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'Mama, would you please speak English!'
Bilingual parents don't always have an easy time leading their kids to be bilingual.
February 28th, 2012
10:22 AM ET

'Mama, would you please speak English!'

Editor's note: Rose Arce is a senior producer at CNN and a contributor to Mamiverse, a website for Latinas and their families.

By Rose Arce, CNN

(CNN) – I am sitting in the North Charleston Coliseum in South Carolina ensconced in a piece of pure Americana. A CNN debate between the Republican presidential candidates is unfolding beneath a sea of cardboard red, white and blue stars and stripes.

"I favor English as the official language of government and I think that creates a continuity," Newt Gingrich says, punching away at his opponent before a roaring crowd of Southern Republicans.

There was continuity weeks later at the CNN debate in Jacksonville, Florida, where nearly a quarter of the population is Hispanic. "I also believe that in our schools, we should teach kids in English," Mitt Romney says to thunderous applause.

What American - Latino or not - wouldn't applaud for teaching kids to speak English in U.S. schools? I slouch into my seat and wait for the good part, when the sparks of partisanship flare up over the details of what "English Only" means. But, when these go mano-a-mano in the language wars, these guys got nothing on the 40 inch, 35 pound adversary I fight each day.

"Mama, would you please speak English! We live in America," 6-year-old Luna yells at the breakfast table. You see, while the broad national debate is about English Only, in my 1,000 square feet of America, it's Spanish that's causing all the stir.

Luna only spoke Spanish for her first few years, our feeble attempt to make her bilingual in a home with two parents who are fully bilingual. Like generations of Americans with roots in other countries, we thought it would be an asset for her to learn a second language. Then preschool introduced English, but who would push back against the cuteness of bilingual baby talk. By Kindergarten she had drawn the line in the sand. She wanted to speak only the language of her people – the other 5-year-olds in Room K210.

At first we pretended not to hear her and she'd switch back to Spanish. But every time we talked to other people in English, she would lose patience with us. Then we started to respond in Spanish to her questions in English, which led to dumb exchanges like this one: "Hey Mama, you dudes want to hang out at the park today." (Just to give you a visual, she always puts her hands on her hips when she says "dudes.") "Si mi amor," this dude would respond. The next stage sent us South. Say Hola to Spanglish! "Yo quiero peanut butter sandwich en my lunchera, Mami."

We laid down the law:

"Luna, hablame en español."
"NO way. What's with all the Spanish?"
"Es divino hablar ingles y español."
"Great, so you speak both."
"I do already. I want you to speak both."
"Haha. See you're speaking English."
"Luna, por favor. Si hablas español vas a poder hablar con mas gente."
"This is America. Gente should be speaking English."

That settled it. I would become Mama Newt Gingrich. Our house was going Spanish Only. We would not be the parents paying somebody to teach our kid Spanish in High School. We would not be doing some Outward Bound summer trip to Costa Rica. BASTA!  Not raising Hannah Montana after giving birth to Dora the Explorer.

My Latina friends advised: "Just keep talking Spanish to her. Don't make it a fight." But two secretly admitted to shipping theirs off to grandparents in the Dominican Republic.

My own brother revealed that he threatened my niece with a Panamanian boarding school. We turned our attention to our beloved Rosanna, Luna's babysitter who speaks very little English. Not a word of English with Luna, we declare.

Within a week Luna claims to be giving Rosanna "English lessons." My mother comes to visit and I seize her as an ally. Within a day, Luna has her singing Barbie songs on her pink plastic karaoke machine. I blame my partner, who is from Colombia and has an accent.

"It's your native tongue," I say. "Make her talk it!" Luna begins mocking her accent. My partner put her hands on her own hips. So much for that.

We need government intervention. This whole English Only debate has sidestepped the problem bedeviling parents in our nation of immigrants - how do we get our freaking kids to speak the family's native tongue? I waltz into her public school and ask about Spanish class. They offer French in afterschool! OK, French.

Whatever.

"But no one signed up." Ugh. This isn't just about bilingualism; American culture reveres its roots! We are the gorgeous mosaic! A beautiful quilt! Ellis Island, United Nations, the endless St. Patrick's Day parade. We got more taquerias than Tijuana; can't we teach some foreign language to our kids? At the next debate the word English gets repeated 11 times in a state where a 20% of the population speaks Spanish at home. Clearly, I'm on my own with this one.

I pick up a T-shirt at an airport that says "Se Habla Español" and toss it among her clothes. She barely notices. My cousins visit from Peru; their kids speak perfect English. We make a playdate with an anglo kid who is fast becoming fluent. We go to family parties and everyone is joking around in Spanish, but her. I feel my family history slipping away. This is about so much more than language.

The first signs I get that this is turning around come when we travel to visit family in Puerto Rico and Colombia, where my partner was born. Suddenly, Spanish is in the air. Luna shyly chats up her cousins. She orders papas fritas (French fries). She runs on the beach yelling, "Conchas, conchas," shells. When we get back, I sneak in at night while Rosanna is getting her ready for bed. She is chattering in Español. Rosanna grins as I write her weekly check.

But it doesn't really come together until I get the call. This time I'm on the road covering the Republican primary. "Hola Mama," her tiny voice says into my cell phone. "Cuando vienes? Yo te extraño?"

"I'll be home soon. I miss you too," I say in English, deciding not to press my luck.

"Te quiero mas que las estrellas y la luna, Mama."

"You love me more than the stars and moon?! Me too amor."

"Can you bring me something from your trip Mama?"

AY YAY YAY!

The opinions expressed are solely those of Rose Arce.

Posted by
Filed under: Family • Language • Latino in America • Politics • What we think
soundoff (707 Responses)
  1. Ben

    I am Hispanic and I learned English as a second language while I was living in my native country. I totally agree that our kids' first language should be English. However, I still try to speak Spanish to them at home, but I don't force it. I think that whatever they can get, even if it's a little, will be helpful later on. I don't have a problem with people wanting Hispanics to learn English. However, this "English only" policy causes people to make very racist remarks.

    February 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • HispanicMan

      You're 100% correct. Thank you for such a logical and simple to understand opinion of how it is here in the U.S.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duryea

      My husband is from Puerto Rico and I am from a Polish background. Our children only spoke Spanish at home until they went to kindergarten and then learned English in school and it has served them well to be able to communicate in Spanish within their places of employment with employees who do not speak English or those who need help translating Spanish into English.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. pooh2

    I like this article. Indeed it often happens with immigrant parents that they struggle to keep the interest of their children in their ethnic background. The latter often feel that their background is just a drag for them, and that it seriously hinders their social life. My wife is a linguist, and for her it has been doubly important, that our children use our native language, when communicating with us. She is winning the battle now, and in spite of our children speaking our native language at home, they also score in the top 0.1 percent in all state-wide English tests, (way better than average American children). We have the best of both words due to the zeal of my wife.

    February 28, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cat

    I don't understand some of the comments here. Maybe because many of you speak only one language? I have 3 children, I only spoke Spanish to them at home. Not only did I speak Spanish to them, I got them books in Spanish, rented movies in Spanish. I speak perfect English, it is my second language, I graduated college here in the US and I have lived here for almost 30 years. Besides the odd TV show and playdates at the park,until the age of 3 (which is when they started pre-school) my children never spoke English. All three of them, entered pre school in the fall and by Christmas break their English was pretty good,by the end of the school year you could never tell the difference between their English and their classmates'. You see,I knew that would happen. i knew they would pick up the English language like little sponges as soon as they entered school, as it should be, as I expected them to, as I wanted them to. The whole time I continued to speak to them only in Spanish at home. Yes, they protested, they rebelled, "but mom, your English is flawless, why don't you just talk in English to us?". i did not give in. I did not hold them back, I gave them an advantage in life. They are fully bilingual, they can speak, read, and write another language. Two of them can speak a third language they picked up later on. T

    February 28, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • harlequinben

      Good for you! Your kids will reap the blessings of your effort in the future.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Cat

        They already do, and as they grow and they may get to travel and deal with people in other countries due to business, they will see the benefits even more.

        February 28, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • International

      Exactly, Cat
      All of my friends with bi-or trilingual children did the same. They simply spoke to the child in the same language all the time and the child could respond in whatever language they wanted. The children always figured it out and it is amazing to watch a 4 year old run a conversation in three languages. They simply learned to speak to the person in the language that person spoke. I have watched children speak English to their mother, Catalan to their father and understand their parents speaking Spanish to each other in the same conversation. This idea of arguing with the chld is ridiculous and will never work.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • Cat

        It is so much easier for them to learn a third language after they know a second one. In addition to Spanish, one of my kids speaks French (beautifully!) and the another one speaks Mandarin.

        February 28, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cat

      They were never at a disadvantage. All three made it into the gifted program at their school and have done and continue to do extremely well. There is nothing wrong about teaching a second language at home. Living here in the US, they hear English everywhere. if they did not hear/learn another language at home they would never have the fluency they have in both languages.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • counselortroi

      And when they have kids of their own, they will probably speak to them only in English. It's OK to acquaint kids with foreign languages, but forcing them to be "bolingual" is likely to backfire.

      March 4, 2012 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
  4. johnny america

    Her daughter has it right, speak english. We do our business in english, well business that counts.

    February 28, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • cam

      wow, the negativity and intolerance of some of these comments! i think it's sad that we, americans in general, are so adamant about NOT wanting to encourage bilingualism in this country- fine to have English be the official language, but that doesn't mean it has to be the ONLY one, nor should it...
      i wonder how many of these people actually realize that despite much of the world learning English as a second language, [and how much solely to compete with our ever-expanding business and tourism investments- outsource much?] "French is the official language of 32 countries. In all French-speaking countries, French coexists with one or several official languages, mother tongues, or national languages. Thus French has the double privilege of being a common language for very different peoples and a means of communication between the other languages and cultures it coexists with...In most international organisations, for instance the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, the World Health Organisation, UNESCO, and UNICEF, French is an official and working language. Likewise, the Olympic Charter has designated French as an official language ever since 1896."
      and why is this? most other countries teach other languages ALL through school, not just in the later years. maybe a little respect for other cultures wouldn't be a bad thing for us to obtain at the same time :]

      http://www.francophonie.org/IMG/pdf/Press_Kit_French_language_in_Olympic_Games-2.pdf

      February 29, 2012 at 4:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. harlequinben

    We shouldn't have to defend the ability to converse in other languages with science or pleading. Language is a constantly shifting medium of communication. Introduction of foreign terms has been a practice of any language, especially English. Those who rant against other languages being included are really voicing their fear of becoming a minority. They fear being misunderstood in a place they have always been understood before. Those who come to the United States should be willing to converse in English, just like any other country that would expect others to use the most common language in use. But we shouldn't be afraid of bilingualism. Yo lo creo. Merci mes amis!

    February 28, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dogman

    So is this mom a lesbian or what?

    February 28, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • bigboxes

      Yes. Very open about it.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Economystic Extraordinaire

    They speak mexiscan in mexsicko everyday go there I am sure you will feel right at home since that is where you belong any way.

    February 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • HispanicMan

      And those in Mexico would gladly label you as one of the biggest putos that a pig ever gave birth to.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • rgcnn

        If you love Mexico and Spanish so much what are you doing in this awful, horrible, overrun by English speaking putos country?

        February 28, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • HispanicMan

        @rgcnn... Who said that the U.S was an awful place? I didnt. You must think so. Plus, I'm an American citizen. Born and raised in East L.A. So dont start your racist KKK garbage on me just to satisfy your puny ego as to what America is all about. America is the land of many people, races, color, cultures, languages. Get on board with it or go somewhere else that supports your racist bigotry. You'd make a great Taliban wife. Take the hint.

        February 28, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • johnny america

        You and your kind are proof that hispanics are worthless. English speaking Americans have put men on the moon, what has any hispanic ever done that comes even close to that? What a joke. Hispanics come from poor nations and infest ours which is fine if they are picking crops or cleaning bathrooms, we need disposable people for that kind of work. Gracias, burro pobre :)

        February 28, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • rgcnn

        I am not a racist, all I am saying: speak English in US, it's the official language, don't like it, there are other countries

        February 28, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • rebiii

        Nice, rednecks taking credit for the moon shot. "Oh ho!" said the fly to the chariot wheel. "What a dust we do raise!"

        February 28, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • SalvadoranAmerican

        Johnny 'America', this nation is a country made up of immigrants, and just because you're ancestors might have been here longer, gives you no right to spew such hatred. I'm sure if you researched your ancestry, I'm sure you'd find a poor country or two, why else would your family have come here? Judging by your ignorance, I'm quite certain that there are quite a few poor and uneducated people in your background.

        I am Hispanic and have a M.Ed. in education, and I am pretty damn certain you had nothing to do with intelligent American men and women landing on the moon.

        February 28, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • kc

      Mr. Extraordinaire... really?!? Why don't you go back to where you came from, oh wait... hmm... you probably don't even know where your ancestors are originally from. If you don't know where your ancestors originated from, let me guess I'm assuming you probably don't know the history of how we-as in humans-have evolved. That's just sad, before you discriminate someone or be ignorant know your history first.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ingles

    Children who are raised bilingual have been shown to have improved concentration. Learning a second language is a separate subject from basic English language classes, like math or history. It is a necessary skill, not to allow the student to communicate with non-English speakers but rather develop a different part of their brain. They will be better for it. (Interestingly, I didn't really understand English grammar until I took a foreign language in high school. True story...)

    February 28, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. lolotte

    You are so wrong. We are bilingual and the kids are trilingual, and you should not play the race card on this one. I see too many spanish not making any effort to learn the language and the habits, make fun of the american people...and treat them as inferior. When the american are living in another country usually they learn the language and are very well accepted when they do so. So Spanish do the same ! you do not see the Corean, German, Chinese or french community asking for favor regarding the language....

    February 28, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • rebiii

      I don't agree with your point about Americans learning the language in other countries. I speak Spanish as a second language, and I am part of a blogging community of Americans retired in a Spanish-speaking country. Some Americans have learned the Spanish language, it's true, but many have not, and make no effort whatsoever to learn. People have posted incidents in their blogs of Americans yelling at people in English in a Spanish-speaking country, to buy bread and things like that. Also, we do not teach languages here until high school. Everywhere I am familiar with in the Spanish-speaking world, students learn a language from first grade on. Often, they speak a second language (usually English) well enough to take all of their classes in their second language by the time they are in high school.

      The rest of your points may have some merit, I didn't read them closely, but I think that you are wrong about Americans speaking foreign languages abroad.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Alex

    Come on guys, It's CNN what else would you expect. I tune into this network simply out of habit and a morbid curiosity . It is a joke and so are it's writers.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corbit

      Then you should log onto that fantasy website FOX NEWS.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mark

    Sorry for the OP but her daughters native tongue is English. This is assimilation. It's happened to every other non-English speaking immigrant groups and it will happen to Spanish immigrants. It'll be organic and natural. After a handful of generations here all ties to the "old country" will be gone. It happened to all other groups and it will continue.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Economystic Extraordinaire

      or they could just go back to mexsicko

      February 28, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • EA1975

      The problem is that the "old country" used to be very far away – today you have cell phones, email, jet travel. A Mexican family can load the car up and be back in the "old country" in a matter of hours. My fathers family came from Sweden in the 1870's – guess what, they never went back and no one in my family speaks Swedish. My mother was born in Mexico – she became an American citizen and did not teach me Spanish telling me that there is nothing about that culture she wanted to pass to me. I have a college degree, a successful career and a nice home in the suburbs for my stay at home wife and three kids. Unfortunately, most of her brothers and sisters did not agree and pushed the Mexican heritage – most of my 22 "Spanish speaking" cousins are working at Dunkin Donuts or some other crappy job and having babies at a young age.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • multilingual dude

        whats your career EA1975?

        February 29, 2012 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
  12. rgcnn

    The problem with Latinos is that they think everybody in US should speak Spanish and that Spanish should be the official language. They are ignorant and do not want to assimilate.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • pooh2

      I guess you are a Latino to know what the Latinos think.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corbit

      I'm sorry, I didn't read that anywhere in this article. Do you need English help?

      February 28, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      Only someone who only speaks English and expects the entire world to learn it to accommodate him would make such an ignorant statement. I know a lot of people who are speak their native tongue at home with their children. All of them also speak English, though some of them struggle with it because a second language doesn't come that naturally to them, just as learning a second language is so very difficult for most Americans. We should all speak more than one language. We don't need a national language, we need a national policy on compassion. This is America after all – everyone here came from another country. England was only one of them.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • Economystic Extraordinaire

        and we all speak english, that is the Americans here do.

        February 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • rgcnn

        I am an immigrant, I speak 4 languages, but I live in US and this is my country now. My statement is based on my observations. I used to live in NY.

        February 28, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • Juan

        is funny I'm from Venezuela and grew up working the oil fields which back in those days were dominated by American companies; I remember you HAD to speak English in order to work at this sites even though the official language was Spanish American companies and their workers had everybody speaking English! Some people hated it, most people just learned it and took it as a plus. It is just sad and pathetic that the number one country in the world is filled with such level of hypocrisy and fear to the unknown. I live in Texas now and have been told in numerous occasions that the real problem is: "how can I know they are not talking about me". Which goes to show the selfishness of these individuals. And just for your education if you are still reading and you happen to be in Texas and against Spanish; the name TEXAS comes from Spanish Tejas. We named your state because we were here first!

        February 28, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Newmoon2

      It's about the advantages of being bi-lingual, not about forcing anyone else to speak Spanish, or Hebrew, or French, or Russian! Being bi-lingual or multi-lingual is a distinct advantage in ANY country. Get over yourself.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • HispanicMan

      The fact that you used a hyperbole to punctuate your ignorance about Latinos just shows how empty your brain is. You have no facts nor any substance that would show that you know what Latinos think and want. I happen to be 100% Latino and I speak 4 languages FLUENTLY and I never believed that the Spanish language is the one and only language to be used as you have accused us Latinos.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • Economystic Extraordinaire

        sounds like you would be more at home in mexsicko too, go home to mexsicko

        February 28, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • HispanicMan

        @Eco..caca... I have no business living or being in Mexico. I'm an American citizen who is 100% Latino. America is made up many races, tongues, religions and cultures. Not everyone can be a white trash puto like you are.

        February 28, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • rgcnn

        I speak 4 languages too, I am European, I lived in NY and know many, many Puerto Ricans, I know what I am talking about

        February 28, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cathy Gonzalez

      Umm....no. My grandparents spoke French, and after forcing their children to learn English in school, we are now kicking ourselves (the grandchildren) for not learning French. I am an American living in Mexico. I send my child to an expensive private school where I have to work to get a 50% scholarship. I do it so my kid can speak English to his American family members. Ever think about that? We don't want everyone to speak Spanish. Most of us want our children to have an advantage. Despite the assumption that "the Spanish advantage means they can talk to the illegals," there are academic studies showing that bilingual since birth gives you academic advantages. So yeah, I force my child, in Mexico, to speak English at home, but he speaks Spanish as well, and if we were in the United States (which we can do legally, btw), I'd be teaching him Spanish. And then French.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rosaura

      Unfortunately because people thinking like you do, everyday WE all of us living in USA are becoming more isolated from rest of the world. This is the most powerful country and at schools we do not take the time or effort to teach our kids another language, how ignorant from your part assuming and tagging a whole race wants to make Spanish the official language of United States of America. YES, this is America and we speak English here, but knowledge is power. To be able to speak any other language will open the doors and give you more opportunities in life.

      I will glad to share some of time to teach you Spanish..... Think about it? Are you up for the challenge?

      A very proud LATINA living in USA and can speak English too.............Rosaura

      February 28, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jay

        Or may be forget about being so proud just like most other hispanics and promote science instead of your culture in schools. Maybe, then you would know what we think of you!

        February 28, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • LongtimeTx

      What an idiotic statement.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Latino

      Unas orejas de burro bien grandes, para este caballo, quiero decir, caballero

      February 28, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • Keith

        Write your post in ENGLISH, please.

        February 28, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • KJames

      The problem is that those Latinos that make the effort and do blend in have to deal with racist like you.

      Her daughter probably doesn't want to be bilingual because she wants to be like all her English Only friends. When she gets older she will be grateful that her Mom made the effort to teach her a second language.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ron

    To the author. Nice story. I get it. But this IS America. In our day to day comings and goings, WE SPEAK E-N-G-L-I-S-H.
    You act as if all us white guys ever did was speak English. True, half my family spoke an Irish tongue, sort of English. And the other half, German. But then they came to America. After several generations, my German would'nt fill a teacup. Why? I'M AMERICAN.

    A melting pot? I don't understand Russian but do understand Spanish, you only understand French & Russian. The guy next to us only speaks Spanish and French? It would take a bucket brigade to have a simple conversation.

    What draws a people together are things they have in common. One of the most straight forward things a people can have is la common language.

    Remember the Bible? Babel. God waves his hand over the throngs of people. Everyone starts speaking a different language, and they split, divided, no longer understanding one another! They speak of America coming apart at the seams. While it is wonderful to cherish your heritage, this is just one more issue to divide the country.Where does it stop? Are our teachers, government officials, preachers, doctors, etc..., supposed to know 7 different languages, and 14 dialects? And, have you seen an instruction manual lately? If you want to speak your native language it's truly a gift, for you.

    But that daughter, who wonders why you refuse to use English, is going to have kids one day, who think how quaint it is that grandma speaks the like she's from the "old country". Because they live in AMERICA.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corbit

      I'm wondering if you need English lessons. The author is not stating he wants his daughter to only speak Spanish. He wants his daughter to speak both fluently.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • Economystic Extraordinaire

        they should go back to mexsicko then they would not have anything to argue about.

        February 28, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. The English version(s) changed many details and defined many words differently as any Biblical scholar will tell you. This is America, we ARE indeed a melting pot of many cultures. Language is a part of that culture. When you lose the language, you lose a little heritage, and that's just sad. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to raise a bilingual child. (And BTW – more people speak Spanish in the world than any other language.) Just because white Americans (whose ancestors came from England, Ireland, Germany, Norway, etc) can only speak English and are completely, willfully ignorant of other languages and cultures doesn't mean other people have to be.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • mochica

        Katie, I teach Spanish and have a certain bias towards the language, but there are far more English speakers in the world. India has around a billion people and a large portion of them speak English, more than any other country (even the U.S.). The language with the largest number of native speakers is Mandarin Chinese. The U.S. has the 5th largest population of Spanish speakers, after Mexico, Argentina, Spain, and Colombia. We should celebrate that. The first American cities were San Agustín and Santa Fe, and they weren't speaking English there (many still don't). Now there are many languages spoken in the U.S. and the more you learn, the richer your life will be.

        February 28, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mohamed

      Hey Ron,
      I agree with you. I am bilingual but I came to America because is America not so I can change it to where I came from. I embrace some of my traditions but I am fully assimilated to the point that now I think in English and dream in English. Keep America American my friends

      February 28, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corbit

      Did the Bible talk about America coming apart at the seams???? I missed that!

      February 28, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • med student

      The way I see it, the author is merely promoting bilingualism/multilingualism and, more importantly to her, cultural preservation in her daughter. I can relate to this because growing up, I, too, was constantly asked by my parents to speak Vietnamese in the house (and among family members). When all I knew was Vietnamese, it was ok; I didn't know otherwise. However, as I went to school and made English-speaking friends, it was suddenly uncool and even inconvenient to speak any Vietnamese. By the way, I was born in the US, if that matters. For my parents, it was about ensuring that I wasn't going to forget my roots. They wanted me to be able to communicate with my extended family members in Vietnam if the opportunity to visit ever arose, which it has–4 times to this day, in fact. I must say that I am so thankful my parents kept me up with my Vietnamese. Yes, we're in America, where we should all be able to speak the common language of English. However, knowing another language not only expands your horizon but also provides you with an asset (obviously, this applies both ways). The truth is, there are many people in the US who are still in the transition phase of learning English (be it active or passive). I'm glad and proud that I am able to help some of these people with my multilingualism (I can also speak some Spanish). It's an indirect help to society. Just like I am now thankful for all those dreaded piano lessons growing up, I hope Luna will one day understand and appreciate the advantage of being bilingual/multilingual.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • KJames

      Is that North, South or Central America? Hey, I'm part Irish and French too, but the language I like hearing is the one of peace and harmony. Her daughter wants to speak English, and seems to be well on her way to expressing herself fluently in her mother tongue... but what is so wrong in teaching her Spanish? Last I heard, America is the land of freedom.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Melisa

    I think the big issue with everyone is that alot of the hispanics encountered ONLY speak Spanish. I think if you live in the US you should know English. I don't think most people would be opposed to learning other languages. I would loooove to be fluent in 5 languages like my boyfriend, but i'm afraid it's too late being an adult now. We need to immerse our children today in other languages. But once again the issue is that alot of the immigrants working here cant even speak the native tongue.... I lived in Morocco for awhile and some people were nice and accommodating when i couldn't speak arabic or french, but there were so many more who criticized me for not knowing their language since i was working and living there. So this hostility is not just happening in the US.

    And I sympathize with the mother. As long as she's speaking both languages with her daughter, then she shouldn't feel bad for wanting her daughter to speak it as well.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • mochica

      I can relate to your comment. I lived in Spain for several years and at first I was treated badly because I didn't speak Spanish with the same accent as the people there. I also saw Americans who weren't even waited on in restaurants because they couldn't order food in Spanish. That seemed like poetic justice for those Americans who criticize foreigners here for not speaking English (at least their second language) fluently. Many Americans travel abroad and are rude to people that don't speak English well (in their own country!), even though every country is very accommodating with menus and brochures in English. The point is we should all learn at least a second language so that we can understand better what others are going through. Learning other languages actually helps you better understand your own. Many people that only speak English probably do not speak it or write it very well.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jay

        And if you don't mind me asking, which language would that be?

        February 28, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lila

    Reading this craziness annoys me. First, the writer last year claimed that her nanny loved being one and was part of the family. She was totally clueless about her own culture she didn't know how crazy it was to believe that. I actually lived in South America when I was a kid and my family had servants, NO ONE dreams about growing up to be a servant. Second, the daughter sounds smarter than her mother. The mother's Americanized fantasy of what her family's culture is, seldom resembles what the country is like in real life. If her daughter moves and lives to that country, her mother is going to look so ridiculous in her eyes. The daughter is correct they American, get over it. Being familiar with your heritage is one thing driving your child nuts and making her feel odd is another. BTW speaking back and forth with her in another language in front of people who don't speak Spanish is very rude. Work on your manners!

    February 28, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  16. pmici55

    I also think it would be wonderful if every family were bilingual. My concern is that when the child is being taught English in school and no one at home can speak English to reinforce it, the child falls further and further behind. I believe you should speak the primary language used no matter where you live for all business/professional/education matters.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wardo

      When kids go to public school that come from families that don't speak English at home, it adversely affects all of the students learning experience in the classroom. That's a fact.

      If you are going to live in this country, and raise your family in this country, and TAKE ADVANTAGE of all this country has to offer, have the respect to teach your children the language.

      Last time I checked, they're still speaking Spanish south of the border.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Kevin H

    OK let me through a huge monkeywrench in the works. Instead of teaching a "foreign" language (notice the quotes) why not teach the mother of several European languages: Latin and Greek. Those two coupled with English simultaneously would improve test scores in language arts, social sciences, mathematics and "hard sciences". Connecting with culture and heritage is important, however, connecting several languages together creates a cognitive foundation on which so much more can be built. I'm not in favor of a monolingual world but I am in favor of a world that sets children up for success.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • mochica

      Do you realize how ridiculous that would be? Ancient Greek and Latin are no longer spoken, so that would not be useful for a child. Spanish is the evolved (or devolved depending on your perspective) form of Latin with a large portion of words taken from Arabic, French, English, Italian, and Greek. I live in Ohio which equals no diversity, and my daughter speaks English and Spanish. The only way that we could convince her to keep Speaking Spanish was to spend as much time in Latin America as possible, so that she could engage in the language with other kids her age.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kevin H

        Well Latin and Greek weren't living languages when most of our Founding fathers learned it either. The Boston Grammar School taught Latin for most of its history. Private skills still require students to at least learn Latin plus another language. Do you realize that English is a compilation of Latin, Greek, Saxon and Old French? In fact if we take many of the stem verbs in Spanish and many of the nouns we find that there are so many English cognates that if we taught those alone people would be better off. A friend of mine performed experiments over time in the guise of enhancing language development. She proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that Spanish and English speakers alike did significantly better on language arts, science and math tests if they learned Latin and Greek in the public school classroom.

        February 28, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  18. rgcnn

    I am Polish and I speak Polish, Russian, German, and English. I live in US and I never speak Polish to my wife when I am in public, I speak English and Polish to my kids, but English comes first.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Functioning Lunatic

      I am married to an ESL. Within our home (you know the privacy of our domicile), we speak Russian. We watch movies in Russian, and do homework in Russian. When we are out, the only time we (Including the ESL Wife) speak in Russian to the children is with the 2.5 year old who doesn't have a complete vocabulary and like the "Spanglish" he uses whatever words come to his mind. He is fluent in both, understands directions and commands in both, but, at his age, he is not able to speak in one fluent language. I respect that you speak to your wife in English, I speak to mine in English to re-enforce her vocabulary, Just not at home (infront of the children at least). As for cartoons, Diego and Dora speak Russian in my house, driving my family nuts since they don't speak at all. When we are at their house, WE constantly correct our children to speak English. When at friends houses, you would be amazed at how 6 and under can play happily without a common language. That is THEIR house. The only drawback I have ever been told about my children is simple ... "We do twice the work with them". This extra work has translated into close relationships, close time, deep respect, and a moral work ethic that makes my children the envy of those who fight the 40" 35 lb monster. Much less an issue when it is babbling in some "Foreign" language that outside of our family no one knows.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Cyrus

    I am very unhappy with most of the comments I have read here. People who are advocating English are being called racists and followers of KKK and those who are demanding Spanish are being called druggies and drop outs. Very childish. But enough of that. I feel compelled to share my story to the readers here as well.

    My parents too were immigrants and they also would not speak English at home. I grow up learning to speak Farsi. Needless to say my experience in grade school was very difficult. I went to a mostly all white school with some other Asians in the mix. I would always mix Farsi and English together and that made an impression on my teachers such that they placed me in special ed. I am in no way autistic or have any mental disorder but for the sake of the class as a whole, they did not want me to hold the class back so they could accommodate my short comings. I felt humiliated as all the kids made fun of me. Due to my language barrier, as a kid, I had very poor social skills and so I had very few friends. When I was out in public with my parents, even still, they would speak in Farsi. I remember always begging them to speak English. My parents always accused me of being ashamed my heritage. To be honest that was never the case. My parents were too proud of themselves and did not seem it was it was necessary for them to speak English. My dad always said "you are in one of the best elementary schools in the state...its their job to teach you English not us!"

    So back to the author's article I feel that I must strongly disagree with everything. Children should be taught English at home and not just only at school. I notice that kids who go to school with a strong back round in English do much better in grade school and in high school. The schools that I went to, fortunately, were well funded and had classes for students like me to help me catch up with everyone else. Unfortunately, this is not the case with many other schools in the country especially inter city schools and schools in border states. In order for schools to get more funding from the sates they have to perform at a certain level but sadly they are not. I don't completely blame families that refuse or choose not teach their kids English but it is one of the biggest problems. Most schools don't have special classes to help teach non native English speaking children English, they are placed normal class rooms. So obviously their lacking in speaking in English brings the class average score down and as a result the school can't report good results to the state to get more funding.

    I don't really don't mind anyone being bi lingual or tri or whatever. The more languages you speak the better. But in this country you kind to have to put more focus on learning English. Any other language should be a close second priority. Learning English as first language certainly takes a load of the schools and on the individual. Is pride and culture such a big deal that most immigrant families are willing to sacrifice their children's future success in this country?

    February 28, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Your argument makes more sense for a child who starting learning English in school at age twelve, not age two or three. Those are the ones who could benefit from better English at home. This kid is essentially learn English language like a native now and if she is to learn a second language this is the best age to get it at home.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lila

      Great comment. I learned three languages when I was a kid and the same thing happened to me. It's the construction of the sentences that mess up children. Once they master one(the main language- English) it is much easier learning another. Learning multiple at one time is very confusing and can take years to correct the problem.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  20. madeinusa

    Got to wonder why someone so worried about losing their spanish heritage lives in the US. We speak english in the US, as it is our heritage. You want your heritage go live there. You want to be bilingual, good for you, but we still speak english in the US. Don't try to force your heritage on another country. Kthx

    February 28, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • What

      I'm sorry, but this is the dumbest story I have ever read. Not only that, but it is not funny either. You are the parent, act like a parent. Speaking spanish "only" will hurt your child's future. Insist both languages are spoken.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Allen

        Are you an idiot too? She didn't say she wanted her to speak in "Spanish only." She wanted her daughter to speak English at school and outside the house, and Spanish at home. Try reading the article instead of just the headline.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allen

      She's not "pushing her language" on the U.S., you dumbfck. She's trying to make sure her daughter, who is fluent in English and also speaks Spanish, continues to do so, so she doesn't lose that ability. What is so hard for you dumb redneck hillbillies to understand about that?

      February 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sarah

        Thank you Allen, I'm glad someone has reading comprehension skills & can understand the authors point. The rest of you need to go back & read it again.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • rgcnn

      Exactly, I am an immigrant and I too wish my kids spoke my native language, but the reality is that they are Americans and they should be fluent in English

      February 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Southern Chris

      Thus the difference in those first generation Europeans who were so proud to be in America that they refused to let their children speak anything BUT ENGLISH! Now, when our neighbors from the South come across (often illegally) they show no respect for our immigration laws nor our English language.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • pooh2

      If you do not understand the benefits of being multilingual, do not contribute to the debate. Studies have shown that multilingualism offers benefits to the brain that go beyond the obvious.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • ymag

      Unless you understand where this person is coming from you will only criticize

      February 28, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Wardo

    This article is a joke!

    You live in the US – your kids should learn to speak English, fluently!

    Those that live in other countries that have the means, teach their children how to speak English as well!

    If I lived in Mexico I would teach my children to speak Spanish, you live in the US – your children should speak English.

    If you really want your kids to get ahead and have an advantage, teach them Chinese. It's the Espanol of the future.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Her kid already knows how to speak English fluently. The author merely wishes her to speak Spanish as well. How did speaking more than one language suddenly become a bad thing?

      February 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bob

        It's American – ignorance is now the standard. As a Canadian who regularly visits, I am amazed at the decline in the state of America's collective intelligence.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • Wardo

        Yeah, at 6 years old her daughter is fluent in English and will continue to develop english reading/writing/communication skills while "mama" pushes back.

        Come on, you've got a selfish, anti-establishment mother, attemtping to perpetuate her views and philsophys onto her child. Sounds like a smart kid has caught on to mom's antics. Maybe part of it has to do with the fact she wants to understand why she has two moms. Hopefully the "Mama's" and their selfish anti-establishment views don't thoroughyly "F" this child up.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        Yes, Wardo, being immersed in English at that age she will learn English fluently despite what her parents say at home. There is no way to screw that up. Since when is it anti-establishment to teach your kids to know things? If they were trying to teach her multiplication and she didn't want to learn, would you also feel that it's all part of an anti-establishment conspiracy?

        February 28, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Keith

        Bob you are absolutely correct, I have said this a million times and will continue to say it until someone listens, the greatest danger to this country is NOT terrorism it is NOT the economyi is NOT crime it is IGNORANCE.
        IGNORANCE robs people of the ability to think objectively for themselves and makes them vulnerable to the influence of people with an agenda that in many ways is detrimental to them. How many times have I heard someone make a declarative statement such "we don't want socialized medicine". When I challenge them as to why they say that 90% of the time they have NO answer other than "I have been told that". The most destructive influencescomes from advertising, HATE RADIO and religion. My advice is to accept NOTHING, read all you can research everything and ask very hard question and make others PROVE their statements. Do not accept pat answers use your own opinions and ARGUE. You will find that the majority of those who try to persuade you to their views will rapidly start to mumble and then become very quiet. IGNORE THESE PEOPLE avoid them like the plague.
        USE COMMON SENSE it is the single greatest defense against evil and irrational influences.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Manuel

      Being bilingual is a great asset. English is my second language and I spoke only english to my kids while my wife spoke only french so our kids would be bilingual. When we moved to the US, our kids were enrolled in 'english as a second language' automatically for the first year. When we spoke to the ESL teacher, she said they have a massive problem with the hispanic community in the area, since they can get all services in spanish in the area due to the large hispanic community, they do not put any effort in learning english. So they end up with kids in 3rd grade who barely speak english.

      I think it's the parent's responsibility to make sure their children learn a second language. My kids are actually learning spanish as well now, so they will speak 3 languages. I might pick it up too.

      My .02$

      February 28, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • MGC

      Wardo, if you moved to Mexico, you would speak English at home while your children would learn in Spanish at school and outside your home. Why not encourage bilingualism? It does wonders for the brain and makes our future (our children) more marketable in such a global economy. You seem to be very small minded.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • lili

      I agree with the simplicity of your message. I live in the U.S.A. so I speak English. Everyone is free to learn any other language; I have studied a few. I laughed when I read your comment about learning Chinese, because I think you're right! As I have both Chinese and Spanish (and English) in my background, which should I learn first? China is becoming the new world power while Spain and Mexico have real economic problems...maybe I'll choose Chinese! Really, there are too many extremists commenting here. I believe citizens should speak the official language of their country and more power to those who speak other languages. But please, don't denigrate those of us who only speak English in America, and don't try to force any other culture, customs, or language down our throats, either.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Angie

    Next thing you know the author is going to be crying that people are mean to her because she is a Latin lesbian. Of course thats GOT to be the issue, it couldnt be that she is being selfish and trying to manipulate a child, could it?

    February 28, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wardo

      It's "Mama's" attempt to proliferate her anti-establishment philosophy.

      By the sounds of it, her daughter is rather bright and has caught on – God forbid her daughter actually go on to lead a normal productive life while conforming to societal and Christian norms.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kat

        Poor little girl, I have a feeling Mama will do her best to raise her to be as self centered, and egotistical as she is.

        February 28, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  23. patty

    American schools should start teaching young children (pre-schoolers/kindergartners) a second language - both speaking, reading and writing. Also, add in a musical instrument or singing and reading music. Both these additions would increase student's overall scores in reading, writing and math!!!

    February 28, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brett

      They do.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • patty

        You say "they do." Where?

        March 4, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • concerned parent

      Here in this Texas bordertown where I live the district started offering a bilingual program for kids in kindergarten but once your kid is in it there's no opt out so they gotta stay till they finish elementary. It is hard because kids gotta perform well in both English and Spanish. I opt out cause I don't want to mess up my kids English skills and she already speaks decent Mexican Spanish.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  24. RG

    As someone who has tried to keep my own kids bilingual, loved the article! (And I always find it ironic that Americans complain so much about people speaking any language but English–okay, so most especially about Spanish, but whatever–and yet, when you find Americans living outside the US, they are FAMOUS for refusing to learn the local language. Why the heck is it such a sin to be fully fluent in two languages??)

    February 28, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Kat

    Why not let the little girl speak whatever flipping language she wants Mama? This isnt about you, its about HER and HER future. Stop being so selfish and let the child speak her own mind, who knows, she might just be smarter than you are.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • wisdom4u2

      Yeah, I agree.......I'm pretty sure the little girl already is smarter.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allen

      So if you moved to Russia, you'd want your Russian-born kid to forget English and only speak Russian? I doubt it.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • lili

        Wait, Allen, did you say, Russian-born? If a kid was Russian born and in Russian, how would he forget English? Did you mean to say that if he'd been taught English he would have to forget it? I'm confused, sorry.

        March 7, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      So, if your kid doesn't want to learn something, you stop trying to teach her? Awesome. The girl doesn't need any help learning to speak English; she already knows it because she is immersed in it and that's enough to become fluent at that age. The mother merely wants her to speak Spanish as well.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Oh yeah, What was the mother thinking. I mean letting a child think for themselves, hell let them do everything themselves, Let them cook in the kitchen, go to work. I am sure this mother doesn't have the best intentions for her own child as much as you do! What planet are you from. I speak four languages, and I am so glad I do. It give me the ability to communicate with others, why people like yourself are sitting high and mighty on their stool telling mothers how to raise their children – wow!! I am guessing you are getting the parent of the year award – lol.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kat

        Oh so Im the bad guy for letting a child think for themselves?

        No wonder Americans are becoming sheep. Seriously, what is wrong with letting the child decide whether or not she wants to be spoken to, and speak in English? When and if shes ready, she will speak Spanish, until then, this mother is being cruel to her by trying to force it on her.

        God forbid some one thinks for themselves in this country...then again, I look at who you "majority" type folks are electing to office, and then read the comments you post, and I understand why I have a hard time getting anyone who speaks English on the phone if I have to call the DMV.

        February 28, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Chris

    There is nothing wrong with a Hispanic family teaching their children Spanish. They will lose most of it with time anyways.I guarantee you if you were to poll Hispanics born and rasied in the U.S. their Spanish would be terrible. Everyone knows English is the language of business, commerce, education, and of virtually everything in the U.S. I am the eldest and I speak Spanish very well. My younger siblings do not, it happens. It doesn't make me a racist or less of a 'citizen' to want to transmit a langauge to my future progeny. I don't deny the blessing of America, but its ridiculous to say you can't trasmit another language to your children. Just like you transmit religion, culture, foods, customs etc. Why should I change who I am to please racists who have a problem with ME not the Spanish language. If every Hispanic stopped speaking Spanish tomorrow we would be criticized for something else, that is the reality.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • wisdom4u2

      You are so correct!!

      February 28, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • rgcnn

      The problem with Latinos is that they think everybody should be speaking Spanish in US and that Spanish should be official language. They don't want to assimilate. Nothing wrong with speaking 2 or more languages, just respect the country you live in.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • Allen

        No, not true at all. The Hispanics weren't the ones who did that. U.S. companies did a very business-savvy thing and started printing things in Spanish to attract all of the Spanish-speaking customers, and therefore make more money. It was an untapped market, and they made tons of money by translating everything into Spanish.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • What?

        If they keep having kids at their current rate Latinos will be the majority ethnic group and Spanish will be the official language. Let's just rename the country North Mexico....

        February 28, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • wisdom4u2

        Viva la America!!! : )

        February 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Bryan

    What a superb article; thank you.

    I have wrestled with this very idea myself as a native english speaker as well. I speak no other language by the way.

    I always resented the fact that I was never taught different languages as a child; as we all know it is much easier to learn languages when you are younger. Yet now that I am older I realize it was as much a question of language dominance as it is a political conundrum.

    As a child you realize things with such innate efficiency you begin to question the adults over-reigning beliefs of the world. Suddenly you begin to see that their world view is actually flawed and you experience the world with a new approach. With English speakers from varied language families, it must seem such a trivial game to question the speaking of English in an English dominated place. What is this nonsense they are trying to feed me? What use is this effort?

    Unfortunately we do not have the perspective of a variegated world to aid us in embracing the differences of our Earth.

    If it were me...I would say incentivize the kids into learning the language. You speak the language you get this...you don't you miss out...

    February 28, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sacona

      Criminy sakes, mommy must've taken your woobie from you as a young'un and you never got over it. Your post has got to be one of the biggest poopie-pants, waaaah-rants of the decade. Go crawl back into yon stupid tree from which you fell...hard.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  28. wobbles

    Nice article, but it's apples to oranges. People aren't mad at you for trying to teach your kid to be bilingual. Hey, good for you. Bilingual is fine, heck, it should be encouraged to give people some culture and an advantage in the world. Many European kids learn as many as 6-7 languages and that's a good thing. But that's not what Newt Gingrich or anyone else in the "English first" debate are concerned about. What people are mad about is the people who come to this country and go 20 years or more REFUSING to learn or speak English. And yes, there are alot of them, especially where I live here in California. Refusing to learn or speak the language of the country you live in is just an insult to that country and everyone in it. That is a hugely different issue.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allen

      I would agree with that, but I think a lot of those people don't learn English because they live in communities where everyone speaks Spanish (or whatever language – in Chinatown there's plenty of people who only know Chinese). If they never really leave their 2-3 square mile area for the 20 years that they live here, what is prompting them to even learn English?

      February 28, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • lili

        Allen, once again, I agree with you. I lived in southern CA for a long time and saw for myself that many, many Hispanics never bother to learn English. I grew up back east with a huge Chinatown in NYC, where many spoke only Chinese. I guess a lot of people come here from other countries to have the freedoms we have, freedoms they don't necessarily have in their own countries. They recreate their own countries and stick to their old ways and languages. I think they should, however, out of respect for this country that gave them the freedom to recreate their culture, learn to speak the official language.

        March 7, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • rgcnn

      Right on, both of my kids speak fluent English, I don't even care if they will ever speak my native language, if they feel the need, I will help them learn.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • sqeptiq

        It'll be too late when they head off to college and realize the value.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  29. frank

    I suppose the thing that really worries you is when little Luna says – in English – Mama why haven't you and papa got passports and naturalization papers like everyone else?

    February 28, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • defendingusa

      lmao Frank...right on brother!!

      February 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • RG

      Um, hello. Just because you speak two languages (even if they are English and Spanish) doesn't mean you are an illegal immigrant. In many parts of the world, it's considered advantageous/required/intelligent to be bilingual.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allen

      That, or she could be Puerto Rican, like she said in the article...which is a part of the United States. And, *gasp!* everyone speaks Spanish there!

      February 28, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • picsam

      um, from the article I didn't get that she had a papa.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Now, Now, don't be harsh on old Frank. I mean poor guy is married to his sister, and his family tree runs straight up with no branches, but we are not here to speculate that Frank is not a Hillbilly southern redneck, like he sounds like in this article, shoooeeehhh no, now. He spakes engwish.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  30. wisdom4u2

    Oh, so why is it always about the ‘Latinos’? There was never an issue about what language the parents spoke as long as it was the ’white’(Bosnians, Croatians…etc.) and ’Asian’ immigrants who were migrating into neighborhoods, schools and businesses. But as soon as the ’Latinos’ begin to raise up out of those freaking boxes they were placed in…..now there’s a problem. OH PLEEZE!! We know what this is all about….derrr

    February 28, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Bob

    Que?

    February 28, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  32. JFritz

    Language is power, and failure of anyone in America to learn standard English gives up any potential for power. I came from an immigrant family, but my parents allowed for no hyphenating of the "American" in our identification and NO any other language until we spoke English well. No citizen of this country is a hyphenated anything–they're Americans. Eat the food; sing the songs; and dance the dances of your ancestors, but teach your kids they are Americans and speak English. Anything else comes second.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • rgcnn

      Right on. My firends are look at me funny when I tell them that I don't teach my kids to speak Polish. All of them do, they say kids will learn to speak English in school. I thinkkids will start to hate their native language when they feel alienated in school. We live in America, our kids are Americans, they will learn to speak English. And if they really want, we will help them to learn Polish.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  33. J Quintana

    I speak many Languages.
    Java, C, C++, C#, Fortran, Objective C
    I believe most all programmers program in english.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • frank

      Yep even Russians and Chinese program in English

      February 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allen

      I speak bash, expect, awk, and sed, but my comments are always in Sanskrit.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • J Quintana

        What language do you use for your comments if you write code for an international customer?

        February 28, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • Allen

        Germrenchtalianortugeuseglish

        February 28, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Yeah, even in the US we have different variation on languages – example Jave, Struts, JSF, Ruby on Rails, Beans, etc...

      February 28, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  34. micook

    English is the professional language of the U.S. Learn it and use it!

    February 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Oh yeah? For how long? The way the chinese population is going, we may be speaking cantonese before you know it.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Phil

    Speak English or go back home. I don't care where you're from.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • defendingusa

      right on phil !

      February 28, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • Corbit

        You are an idiot. The writer of this article is not stating his child should not learn English. He is stating that he wants his child to learn Spanish as well. Maybe your English skills need help if your understanding of this article is that he doesn't want his child to speak English.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • Oops

        @Corbit: "HE is stating..."? What part of "Mama" don't you understand? :-) I think you're missed the polite use of the word "partner"...

        February 28, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Oops

        *you've. And I've missed the letter "v".

        February 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • Corbit

        @oops I'm not sure what you are talking about. My reply was in reference to the statement to learn English or leave.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • rgcnn

      And stop with those instructions in two languages: For English press one, For Spanish dial 1-800-INS-RIGHT-NOW

      February 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allen

      Dimwit, she's not saying she wants her daughter to only speak Spanish – she wants her kid to speak English in public and Spanish at home, so she doesn't lose her knowledge of the language or her culture.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Ok. I speak spanish, I guess I can go back to Texas, where I was born, and raised, where my Mom, and Dad, were born, and raise, where my Grandparents were born and raised. Imagine that – Speaking more than one language in State!! Maybe they should claim it as a new continent.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  36. maramalade

    Reblogged this on I make no promises... and commented:
    I can totally sympathize with the child as I grew up bilingual. I think the only reason I'm fluent in Spanish is because my Mom hauled me off to Mexico every summer for two months and I was forced to speak Spanish. I was a stubborn child, and still am, so what can I really say?
    Yo entiendo.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  37. micook

    When in traffic court in Northern Virginia, EVERY latino needs a translator! I guess it's good for creating jobs!

    February 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • NoVA

      TOTALLY agree with this one. I live in / around the centerville area.. :(

      February 28, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  38. sameeker

    When are the Mexicans going to start paying for Americans to learn their language?

    February 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • JFritz

      And why do we have to press "1" for English? Why don't others have to press "2" for Spanish.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • frank

        You don't unless you are brain dead – those few that say 1 for english (most don't) just drop you into the english line if u do nothing

        February 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Allen

        They do, dipsh!t. It normally says "Oprima el echo por Espanol" (press 8 for Spanish) and hardly ever says "Press 1 for English." If you just wait, it drops you in the English line.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Floretta

        I press "zero" to bypass the whole thing and get a live human

        February 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • defendingusa

      iam so sick of them.......poor poor mexicans.....go the f@$#% back to mexico...or at least, come here legally !! what you speak in your own home "that us taxpayers probably help pay for" is fine, but in public, speak ENGLISH!!! Take all our government gives and dont even have the respect to speak our language!! disgusting people, illegal ones iam speaking of !!

      February 28, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • Allen

        Ok, if you're only speaking about illegals, then why are you even commenting? - considering this is about a Puerto Rican (who is therefore a native U.S. citizen), a legal Colombian immigrant, and their natural-born U.S. citizen daughter.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Ali

    I hate to admit this but my parents tried to get me and my siblings to speak their native language, Italian, along with English. It worked for two of us but not the other two. I was one of the rebels – I did not learn Italian. I think I felt insecure about my ability to speak it well and I hated feeling embarrassed. Besides, my folks spoke perfect English. I wish now that they had been more forceful about it. I am trying to learn it as an adult, but it's harder now. I can still understand a lot when someone speaks it, but do not have a good grasp of the grammar. Good job making sure your child is bi-lingual!

    February 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jan343

      Why regret? If you want to learn it LEARN IT!!! I'm from a immigrant family and never spoke another language besides English when I was young.My parents tried to force me as well and I hated it and rebelled especially w/ their nagging so I didn't bother. Now that I'm older, I got an interest and learned it myself w/ too many issues. I speak 4 languages all together including English and my mother tongue and I learned them all through adulthood..took a few years, but I got a good grasp on them, can also read and write another language. I don't blame my parents or myself. I waited till I was ready and comfortable to start a new language and it worked. And plus I have two more langauges to which I had NO exposure at all..so don't be idiotic and go regretting..put your mind to it and you will learn.

      November 13, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  40. disgustedNY

    I cannot stomach Republican ideology but if one guaranteed that he would get rid of everything bi-lingual in the United States I would vote for him. We can start with the signs in airports and keep going all the way we get to washing machine instructions in the laundromat. Makes me sick to be catering to people too lazy and disrespectful to speak English.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Zakia103

    I am tired of having to press #1 for English, tired of seeing grocery labels printed in english & spanish & english/spanish grocery coupons and even at the ATM machines. While my grandfather immigrated from Puerto Rico and spoke English & Spanish at home, he would only speak English in public. This is America where English is spoken and should be the only official language. If I moved to another country, should I expect to be catered to, if I could not read, write or speak the language of the masses? Probably not..........

    February 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      you can always move to North Korea if you don't like writing in English .. you will find none of such disgusting things overthere

      February 28, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • defendingusa

      you are sooooo right Zakia

      February 28, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Swamy

      The other day I landed at Newark, NJ airport at around mid-night. I needed to change terminals and was looking for the train connection. There were several (more than 10) young and middle-aged people working as cleaners and others. I asked them all – Not one could understand or speak in English. They responded to my questions in Spanish and by head nodding and hand waving. I re-checked several times thinking I might have landed in Mexico!

      What is happening to USA? These signs are not good at all!

      February 28, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • give me a break too

        There is a direct connection between inability or lack of desire to learn the Englsih language and be success. No offense to the work of these persons, but I would hope they teach their kids to learn and appreciate English as it will be a ticket to a better life. Sadly, many of the parents look it as a source of pride/machismo to speak only Spanish, but in actuality it is really hurting their kids. You do not see this with any other immigrant group.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • rgcnn

        Ha, ha, I couldn't get a bottle of shampoo at the hotel because housekeeper didn't speak English,

        February 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • massms

      Paul ~

      Zakia103 supports speaking English.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  42. thegreasefire

    Raised bilingual and speak 5 languages. Never been a problem and in fact, learning other languages has developed my critical thinking skills and not only made me more open-minded, but more understanding, tolerant and empathetic as a person.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zack

      Not everyone is a polygot!

      February 28, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • massms

        ...and not everyone is narcissistic.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • KC

      Same here. Bilingual since birth, 3d language by age 12, 4th language by age 18, and get by in half a dozen more. I can travel anywhere in Western Europe or the Americas and make myself understood in the local language. Moreover, I can flip seamlessly among my first 3 languages, and can earn over $100/hour translating among them. My 4th language, due to the complexity of the grammar, I prefer to translate from rather than into. I have definitely gotten jobs because I speak more than English.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • hmmwaitasec

      Learning to speak multiple languages is great, and should be mandatory in school, but to refuse to learn/speak the language of the country you live in is disrespectful.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  43. obamasaloozr

    maybe if we stop giving in and stop speaking Spanish then all the illegals will finally go home and stay home

    u want to be a legit American? then learn English fluently

    Spanish is such a dirty sounding language anyways

    I will never learn to speak it, have no desire to speak it and will not teach my children to speak it

    February 28, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • fastball

      Wow...a shining example of American forward-thinking and tolerance.
      Bet you never had to take a SINGLE class to reach that level of dickness.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vence

      Got hate?

      February 28, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • stfu

        True hate comes from people who come here illegally without any admiration for American law while other immirgant applicants from all over the world are waiting in line. Then to come here and trash the dominant language, cultrue and history of your newly adopted homeland – a homeland that gave you a better life than the garbage can you came from – is truly, truly hateful.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allen

      "I will never learn to speak it, have no desire to speak it and will not teach my children to speak it"

      Translation:

      "I will never learn to be more intelligent, have no desire to be more intelligent, and will not teach my children to become more intelligent."

      And for those of you who need a dumb hillbilly redneck translation:

      "A-hyuck, I shure do hayte them thar Spaniards. They took mah dern job down at the apple orchard. Ah guess ah shud just have gone to skewl and done lerned me a skill lahk those fancy people what speak gud english done."

      February 28, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Colette

      My father was Norwegian and my mother American. I learned to speak both as a toddler. My father learned English, German and French at school (elementary and highschool) in Norway, and learned Italian and Dutch as well. Of course, speaking Norwegian we all could also speak the similar Swedish and Danish languages. I wish that I had also learned to speak Spanish. Why is it than many Americans are so fearful of other languages, and cultures, and cling to their ethnocentrism? Americans, at least with respect to Europeans, are shamefully unable...and unwilling...to learn other languages. I lived in Africa as a child, and most in Tanzania spoke English, and in Asia, where most I met spoke at least English, along with their native languages, along with many other European and Indo-Chinese languages. I am ashamed by many of the American (English-speaking only) voices I hear on here.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Catholic

      I'm sure you don't know that Spanish is part of the romance languages . So to the uneducated ear will sound dirty sounding whereas to the cultivated ear is beautyful.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  44. elle

    All four of my grandparents immigrated from Eastern Europe, and it was English all the way in both of my parents' homes with six children each. We cousins did not speak a word of anything but English. Nobody wanted to eb a "greenhorn." Today only dribs and drabs are left of their rich culture in our very large extended family. But when I started junior high school, I was excited by the number of languages I could study. In those days (late fifties, early sixties) most schools had a whole smorgasbord of languages you could study. I started with Latin in 8th grade, went on to French and German (simultaneously) and ended up with Spanish. Now I'm not syaing I am fluent in any of them, but when I traveled later in college, I had a ball speaking the languages of the countries we visited. I still sing and speak in all "my" languages in the house. However my daughter, growing up in a much different U.S., didn't even have Latin, French or German offered in her high school, a large one. She took Spanish, but soon dropped it. I feell sorry for her that she hasmissed out on the joy of learning another language and seeing how the words help shape the culture and vice versa. I would make studying another language mandatory, as it was in my day. And why not Spanish? If not for the prejudice I see so much of, we would enjoy the Latino heritage of the U.S. as we should and many people would be a lot happier and more prosperous.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  45. D - E

    There are some latinos at work that basically speak Spanish with each other as some form of pride since and they are all fully bilingual. I don't really like when they do it though because they do it when I'm in the room and helping them out, which I find kinda obnoxious because it's basically like being excluded. I'm sure it is intentional too, but I try to be cool with them and get their projects done as fast as possible. We're coworkers, but it's clear from their use of the language that I am "not part of the community".

    I have no problem with people raising bilingual children. That's a cool idea. What is a problem is when children cannot assimilate because they have a lack of knowledge of the language. I've had these kids in my class at the college level and they always struggle. When families use Spanish around the house to the exclusion of English you end up with people who cannot interact outside their ethnic conclave and that is tragic. If Spanish wants to take over English as the dominant language that's fine, but really I think it would be better if we all learned mandarin instead.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • SoundSmart

      Most intellectuals around the world speak English to a certain working degree. It has nothing to do with nationalism or pride – it is rather a simple matter of convenience. After all, it's not HOW I said something – it's WHAT I said. I don't want to waste time and resources on translating ideas into all existing languages. Let's just all speak English.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • Colette

        Why English? Why not Mandarin, French, or Spanish?

        February 28, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      I think that Spanish is a cooler language than English and am learning it. Univision and Galavisión have the best soap operas. I can speak French and English. I can read Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan, French and English and looking forward to be fluent in Spanish. I will eventually speak the other latin languages. Don't block your mind with only one language.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • yes

        If you know Italian then Spanish will be a breeze.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  46. tammi

    I don't allow my kids to speak as those around us do. I believe if they are going to be more successful than their classmates than they will not speak hick or redneck language and never but a "R" in wash. My family no longer speaks Deutch or the language of the Scott's. Unless we return to speaking one of the dead languages , than it will always be fluid and change with what's around us. `

    February 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • obamasaloozr

      for being such a "matter-of-fact" person, your English Grammar could use some serious help

      February 28, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • fastball

        Yeah...ending a sentence with a preposition. Wow. The end of American culture is nigh.
        You may want to look up the word "pedantic" in the dictionary.

        February 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • Colette

        LOL. Good point, responders

        February 28, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  47. mm

    This is a very sad article and one that is fitting for the mindset at CNN. My father is an immigrant from Syria. He came here in 1961. The first thing he did was learn English. He had no interest in transplanting his Syrian culture here. He still speaks French and Arabic ( Syria used to be a French colony so its educational system is all in French), he still celebrates the heritage through food, dance and music at family weddings. And he passed that onto me and my siblings. But he always taught me that my love, loyality and devotion should be to America, not to Syria. I grew up as an immigrant's son loving (and still do of course ) this great land and all she has to offer. What the author does not understand is that America was never meant to be a mosaic, a salad if you will. The driving force behind America's greatness has always been assimilation – not diversity. I look at the footage of all the immigrants who came here in the last century and how they cry and were so happy to arrive here via Ellis Island. They loved their new land. You sadly do not see this with the Hispanic immigrants of today, in particularly the Mexicans. I am making a generalization and I do apologize. But I just cannot help but state the obvious from my perspective. Regards.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • j k

      what about spanish speaking from P.R..? They are not immigrants, but refuse to learn English.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • give me a break

      No, many hispanics in this country love their new home, many learn the new language, but it's important to know more than one language...that's why we teach high school kids more than one language (for decades)...

      February 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • mm

        break: Could not agree more. However, these other languages should be learned after the speaking skills of the dominant language has been established. In the article, the child was attempting to speak English on her own and it was the mother hindering it.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • Colette

        Teaching bilingualism at an earlier age makes it easier for the children to learn languages. What could possibly be the complaint against extended and advanced learning (unless you support Santorum, who really thinks that aiming for college is a threat to all religion (or at least Christianity).

        February 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • elle

      it's wonderful that your immigrant father loves America, as did my immigrant grandparents, and as do I. But I disagree with you about the Mexicans. These people (and I live in a heavily Mexican neighborhood and have for years) are some of the nicest, friendliest people in the world. They know that they are hated by so many Americans; blamed for wanting to come here and work, and are consequently shy. They hesitate to speak English out of self-consciousness and fear of making mistakes. It hurts me deeply to think of any of them being spurned or disparaged, and especially those sweet children, so innocent of the fangs of prejudice. I shudder to think of anybody making them feel bad, and for what? For being born into another culture and language? I wish some prejudiced Americans would befriend a Mexican family and try a little acceptance and see how fast your negative feelings would just dissipate. I hope they would, anyway. It hurts me too to see Muslims misunderstood and hated too. I just shake my head sometimes. We are all on this planet for a limited time. I would not want to sour my stay with hate.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • mm

        elle: I do apologize for that elle. Please understand my intention was altruistic. I seem to see this mindset dominant in that community though. That does not negate the fact that there are millions of American Mexicans who fight in the military and love their country. Please don't misunderstand. I even made it a point to state that I was generalizing, but I attempted to do so with logic.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • shy

        Absolutely beautifully written. Well done Elle, I couldn't have said it better myself.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corbit

      This is a very sad comment and one that is fitting for a racist right winger. You state your father did not want to transplant his culture here, yet you also state "He still speaks French and Arabic ( Syria used to be a French colony so its educational system is all in French), he still celebrates the heritage through food, dance and music at family weddings. And he passed that onto me and my siblings." HELLO, isn't he transplanting his culture here and passing that exact culture on to you? I'm sorry, but there is no master race of blond haired blue eyed white people. All this parent is trying to do is exactly what your father did, but because he is hispanic it's sad? And as far as your assertion that "America's greatness has always been assimilation – not diversity.", this just shows how little you know about humanity and history. EVERY new discovery or new invention has come from the diversity of our knowledge. Without diversity you have no new questions, new ideas, or new solutions.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • stfu

        Ummmmmm, he never said he was white with blonde hair and blue eyes. Nor did he ever claim his dad was superior to anyone. And there is a difference between celebrating family culture and not assimilating into a nation's culture. And you are very incorrect when you state that history is an example of diversilty and not assimilation. All contacts between different peoples resulted in assimilation. Areas that remained tribal either died or remain in constant warfare like the Balkans.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Corbit

        Umm, it looks like you obviously lack the same knowledge of humanity as the poster of this comment does. When you bring together different perspectives and different experiences, the outcome is richer than if you had a group of people with the same background. It's true in business, in education, and in society. And I never said that the poster stated his father was superior. However, he does bash the author for wanting to do exactly what his father has done.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      I completely agree, but what is the meaning of "the mindset at CNN", do you detect a bias at CNN that favors allowing Mexican Immigrants to live in Spanish speaking ghettos cut off from the rest of American society. Where on Earth do you see that, I cannot for the life of me understand how you came to that conclusion.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  48. aaron

    If the author has no control over her 5 year old daughter to make her learn at home, she's gonna need prayers when the girl hits the teenage years. But, of course, its taxpayers' job to fund a billingual education, that's how it always plays out.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • give me a break

      You obviously don't have kids...your point is invalid. Until you have kids of your own, you'll realize, they are their own person and will be stubborn in their convictions... no matter what you teach them, sometimes they have to learn on their own...

      February 28, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beav

      Prayers aren't going to help anyone they don't go hand in hand with face-to-face conversation.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      Are you joking? PRAYERS, they may do some perceived good fro the pray-er but have zero benefit for the prayed for, yes ZERO.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Globalization

    I think it is really sad that the system is limiting a child's liguistic abilities to a single language when that child has the opportunity to learn more than one language. Being fluent in Spanish, Mandarin, etc will be considered an asset as we move into a more global economy. In the long run, this is a disservice to the next generation by not exposing them to other languages – it makes the next generation less competetive as the economy of the world is evolving.

    There are many regions of the world that are multilingual and children grow up speaking multiple languages. How is it that many Europeans and Asians speak multiple languages? In cosmopolitan centers in India – like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore- it is not uncommon to find children speaking 3-4 languages – English, Hindi, and any other language of India that is spoken at home by the parents.

    It is an asset to know more than one langauge and it is unfortunate that we are depriving the next generation from learning something that is so readily available to them at home.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • rainyday

      No one is asking anyone to speak only one language. But to have a parent attempt to convince their child not to speak dominant language of the nation she lives in is tantamount to child abuse. English should be taught first, then the other languages. I cannot understand how this is even a debate. It's madness. You talk about the diverse languages of Europe, thats true. But you would rarely find a French mother telling her child to speak only German at home before the child's French-speaking skills are established.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Portuguese

        English should *not* be taught *first*, but in parallel with at least one more language. Languages are best learned in early childhood; the later, the harder. In my case, starting English with "just" 8 years old resulted in a noticeable accent that's impossible for me to lose. :)

        February 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • Keith

        I agree 1000% but then you are using common sense.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • me

        This is ridiculous. The only way that your kids can keep the family language is to teach it to them. They will learn the local language at school. This worked well with me. My son was not allowed to speak to me in English as he grew up. He is today fully bilingual. To keep our kids from learning the family language is to take away a very important part of their heritage and keep them away from the family. My son is lucky to be able to talk to his grandma and aunts who only speak French.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  50. texanbornandraised

    One word comes to mind...xenophobia:fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign (merriam-webster.) It would be nice if schools mandated that all children learn a second langauge, but it's not going to happen. Luna, undboubtedly, was a victim of being told or being pressured to only speak English. I still remember being mocked in pre-k for not having strong English speaking skills. I was four. My communications skills are an asset and have led me to learn more languages. People who don't understand this have 1. Never traveled abroad or 2. Have traveled abroad, learned to say hi and bye, and have relied on someone picking up on their mediocre languages skills and speaking to them in English in order to communicate the most basic things. How amazing would it be if it was compulsory for children to learn one of the top ten languages of the world (Spanish consistently is ranked number two, English is number 3.) We live in an international, globalized world. The last thing anyone should lose is their mother tongue. Mine is Spanish. My native tongue is English. I'm lucky. To Luna's parents I say, keep trying and keep sending her to spend time with family abroad. Drop her off, leave her there, pick her up when it is time to restart regular school term–my parents did. She won't thank you until she is discovering the world on her own. I strongly believe one of the strongests gifts my parents gave me was the the ability to learn and understand two languages fluently. It set me up to learn more.

    Yes, kids living in the USA should speak English. Yes, kids living the USA will resist speaking a a second language if it is not an integral part of their lives outside of school. Yes, it is frustrating to have non-citizens have small children translating–a testament to the fact that their abilities to assimilate are far grander than those of adults who have lived in a one language country their whole lives. Yes, intolerant people are bigots, be they American or French or any other nationality for that matter. And YES, it is important to accept that speaking more than one language has merit in the USA or further abroad. I struggle daily with my inability to speak French. I take weekly classes and I take online tutorials. I will speak French, but it will never be pefect. And when I move to another country, I will do the same in whatever the native language may be. One thing will never change, I will always appreciate anyone who is able to communicate/help me in one of the languages I am fluent in and does so voluntarily and without judgement.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • sameeker

      I am so tired of pointing this out but I will again. A phobia is an irrational fear of something. Not liking people coming here and making no attempt to speak our language is NOT a phobia, it is an opinion. Maybe it is they who have a phobia regarding the English language.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • texanbornandraised

        Phobias occur in varying degrees. I will never forget my former neighbor in the states stopping me when she saw me with luggage to tell me to keep an eye out for and to report anybody speaking a funny language to the airport police. I will also never forget being told by somebody that they did not like Americans (I wasn't in the USA at the time.) When I asked him if he had ever spent any significant amount of time with any, he said no. I get that one country, one language is an opinion, but where does it stem from? People base their opinions on their experiences, what has happened to all of the intolerant people on here. How do you know the immigrants you encounter aren't making an attempt to learn the language. People aren't movie characters, they don't learn a language in a day. It take years of practice to be conversationally fluent. I've seen people be very rude to someone who doesn't speak English while in the states. It's mean. I've had people be rude/intolerant with me. It's embarassing, it's belittling, and it impedes progression in certain situations because you become overly cautious about repeating the same mistakes to the point of aversion in certain scenarios. I've chosen my expat life and not a day goes by that I am not grateful to the people who are nice and patient with me. I learn new words every day and as long as I am abroad, I will never stop trying to assimilate. People just need a break.

        February 29, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • r2d2

      The only xenophobic person in the article is her mother. She also seems to have a problem with "white culture." She does not like the English language and she described her child's white frind as an "anglo kid." This "anglo kid" has a name and is a human. Why could she not give us the name of the friend and state that he is an American child whom her daughter is friends with?

      February 28, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • Betsy

        How would "American" connotate "White" or "Anglo" ? Many Americans are neither white nor Anglo.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • warmwinter

        Betsy, that's a leap. As if I don't know that millions of Americans are not anglo or white? Hell even many whites are not considered anglo. But, you know what the mother meant. Stop acting like a child.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Portuguese

    I believe the author tried to do what most linguists seem to agree: at home, speak only your most fluent language, preferably one that's different from the country's main language. We're doing the very same at home with our toddler (but with Portuguese in place of Spanish), all based on appointments with a linguist and a couple of educators. It's not that the author doesn't know English or wanted to educate her child only in Spanish - people are getting this article wrong and, worse, with prejudice. I believe the more languages a child has access to, the better, and that's what I want for my own.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Numyorangay

    Great article Rose. I hope she continues with her Spanish and learns at least two other langugage, one being Chinese. Thank you for inviting us into your family.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Amy Brennan

    The best way to make a child want to learn a foreign language is for the adults to use it to each other in front of the child. Say in Spanish, to your partner, "Do you think we need to buy cookies at the store?" and I guarantee you, the child will pipe up.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • ferris tawil

      Not true Amy. Both of my parents are from Jordan and myself and my sister speak very little Arabic. We can understand it, but speak little of it. My mom and dad forced us to become proficient in English and really pushed education on us. In their opinion, it was the English language that would set us free from poverty. I hated it then, but I am greatful now. My sister is a dentist and I am doing my neuro residency at Detrot Mercy. What this mother is doing is very bad. The English language will allow her daughter to get ahead in life, not the Spanish one. That is not to say that Spanish should not be taught and learned, but its importance in America should not come before English.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • Martha

        It is grateful, not greatful. Learn English!
        By the way, you should have learned Arabic, then your sister and you would be making more money.

        February 28, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  54. ieat

    Sounds like the kiddo understands Spanish just fine, she just prefers not to speak it. She's bilingual, so what's the problem?

    February 28, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  55. John

    When my cousin was in Germany (for the Military) in the early 90's, he met and eventually married a nice German Girl. When they had their daughter, his wife would go about teaching her the way that most parents have. By the time Alyssa was talking, my sister in law, would not only use English, but she would vary it up using German, French and Russian.
    When my neice came to visit for the summer. My wife and I made sure that when Alyssa asked for something, we would pick one of the alternate languages and make her repeat it. A lot of people may see this as overboard, but in highschool, the only language she didn't speak is Spanish. That is the course her parents made her take.
    She is going into the Air Force this summer. When she told the recruiter the languages that she both spoke and wrote, it was an instant bonus for her. The recruiter figured that once she was tested in the languages, that it would add about an extra $1000 after taxes to her paychecks every month for the 4 year enlistment she signed. This is money that she will be able to set aside and use as she wants when she gets out and heads to college.
    The moral of this rambling. At home, definitely teach your children everything you can. But unless you are living in an isolated shell of a region, expect that they should learn the local/national dialects and be ready for them to want to use them 1st.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evan (in Spanish)

      Unfortunately many don't grasp the concept.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      The recruiter lied then. She will not get any extra money for those languages, maybe Russian but only if actually working with it and it will not be $1,000, considering combat pay is not even that high. I speak Russian and I did not get extra pay in the military, even Arabic speakers did not get pay unless their MOS specifically required it, and those people did not even get $1,000 a month extra. I am a former recruiter and never heard such a thing and either you are mistaken, or the recruiter is lying and in violation of the UCMJ.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Sagebrush Shorty

    Live in America and speak English when in public. Speak whatever language you want at home. Don't expect everything to be translated for you. If you came here to be an American then speak as an American.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • give me a break

      there is no official language in this country. If I'm in public with my family and we want to speak in Spanish, we should be given that right. 1st Amendment doesn't only apply to English speakers.

      Your ignorance is glowing!

      February 28, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • give me a break too

        Good luck getting into medical, dental, law, nursing, engineering or any grad school and speaking only Spanish. Talk about ignorant. Your post has all the undertones of a liberal racist. Best of luck in life amigo. You'll need it.

        February 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • give me a break

        No one is saying "don't learn English" the comment was made..."if you're in public, speak only English"

        I'll speak whatever I damn well please thank you very much...

        February 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • me

        Anglos who complain about other people speaking a different language do so because they are nozy and ignorant bigots. They are upset because they can't follow conversations that is none of their business and upset that they do not have the mental capabilities to learn a second language.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      I was born and raised in the US, served 12 years in the military, and I will speak any language I want in public, and English is my first language. The government has no business telling me what language to speak when I am not involving the government.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  57. frank

    Your daughter is right – speak English in America. Spanish is for losers and drug dealers – which one are you?

    February 28, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evan (in Spanish)

      I'm sorry? My family was one of the wealthiest families in the New World and which language did we speak? Spanish is an elegant language and to associate it with ill images is like associating English with Rednecks and the KKK. Your point of you shows that you are an ignorant individual. Change your way because you make the United States look bad.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • language wars

        Yes. All English speaking people are in the KKK and all Spanish speaking people are drug dealers. BOTH of your ignorance is astouding.

        February 28, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • language wars

        Yes. All English speaking people are in the KKK and all Spanish speaking people are drug dealers. BOTH of your ignorance is astounding.

        February 28, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ani

      I love that you just implied that every inhabitant in over 20 countries is either a loser or a drug dealer, not to mention millions of well-respected, hard-working Americans: American businessmen, American translators, American politicians, etc., and basically any American elementary/middle/high school/college student currently taking Spanish. Go you.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay in Florida

      Hey Frank.... I need someone to come fix my fence and my front garden. I pay minimum wage, which is more than enough for people with your educational level.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • give me a break

      losers & drug dealers???

      So our Supreme Court Justice is a loser/drug dealer?
      Ceasar Chavez is a loser/drug dealer?

      I can go on, but your ignorance is insane! I've met better Spanish speakers than I have English speakers...

      February 28, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • frank

        I suppose the thing that really worries you is when little Luna says – in English – Mama why haven't you and papa got passports and naturalization papers like everyone else?

        February 28, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  58. ENRIQUE MEDRANO

    WE HAVE BEEN TOLD NOT TO KILL ANIMALS THAT ARE IN EXTINCTION,SHOULD WE KILL A LANGUAGE?

    February 28, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  59. wassup

    What is wrong with basic assimilation to your new home country's ways and systems. This idea that it's somehow a put-down to be required to learn the new language, in this case english, is nonsense and is only creating divisivness. Furthermore, being bi-lingual or multi-lingual is a plus for all sorts of reasons in an increasingly global society; but here in these United States, we all speak english...whatever else you'd like to speak is up to you.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evan (in Spanish)

      Exactly, the problem comes when people say we should even speak English in private.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  60. going

    Teach our kids as many languages as possible. Great working skills in later years.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • ENRIQUE MEDRANO

      GREAT THINKING.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • tony

      Thank you! Instead of complaining about teaching english only, how about we take a lesson from the other countries that are beating our brains out in education and teach multiple languages. Other countries education systems require that you learn the native language AND AT LEAST 2 others!

      February 28, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  61. LH

    I am extremely grateful that my parents insisted that I learn Spanish while growing up. Today, I proudly represent my country in my work abroad. Being bilingual has only been a benefit in my life. Not only can I speak to many more people than my monolingual friends but I have an edge in the professional field as well. All I can really say is that we need to take this argument out of the immigration issue and consider it an education issue. Our children will someday be competing with young adults from other countries who are bilingual/trilingual for the best paying jobs. It would be in our best interest to prepare our children for the best future possible.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evan (in Spanish)

      We can speak to over 700 million people with English and Spanish alone. Knowing Spanish is nothing to be ashamed of.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      You say that you proudly represent [your] country. Are you a US citizen representing the USA, or are you a US citizen representing another country? You can't have it both ways.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Evan (in Spanish)

    My parents spoke both English and Spanish but they raised me with the Spanish language because they figured I'd catch on in English and I did. Today my other relatives find it weird that I speak Spanish with my parents, I always say "beats being able to talk only in one language." Can't imagine myself talking to my parents in English only my two younger sisters do.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evan (in Spanish)

      No worry MaryK my parents bought me many Barney and Teletubbie VHS' so it wasn't to the tax dollar expense, wait my parents pay taxes too so....

      February 28, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Perplexed

    In my humble opinion, before she even learned to speak (English or Spanish), your daughter was already being sidelined and had lost part of her family history. I suggest you stop trying to impose your personal (and questionable values) and allow your child to grow up assimilated in the country that will provide her housing, job security, personal rights and freedom and stop trying to impose a "foreign language" unless you plan, as your family has done, to send your child back to Third World countries in order to gain language skills that will marginally be used in the upper echelons of the business world.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evan (in Spanish)

      I never knew Spain was a 3rd world country. Wake up because we Americans will eventually need to break the language barrier.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • mariosphere

      Perplexed, the kid's mother was not imposing her values or language. Spanish is not a foreign language for this famili, it's one of the languages in her household. Do you think values like welfare for children, freedom and others are found only in America? You need to go out, travel some, meet some people who haven't been born here, talk to them. You may learn something.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  64. mariosphere

    To MaryK: obviously you missed the whole point of this article. First of all, stop insulting Hispanics in America with the word "illegal". How would you like to be called a Ku Klux Klan racist just because you are white? In case you are white. Or if you are of Irish descent, how about lumping you with other bigoted names?

    The author is a concerned mom who is doing her best to raise a bilingual daughter. Apparently, this mom "fails" in her task because her daughter insists on speaking English. I really enjoyed reading this article, and I speak, read and write in two languages, English and Spanish. How about you, MaryK?

    Learning foreign languages widens our horizons. Preserving our mother tongue —be it English, Spanish, Korean or Russian— is a noble goal that strengthens families. It is easier, of course, to pick up a second language in our early years, but it is never too late to learn, provided we are surrounded by other willing speakers.

    Let's drop the fearmongering and the insults. Let's choose instead to build each other with enriching tales and experiences in different languages.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  65. vero

    This article is stupid in so many levels. It's not about forcing the kids to speak only English or Spanish, parents shouldn't force them to pick one or the other! If the live in the US they MUST speak English but, on the other hand, teaching children a second language while they are still young gives them an advantage over other people. One cannot ignore the fact that English is the second most spoken language in the world and Spanish is the third, anyone thinking that a bilingual kid is just another kid is a fool. Bilingual kids would have more opportunities either in the US or even in their parent's home countries, so, if I ever meet someone who speaks another language other than mine, I'll encourage him to teach it to our children.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • mariosphere

      Stupid? Vero, you missed the point. This mother (Rose) wasn't forcing her child to speak her mother tongue. Try to depoliticize the experience of this mother, for Pete's sake. Of course everybody will agree that you need to speak the language of the country you live in, be it English in America or the U.K., Italian in Italy, Spanish in Mexico or Colombia, etc. Nobody is arguing with that, so enough with the condescending line that "This is America, speak English." Do you think immigrants are stupid? They know they need to master English to function in our society.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • Digbert Fandrick

        There are situations where Spanish speaking recent immigrants find themselves in a "bubble" and stay within immigrant communities. But it's impossible for them to get a really good job unless they know English

        February 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • mariosphere

        It's not just that. There are several variables, from where speakers of limited English decide to live (I've seen strawberry pickers live in trailers provided by their employer in the outskirts of Oxnard, CA, for example) to the education level they bring with them. The main challenges they face are no different from other immigrant communities around the world. But assuming that a sufficient knowledge of English (read, write and speak the language) is going to lift them off poverty and onto better jobs is a gross oversimplification.

        February 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  66. MaryK

    I have many opinions about this article so please forgive me if I digress. This is a typical Spanish immigrant response to her problem! Mr. and Mrs. American Taxpayer solve my problem "We need government intervention”! Is the Spanish immigrant (mostly illegal) population incapable of resolving an incredibly inconsequential personal issue such as, "make my daughter speak Spanish"? No wonder the drug Cartels rule Mexico and Cuba still has a dictatorship in power! Since your feel the need for us to educate your children let's start with you.
    You are in America. We speak English, therefore we teach our children as such. You claim to have taught your daughter to be bi-lingual, yet you state ""Luna only spoke Spanish" for her first few years, our feeble attempt to make her bilingual in a home with two parents who are fully bilingual." "Then preschool introduced English"" I must point out you made no attempts at educating your child to become bilingual you left it up to the American school system to teach your child English! This article is a perfect example the reason why Spanish immigrants are an enormous burden upon the public school system and why America schools are failing our children. They refuse to teach their children English leaving up to the schools. As a result the curriculum then has to be adjusted to accommodate these children, therefore the children of American citizens are held back in there learning process because the Teachers have to spend the majority of their time teaching these children of immigrants basic English.
    It astonishes me you seem to be more concerned with preserving your heritage then the welfare of your child. It has been proven that children who have learned a second language prior to school age are twice as likely to excel throughout the scholastic career versus their counter parts that are only exposed to a single language. However, children who are unprepared to attend school by the age of kindergarten are three times as likely to drop out of High school. How can a child succeed if they cannot understand even Basic English commands such as “sit down “or better yet “go home” The Spanish population has the highest High school drop amongst all ethnicities? It absolutely baffles me that Spanish immigrants come to America, yet fight to hold on to a heritage they left behind! My question to you and the entire immigrant Spanish population that resides in the United State is the preservation of your cultural worth the expense of your children? Apparently it is because even you being bilingual did not provide your child with the most basic tool to assist her in becoming a successful student!

    February 28, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • what?

      This is the most ignorant piece of trash I've read all day and I've been up and down the top stories.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portuguese

      Lots of prejudice in your chit-chat... Linguists have told us to speak our most fluent language at home and leave English to the school. Of course, we'll encourage and help our kids to study English and probably some more languages such as French and Mandarin, but to force an English-only strategy is at least ridiculous in a connected world.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carlos

      I really don't understand this. If it is a Hispanic person teaching his kids about his culture, it is bad. If it is an American celebrating thanksgiving abroad, it should be celebrated. why the double-standard? Is it possible that MaryK feels so threatened b/c she can't understand us? Instead of knocking us for being bilingual, MakyK get off your lazy, racist behind and learn another language. Pick Chinese, French. You will see how great it is!

      February 28, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kelly

        Appears that you ddin't even read her comment. She specifically mentions how beneficial it is for a child to be bilingual, but she chastised the author for relying on the school system to teach her child English. Read before you criticize..

        February 28, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • Corbit

        The author states she began speaking English in day care. Most day care is not part of the public school system. It would be my assumption that the parents paid for daycare and it didn't cost tax payers a thing. You and the poster should probably get your facts straight.

        February 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • ruspanic

      Come on, really?
      The girl's English is fine. She speaks English all the time with her classmates. There's nothing wrong with her parents trying to get her to hold on to her native tongue. Not only would it preserve part of their heritage, but it'd also be very useful later in her life.
      Immigrants to the US should learn English, but they're not obligated to speak it at all times.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Besal

      Hi Mary,
      I am an immigrant, a legal one, and after 30 years living in Mexico I came to live to the US by choice. My husband is Mexican, we have 2 sons who only speak Spanish at home. That is the way we have tought them and that is the way it is expected. We do homework in English but the rest of the time we are at home we speak in Spanish. My oldest son who is in Kindergarten has not had any issues with school nor he has caused any problems to other students.
      You know why we are like this? Because learning other languages makes you more educated and less IGNORANT. Because both my husband and I have very well paid jobs because we are BILINGUAL (among other things like a carrer, MBA's and experience). So, that will be part of our inheritance to our children: being able to be culturally bilingual which in my belief will give them something that will set them apart from people like you.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Margaret

      Mary,
      your English is not very strong as you obviously can't understand the article. The author didn't require government intervention. If Spanish immigrants were such a burden, the USA government would do more to stop them from coming. I am an immigrant from Russia, and I am trying as much as I can to teach my kids Russian because I want them to read Russian lierature and understand Russian culture. And I don't want them to become American snobs like you who don't know much about other cultures but think they are superior just because they are American.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • Martha

        Right on!

        February 28, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Dduke

    Let's blame the blacks for this

    February 28, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Catholic

      You gonna make me cry. Why don't you take your little essay to the republicans and maybe they will let run for a house seat so you'll be among a bunch of sissies such as yourself.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  68. sean green

    teaching spanish only inside the US is horribly detrimental tot he kid's future. Without English they are forever stuck in their own little ethnic enclave. Meanwhile people who learned English can communicate with all of America.

    China has even adopted English as their second language. having 7 local ones and unable to agree which should be the main one they each learn English as their second so they may communicate with other parts of China.

    Bilingual is great. Spanish only inside a non spanish country is nearly useless.

    February 28, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Dduke

    Speak English but don't forget to sterilize them all as well

    February 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Bruce

    My mother is originally from Germany – and learned to speak English when she came here after WWII.

    I live in Texas and what I take exception to is parents not learning to speak even some English. They cannot communicate with their children's teachers, they pull them out of school to go to appointments where they can't communicate with a city, state or federal office, and they cannot read/understand even basic street signs. I speak from experience – nearly got hit twice at an intersection and the drivers apologized profusely because they didn't understand the signs – thought it was a 4-way stop.

    Not bigoted – it's called taking responsibility. To say otherwise is just lowering the standards to the detriment of all.

    We aren't doing this for other ethnic groups at even close to the same numbers. Seems we are being taken advantage of by sheer volume.

    February 28, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  71. ringo

    I learned English as my first language and went to Hebrew school in the afternoon after public school for years. The Greek kids went to Greek school. The Chinese kids went to Chinese (probably Mandarin) school.

    Latinos aren't the only ones with this situation. There is a solution out there.

    February 28, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  72. MrApplesauce

    Welcome to America and the history of all the German, Polish, Russian, Italian, etc etc mothers and fathers who watched their children and grandchildren become part of the American Culture (for what that is worth) that, incidentally, speaks English.

    Don't feel too bad (or special for that matter) that your 'loss' is any greater or sadder or whatnot than any others.

    February 28, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Maria

    I wish my parents had been as forward thinking as you are! I grew up bilingual (my grandmother took care of me and knew no English), but being told my whole life that only knowing English "counted". My father never spoke his native tongue with me and what a LOSS. My kids are older now, but they are now learning no only my father's native dialect (which I speak), but the formal language from which it comes (which I am learning with them). My only regret is that it took me SO long to figure out what a gift another language was. Ironically, it was my monolingual husband who finally got me to see the truth, after years of convincing. No one is arguing that English should be taught in schools. And it seems to me that those who get angry and unsulting about biligualism just show themselves to be scared, paranoid mono-linguals.

    February 28, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  74. jj

    Luna is the adult in that family. Smart girl.

    February 28, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • MaryK

      Why should it be up to the school system to teach her daughter English! Her daughter should already be able to speak and understand basic English by the time she enters school. Again this is why our public schools are in such havoc! Teachers' wasting there time teaching what should already be second nature and depleting the public school systems resources. Take responsibility as a parent! Learn English teach it to your children, stop depleting American resources or go back to your native countries!

      February 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • John farren

        Please... Shut up already. We heard you the first time.

        February 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kristin

        Research has shown us that students who learn to read and write in their first language are more successful in the acquisition of a second language.

        February 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Carol

    I have to say, my grandparent came from Italy. They were told by my parents teachers to LEARN ENGLISH. They did. If you want to speak it in your home, that's fine. My cousins and I learned Italian and spoke it at home. Not in school. It's good to know a second language, but keep it in Spanish class ect.... or at home. Public schools should insist kids speak English in class and maybe her mom should take Adult Education English classes.

    February 28, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  76. SME

    Religious organizations aside, I should imagine most social workers have seen a LOT and are more open-minded than our current hyper-conservative state legislature.

    February 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Goody14

    Our language is English in America!! We can not let the Spanish over take this from us!! We need to be more patriotic and keep everything under control including language and immigrants. Only English should be taught in schools except in elective courses IF you want to learn a FOREIGN language like Spanish !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annie

      It 's so frustrating to hear people claim that "this is America.....we need to speak English"....the mom is not saying the daugher shouldn't learn English.....but that she should also keep her first language. She will be much more employable than our monolingual kids....being bilingual is a gift, not a problem. Our problem as Americans is that we are SO scared of what we don't know or understand.....don't be so ignorant...the world is getting smaller and smaller and those who can communicate in more than one language are going to be way ahead of many of us

      February 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • goody14

        I am not being ignorant. If you decide to live in America, you better be able to speak english and that is the number one language and needs to be used more then spanish !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        February 28, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • John farren

        Well said. Kids that can fluently speak more than one language on average earn more than their counterparts who can't.

        February 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • SalvadoreanAmerican

      "Our language is English in America!! We can not let the Spanish over take this from us!! We need to be more patriotic and keep everything under control including language and immigrants. Only English should be taught in schools except in elective courses IF you want to learn a FOREIGN language like Spanish !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Goody14, I can only hope that you are in fact 14. Your entire statement reeks of ignorance and stupidity. The Spanish? So you are only concerned with Hispanic people from Spain? Is that it? Or do you mean Latinos? There are approximately 20 Spanish speaking countries and it is spoken on 5 different continents, let's make sure you comprehend that first. Secondly,...WE need to keep everything under control?? Who is WE? What do you suggest WE do with the influx of Spanish speaking children into the U.S.? It's not their fault if they come into the states only knowing their native language. I was born here, but my native tongue is Spanish. Because I was immersed into an English speaking classroom, I lost a good portion of my Spanish. I wish bilingual education would have addressed these problems when I was in school, but children should be encouraged to be bilingual, trilingual if possible. European children are taught three languages and their mastery of three languages is one of their greatest assets as employees and members of society.

      I can understand what the writer's daughter is going through. You want to be like everyone else, you assume English is the 'proper' way. As you grow older, you realize however that losing your native tongue is losing a part of your culture, and I applaude the writer's efforts to try and raise her daugher as bilingual, it can only benefit her.

      February 28, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • massms

        You were born in the US and call yourself SalvadoreanAmerican? You were born in the US and your native tongue is Spanish?

        February 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • MarcusAurelius47

        What you're missing is that the mother refused to teach her daughter any English and her preschool was the one who taught her English. I understand wanting to hold on to your heritage and i applaud you for it, but the fact that more and more people are just assuming that English will be taught in school and that they do not need to prepare their children for it is a huge problem.

        America is currently 14th in reading, 17th for science, and 25th in math. As much as you would love to see a bilingual education implemented to preserve your heritage, I feel just as strongly we should fix the problems currently plaguing our education system before we start to add any additional features to it. The majority of teachers don't know Spanish fluently, and you want them to learn to teach well in both English and Spanish even though most of them currently aren't teaching well in their native English?

        English is overwhelmingly the most common language in America and teaching in English is preparing children to work in the overwhelming majority of jobs where knowing fluent English is required. No one is obligated to cater to your specific needs. You have the right to a free education, but that doesn't mean its going to be (or could ever be) the one you want.

        February 28, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • SalvadoranAmerican

        Massms, I was born in the U.S, and I am also Salvadoran American. Salvadoran American means that I am American of Salvadoran descent, in the same way that Mexican Americans and Italian Americans are of Mexican and Italian descent respectively.

        And yes, my native tongue is Spanish, because if you look up the definition of 'native tongue' it means a human being's first language. As I stated earlier I am of Salvadoran descent, so my first language was Spanish.

        Before you question anyone, I recommend having a dictionary and encyclopedia handy. Have a nice day.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • SalvadoranAmerican

        "the fact that more and more people are just assuming that English will be taught in school and that they do not need to prepare their children for it is a huge problem."

        I agree with you MarcusAurelius, more should be done to prepare students to speak English in school. But bilingual education has long been part of the education system, and reforming it wouldn't be adding anything new to education as a whole. Our education system is flawed, always has been, but education evolves with the ebb and flow of society's needs, and currently we are dealing with an ever increasing global society. If children are arriving in the U.S. with no English, they should have some kind of transitionary period in bilingual education to assist them with integration, while assisting them in retaining their native tongue. I have read a few other posts on this as well, and agree with a few others that bilingual eduction should not only be exclusive to students from foreign countries, but should be available to all. If we truly want to address our global society, the opportunity to be bilingual and trilingual should be accessible to all students.

        Also, I am not saying that bilingual education is the only problem in the education system, rather it is just one problem of many. I understand your concern with the U.S.'s rankings in the core disciplines compared worldwide, and this needs to be addressed as well.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • massms

        You missed the point, of course. Ever hear of a rhetorical question? I suggest you take your own advice regarding the dictionary and encyclopedia.

        February 28, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • SalvadoranAmerican

        How is what you asked in ANY way rhetorical?!

        February 28, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  78. Criolla

    I am Bolivian born attended British boarding schools,university in the US, married an America, I am multilingual. I was a diplomat for Bolivia, lived all over the world.
    I want that the US makes English the official language.
    My children speak, writte corectly 5 languages.. All children in a bilingual home choses on language till they are around 6/7 years old, then they accept both.
    We live in the US and one needs to learn and assimilate to the country one lives at.
    I taught my children spanish, because I wanted them to learn the correct pronunciation and how to writte.
    We never mix languages. they learned the other languages in the countries we lived.
    I do not think that a child is helped if parents do not learn English.
    Also I taught my children not to speak a language in front of people that do not understand it, it is called respect.
    A common language unifies a country, English needs to be official.

    February 28, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mario

      Criolla, you are wrong.

      February 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • Josh

        You should go into further detail and explain why YOU think the poster is wrong. Simply stating they are wrong says nothing, means nothing, and is irrelevant considering you didnt even provide a reason as to why you think the way you do.

        It would be like me responding to your post by simply saying, "youre wrong Mario."

        February 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Kudos to Criolla – a well-spoken person.

      February 28, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  79. Fran

    When I was growing up in New York, my mom always insisted that we speak Spanish at home. Once we were out the door, however, it was all English – no Spanish allowed. I learned English but never forgot my Spanish. Thanks, Mom!!

    February 28, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Josh

    I see a lot of people touting Europe as an example of multi-language societies, however, they are/were moving to the U.S. in droves. The same can be said about Latin American countries. If societies elsewhere are so great, why leave them? Articles such as this are printed to do one thing, divide people. Some may see it as a mother and a daughter struggling with an issue, some may see it as a parent trying to force archaic views on their child, while others may see it as a ploy to get under peoples' skin. This is nonsense and is a non-issue.

    This article reminds me of a quote, although it isnt directly related to the article, it is appropriate especially when considering the author of this article referred to the U.S. as a nation of immigrants.

    "There are no hyphenated Americans who are good Americans. The only man who is a good American is American and nothing else. We are a nation, not a country full of foreign nationals. We are a people, not a polyglot boarding house" -Theodore Roosevelt

    February 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • visitor

      There are plenty of American Expats. They tend to be scientists, economists, and other degree holding professionals and so are rarely in the news as a drain on society. Equally, Americans don't seem to complain about the professionals with a strong command of 3 or more languages who contribute to the economy. Not promoting multilingualism will only disadvantage American kids. I learned Spanish and Chinese in the American education system and neither of them served me well abroad. My German was best taught by my work requirements.

      February 28, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • Josh

        Unlike the U.S., many foreign countries will not take in just anyone who decides they want to be citizen or reside in the country. More often than not, countries require a person to be able to contribute to that society, so scientists and the like make sense. However, if a poor American were to try and go to another country thats primary language was other than English, do you honestly beleive that that country would accomodate them?

        I know there are many Americans living abroad, my post didnt address those people, I was touching on a much more sensitive issue that you apparently decided not to acknowledge yet still felt the need to reply to my post.

        February 28, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  81. spent

    Bon jour mais cher.

    February 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wde89

      *bonjour mes chers

      February 28, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Dorothy

    I'm an American living in Europe and make my living as an EFL teacher. Here, it's normal that kids start having English as early as pre-school and then add on a second foreign language in 4th grade or 7th grade at the very latest. It's just reality when you have such diverse neighbors on all sides. Menus, signs, information can all be found in at least two languages. I think the difference is, it doesn't threaten the culture of the given country. As for this article, it sounds like a normal kid phase to me. Sometimes my kids give me the same lip in school- "We're in *** so we should speak *** an not English!" Yet how they later proudly boast of all the languages they speak. These parents need to toughen up and keep up their Spanish at home and stop letting their child dictate their lives. On the other hand, American is unique in that living there, Americans don't usually feel like they need any other kind of cultural, world, and foreign linguistic knowledge to survive and usually, they don't. It's a neat quality about America- an ignorance is bliss kind of thing. Let's not burst that bubble by making them smarter than they want to be.

    February 28, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • spent

      I taught for 34 years in California, now reside in Germany. Speak three languages, and it is significant to me that many of the Europeans do speak more than one language. Look at the borders: Germany next to France, France next to Spain, Spain next to Portugal and one can keep going. Look at the language from the perspective of the British and American occupation of Europe and the influx military people that came to these shores and are still here. I was here in 1962-1965 in the military and there were over 450,000 American troops and with that, obviously came the language and thusly evolved into the culture. Europe is unique in that regards. America, you have two possibilities of learning a language due to the borders next to the U.S.A.

      February 28, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  83. jake

    Friend of mine are French Canadian. their son spoke no English before preschool and went to a French school where English is taught only half of the time. He's fluent in French but after age 9 he transferred to an English only school. His buddies heard him call his father "Papa" with a perfect French accent and wouldn't stop teasing him, so he's decided he won't speak French at all. His friends think French is for sissies and that's it. The kid's culture are the people around them- not where the grandparents came from.

    February 28, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      I am sorry this kid is surrounded by such stupid and ignorant "friends".
      And you call this their culture? I think they are simply jealous of his language talents and terrified of what they cannot understand.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  84. ac in NM

    I have absolutely no problem with our children learning a second language, especially living in New Mexico. Where I draw the line however is when parents make their 5 year-old child translate for them when they go out in public because the parents "can't speak English." Now whether or not the parents can and choose not to speak English I don't know but I do know that it is completely unfair of those parents to ask their small child to speak for them. I applaud Mrs. Arce's reinforcing the bilingual culture at her family's home, and I fully agree that our government should be 100% English only in word and print. I wish more family's would take note and learn from your family Rose where their children aren't made to translate in public for them but bilingual is the name if the game from parent to child.

    February 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  85. eugene

    I'm from another country but I fully support English only policy. You'd be amazed how much is spent by different government agencies translating everything in Spanish, and other languages. If you want your kids to speak the language of their ancestors, it's up to the parents, and they should pay for it. As for my kids, I'm trying to teach my daughter to speak my language, but it's probably a waste of time for both of us.

    February 28, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Learning a second language is never a waste of time. It opens the possibilities of understanding different cultures.
      Don't give up, this is great for your kid!

      February 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  86. hamsta

    im not denying that learning other languages would be beneficial but you are in america and americans speak english.this crap about forcing american restaurants to put up menus in spanish is just that, crap.if you cant order your food in english you dont belong here.

    February 28, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lesley

      Right on...I live in South Texas & it is BAD here. Most do not speak "Spanish" they speak tex-mex and it is a joke...it is mainly slang. They live here and dont respect it. IF I were to move to Franch or Asia I would need to learn their language to get by...they just assume we should know what they are speaking. I do not tolerate it & do not have the time or energy to explain to them what I am saying...I just move on. I do not think NOTHING should be in a 2nd language (menus,etc). They partake of the freedoms here and have their children born here but do not give them the proper tools for their future. Speak it in your home but once out the door get the basics at least to hold a conversation w/out that blank or lost look on their face. I took French in high school as a 2nd language...there should be NO education classes solely in Spanish for children...too expensive and I dont want to pay for it.

      February 28, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jacques Cousteau

        I, Jacques, think you should move to Franch. Or you could learn to speak Asian. Thanks for your insight.

        February 28, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flatsguide

      Or learning how to use capital letters when writing "America" or "Americans". Writing English is just as important as speaking English.

      February 28, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  87. Jonh Doe

    funny how a lot of people are missing the point.... it is not about illegal immigration, it is only a cultural thing. Also only ignorant americans will think that they only need english as languange and they do not see the advantange of a second languange (spanish, french, german, chinese, etc) and it is more funny when you meet educated americans that regret not have learned a second languange that would level the ground when doing business with latin americans, europeans, asians.....LOL the more closed, intolerant and ignorant you stay, the more opportunity and advantage to the rest...

    February 28, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • elspeth

      I don't think its about immigration or culture. This is strictly a power struggle between a mother and a daughter.

      Clearly the child can speak Espanol (sorry the site will not let me do the appropriate accents) she was, however, testing her ability to say "no" and have it stick. She made it clear to her mother that she can have it her way when she wants (she got everyone else to speak to her in English when her mom didn't want them too). When they went to a FOREIGN country where the spoken language was Espanol, the child spoke with her family in that language. Could have been worse, if the child was completely stubborn she could have pretended that Mom was not speaking to her at all when using Spanish and be completely defiant. Instead the child simply insisted in using English to respond to her mother's spoken Spanish.

      Franky, I think the kid has it right. Knowing a second, or third, language is not a bad thing, but knowing where and when to appropriately use it is important too (she demonstrated that by choosing to rely on English in the US and Spanish in Spanish speaking countries). In the US our educational system has a hard enough time teaching children, native speakers and non-native speakers alike, how to properly speak and write in ENGLISH. Until the school systems master that first, they have no business trying to teach children foreign languages, especially the younger ones, as it will just confuse them. English is one of the most complex and irrational languages on the planet the rules are random and there are as many exceptions to the rules as there are rules. Most other languages have strict construction with only a few variations. Learn the one you need to know to get alone in the US first then learn the easier one.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flatsguide

      Nice spelling Jonh!

      February 28, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • cbtx67

      It is about illegal immigration. When the children here(TX) are taught spanish only by their illegal parents so they can get into preschool at three, but being a taxpayer, I have to pay for the same preschool. .I have spoken to the parents, it is something they do knowingly. If their kids are in preschool, that leaves them time to work more. The preschool they have here teaches basic preschool and esl. So much for equal education under the law and no kid left behind. My kids had to wait to go to kindergarten because we made too much for public preschool, but not enough to pay for outside preschool. Why should they be building preschool after preschool to house these intentional non english speakers when my taxes pay for these schools my kids will never have access to? When in the meanwhile we have TX schools that only offer spanish as an elective, even when some parents say they will pay for rosetta stone so their kids can learn a different language. School districts refuse. Just look at Hinejosa from DISD, the school even got in trouble for offering "temporary", ie fake ssn's till applicants got their papers straight. Felony right? NO! If I can't find my ssn, i don't work. I am a hispanic democrat, hispanic last name even, but I am ashamed to be hispanic because of what these interlopers continue to do, with the sympathetic public turning it into a bleeding heart issue. Where is the fairness?????

      February 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Toya

    I feel for everyone involved in this story. The daughter wants her parents to speak English only because that's what the people she sees 8 hours a day weekdays speak. Her parents want her to learn Spanish as well to maintain the link to her heritage. The daughter doesn't understand that in 10 years, she'll be required to take a foreign language which she could bypass if she already knew a language. I wish I was smart enough to learn another language; the best I can do is a few words and phrases in French, Spanish, Italian, Mandarian, and German. I would love to be fluent in 2 languages instead of fluent in one and bits and pieces in another.

    I feel that the people who feel English should be mandatory really hate diversity because they tend to criticize people who have even a little accent when they speak. Xenophobes everyone. I found it interesting that a couple years ago, a group of parents in my town banded together to get the school board to put a stop to an Arabic language class because they felt it would brainwash their kids to terrorists yet they were all for diversity.

    February 28, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kriss greenn

      Okay Toya, i'm with you on the first part of your statement. I can see having English only moives, menus, whatever cause this is America, but if paents want to speak their native language at home, while their out and about, cool, go for. Besides like you said, The kids are going to need to learn another language to graduate high school. i know we did. My only thing is please speak English if your trying to ask for something, get asistance, purchase stuff, etc.

      February 28, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Laura

    My grandparents faced this same issue. They both immigrated from Czechoslovakia as young adults, and met in the U.S. They naturally spoke Czech at home. My Dad started kindergarten speaking only Czech, but learned English very easily. At one point my Dad came home and announced, 'I'm an American and it's my right to speak English.' My grandfather gently replied, 'Yes, it is. But we have the same right. And we choose to speak Czech.' So for years the kids – my Dad and his older brother and younger sister – spoke English and their parents spoke Czech. At one point my Dad's teacher dragged his mom into school to tell her she should be speaking English at home. She replied that she would rather he learned good Czech from him rather than poor English. The results. All three still speak both languages. My Dad went on to become a U.S. diplomat and retired speaking 6 languages. Learning more than one language at a young age is a wonderful gift for a child, even if he or she may not realize it until many years later.

    February 28, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Your grandmother was a smart lady.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  90. BC68

    While I am 100% on the side of English as our official language, I'm also 100% behind teaching kids a second language as close as possible to them learning their 1st language. I was never taught a 2nd language as a kid, and I have struggled as an adult in Spanish and German, and right now could barely do anything in either language due to lack of use.

    My kids, are learning Latin in school – in hopes it opens most languages to them. Speaking 2 or more languages shouldn't be held to the children of immigrants, it should be the realm of all American kids.

    February 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      I agree with you 100%. If the school system is going to use bilingual education to teach Spanish speaking children to be bilingual, it should also teach English speaking children to be bilingual. I am not talking about High School language classes, I am talking from nursery school on up..

      February 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • eugene

        Do you realize that it's only going to increase the cost of education? Are you willing to pay for this?

        February 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kelly

        I said either/or.. If it's too costly don't do it, but it's discriminatory to give only one group of people the advantage of being bilingual while denying it to others..

        February 28, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • Digbert Fandrick

        And many schools try to do exactly that – In major cities there are language immersion and bilingual public schools popping up

        February 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  91. brionna

    but we have to learn to speak spanish in this country,and you hispanics don't want your kids to speak english!! don't get me wrong i don't support gringrich,i'm a democrat!! but why can't the little girl speak english!! i would'nt say english only but hispanics need to speak our language if your gonna live here!

    February 28, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allen

      You're f(_)cking ret@rded. That's exactly what she was talking about – English outside the home, Spanish when in the home. What's the fcking problem?

      February 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  92. Josh

    The problem is people are saying everything but English is their native tongue even when they are born in the U.S. It's quite disturbing to see so many people call a foreign country their native land when they werent even born there. It's borderline treasonous and highly disrespectful to true Americans, those who were born in the U.S. and only claim the U.S. as their native land. Your native tongue is that of the country you were born in, no the language in which you were taught by people who are not loyal to this great country. ENGLISH ONLY!!!

    February 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • je

      I agree. Claiming to speak your native language when you are American born is boarder line treason. None of these kids are from Latin america and are born and raised American and should know English when they come to kindergarten. Why do people think it is the responsibility of the school system to teach their kids English. But, ALL children should be bilingual. If you can speak English and your families language of choice at home, the better off your child is. My Grandfather was from Greece. He came here because he wanted to be an American and learned to speak English. He was proud of that fact. If anyone in the room could not speak Greek, everyone spoke English. It was a matter of manners, something that is lacking in today's society.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      What about us French speaking Americans who's family have been in the USA for more than 300 years? I say the hell with your nonsense. I will keep speaking French anywhere I want to.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Keith

        For crying out loud, NO ONE SAYS YOU CANNOT SPEAK FRENCH, but it is obvious that you also speak ENGLISH and that is the important thing.

        February 28, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Jessy

    My dad speaks English, although I can be a grammar Nazi at times such as when he uses the word "proud" in place of "pride" when it doesn't fit the context of what he was saying.

    My mom? Not a lick of English. She is a full-blown Spanish speaker. Even when she tries to speak English, her accent and broken grammar butchers it.

    I know both English and Spanish. However, I have more A's in English classes than C's and D's in Spanish. Even though I was born in Nicaragua, I was raised here in the US since I was a 1-yr-old kid so my first class was in pure English.

    As for my friends, 100% of them spoke English regardless of the fact that about 90% of them were Hispanic. Some spoke Spanish fluently too, but never bothered to have a conversation in Spanish. They didn't feel it was necessary in a country that is predominantly English-speaking. In fact, English is such an easy language to learn, it's common around the world. Once you get pass the vowels, silent letters, separating words like "their" from "there", and contractions, it's smooth sailing from there.

    February 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Catholic

      You all shouldn't be calling it Spanish since the country with the most native speakers in the world is Mexico, therefore should be renamed and called Mexican.

      February 28, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chris

        How do you call English then?

        February 28, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • Criolla

        For Linguists there is no "Spanish "language, the real name is Castillian[ Castellano} ; that is what we speak in Latin America.
        Catalán, Basque, Gallego,Castillian, etc are spoken in Spain.
        I

        February 28, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • give me a break

        By your logic, we shouldn't be calling it English, but American...

        February 28, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  94. Jim Davis

    My grandparents only spoke Croatian. Little to no English. Yet, my mother speaks English only. To this day I do not understand how my mother was able to grow up and not learn the only language her parents spoke. She had to have known how to speak it at some point in her life, yet is incapable of speaking it now. This is the same with her brothers and sister. (my uncle could swear in Croatian ;)

    February 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • HunterPSU

      Little value in speaking croation. At least with spanish you have 11 million other illegals plus 10 million or so legals that can speak it. How often do you bump into a croation speaker.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jim Davis

        Since I live in an area where many Croats and Serbs immigrated, I run into it more often than you would think. My neighbor speaks Croatian. But, like my mother, I don't.

        February 28, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Katie

    You know what they say, if you speak two languages you're bilingual, if you speak one you're American! Throughout much of the last few hundred years in Europe it was considered quite usual for one to speak more than one language, and it is today as well. If one was educated, surely one spoke at least two and often three languages, including one's own. To speak only one seems to me to be a bit barbaric and I think all children should be taught to be bilingual (if I were in charge of the education system); it might not be Spanish as I am most proficient in French, but I believe one is not truly educated without some reasonable working skill in another language.

    I think being bilingual makes such huge sense in our world today, or at any time, really. While English may be the "lingua franca" in a worldwide, business sense, and I'm not opposed to American gov't business being conducted primarily in English (with accomodations for others who are not yet fluent), what's the problem with speaking two languages fluently? Aren't most jobs these days preferring folks who can communicate clearly at a high level in more than one language, Spanish in particular? Our closest neighbors to the south speak Spanish, why shouldn't we be able to converse well in both languages?

    I was born here as were many generations of my family, but I would have loved to grow up bilingual, would have loved to make that opportunity available to my children. Go mom, and keep up the good work! Your daughter will have so many opportunities as an adult that she would not otherwise have had because you're working hard to expand her world. It's not just language we learn but respect for others and a wider acceptance that other people have valuable culture, history and thought patterns that are worth exploring.

    February 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  96. Anex

    I've got a different case, but I want to share it because I feel that this English-only in America stuff clouds the foundation of the issue.

    I'm American and I live in France. My French is barbaric and on a survivable level. I often make grammatical errors, but people understand me. I can read and understand spoken French, however I can not write (I write like a child) and as I said I speak funny.

    Sometimes very nationalist Frenchies refuse to make an effort to communicate with me the moment they hear I have an accent. I have also been called "unintelligent" because my small vocabulary limits the things I can say (I used to make all A's in school.. and was in GT).

    At home we use the "One Parent, One Language" for my 3 year old daughter, ever since she was a baby. I speak ONLY IN ENGLISH to her, and she is expected to only speak English to me. My husband (who is French), only speak in French with her and she is expected to reply in French. My mother has always harassed me, telling me I'm forcing too many languages on my child (she now attends a French/German bilingual school, more on that in a minute). I don't know why people believe it is better to start "first with one language and then another when they are older". It is quite the opposite. A child's brain is a sponge and they ABSORB the language without any effort. So I'm glad you're speaking Spanish with your child, you're doing the right thing. I am half hispanic and I wish I would have been taught more than the few words from my grandmother while growing up and then taking 3 years of it in school.

    So my daughter attends a bilingual school. Not so much because learning languages is great, but because of people. There are people even in France who feel as those in the US: YOU ARE IN MY COUNTRY, YOU SPEAK MY LANGUAGE. They are intolerant of those with other nationalities, and I notice her school has more children from other countries than a single language public school.

    The problem in the US is this, bigots. What you are doing with your daughter is teaching her another language. In public you speak English, she speaks English; at home you speak Spanish. That is your RIGHT. No one can take it from you. If it were any other language you can almost bet people would be impressed your daughter knows another one (should have seen the people freak over my 3 year old speaking French with her dad on the phone while I was in the US), but because it is Spanish they automatically assume you are an illegal immigrant refusing to mesh with where you live. That is just plain wrong and plain stupid. The fact that your daughter seems embarrassed is also especially sad and more than likely an environmental affect of the stigma of those around her.

    February 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • southern

      That is wonderful what you are doing for your daughter. Teach her both. You are correct it is the racist individuals that make this a sore spot.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      Good comment, but you miss several points. The US is not the same as Europe. I can travel for thousands of miles in the US and still be in the US, some places in Europe you can't travel more then a few miles without being in another country with another language. It is more essential and beneficial that they know more then one language. In the US if I criticize someone for not speaking English I am bigoted, but I notice that you didn't call the French, who criticized you for speaking French poorly, bigoted??

      February 28, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      Luna only spoke Spanish for her first few years, our feeble attempt to make her bilingual in a home with two parents who are fully bilingual...The problem in the US is this, bigots. What you are doing with your daughter is teaching her another language. NO THE PROBLEM IS SPANISH ONLY BIGOTS AND THOSE WHO CHOSE TO IGNORE SUCH.Sometimes very nationalist Frenchies/ SPANISHIES refuse to make an effort to communicate with me the moment they hear I have an accent. I have also been called "unintelligent" because my small vocabulary limits the things I can say OR READ AS YOU DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS WRITTEN ABOVE.....
      I am for Education and like the idea of at least 3 languages per person as my wife is Mexican I am from the usa and spent years in Germany I am fluent in 3 languages however it looks like there are those who dont see their own bigotry in fronto of their own face and to torture your child in this way.... Is child abuse... and should be looked into.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  97. Kelly

    The author wanted to speak spanish to her daughter at home and let the school system teach her english so that she could be bilingual. An english speaking family sends their child to the same school, but he/she does not come out bilingual. Bilingual is an asset in todays world, why does the school system discriminate and only teach non-english speaking students to be bilingual??

    February 28, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  98. CleverMonkey

    I too, come from a bilingual family. However, living in America we chose to speak English first, and our family's native tongue second. All four children can speak both languages fluently. If we were living in another country, you bet your a$$ we'd have learned their language first too. You're not doing your child any service by forcing them to learn Spanish first, when everyone else, including the school they go to, is English - all you're doing is confusing the poor kid. Grow up or move somewhere where Spanish is the native tongue.

    February 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • m

      If you read the article, it would be clear that her child already speaks fluent English.

      February 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • CleverMonkey

        Wow, you are sooo smart.
        Maybe mom should too, so her kid doesn't have to beg her to.
        Jerk.

        February 28, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Yo hablo Espanol!

    Awesome!! Perfecto!!

    February 28, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  100. VRage13

    Immigration without assimilation is INVASION!! Particularly with all the ILLEGAL immigration. English is our national language. Is it good to speak multiple languages? YES. Ich sprieche Deutsch. I can say hello, order beer, order dinner, say please and thank you in about 14 more languages as I travel around the world. Would it be proper for me to go to Germany and require them to speak English? NO. So we need to defend ourselves and require the people living here speak ENGLISH!!

    February 28, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Anex

      She and her daughter speak English. You're missing the point.

      Learning more than one language. It is fine if the US wants to have an official language (most countries do), all paper work and government business must be conducted in that language. However you can not force people to stop speaking any other language. That not only is a disservice to education, but a disservice to those children who may one day be able to conduct business with other countries from having learned it.

      Yeah sure you can say "please", "thank you", "can I have another beer?".. in another language, but there is nothing like fully grasping another language and being able to use it. There is no reason why we should limit education in the US, we already teach foreign languages in school (though not enough choices, and not enough years compared to the rest of the world), why would you stop a family from teaching their children Spanish? It is silly.

      National/official language is fine, but infringing on personal rights is not.

      February 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kelly

        I think you missed the point. She wanted to speak Spanish to her daughter at home and let the school system teach her English. I don't have a problem with bilingual education, but if you do for some you should do for all.

        February 28, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • Josh

        Correction, ALL countries have an official language with the exception of the U.S.

        February 28, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • VRage13

        I didn't miss anything. I take every op I can to try to educate the weak socialist libs that it is OK if people come here legally and assimilate themselves into our culture. It is NOT OK for us to be invaded by ILLEGALS and for us to bow-down to or accomodate the invaders who are demanding we assilimate into thier culture.

        February 28, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • Corbit

        You are missing a lot! If you read anywhere in this article that these people are illegal immigrants, then you need some English lessons, or you are hallucinating because it is just not there. Nowhere in this article does the author ask you or anyone to assilimate into thier culture. My only assumption then would be that you take issue with this author because of his heritage. I take every opportunity to educate racist right wingers that it is not OK to hate people simply because of their skin.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • Keith

        Hey VRAGE13, read my post about IGNORANCE it's about YOU. Your comment about "socialist libs" is sickening, where was George Bush that famous socialist liberal for 8 years he did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO STOP THE HORDES COMING ACROSS THE TEXAS BORDER. Even when there were reports of Mexican troops firing across the border George did NOTHING, yet the conservative thugs convinced the lame brains that John Kerry a decorated war hero WOULD NOT PROTECT THIS COUNTRY. It was your blue eyed boy George Bush who failed to protect this country.

        February 28, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • dogman

        Corbit: It's not your job to educate anyone you label a racist right winger solely on the grounds that they think differently than you. You try to "educate" me you'll get a broken jaw. And it sounds like you have a lot hubris rising to a dangerous level. I consider you a brown supremacisit who is a little stuck on himself and his "culture."

        February 28, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • Corbit

        Oh, but it's your job to educate liberals.... so your a hypocrite as well? And as far as you breaking my jaw, it is a small, simple, unintelligent man that must resort to threats because he knows his arguments are flawed and ridiculous. And no, I call you a racist because you make idiotic comments about illegal immigration and invasions. Do you read anywhere in this article where the author states he is an illegal alien? Do you just assume he is an illegal because he is Hispanic? It's obvious to me that with your views he's a better American than you will probably ever be. Also, by the way, I am white. As far as being arrogant, I am not arrogant. I simply know when someone is talking out of their rear end and I don't have any fear of pointing it out.

        February 28, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • southern

      Can't argue with you there. I am currently learning Dutch because I am moving to Belgium later this year. I know it is going to be very difficult, but it is my choice to move and I need to learn it. Also if the child was born here, it is not her native tongue. It is the native tongue of her parents. It is frustrating to me as a parent that my child was not offered to learn other languages as a young child, but hey if I really wanted it then I would have paid for it. Public education can only cover so much.

      February 28, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • Criolla

        In Belgium they speak 3 languages,most are not trilingual,there are 3 ethnic froups, Flemish,speak Dutch, Wallons French and small minority German. I lived there, I speak French.

        February 28, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • EmeraldCity

        A good number of people also speak English. Veel gelukkige.

        February 28, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      The US does NOT have a national language. English is mainly used but not listed anywhere as the OFFICIAL language. That can be done, but it hasn't been so far.
      That being said, I would hate living in a country and not understand the main language there.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • me

        The problem with making English the official language is that it will give reasons to bigots to enforce it their own way by threatening anyone who speak a different language. Anyone who doesn't know that English is the main spoken language in the USA or who thinks that the English language is in trouble in the USA needs to have his head examined.

        February 28, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
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