIA schools in Oklahoma, where they were not allowed to speak their language. It was a horrible thing to do to kids, families, and a culture.
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Postby Dave-M » Fri Jul 14, 2006 9:25 pm

When I hear stuff about the pledge, and patriotism, I think of this article. It was written by a friend of mine. I was one of his proofreaders, and the reference to the oath for naturalized citizens at the end was my suggestion. Some people will undoubtedly get in a huff without giving what it says any thought, but I'm sending the link anyway. You do owe it to yourself to understand the history of the pledge, and the implications of it. It is heavily footnoted, it was well researched. http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig3/perry1.html Peace and music, Dave
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Postby harpmaker » Sat Jul 15, 2006 2:31 am

Although I will easily discuss politics and religion for hours with total strangers, I normally don't do so with friends and family, which I how I think of most of my fellow members here at ED. As Lazurus Long once said; it is safer to critisize a womans first born child, or her taste in hats... However, I am going to go ahead and toss my nickels worth into this rather far ranging discussion. Going backwards down the thread; Dave M...Interesting article. However, would you agree with me that it is rather heavily weighted in one viewpoint, and some of the points brought up really have no meaning other than to try to, at best, play on fears? For instance, although the concept of Socialism has some very heavy baggage with many people nowadays, back in the 1800's being labeled as a Socialist was nothing that any one thought twice about. Making the comparison to Nazi Germany is also more than a bit of a stretch, IMO For comparison, take a look at this. It is a recording of Red Skeltons remembrance of a grade school teacher, and his take on the Pledge. I don't think of the Pledge of Allegiance as a pledge by some lowly serf to his master, but rather as a concept of people joining together to support the country, and in doing so, each other. Sara; to me having the children taught solely in Yup'ik at best, disturbing. I understand the idea of preserving a culture, but doesn't that also say in a way that the ''American'' culture is not as important? This reminds me of the battle my oldest daughter had with a high school teacher who insisted that she define herself as some sort of ''___-American''. It had started out with him asking for each students nationality. When it came my daughters turn to answer, she said ''American''. He asked if she was saying that she was ''native -American''. Her responce was that he had asked for her nationality, not her ancestry. (She always was a bit of a smart aleck) He corrected himself and then asked about her ancestry. She thought about it and came back with the same answer; ''American''. Her basis was that hers is 12th generation that our family has been in this country, (not counting the Native -American blood that is mixed in there too) and that gives her every right to consider herself an ''American''. I'm going to bypass all the little digs and barbs about religion and slide right back up to the original reason for this thread, which was the discussion of whether or not the US should establish a national language. In all that I have read about the discussions in Congress about this, no where has anyone proposed banning the usage of other languages, so I think concerns expressed about not being able to speak in any particular language are unfounded. However, I do think it is important that the country should have one official language. I am an American, as were my fathers before me. I will proudly say the Pledge of Allegiance whether or not it contains a couple of highly contested words, because in my opinion, it is expressing my belief that I owe this country, and my fellow countrymen, my alliegence and support. Yes, I do realise that the country is a melting pot consisting of people with hundreds of diverse backgrounds. However, at what point do we stop thinking of ourselves as ''_____-Americans'' (fill in the blank with whatever you want) and start thinking of ourselves as Americans?
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Postby missy » Sat Jul 15, 2006 7:04 am

Sarah - Thanks for the information about Yup'ik. The "ex" was in Nome in the mid-90's doing haz-waste cleanup of the entire Seward Penisula and he often talked about the radio broadcasts in Yup'ik, Inupiat (I doubt I spelled that correctly) and English. He also employed someone that National Geographic had done a story on about some type of "initiation" ceremony and polar bears. Alaska (and Hawaii) are "another story" when it comes to what is the "United States". But then again, someone from New England, vs. someone from the South, vs. someone from the Mid-West, vs. someone from the West Coast are also totally "different". That's what makes this country great (and very hard to understand at times!). And Dave - I've always loved that dialog by Red.
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Postby Dave-M » Sat Jul 15, 2006 10:13 am

Dave, the article points out that things aren't always what they appear to be. People can be lead to do and say things believing that it's one thing, but actually be victims of indoctrination and conditioning for the opposite. Look at one of my pet peeves, all the people who "patriotically" have little American flags on their car antenna. The flags become tattered and filthy with road grime. They need to take those flags that they have desecrated to an American Legion post and have it ceremoniously burned. We forgive then with the idea that it's the thought that counts; they intend to be patriotic. But the fact is, the obviously didn't give it a lot of thought - the point of my friends article. It is interesting to note that I have often told the same story about one of my daughters answer to the "what's your nationality?" question. In the end, you are correct. I too have good feelings about the folks here, and Lazurus Long was quite thoughtful :0) Peace and music, Dave
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Postby harpmaker » Sat Jul 15, 2006 11:51 am

Actually, a tattered flag on a car antenna is one of my pet peeves also. I have gone up to people in parking lots and gently reminded them of flag protocol. I usually offer to take the flag to a local VFW hall for disposal and have had a couple of people take me up on the offer. ''Indoctrination and conditioning''? Interesting choice of words. Those could also apply to the article....in fact, I guess both articles about the flag, depending on your point of view. However, isn't that what this is all about anyway? That is; a persons ''point of view''? The author of the article you posted feels that the recitation of the Pledge is a form of indoctrination that actually removes a persons rights and freedoms. OTH, I feel he went a bit overboard in trying to make his point. Lest you think I have been a victim of indoctrination and conditioning, I also oppose any admendment to the constitution which would ban the burning of the flag in protest. Although such actions make me cringe, I agree with the Supreme Court ruling that it is a matter of free speech. In regards to the daughters...I guess great minds think alike. I don't know what triggered her little moment of protest against her teacher except that, like I said, she always has been a bit of a smart aleck. The night it happened, we ended up going over to my sisters house to get a copy of the family tree. She wanted to take it to school to prove to her teacher that she was 12th generation.... Speaking of pet peeves, the language I speak and write in is English. Although I will be the first to admit I am quite often guilty of butchering it by the way I use it, it is still English. To me, calling the language used in the States ''American'' is another way of pointing out a difference between one person from another, or in this case, one country from another. To add insult to injury, it is quite often done with an air of superiority. Whether intended or not, it can be irritating. Awhile back I read an article that I wish I could put my hands on right now. It was an set of instructions for reparing a carburetor, written in English as it was spoken a few hundred years ago. It was a funny way of pointing out how langauges change and evolve over time. IMHO, a good portion of the problems in this world are caused by people spending way to much time trying to see how others are different from themselves, rather than seeing how much we are alike. Added by Edith: ''But then again, someone from New England, vs. someone from the South, vs. someone from the Mid-West, vs. someone from the West Coast are also totally "different". That's what makes this country great (and very hard to understand at times!).'' Missy, I read somewhere that this was an example of the ''Law of Consonant Conservation''. That is, when a consonant is dropped from a word in one region of the country, it will reappear in another part. For example, all those R's that disappear in the NorthEast ( I am going to pahk the cah) show up in the South West ( I am goin' to do the warsh.....are yer goin' to help or not?) Wink
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Postby DameMags » Sat Jul 15, 2006 1:36 pm

yep, that's about how I learned it from dad - which is funny - my St. Louis cousins - dad's sisters kids - never did add or drop the r's in the "right" place.... (headin out t' "tho" th' towels in th' "warsh")
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Postby kwl » Sat Jul 15, 2006 11:20 pm

Interesting discussion on the Pledge of Allegiance. Harp, thanks for posting the link to Red Skelton's Pledge piece. I remember seeing him do that on TV back in the late 1960s or early 1970s and have a copy of it tucked away in my files somewhere. I don't have the time now, but the definition of socialism in the other link that was posted doesn't seem to fit my understanding of socialism. I'm going to have to go back do some thinking and research about that.
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