Learning How to Speak

@GardenGerty (102494)
United States
February 3, 2017 9:02pm CST
Things may have changed or may be different from state to state, but when I was first married the first time and in the San Diego area people who wanted to become citizens took citizenship classes that included functional English. At least my friend Pilar did. She had learned enough English to understand it somewhat, from watching children's cartoons with her toddlers. She never learned to read it well enough to read sewing books that she bought. She learned to read recipes in English, though. She made sure I knew she was Spanish and not Mexican. She had come to the US as a Navy bride, and had her two little children. Her husband was killed in a horrible accident. She spoke no English at the time and they had to have a Puerto Rican orderly tell her he died. She had very few friends, but through some of them she met and married Dan. Dan was being stationed in England and in order for her to go, and to take the kids, she had to become a US Citizen. She was proud to do it. Now people in the medical field are encouraged to learn some Spanish. I know, not all Spanish based languages are identical, but then, neither are all English languages. I had a friend, Helen, whose grandparents met "on the boat" coming over from Germany. She and all of her siblings spoke German, but. . . when they went to Mennonite school, as soon as the bell rang, the students were expected to speak English. At home they could and did speak German. They were part of an influx of German Mennonites fleeing conscription. As I understand it, they originally left Germany for Russia for that reason. When the Russian policy changed and they were subject to the draft, they left everything behind, and came to America. They brought with them the seeds for Turkey Hard Red Winter Wheat when they were fleeing Tsarist persecution in the 1870's. They also brought the skill to mill this wonderful drought resistant wheat and the ability to build the mills. Kansas became the American bread basket because of them. We also have a lot of manufacturing of other things using German made industry and machines. German is the language to learn for skilled manufacturing advancement. Here in America we no longer require high school and college students to study foreign languages. Worse yet, we have no opportunity for younger students to become fluent in other languages. The ability of young minds to learn more languages lies untapped because we do not choose to teach them. This discussion was stimulated by a discussion from a friend. You should check it out.
Well truthfully, a lot irritates me. I'm quite an irritable person, or so my family would have you believe. Stuck in my ways is what I like to call it. I...
8 people like this
10 responses
@andriaperry (58502)
• United States
4 Feb 17
I can do more sign that words of different languages.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (102494)
• United States
4 Feb 17
For one of my jobs we had to use sign. We did not use ASL (American Sign Language) which is conceptual, but rather SEE (signing exact English) where we had to sign every word. I liked learning it.
@Jessicalynnt (47880)
• Centralia, Missouri
4 Feb 17
yeah, I think spanish or french or something should be taught at a very young age, as that's the best time to become bilingual.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (102494)
• United States
7 Feb 17
Various languages have the potential for use depending on where you live and the surrounding industries. I will have to admit that after I learned Latin I understood English much better.
1 person likes this
• Centralia, Missouri
7 Feb 17
@GardenGerty I had some spanish in elementary school, but not from a fluid speaker, and not enough to do any good
@GardenGerty (102494)
• United States
9 Feb 17
@Jessicalynnt So you never took languages in high school or college?
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (175823)
• Switzerland
4 Feb 17
Here in Switzerland students are required to learn at least two of the three official languages (German, French, Italian), plus English. We plan to introduce English as 4th official language, just to keep in touch with the rest of the world. It is true that Spanish is different from Mexican, but if you speak Spanish you understand the two, as you can understand Americans and British once you have learned English.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (102494)
• United States
4 Feb 17
You are so correct. Pilar's concern was not language based, so much as cultural perception. At that time, in our area, Mexican people were viewed as low cast and undesirable. Yes, if you have an ability to understand a Hispanic language you can manage to communicate with various people just as Americans can for the most part understand the British and Australian versions of English, except, perhaps, for some idioms. I wish we required more foreign language. Both of my children took some Spanish classes and my daughter also took two or more years of German.
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (175823)
• Switzerland
4 Feb 17
@GardenGerty My German is poor, I should learn it better, I only talk two of the 3 Swiss languages: Italian and French.
@GardenGerty (102494)
• United States
7 Feb 17
@LadyDuck That is much more than I can do. I think it keeps you younger to do so.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (134815)
• Bunbury, Australia
4 Feb 17
They still teach a variety of languages in Australia depending on which school you attend. Once it was mostly French and German but nowadays Asian languages are taught too. This is good as Asia is much nearer to us than Europe.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (102494)
• United States
4 Feb 17
I had not thought of your geography as having a bearing on what you might be expected to learn! Thanks for sharing. Languages here are offered, but not mandatory. Interestingly enough, I had a friend whose Mom was Filipina. My friend was able to work with me in a Mexican restaurant and understand those who spoke that type of Spanish, she said she learned it at home, but I know that is not the main language of the Philippines. They have several regional languages, I believe, and then most learn to speak Tagalog as well..She understood more language than I did.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (134815)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Feb 17
@GardenGerty Our niece's husband in Luxor speaks SIX languages. And I know there are many who speak more than one or two. They put me to shame.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (102494)
• United States
7 Feb 17
@JudyEv I think we miss out on a lot in America because we assume everyone will want to learn to speak our language.
1 person likes this
@katsmeow1213 (29047)
• United States
4 Feb 17
A couple years ago our schools decided to start introducing Spanish at a younger age. It started when the twins were in 6th grade (now in 9th). At that point it was mandatory that they take Spanish. They also introduced it to 4th graders.. so my 10 year old has already taken a year of Spanish.. The trouble is that they eliminated the other language options. When I was in school I took 5 years of French.. because when I was little I wanted to move to Paris. By the time I turned 14 I realized Spanish would be more useful, and began taking Spanish, but did not drop my French classes... at that point I'd already taken 3 years of French. I aced Spanish because of how similar it is to French. For 2 years I took both languages.. and did great in both, although Spanish was easier just because it was more basic and I already knew the basics of Latin language. I probably would have done well in Italian too, which was the only other language offered at my school. The point is I had a choice. I wholeheartedly disagree with the fact that my children have no choice in the matter. I wish they had the ability to choose a different language to learn if they wanted to. My oldest did have a choice.. he chose Spanish, and I actually pushed him towards that decision knowing it was more useful in our area... but it was still a choice.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (102494)
• United States
4 Feb 17
I agree. When I was in school in Oklahoma, half a century ago almost, you could take two years of Latin, four years of Spanish or two years of French. . . that was it. Not enough choices if you ask me. I think it is great that your kids can start learning so young, but definitely agree with you that there should be a choice for more language. I also wish our kids had more of a chance to travel and use their languages. Both of my kids did get to go to Mexico, my daughter also went to Hungary twice.
• United States
4 Feb 17
@GardenGerty Our French class planned to go to Quebec after the 5th year, but I couldn't afford to go, and ended up leaving the school.. and basically dropping out after having my oldest son... My kids don't have much options for travel. In 5th grade they take a trip to NY city.. but that's not for language, it's more for the culture of it.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (102494)
• United States
7 Feb 17
@katsmeow1213 Even traveling for culture is broadening. I never had the money to do anything as a child. I think I pushed hard for my kids to have opportunities I did not. I did not want them to see things as impossible.
@paigea (22484)
• Canada
4 Feb 17
I think learning another language can be so useful and mind broadening. Everyone in Alberta does get some French instruction in school. But then it becomes an option, so very few outside of the French speaking communities actually learn French. Other languages are offered but few take advantage
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (102494)
• United States
7 Feb 17
Once you learn it you do need a place or way to use it or you quickly forget it.
1 person likes this
@paigea (22484)
• Canada
7 Feb 17
@GardenGerty very true. And that is why I never learned it very well
1 person likes this
@BelleStarr (39652)
• United States
4 Feb 17
I travel a lot and I am always rather ashamed of the fact that other peoples in the world speak multiple languages and most Americans barely speak English. The problem is most American's don't understand that being multi-lingual is desirable. I am bilingual, I speak French and England and a smattering of German and Flemish. I always try to learn a language when I am traveling. OUr country is very backwards in a lot of ways and this is one of them.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (102494)
• United States
4 Feb 17
I recognize a few words in other languages is all. I wish I had been pushed to do more than just the minimum to get out of school. I wish I had learned Spanish in addition to studying Latin. It would have been easy when I was young. I actually think there is a place online where I can study Choctaw (I have a tribal membership) and that would be a good thing to do. I do feel we are both backward and snobbish in our attitude toward learning other languages.
1 person likes this
@BelleStarr (39652)
• United States
4 Feb 17
@GardenGerty I think you should learn it, it would be quite an accomplishment. Expecting everyone in the world to speak English is rather snobbish!!
1 person likes this
@KrauseHome (35517)
• United States
7 Apr 17
Yes, back in the day when people came here to the US they were expected to be respectful and learn our language and that is Good. Wish more of them now were wanting too and made to do it. Also make them show more respect would be nice.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (102494)
• United States
8 Apr 17
I think English should be the functional language of commerce and legal documents. On the other hand, with all languages represented here, I think we would be smart to require two or three years of a foreign language in school to equip Americans for the global economy.
@stbrians (15893)
• Kakamega, Kenya
4 Feb 17
It is awkward to be i in a place they speak a language you do not understand. Teaching people who want to settle I in a place another language is good. Am halpy the German Mennonites taught something to America.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (102494)
• United States
4 Feb 17
We all have something to share, and we are not less when we learn more. We can learn language and other practices and share great ideas.
@jstory07 (69827)
• Roseburg, Oregon
4 Feb 17
It is hard to learn another language and unless you have a reason to learn that language than you should not be forced to learn that language.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (102494)
• United States
4 Feb 17
I guess what I am saying is that for many careers you can get better jobs or do the job better if you at least know some foreign words. I took Latin, which is not a language you would speak, but it helped me in my English classes because that is where a lot of our words come from.