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Linguaphobia and Linguocentrism

From:nicole perrin <nicole.eap@...>
Date:Monday, August 21, 2000, 21:18
Oskar Gudlaugsson wrote:
> > Would the Americans here be offended if I stated that there seems to be a > considerable sentiment of "linguaphobia" in American society? What do you > think of it? With things like the 'English-only' front (some movement > against the growth of Spanish and other immigrant languages, demanding that > English be made the official language of the US). It just seems pretty > extreme to me, no, actually quite _disgusting_, to expel a person for > speaking a foreign language (out of necessity too). I mean, isn't that an > outright violation of American law (e.g. the oft-quoted "freedom of speech" > article)?
Well, I wouldn't be offended, and it seems that neither would many other people on the list. See, what I think is baffling is that even though the US has no official language, people act as though it is English (e.g. Tomas's story about the subway woman). I've heard tons of people say things like "They're in America, they should speak English." The fact that English technically has no special status in America just makes it all the more ridiculous. Another thing I hear a lot of and is really disgusting is that English is the most relevant language in the whole world and everyone might as well just learn it now because it's the most important language for business, commerce etc etc AHHH!!! Of course this also means that everyone might as well just stop speaking anything else. This attitude really really kills me. How do people really believe this stuff? And of course, when people think English is the only worth-while language, that means they're not running out to learn any other languages. Which means they'll probably never figure out how wrong they really are. <sigh> Nicole