Does it upset you in the U.S. to have to "Push 1 for English" on a phone?

United States
February 27, 2007 8:57pm CST
I get annoyed here in the United States when we are told to push 1 for English. Im sorry but that is our FIRST language here. I could understand if you had to push 1 for spanish. That is a secondary language to us here. I think in this country it should be assumed that we speak English and not Spanish. I dont know Spanish, and I am afraid of where our country is headed. Before long we will feel like a foreigner in our own country. I dont have any problem with people coming to our country LEGALLY. But I dont like it to be assumed that I dont know English here in the United States. Has anyone else encountered this before?
20 people like this
53 responses
• India
28 Feb 07
ya it should not be done im my opinion
5 people like this
• United States
28 Feb 07
I hear the push one for english when I call for support sometimes. What I find funny is if I do push one I don't get someone that speaks it, very well. It should be push one to speak to someone can speak english. I don't care what nationallity you are or not but if you are going to help someone it helps to be able to speak the language.
5 people like this
@Markod (23)
28 Feb 07
As far as I am concerned, The USA is an English speaking country, and should not be so accommodating towards foreign language groups. Anybody that emmigrates to a new country knows what language is spoken there, and it is an insult to that country to expect to speak your own language, and not adopt that counties language. In normal immigration, this is not normally a problem, seeing that an immigrant must a certain command of the countries language in order to secure employment. The problem comes from all the illegal immagrants, forming their own communities, very much like a slice of home away from home. They do not integrate into the general populace, and generally find work wherever they can, at minimum wage level, or worse. I also feel that in supporting their language, the State is condoning illegal immigration, and encouraging multi-culturalism and racial disharmony.
5 people like this
• India
28 Feb 07
Dude........meaning no offence to you and your observations. But you've got to understand that US is a big country where a lot of people with different religions live. So, guess you also have to think about the other people living there.
4 people like this
• United States
28 Feb 07
I understand that, but in the U.S. We speak English, same as if I go to Mexico or Spain. I would go there knowing that I should know THEIR language. I think I would be disrespecting them and their culture by going there thinking they should speak MY language. That is all I am saying. You should know the language of the people your going to be communicating with on a daily basis. I dont know Spanish, so you wont find my butt in Mexico anytime soon..lol
4 people like this
• United States
28 Feb 07
My grandmother came here from Japan many many years ago, and she never had anyone accomodate to her Japanese culture. She had to learn to speak english, she had to learn how to write and spell, she had to take her drivers test in english, she didn't get to read the classifieds and see jobs listed in Japanese... Do it for all, or do it for none (and my vote is do it for none). People come here because THEY want to be here, the US government didn't force them here. I am not saying that when they come here they should compeltely give up their culture, but they should learn the American culture to fit into our society.
2 people like this
@kgs_mommy (260)
• United States
28 Feb 07
I know what you mean, but it doesn't really bother me. I guess we have to think about the fact that we don't have an 'offical' language.
4 people like this
@arcadian (931)
• United States
28 Feb 07
Wha-a-at?! No official language???Okay the fundamental contracts that established this nation were written in ENGLISH. England doesn't have an official language even though what we speak derives its name from "England". Brits will be the first to tell you what we speak isn't what they speak. England's language is a mishmosh of German, French, some scanty bits of Anglo-church latin and whatever was enforced by whoever the conquerer was at any time our common ancestors were learning to walk upright. But since Gutenberg's press froze our language, we have it as English, that's how the Dec of Ind and the Constitution, the bill of rights and all our laws since were written. English IS our official language.
@mememama (3076)
• United States
28 Feb 07
It really doesn't bother me, but maybe that's because I can speak spanish lol, but english is my first language. It only takes a second to hit that button. Sometimes if that takes forever, to get someone in english, I might hit #2 for spanish and get someone to talk to me! What really irks me is when I call for a bill or something and the call is forwarded to a different country and the guy on the other line can't speak english. This is really hard when I have to spell out my street name or my last name, they always screw it up and it takes forever to get anywhere.
4 people like this
• United States
28 Feb 07
You know that is annoying lol. I totally see where your coming from, it is frustrating to have to push 1 to hear english, it is our national language. It would be cool if by defualt everything is read in english, but we cant do that. Too many people prefer to speak their own languages in america. I thought to be a citizen here you had to learn english anyway?
4 people like this
• United States
28 Feb 07
I totally understand where you are coming from but at this point what can really be done about it? My mom is from Italy but she became a citizen and joined the Air Force where she and my father met and I was conceived. I was born in Italy and I grew up in California and I do believe that citizenship should be earned not stolen.
@avonrep1 (1862)
• United States
28 Feb 07
I hate that, I had to go through that yesterday when I called Comcast. You know what makes me even more mad though, when you call tech support from a company and it is switched oversea. Then you get someone on the phone that speaks broken english and you can't understand them or them you. The funny thing is when people from other countries call their tech support it is transfer to the US. Something is wrong with that.
3 people like this
• United States
28 Feb 07
Well we can blame the government in part for all the outsourcing. That said I fully agree. I hate calling for something and talking to a foreigner (usually they are from India - nothing against them just a statement of fact)
1 person likes this
@oaks281 (85)
• United States
28 Feb 07
I also am very bothered by this. I mean lets face it if we were to go to another country we would be expected to know the language in that country not the other way around. Now a days you have to be bi-lingal just to get a decent job. And why is that, because we as US citizens are just expected to adapt to everyone else. When it should be the other way around. I don't have a problem with people coming to this country to find a better way of life but if you do then you need to adapt to customs and the way we do things. Just like they would expect us to if we went to where they are from.
3 people like this
• United States
28 Feb 07
I've never really thought about this. I'm just used to multiple languages being offered on the phone. I have always had a problem with people moving here and not learning the language..I think it should be a requirement. I would never ever move to another country and not learn the language. I live in an area where it is almost offensive. People working at the grocery stores, fast-food places, pharmicies...they don't speak english! They get an attitude with me because I don't speak spanish!!! Most jobs around here require that you be bi-lingual. If you don't speak spanish there goes your shot at that job. I don't think it's fair..
@jcgbrains (139)
• United States
28 Feb 07
Press one for English is part of a growing issue that is based in the fact that the United States does not have an official language, as Congress never offically set one. Further it will get worse in the future, espically when white people of European decesent are no longer a majority of the population. Which is already true in some cities in the United States.
@Bev1986 (1425)
• United States
28 Feb 07
I totally agree with you! I think if you want English, you shouldn't have to do anything. If you want Spanish, then you can press one. If you are calling an American business, you should expect that the phone message would be in English! It is definitely a pet peeve of mine as well.
@susieq223 (3742)
• United States
28 Feb 07
I have encountered this problem and I, too, get annoyed. I love that American is a melting pot and I enjoy hearing different languages, eating different foods and absorbing different cultures. I guess I am a little nationalistic, however. I do think that foreigners who choose to live in this country should learn our language, which happens to be English. I am not asking them to give up their culture or their language, only to learn a new one. I would do the same if I chose to live in their country. I am not annoyed at the Hispanics, however, but with the businesses that choose to cater to foreigners ahead of Americans. I feel I shouldn't have to hit a button first, or at all, to hear my native language. I think the foreign language speaker should have to do that. In other words, it's the principle of the thing. English should rate first, then other languages. I have complained to the companies about that very thing. (Not that it did much good!)
• United States
28 Feb 07
You know what? I NEVER thought of it like THAT. But you DO have to hit english to keep going in our language. Until you pointed that out, I never would have thought it was different to ask me to do this in my own language.
3 people like this
• United States
28 Feb 07
I've always thought it was silly when I hear things like that on the phone. I'm in America, of course I want English! I'm not sure I've ever really been annoyed over the matter though. What does annoy me is when I call a customer service center, which is supposedly in the United States, and you can't find a single person there that can speak understandable english. "Halo. Me nom iz Dayveed. Who may eh help zoo?" OY, things like that push my buttons. -_- [Sorry, that was a little off-topic. I figured maybe you could relate to it though, since it's similar to your discussion.]
@callarse1 (4787)
• United States
28 Feb 07
Yea that happened to me before. I was very annoyed because they were speaking a different dialect with a thick accent. I called the main company and complained. I told them about it and the settled it all right for me. They were the bomb about it. So if you do have a problem like that and you cannot understand at all I would just call the corporation office. They are the bomb! Pablo
1 person likes this
28 Feb 07
its totally understandable for anyone in thier own country to feel this way but its a fact of life and the way this world is headed, all thing in consideration like the ease of travel in this day and age, almost every country on the planet either is or steadily becoming multi national, multi cultural and you cant just assume anymore. being english in england isn't what it used to be now and to be honest an english man in england is even starting to be considered the minority as far as i'm concerned. australia has a very good imigration policy, to go you need to take with you a valuble skill which will be usefull to the australian population and you have to be able to support yourself when you get there instead of just turning up and being "looked after", its time that not only the UK and USA started limiting the people they "take in" but every country on the planet should restrict the amount of imigration. it won't be too long untill the average english man isn't englis and the average american isn't american
2 people like this
@callarse1 (4787)
• United States
28 Feb 07
I would like to say the follow, I am sorry if I offend anyone because that is not my intention. I have been around people that are learning another language and they say sometimes: "Why do I have to learn x language because if I go to that country they will speak in English to me?". First, since we have technologies like the internet, email, voice chat, mobile phone and all that our world is becoming more and more "flat". Someone from the States can chat with someone in Japan or anywhere. Therefore if your idea is that "I shouldn't have to learn another language" then I think there is a problem. If you go to a Spanish speaking country you may want them to talk to you in English because you don't know any Spanish. It can be hard to just "learn" a language if you are working two jobs. I am not making excuses for anyone, I am saying that learning takes time, effort and motivation. If someone doesn't have all three of them, then it is going to be hard to learn it. I know Spanish, I know Italian (very basic) and a few phrases in Portuguese. I know people that know 9 languages very well. Therefore, perhaps you should learn another language? If you want to say: "Lo siento, no hablo español" Low si-en-to, no a-blo s-pany-ol to them. If they get an attitude then you tell them: Debe saber inglés porque vive aquí: Day-aby sa(short a)-ber ing-lés por-kay bi-bes a-key. I hope that helps. Have a nice day and a big plus to you.
• Canada
28 Feb 07
Here in Canada we do the same thingpush 1 for english what annoys me mroe it that you are greated by a machine and there is no human voice involved till the machine has annoyed the hell out of me. There should be a real person on the phone when you call not a machine that way it can direct your call properly.
2 people like this
@pravda1 (288)
• United States
28 Feb 07
Silly, Our country has no offical national lauguage. Yes english is the preferred spoken language, however our country is the melting pot of the world...remember the statement on the Statue of Liberty? When we asked the world to send us their people we did not say only if you speak english. Does pushing one little button really take that much energy? I think not....AND you are afraid of where our country is headed...I'm more afraid that American will isolate itself from the world and become a 3rd rate country because we are Afraid to grow and learn new things. Also, we Americans need to start learning second and third languages in our schools...why so that our children can compete internationally.
2 people like this
@lucy02 (5017)
• United States
28 Feb 07
Yes, it bothers me if I am calling a company in the U.S. but all that button pushing bothers me. I wish I could just call and talk to a real person once in awhile.
2 people like this