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My father's family are from the Rheinland Pfalz, my mother's Czech
from Wien, Austria, my father's mother Prussian from Danzig (Gdansk),
now Poland. So there were three kinds of German dialect as well as
High German spoken when I was a child. Plus my father's mother spoke
Polish and my mother and her family Czech. My father's father and he
spoke Italian and everyone used French and English. My father's mother
taught me classical Greek and Latin. I was several years old before I
discovered that these were different languages. That discovery led to
my interest in languages and linguistics.
The current drive to make English only in the USA is due to the
increase in the proportion of Spanish speaking population and the
attempt to keep Mexican and Central and South American immigrants out.
In the early 1900's, a similar drive was due to the influx of Central,
Eastern and Southern Europeans. In the 1800's, another was due to the
wave of Irish Catholics. Asian immigrants and percentage of population
have never been enough to trigger a 'language' problem, but, like the
current Hispanics, the 1900's  Europeans, and the Irish, are
distinguished 'racially', which is the real issue. It's just not
politically correct to say that now, though it was earlier.
It is xenophobia, even if they speak the (name a country)'s language.
It is interesting to hear descendants of earlier immigrants raise the
same arguments used against their forebears against current
immigrants.
The first act of the new Congress of the USA when the nation was
established was to vote whether to use English or switch to German.
German lost by a couple votes. When the Cajuns became citizens of the
USA through the Louisiana Purchase, they were permitted to keep their
native French, because there were already French settlements in the
USA. When Texas was allowed to enter the USA, Spanish was specifically
accepted as equal to English for official use, because the land titles
of the Yankees who had engineered the revolt from Mexico and
annexation by the USA were in Spanish. The other southwestern states
whose land was ceded to the USA from Mexico also came with Spanish
speaking populations. They didn't cross the border. The border crossed
them.
But those who are anti-Hispanic don't know the country's history.
As for Germany, when was there a single German culture and language?
My father's father, who loved his Prussian wife dearly, would say that
Prussians were Slavs who learned to speak a civilized language. She
loved him anyway.
De god zegent u altijd, alle manieren,
Paul

On 11/20/06, Carsten Becker <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Lars Finsen <[log in to unmask]> schrieb:
>
> > BTW, what is the percentage of bilinguals among
> > conlangers compared to the overall population?
>
> As for me, I'm monolingual. I learnt English and French only
> at school, just like my parents, who are both native
> speakers of rather standard German themselves due to the
> origin of their respective parents (dad's parents: Northern
> Hesse, mum's parents: Ruhr area). So I cannot even speak any
> weird *dialect* myself.
>
> > Well, there is a definite political trend thataway, with
> > English now the "National Language" of the US and several
> > states having taken it further to the status of "Official
> > Language".
>
> Well, the official language here in Germany is German of
> course, but that doesn't keep the many Turkish, and Russian
> immigrants from speaking their respective native languages,
> also in the public. Official stuff is only in German,
> though.
>
> Mark J. Reed <[log in to unmask]> schrieb:
>
> > And while I wholeheartedly agree that all
> > children in the US should learn to speak fluent English,
> > I have never figured out why anyone wants them to learn
> > *only* English.
>
> Seconded, also see above. I also don't see why immigrants
> should stop speaking their native language and not raise
> their children bilingually. BTW, politicians have discussed
> some time ago whether or not to introduce German tests in
> kindergarten for immigrants' children in order to make sure
> that they learn German properly when they're still young.
> (It is said that) Chances are better to be successful in the
> "new" country if you can speak its language fluently. But
> there is still xenophobia to be fought against.
>
> Yours,
> Carsten
>
> --
> "Miranayam kepauara naranoaris." (Kalvin nay Hobbes)
> Pinena, Limbuy 14, 2316 ya 10:34:09 pd
>