Barack HUSSEIN Obama addressed the issue of official languages recently by endorsing one: Spanish. Instead of worrying about immigrants learning English, he told an audience, America should be teaching its children Spanish. Every child should be bilingual, Obama said, but listen to the language he chooses later:
Well, which is it — should we teach them Spanish or French? Maybe we should teach them Chinese, or perhaps Arabic. Immigrants come from around the world to live in America. Perhaps Obama doesn’t realize this, but they don’t all speak Spanish. If our children have to learn foreign languages so that immigrants feel at home here, then we’d better plan on keeping them in school for about 30 years.
Also, Obama’s argument here makes no sense. He’s complaining that Americans don’t speak the native language when we visit Europe, but that we don’t speak the immigrant language when people move to the United States. With that argument, shouldn’t we expect Europeans to speak English when we travel there?
I agree that everyone should learn a foreign language. I studied and spoke French when I was younger, while my father was stationed in France. I know a little Spanish from growing up in Texas, and I studied Russian for several years. The study of foreign language not only broadens one’s cultural perspective, but it also helps in understanding one’s native tongue. However, to argue that Americans should learn Spanish as a higher priority than insisting that immigrants learn English is nonsense, and Obama’s argument for it is a giant non-sequitur. It carries a strong whiff of America-bashing, too.
If I emigrated to a country where English was not the language, I would not demand that the government produce signs and pamphlets in English; I’d learn the language. My children would learn it as well if I expected them to succeed in their new land.
"At no time is freedom of speech more precious than when a man hits his thumb with a hammer." - Marshall Lumsden