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Friday, September 23, 2011

Parlez Vous Espanol?

The other morning I attended a Workshop For Parents at my son's school. It had all the right intentions - tips for starting the kids off right for school, help with homework, communicating with teachers, etc. The only problem was, about seventy percent of it was conducted in Spanish.

I could go ape-shit like those folks who drape themselves with an American flag screaming, "This is America - speak English!" But what's the point, unless I yell it out in Spanish. The stark truth is, the Spanish speaking population far outnumbers the English speakers, especially in areas like New York and Florida and that's just the East Coast.

You know what they say, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. 

Our education system offers specialized programs to help non-English speaking children, I'd like to see them offer native English speakers a chance to learn Spanish instead of depending on Dora The Explorer.

Oh sure, we offer French and Spanish in our schools but that's not until Junior High (Middle school). I'm no "Diary Of A Wimpy Kid" here but extreme self-consciousness hits most people around this time, they're not going to repeat "Mi nombre es Retardo" with enthusiasm. It's not going to stick.

I took French in Junior High and about the only sentence I've retained is fermez la bouche - shut your mouth. I remembered it because it's a useful phrase. And you have to admit, it sounds romantic. Only in French could you say, "your mother is a dog" and it would sound like poetry. Can you imagine if they dubbed "Goodfellas" in French - that would suck. It's probably why the French aren't big in organized crime; how threatening could you sound with a French accent? C'est impossible, baiseur de mère.

Getting back to the Parent Workshop - although it fell short of conveying the information it promised, it did hit home the need to teach my kids another language. The four-year old does well in learning Japanese. The big brother, well, like I said in a previous post - he's an air head. He has trouble enough with English why confuse him even more? If the most he can say is Domo-arigato, Mr. Roboto well...c'est la vie.


  1. Oh yikes, I can't imagine how hard it is! Indonesian have a saying almost means "Do as the Romans do" which basically means you suppose to blend in the country you're in so I would assume that speaking English in an English speaking country is a necessary. Skill of survival for me but maybe not for everyone. :D

  2. In New York, an immigrant can live most of their life within their nationality's community. So, I guess it's not that much of a necessity for survival. Even the police have sections that speak Spanish, Chinese and Korean.

    Do as the Romans do - yes, but at the same time - You can't teach an old dog new tricks!

  3. My older kids have been taking Spanish for a while now. Let me know if you need them to translate:) I'm pretty sure they talk about me behind my back...not that I'm paranoid or anything.

  4. Paranoid or not, at least they have the decency to talk BEHIND your back. Around here, they'll joke about you in front of your face. Guess that's why people are always getting shot.

  5. This is one good thing I get from following blogs of smart people, I get to learn new things. But seriously, Spanish in a New York pre-school? Woah. Ditto on the French language. I know some Nihonggo too. :) But English is the language I've been trying to teach my 2 kids. Let's hope for the best. ;)

  6. Hey thanks for putting me in the "smart people" category. That's a first. Well, my husband thinks I'm smart, too but he doesn't even know how to write his address.

    Good luck with teaching your kids English. You'd be surprised how many Americans speak it not so good!