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Dennis Baron's go-to site for language and technology in the news

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  • English no longer the official language of New York's gas stations

Comments

bribarker@hotmail.co.uk Jul 12, 2008 11:33 am

The situation indeed seems scary.

In London at the moment the situation seems more calm.  The Polish workers are starting to go home. Credit crunch, equals no building work, equals no language problem. Undecided

In the long-term however we will still have a problem which will not be sorted by either Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, or English.

What do you think about a language like Esperanto?

 

Reply to bribarker@hotmail.co.uk at 11:33 am
mjlee@hawaii.edu Jul 14, 2008 5:26 pm

I know I shouldn't be, but I am always surprised that linguistic discrimination seems to be a socially acceptable form of racism, and that people will openly make illogical statements, such as people speaking in a foreign language must be saying something bad about the person(s) who don't speak their language or that somehow it's the English Only speakers who are being discriminated against.

I'm curious to know if this is a problem in other English-speaking countries (that is, lawsuits, protests, news media sensationalism).  I saw the post about the Polish in the UK.  What about Canada, Australia, New Zealand, others?  Is this a symptom of the shift in English as the dominant global langauge? or a result of limited resources and immigration?  or a clash in the collective identity of "Americans" vis-a-vis global perception of "Americans" (or British, Australian, etc.)? 

I find the locals' reactions to the court's decision and Hess' settlement very disturbing.  After years of studying language issues, language attitudes, and diversity and composition, I feel like this incident shows that we haven't made much progress.  How do we disseminate what we know about language studies to the general public? How can society benefit from the scholarship produced in academia and/or does society benefit from scholarship now?  I'm not sure if the glass is half full or half empty.  Someone please tell me it's half full.

Reply to mjlee@hawaii.edu at 5:26 pm