I was having a discussion online with a friend earlier. Her stance is that everyone who immigrates to America should learn American English (technically, she said that “I will not be forced to learn a foreign language to accomodate illegals in my country”). Yes, accommodate was spelled wrong. My stance is that there is no “official” language in the United States, and therefore, it is acceptable that signs and such are in Spanish (or French in Louisiana, etc) as well as English. Furthermore, one cannot assume that people are illegally here if they don’t speak English.
I’ve tried to learn Spanish and Italian in the past. I’m very bad at learning languages. I plan to try Spanish again in the future, especially if I teach in a high-Spanish-speaking area. There are kids at BAA/Fenway who speak Spanish, and I can pick up such a little bit. I can at least figure out that they’re not being insulting.
I don’t think that it is wrong to ask student to please learn English in school. But I also think that we need to encourage bilingualism.
I don’t think it is right to force others to do things one way.
Just because one person (or a group of people) believes something, doesn’t mean they get to infringe the freedom of others. If what other people are doing is not harming anyone, then what is the big deal? If people want to speak Spanish (or whatever) and they can get through the day speaking the language of their choice, then who cares? Having signs in both English and Spanish doesn’t harm anyone. In fact, people might learn something.