Off the Editor’s Desk – 8-21-2013

HOW MANY SPEAK ENGLISH?

According to a new report from the Census Bureau, about 60 million people in the U.S. speak some language other than English in their homes.

Of those who spoke other languages, seven percent said they spoke no English at all, plus another 15 percent of those who spoke English “not well”.

 For those who speak another language at home, nearly two-thirds or 38 million speak Spanish, up from 11 million in 1980.

The report continued saying, “Fueled by both long-term historic immigration patterns and more recent ones, the language diversity of the country has increased over the past few decades,” The report indicated, “As the nation continues to be a destination for people from other lands, this pattern of language diversity will also likely continue.”

I remember my father telling that when he grew up in a small town in central Wisconsin, all his neighbors were immigrants from Germany and they all spoke German, and he learned to speak German by association with the children as they played. But at school, they learned to speak English.

I also must relate that my maternal great-grandparents came from Norway and they had to learn to speak English if they wanted to be part of the new country they came to call home.

I recall when my mother wintered in southern Texas, and we would visit her and go to a local eating establishment. There, the young ladies waiting on tables spoke broken English and they were mixing English with Spanish. I felt fortunate that I got what I had ordered. Maybe it was my fault that I did not speak Spanish!

But, we need to teach English first. That’s all I have to say on that matter.

Thanks for reading.

— Carlton