Thursday, December 30, 2004

Multilingual ATMs in Japan

UFJ Bank customers can remit money to Brazil with the assistance of a Portuguese-speaking operator via an in-house video phone. The service was begun at 10 UFJ branches in Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu and Mie prefectures on Dec. 20. It works in cooperation with Banco Bradesco, Brazil's largest commercial bank. About 200,000 Brazilians of Japanese descent live in the four prefectures. UFJ also modified about 4,500 of its 6,000 ATMs with language options in English, Chinese, Korean and Portuguese.

Young Brits Not Tongue-Tied

Although the English have the reputation shared by Americans for being tongue-tied, young British kids are not following in their parents' footsteps.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Bilingual Police Officers in Demand

One of the new three new community service officers in the Nebraska's Grand Island Police Department must speak both English and Spanish fluently. The pay is $10.03 to $14.01 an hour for the 25-hour-a-week. The bilingual position is also eligible for the city's standard bilingual pay -- a $500-a-year stipend. It's not much extra money, yet it recognizes the skills of bilingualism

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Tsunami: World Tragedy

Of all the Japanese words to have entered the English language, tsunami is the one most in the news these days. The tragedy in the Indian Ocean has caused the death of more than 40,000 people. Tsunami means literally "harbor wave."

How to Donate: here is list of organizations you might send contributions to:

American Jewish World Service
45 West 36th Street, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10018

American Red Cross
International Response Fund

PO Box 37243
Washington, DC 20013

Catholic Relief Services
PO Box 17090
Baltimore, MD 21203-7090

Direct Relief International
27 South La Patera Lane
Santa Barbara, CA 93117

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres
PO Box 2247
New York, NY 10116-2247

International Medical Corps
11500 West Olympic Blvd., Suite 506
Los Angeles, CA 90064

International Orthodox Christian Charities
Middle East Crisis Response
PO Box 630225
Baltimore, MD 21263-0225

Mercy Corps
PO Box 2669
Portland, OR 97208

Operation USA
8320 Melrose Avenue, Ste. 200
Los Angeles, CA 90069

Multilingual Red Cross

The American Red Cross in Glendale, California is providing disaster preparedness information out on the Web to local Armenian, Korean and Spanish speakers. It's part of n outreach effort after the 9-11 terror attack.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Multilingual Holiday Wishes

Listen to audio message.
this is an audio post - click to play

And to know how to say Merry Christmas in 360 languages click HERE

Tongue-Tied Brits

Only one in three Britons can speak a second language. In the case Luxembourg national, on the other hand, 98% can speak a second language. Other multilingual Europeans are the Dutch and Danes. Hungarians and Irish rank very low like the British. The data comes from a report to be published in 2005 by the Centre for Information on Language Teaching, the UK national resource Centre for language teachers. Two thirds of British schools no longer require the study of a foreign language. Does it really matter since everyone else speaks English? It certainly does because when the other person knows your language and you don't know his or hers, you're at a disadvantage in social, political, economic, or any other situation.

Enforcing Laws in Two Languages

The increasing Spanish-speaking population in Georgia is forcing local police to learn Spanish. Classes in "survival Spanish" at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth. are popular. Although the courses don't aim to make people totally bilingual, they teach basic phrases which can help officers save lives.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Fear of Languages?

Are Americans afraid of learning languages?

Bilingualism Can Save Lives

Firefighters can save lives as well as people's property. One way they do it is through prevention. In this effort communication with residents is essential. Maria V. Pelchar, a member of the fire department in Holyoke, Massachusetts, gives presentations to the Spanish-speaking community in their language. The focus is on inspecting businesses, homes, and to reach out to the community and provide information about fire safety and response activities. Fighting fires runs in the Pelchar family. Maria's father, Roberto, was a fire captain in their native Guatemala. The shortages of bilingual personnel pushes some agencies to use technology to solve language barriers. Police officers in Fort Wayne Indiana have been using voice-recognition translators to communicate with the immigrant population. The device can handle basic phrases and works like a useful Band-Aid but does not replace people like Pelchar.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Bilingual Cameroon?

Although Cameroon is supposed to be a bilingual country (French & English) many official documents are only available in French, according to an editorial by Che Anoma. Another 286 languages are spoken in the country.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Communicating with Parents of Bilingual Children

Communicating with parents of immigrant children can be a daunting task because of language barriers. Yet, school officials understand how important parents are in the education of their kids. Three schools in Massachusetts are experimenting with bilingual parent-teacher conferences. Although some of the immigrant kids have reached fluency n English to be mainstreamed, their parents may know little or no English. Some may not know how to read or write. To eliminate the language barrier some schools are also offering adult education classes to teach parents of immigrant kids English.

British Linguist Spoke More Than 40 Languages

George Campbell, a British linguist who spoke about 44 languages, died recently. Campbell had a facility with languages (free registration) and in addition to his speaking ability he was also a scholar having authored a number of books.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Bilingual Teachers' Shortage

Although Connecticut produced a record number of graduates from colleges
this year, shortages persist in the bilingual education field. Of the 33,642 students who got degrees, only eight were in bilingual education. Last year there were 80 job openings for bilingual teachers in the state's public schools.

Dual-Language School in Pennsylvania?

The Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania is a dual-language school proposed by a group of parents, graduate students, teachers and Penn State educators. The school would serve kindergarten through fifth grades and would open in the fall of 2005 in the State College Area School District. The school would serve both English-speaking students and those for whom English is not the primary language.

More English Only?

More and more people will be learning English. By 2015 the British Council estimates half of the world population will be either speaking or studying English. The boom is expected to be over by 2050 when the demand for English instruction will drop. These estimates are based on a computer model that estimates demand for English language teaching around the world.

Multilingual Google

Google News will now be available in more languages focusing on these countries: Argentina, Chile, Canada Français, México, Österreich, Schweiz,Suisse.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Tongue-Tied No More?

There are 1.3 million American college students studying foreign languages, according to a 2002 survey conducted by the Modern Language Association of America. Arabic with 10,584 students ranked 12th, both in total numbers and in its percentage of students. First place is Spanish with 746,267 students, or 53.4 percent of the total foreign language enrollment. French is in second place (201,979 students, or 14.5 percent), German follows (6.5%), then Italian (4.6 %). The fastest-growing enrollment was in American Sign Language. Over the four-year span, its enrollment shot up by a whopping 432 percent, to 60,781.

Multilingual India?

India has more than 3,372 languages but only 216 are spoken by a group of 10,000 persons or more.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Bilingual Georgia?

The growing Hispanic population in Georgia is creating the usual challenges other states have already experienced. Questions of language and the importance of bilingualism are becoming issues as counties strive to serve this increasing segment of the population. The Hispanic population has been growing primarily in farming and textile communities. Needed services include education but healthcare and emergency aid.

Denver Top Student Seeks Career in Bilingual Education

The top ranked senior at Montbello's 21st Century High Technology Academy is
Victoria Salomon who has also been active in extra curricular activities. She has been president of four student groups, including the National Honor Society and Montbello's chapter of Get R!eal, an anti-smoking group. She carries a 4.5 grade-point average and plans to attend the University of Northern Colorado, where she plans to major in bilingual education. Her goal after graduating from college is to teach English and work with bilingual students.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Protesting Bilingual Cuts

Parents of Alisal Union School District children in Salinas, CA will protest a proposal to cut back the bilingual education program. The district has said it may cut back or eliminate the bilingual education program. Parents are concerned the cuts would adversely affect recent Spanish-speaking immigrants struggling to learn English.

First Bilingual Bank

Banco Independiente, which recently merged with First State Bank of Celina, is the first bilingual bank in McKinney, Texas. All employees of the bank from the President to clerks are bilingual.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Languages Only for the Rich In England?

Studying French or German is more likely to be available to kids of affluent families in England, according to a study by Staffordshire and Durham universities. Students from poor families are steered toward a business or home economics program while those from affluent families are typically encouraged to take foreign languages. The recent decision o scrap compulsory foreign language education in ages 14-16 might even have a more negative impact particularly on students from poor families.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

English and Spanish Chit-Chat

Chit-Chat in English and Spanish was so interesting to Charles Somerville while traveling in Mexico that he decided to start a group in Granbury, Texas. It's almost a language lab without headphones or cubicles. On Thursday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the original wing of Hood County Library people meet to practice their English and Spanish. It's free and there is no lead person in the discussions. It's very similar to what I have been doing in Italian in the San Luis Obispo area (CA) twice a month. Although I teach Italian at a local college our meetings at a local café are designed to provide an informal opportunity to practice oral skills. We get about ten to fifteen people twice a month. Want to get your group going? Just do it. Start small with a few friends and little by little it will grow to a reasonable and manageable size.

Bilingual Cooking?

To make it easier cooking easier, Ventura Foods brings the company's
popular Gold n Soft (R) Margarine with new bilingual English/Spanish packaging to grocery markets in Southeast Texas and Arizona.


Although anti-immigrant feelings are strong as one can easily see from the recently-passed Arizona proposition denying benefits to undocumented immigrants, banks keep making efforts to attract Latino customers. Many banks care little about the legal status of their customers. The matrícula consular, a Mexican ID card issued to Mexican citizens residing in the US is being accepted by many banks as identification. Other techniques used by banks are having bilingual employees on staff and bilingual signs.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Saudi Students Interested in Italian

The number of students learning Italian at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia increased from 40 to 165, according to Professor Ettore Bruni. Bruni was also the Director of Italian Cultural activities in Jeddah, but because of security reasons little is happening.

More Languages for a Changing World

Norfolk’s Maury High is the only public school in the region teaching Italian in the Virginia Beach area. Italian is also taught at Norfolk Academy, a private institution. More languages are being proposed for next year including Chinese and Arabic. Advancement Placement course reflects this increasing popularity with languages. The College Board has signed off on Advanced Placement courses in Italian, Russian, Chinese and Japanese. Rosa Motta-Bischof, the Italian teacher at Maury High, also teaches Latin at the school. Maury received assistance from the Italian Consulate of Virginia and a $2,000 grant from the National Italian American Foundation for supplies.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

No English, No Service?

The Fresno County Coroner's office (California) apparently cured its monolingualism after a TV Journalist did a story about not providing services to people who only spoke Spanish. When the reporter first called the Coroner's Office, the response came in angry tones in English. A follow-up call revealed that while the Coroner's office does not have interpreters in its staff, some employees do speak Spanish and will provide services to people who only speak Spanish. Coroner Loralee Cervantes apologized and said the policy was being taken too far. Providing services in Spanish is also the law. According to State Government Code 7293 "every local public agency, serving a substantial number of non-English speaking people shall employ a sufficient number of qualified bilingual persons."

Yes to French, No to Arabic?

Peter Montgomery is a member of a select group. Instead of studying French, Spanish, German, or Italian in high school, he is taking Chinese. In Central New York, most high schools do not offer Arabic or Asian languages. Often European languages are the only ones available. In part it has to do with students' preferences. If not enough people will take a language, it's dropped. Students tend to study the language of their ancestors or a traditional European language instead of Mandarin Chinese or Arabic, which may be more useful to the national interest. In addition, it's much more likely that teachers if European languages may be available instead of Asian or Arabic languages.

Monday, November 29, 2004

French and Breton Road Signs

Although French is obviously the official language of France, Catalan, Basque, Breton, Corsican are other languages used in the country. Now road signs will be available in Breton and French in the Départment of Morbihan, Bretagne, a region in Western France.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Poor and Dual-Language & "A" School

Although 83% of its students are poor and 31% don't speak English, Gove Elementary School in Belle Glade, in Florida is an A-graded school. The school has kept its "A" grade in the past three years. How did it do it? With a dual-language approach and a low teacher-to-student ratio. Students at the school learn both English and Spanish. The average class size is 14 students. Half of the lessons are in English and the other half in Spanish. In 2000, Gove was a struggling D-graded school. Its grade improved slowly and it's been "A" for the past three years.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

Larger view
Art by Lucia. Originally uploaded by dmaceri.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Graham's Message in Multiple Languages

Evangelist Billy Graham's California 4-day crusade was translated in 26 languages. Attendees at the Rose Bowl listened to his message in English but those who did not understand English could hear a translation.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Dual Language Schools in New Mexico

A School Board member in Albuquerque, New Mexico wants all new pre-kindergartens to participate in dual-language programs. Studies have shown that the achievement of dual-language students is higher than those in traditional bilingual education and those in English only instruction. At the same time, the new program would provide kids with linguistic skills to compete in the global economy. The idea is for English-speaking kids to learn Spanish and Spanish-speaking kids to learn English but to retain and develop both.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Healthcare for All American Children?

Since the election blogging has been limited to language issues and no "Etc. Etc." But now John Kerry has an initiative that deserves mentioning and support. On the first day Congress is in session next year, Kerry will introduce a bill to provide every child in America with health insurance. It's a good idea in many respects. It's a necessity. It's a shame that more than 8 million American children don't have health insurance. Will Congress pass it? Don't hold your breadth. Republicans are against anything that helps people. They'll attack it as another liberal program. They'll say it cost too much. They'll....... Ultimately, though, it will come down to a basic truth: are you against children or in favor of them. If you are pro-children and want to sign Kerry's petition to send Congress a message, click HERE.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Bilingual Voting Successful

Voting in Chinese and Spanish worked well in Illinois and Georgia. More may be on the way in the future.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Unfiltered Spanish

Discussing controversial topics such s sexuality is not easy particularly for immigrants who tend to be more socially conservative than US-born young people are. To provide an outlet for frank discussion about sensitive but important topics students at Arizona University are going to publish a bilingual magazine titled "Nosotros ... y tú?

Blogger: Beyond English

Blogger, now run by Google, is offering the interface in including Japanese, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, Korean, French, Italian, Spanish, German and Brazilian Portuguese.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Canada: Not Enough Bilingual Hospital Care

The Official Languages Commissioner in New Brunswick stated that hospitals in the province are not providing enough bilingual services. Patients usually choose the language they wish to be treated in but the available languages are very limited. Some hospitals are having a very difficult time to find qualified personnel. When the language requirement is added, it becomes even more difficult.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Bilingual Troopers Needed

Virginia needs more troopers and is looking beyond the state's border. The hope is to attract troopers with diverse backgrounds, particularly people who speak foreign languages.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

AP In Italian, Japanese, and Chinese

The College Board will launch Advanced Placement courses in Italian, Japanese, and Chinese. The board administers the SAT college-entrance exam as well as the AP Program. The Italian program will begin in the fall of 2005, the Japanese and Chinese classes in 2006. A course in Russian language and culture is under development. The College Board already offers exams in English, French, German, Latin and Spanish.

More French and German

Schools in France and Germany will expand opportunities for students to study French and German. The idea is to increase by 20% the number of French students who speak German and do the same with German students with French. Officials from the two countries are working out the agreement.

Bilingualism will keep you young

The advantages of bilingualism are obvious in many fields, in education, travel, business, etc. One of them is that it keeps people's mind more flexible (español) and may even avoid the onset of Alzheimer.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Buying in Welsh?

Members of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg targeted more than 50 companies in their efforts to make them provide services in Welsh. Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg is angry that current language legislation does not affect the private sector. The group charges that companies are eager for Welsh business but not to respect Welsh culture.

Friday, November 05, 2004

English and Multilingual Swiss

The English language continues to "invade" other countries. Multilingual Switzerland is no exception. Earlier this year Swiss cantonal education directors decided that all elementary schools have to teach two foreign languages and one of them must be English. That caused concern among many Swiss who see their multilingualism and multiculturalism threatened. They see English as displacing one of their four national languages. Switzerland uses German, French, Italian, and Romansh. But as English is becoming the favorite second language, people are extremely concerned that some of the "minor" languages such as Romansh and Italian may become eliminated. Swiss President Joseph Deiss agrees with the idea of a national law to stem the spread of English in the country

Red Cross Needs Bilingual Volunteers

Helping people requires communication and in Arizona that means knowing Spanish. Finding enough bilingual volunteers is difficult.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Year of Languages

2005 will be the year of languages. To celebrate it, 1100 foreign language teachers will gather in Wisconsin to study of best to meet the foreign language needs of students.

Bilingual Services in Ottawa

A new plan was developed to make sure adequate bilingual services are provided by the city of Ottawa. Although not everyone working for the city needs to be bilingual, those individuals who have contact with the public need to be able to provide information and services in two languages.

Bilingual Services in Ottawa

A new plan was developed to make sure adequate bilingual services are provided by the city of Ottawa. Although not everyone working for the city needs to be bilingual, those individuals who have contact with the public need to be able to provide information and services in two languages.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Healthcare in English Plus

Several English-only groups exist in the US, which focus on protecting the English language. Some other people believe in English but also understand the importance of knowing other languages. English Plus focuses in essence on bilingualism. Now many medical professionals understand the philosophy as they try to provide medical care in English but also in other languages if patients don't speak English.

Monday, November 01, 2004

More Money and Better Love with Languages

Speaking a foreign language will enhance your earning power and at the same time make you more popular with the opposite sex, according to a BBC article. A survey of 2700 British firms found that seven out of ten thought their business could benefit from language fluency. Speaking a second language could increase an average worker's salary by £3,000 a year, or £145,000 in a lifetime.

Bilingual Voting in Texas

Most Tarrant County voting sites will have bilingual helpers to assist voters who have difficulties with the English language. Bilingual clerks have been recruited for roughly 400 voting sites to help people with Spanish and Vietnamese.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Bin Laden Helps Bush?

Osama bin Laden's latest video helped Bush, according to The Guardian. I don't think so. It's quite likely that most Americans who saw the tape got a reminder of Bush's failure to get bin Laden. Bin Laden was not in a cave on the run. He was dressed in great clothes and seemed to be thumbing his nose at Bush for not capturing him. Watch for another bin Laden tape not long after the election, commenting on how bad a choice Americans made regardless of who wins. Of course, what would make bin Laden's happiest is if the election turns out like the last one and we won't know who won until the Supreme Court tells us.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

New Bilingual Program

Because of the influx of immigrant children, Country Meadows Elementary School in Long Grove, Illinois, will set up its first bilingual education program. The program will make it easier for kids to learn English gradually and make a transition into regular classes without falling behind their academic peers.

More Books en Español

Patrons in an Oregon library like to read but their library had few books. More books in Spanish are coming.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Lost in translation

Justice Department auditors discovered 123,000 hours of untranslated data in languages used by terrorists.

Two Languages with Two Hands?

Can you write with both hands simultaneously in two separate languages? Amanullah, an Indian engineer can write in English and Tamil with both hands at the same time. The 53 year-old, who got his name into India’s Limca Book of Records, hopes to make the Guinness Book of World Records.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Early Bilingualism

How early should kids be exposed to two languages? The earlier, the better. Babies have the ability to produce all kinds of sounds. Little by little, as they listen to their parents, they focus on the sounds they hear and don't develop the ability to produce certain sounds. Babies hearing two languages develop an agility which enables them to produce whatever sounds may be necessary to communicate in those languages they hear.

Bilingualism for All?

Mexican and American educators believe all kids should be taught in two languages.

Friday, October 22, 2004

No Child Left Behind Leaves Kids With English Only

Because of low test scores, El Verano bilingual program, in Sonora, California will be dismantled. By teaching in English only, school officials hope to raise the students' scores to please the Feds. Dropping the bilingual program did not please some parents.

Bush on Immigration: NADA

In an interview with Spanish-language network Univisión, Bush said he supports a guest-worker program but would not offer amnesty to undocumented workers already in the country. After nearly four years of being president, he has done nada about it. When will he? ¿Nunca?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Bilingual Ed Alive and Well in Oregon

Although California, Arizona, and Massachusetts virtually eliminated bilingual education in favor of English-only methodology, most states are continuing the programs. Oregon is one of those states.

Iran Endorses Bush

First it was the KGB. Now it's Iran. LANGUAGEBLOGGER does not.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Mexican Teachers to Work in New Mexico

Officials in New Mexico have reached an agreement with Mexico, which would allow Mexican teachers to work in New Mexico's schools. Mexican teachers could work for three years and would then return to their country.

More Arabic

University of Colorado students can study a variety of foreign languages. Now they can also study Arabic, a very useful language in light of the most recent political events in the world.

The Return of Foreign Languages in UK

Three years ago Britain scrapped the requirement of studying foreign languages for students over the age of 14. Now languages are back.

KGB Endorses Bush

Vladimir Putin, who served in the KGB before becoming president of Russia, came out in favor of electing Bush when he declared that if Kerry were to win, it would lead to the "spread of terrorism" around the world. It's unusual for foreign leaders to endorse a political candidate. Imagine the backlash if some other European leader (A French one! Mon Dieu) were to endorse Kerry.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

America, bilingual or multilingual?

Is America a bilingual country? A multilingual one?

America and Illegals Immigrants

Yes, we need them, but at the same time we don't want them.

Keyes is the Real Outrage

Dick and Lynn Cheney have been outraged at John Kerry's remark about their daughter being gay. Yet, they did not show the same kind of outrage about Alan Keyes, the Republican candidate for Senate from Illinois, with nearly the same vigor. Keyes described homosexuality as "selfish hedonism. " Asked if that includes Mary Cheney, Keyes answered "Of course she is, that goes by definition." Is Keyes the GOP?

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Mexican Immigrants: Beyond Spanish

When we think of Mexican immigrants, we envision Spanish-speaking people. That is not necessarily the case. Some Mexican nationals living in the U.S. speak other languages and have different challenges.

Cheney's Outrage

At the last presidential debate Bush said he did not know whether or not homosexuality was a choice. Kerry knew the answer. He pointed out that we are all God's children and " if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she was being who she was, she's being who she was born as." Kerry has been criticized for mentioning Cheney's daughter. He should not be. Kerry pointed out the hypocrisy of the GOP for treating gays in an outrageous manner. The most visible example being Bush's proposal of a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the relationship between a man and a woman. Patrick Guerriero, the head of Log Cabin Republican, a gay group, was very angry at the Bush-Cheney campaign for "feigning outrage" over Sen. John Kerry's comments. Guerriero also pointed out that Republicans "who are expressing outrage at the debate comments really have been outrageous themselves" in their treatment of gays. Dick Cheney has reacted strongly to Kerry's mention of his daughter at the presidential debate. Yet, when Edwards did the same thing in vice-presidential debate, he was grateful for the nice words he heard from his opponent. A little flip-flopping? Or are they becoming concerned that they have lost the election and trying their very best to move away from the important issues, such as whether Bush is concerned or not about Osama bin Laden? The press has been "cooperating" by giving the Cheneys "outrage" a lot of coverage. Ironically, it might backfire on the GOP. Reminding conservative voters that Cheney has a lesbian daughter is not the best way to encourage them to show up at the polls.

Friday, October 15, 2004

From Failing School to Dual-Language

Carbondale Elementary School in Colorado is in its third year of probation by the state department of education. The student body is made up of poor students, half of whom qualify for free lunches. Wealthy local residents do not send their kids to Carbondale. To attract them, officials are planning to turn Carbondale into a dual-language school, which would be appealing to wealthy parents interested in their kids becoming bilingual.

Bush Flips-Flops on Canadian Drugs

In the second presidential debate Bush said he is opposed to the importation of Canadian drugs because he’s is concerned about the safety of Americans. In the third debate he said his administration is working with Canadian companies to bring in flu vaccine. Flip-Flopping Bush?

Thursday, October 14, 2004

US Allies Prefer Kerry

Citizens of ten US allies would prefer Kerry as the next president. Only in two of the ten countries polled Bush would be preferred.

Bilingual Voting?

Voting in Spanish is relatively common in many parts of the US. Yet, other languages are covered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Chinese is included.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

More GOP Dirty Dricks

Body and Soul has an interesting post on how Republicans continue to try to steal elections.

Bilingual Brains

Bilingual individuals develop a mental agility with languages and thinking that monolinguals lack. Bilingualism even affects their brains. Bilinguals' brains develop more densely than those of monolinguals, giving it an advantage in various skills, according to researchers at London's Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Bilingual Firefighters Save Lives in Two Languages

New Mexico firefighters who speak Spanish can save lives with their language fluency. To reward and encourage bilingualism firefighters may get monthly stipends ranging from $25 to 50 a month if they can speak Spanish.

Spelling of EURO?

"Euro" spelling a rebellion in the European Union.

Financial Documents in English and Korean... in South Korea

Foreign financial institutions operating in South Korea make their documents available in English only. Now they'll have to do it in... Korean also.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Multilingual Malaysians

Malaysians are already bilingual or trilingual and should have no problem picking up another language. Learning another European language would be a definite asset, according to Choong Yeow Wei, Dean of Studies at Help University College, in Malaysia.

Higher Salaries for Bilinguals: Legal?

Yes indeed, it's not just legal to pay bilingual employees more for their bilingual skills. It's also smart. Bilingual skills mean better services for customers and also more sales. Bilingual skills have nothing to do with ethnicity. Many companies offer stipends to bilingual individuals who can demonstrate bilingual proficiency.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Bush Loses But Wins?

The first presidential debate was clearly won by Kerry. So was the second, according to a Gallup poll. Of course, Bush and the GOP will spin it as a victory by lowering the bar. Bush is not a good debater and Kerry, on the other hand, is a champion debater. Of course, that's true. But by lowering the bar so low Bush wins in spite of the fact that he really loses. In the first debate, even lowering the bar did not help. One interesting section in the Gallup poll points to Kerry's making progress among women. Although Bush supposedly did better with men (48% to 45%), Kerry did better with women (50% to 41%). That's important because if Bush gets re-elected he'll nominate one or even two Supreme Court Justices. Two more Scalia and Thomas clones. There goes Roe vs. Wade. Just on that possibility alone women should vote for Kerry.

GOP: Anti-Bilingual Education?

Although research has shown many items that bilingual education is effective in educating immigrant children, when you ask voters, bilingual education is often eliminated. Typically, voters interpret bilingual education as Spanish vs. English. English typically wins. It did so in California, Arizona, and Massachusetts. In Colorado, however, it lost. Colorado voters decided that their kids should not be deprived the opportunity to grow up with two languages. Which party is adamantly against bilingual education? The GOP, of course. Here is another.

Young Bilingualism

Does Bilingualism Keep You Young? And in español.

Outsourcing Torture?

The House of Representatives passed the Intelligence Bill which would create a Director of all the intelligence suspected terrorists services. Unfortunately, one of the provisions would deport to countries where they might face torture. The bill was passed largely on party lines, with the GOP in favor and Democrats against it. Is the GOP the torture party?

Friday, October 08, 2004

American Citizenship Made Easier

Becoming an American citizen was an ordeal full of bureaucracy and frustration. To make it easies to become citizens the US government has made available a manual in English and several other languages which explains the process. The manual also includes information about the citizenship test. It’s available online at HERE.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Bush: Liar or Incompetent?

Bush finally acknowledged that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destructions. The intelligence was wrong and now he wants to find out why. A little too late for the thousand of people who died because of his “faulty” intelligence. Billions spent, the American reputation tarnished abroad, and he finally blames the intelligence. How about you Mr. President? Are you responsible for anything? Did you fire anybody? How about you being fired by the American people? It’s obvious that either Bush lied or was and is totally incompetent.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

More Dual-Language Schools

Another dual language school in Minneapolis, MN.

Spanish Save Lives

Norma Torres never realized how valuable her bilingual skills were. Now she does. A native of Mexico who came to the US with her family when she was four years old, Torres was educated in English. Now she works as an interpreter in Athens-Limestone Hospital in Alabama helping patients, doctors, and other healthcare workers communicate. Some other hospitals use “Language Line,” a telephone system employing interpreters fluent in 150 languages to better people who cannot speak English. Having a person in the hospital is of course much more effective.

Biology and Bilingualism

Researchers have found that people growing up with two languages use a region of the brain called the left insula, which is the area believed to be involved in speech storage and rehearsal and the temporary storage of verbal contents. The insula is used more by people who became proficient in two languages in memory tests. The higher the bilingual skills of the individual, the more the insula worked.

Debate: Cheney Better Than Bush

The score is probably going to be 0-0 between Cheney and Edwards. Except for Cheney's "inconsistencies," "mistakes," or in the minds of many, lies. Cheney said he met Edwards at the debate last night. He either does not have a good memory, or he was lying. Here is a photo showing the two had met. And more on their two previous meetings. The comparison at the debate should probably be between Cheney and Bush. Although Cheney stretched the truth, in comparison to Bush, he looked much better. At least he knows how to put words together. Bush can't. Cheney, however, is scary. I am not sure if he is scarier than Bush. The evil Dart Vader or the incompetent idiot. You pick the scarier one. Cheney ended the debate last night by trying to scare people into voting for Bush. Basically, he said people should be scared of the terrorists and should vote for the GOP. Edwards's closing remarks were human and optimistic. The draw at the VP debate means Bush will have to do better at the next presidential debate. If not, Kerry could deliver a knockout punch and the comparison between Cheney and Bush may help the Democratic candidate.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Iowa: Se Habla Español and More

The City of Des Moines, Iowa, is going multi-lingual. Beginning this month, the city will use “Language Line,” a telephone system employing interpreters fluent in 150 languages to better serve its citizens. The company providing the service is based in Monterey, California. It works like a three-way phone call to connect city workers and interpreters. Emergency city workers have already been using the service. It can save lives when the caller does not speak English. The connection with the interpreters takes about a minute and will provide indispensable communication with the city residents.

Rumsfeld: Telling It Like It Is?

Donald Rumsfeld stated today that he knew of no clear link between the Al-Qaeda terror network and Saddam Hussein. He later took it back and said he was misunderstood. Yet, in another CIA report, the same conclusion was reached, which confirmed the position of the 9/11 Commission.

Voter Registration High

Voter registration is going very strong across the country. That’s good news for Democrats. The more people vote, the better it’s for the Democratic Party and for the country.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Love Begins with an English-Spanish Dictionary

Unable to communicate with a Mexican woman in Spanish, Bryce Lindvall bought an English-Spanish dictionary and began to talk with Alicia in halting Spanish. Now the two realize how important it is to learn languages.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

More "Soccer" Scores: Kerry 23-Bush 1

This morning San Luis Obispo Tribune published 24 letters on the Thursday night's debate. Readers favored Kerry overwhelmingly. Twenty-three praised his performance, pointing out he looked and acted like a president. Only one letter favored Bush. This one also acknowledged that Kerry was more eloquent than the president was. Yet, the writer felt Bush spoke from the "heart." Bush must have a weak and confused heart. He kept repeating a few stock phrases and doesn't seem to have a clue as to who the enemy is. Kerry made it clear he knows who the enemy is and showed he would focus his energies on doing the job.
I would not be surprised if in the next few days letters in the Tribune will accuse the paper of its liberal bias. The paper is owned by Knight-Ridder, a corporation, like other major media organization. Are corporations liberal? Of course not. They worry about their profits. Even if reporters were liberal, their editors and bosses are not. Simply because you see some liberal points of views in the press, it does not mean the press is liberal. The press reflects its owners, the corporations and their interests are not liberal.

Friday, October 01, 2004

The Gift of Words

When parents pass on their native language to their kids, they provide a gift that will provide opportunities for the rest of their lives.

Kerry 10-Bush 1

If the debate between Kerry and Bush had been a soccer game, Bush would have lost by a huge margin. The general consensus is that Bush came out a loser. Yet, the GOP spin machine will focus on Bush's low skills of debating. Even before the debate, in fact, they had lowered the bar on Bush. Not much was expected of Bush. And that's what we got. In Kerry's case, a lot was expected, and that's what we got. Bush looked extremely uncomfortable in the first ten minutes or so while Kerry was talking. His facial expressions reminded us of Gore's moans during the 200 debate. Bush sort of recovered his composure but soon ran out of words and kept repeating the same lines about Kerry being inconsistent and how fighting terrorism is hard work. Bush looked like a schoolboy whose excuse for being unprepared for the test was that his dog ate his homework. Kerry was articulate and not overly "intellectual." He looked like the president. He talked like a president. I do think he missed an opportunity to point out that he fought for his country and carries shrapnel in his body. And he would fight again. He might have also pointed out he knows something about killing and dying and would think a lot before sending American young men and women to war. Overall, it was a great opportunity for people to see Kerry and he took advantage of it. How many American voters were swayed by the debate, of course, remains to be seen. In any case, if Kerry's numbers start moving up, GOP dirty tricks will also increase.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

When Bilingualism Works

Ricardo Marquez, 34, delivers each morning announcements over the loudspeaker in English and Spanish. Marquez is the new principal at Trost Elementary School in Canby, Oregon. The school has a Spanish-speaking student population of more than 30%. Thus Marquez’ ability to move form one language to another is proving a definite asset. He also serves as a role model to kids who struggle with the English language.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Voting in English Only?

She'll follow the law but does not like it. That's what Bell County Republican Party Chair, Nancy Boston said about the requirement to have bilingual poll workers in Waco, Texas. She said that they are being mandated to do something that's "not required." According to Boston, if people want to vote, they'll do it by "our rules and laws." Republican laws or American laws? For Boston you vote in English, the official language of the US. The fact is that English is not the official language of the US. It is the de facto language but other languages have been part of the American linguistic landscape even before the country became a country. They still are. Some of them are Native American languages which have been in the US much longer than English. Even Spanish has been used in the country as long if not longer than English. But getting back to voting, the law is pretty clear. If 5% of the voters in a given county don’t speak English according to the US Census, election materials must be provided in that language. That includes Spanish, Native American languages, Chinese and Vietnamese. Of course, Republicans like it when minorities don't vote. Minorities routinely vote against the GOP by large numbers. And Republicans are famous for putting barriers on the path of voters' rights. They did it in Florida in the last presidential election. Thousands of African Americans were blocked from voting because they were on the felons' list. It turned out the list was wrong and many people were not allowed to vote. Barriers were also placed by police roadblocks, which made it difficult for African Americans to get to the polls. Those that did make voted 90% for Gore. Latinos also vote Democratic by significant margins. Thus by not providing bilingual help, the GOP is putting barriers which are illegal. McLennan County Republican Chair, MA Taylor said that if "he went to Mexico" he would be expected to learn the language. Of course, that applies to immigrants who come to the US. Yet, the law is the law. All naturalized citizens are, like native-ones, eligible to vote and no one should prevent them from doing so regardless of how well they speak English.

No Cowboy Diplomacy

A majority of Americans believes that dealing with international terrorism is best handled by a UN-authorized multinational force instead of US unilateralism. That seems to reflect John Kerry's view instead of Bush's. Will it translate into votes on November 2nd?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Bush-Kerry: 1-1

It's quite likely that Ralph Nader cost Al Gore the presidency with the 90,000 votes he received in Florida in 2000. Many, if not most of those votes, would have gone to Gore if Nader had not been on the ballot. Now Nader is trying to repeat himself and re-Bush the country. He is still running for president and will be on the ballot in New Mexico, according to a recent court ruling. He will not be on the ballot in Oregon, according to a Supreme Court ruling. Score one for Kerry and one for Bush since both Oregon and New Mexico are battleground states.

Monday, September 27, 2004

ESL Voting?

Andy Rooney is famous for his humorous few minutes in CBS acclaimed 60 Minutes. In his latest commentary he talked about the fact that people don't vote and that's a good thing. The gist of his talk was that only those who know the issues should vote. And for those who have just become citizens he advised they "wait another four years until" they understand "English well enough to know what the candidates are talking about" before voting.
I like Rooney's humor, but in his advise knowing English well enough before voting he reflects American's narrow-mindedness about immigrants and their knowledge.
Of course, some naturalized citizens do not English very well, but others do. In addition, these people also know other languages.
How many languages does Mr. Rooney know?
Mr. Rooney's comments also reflect the idea that everything is in English and if you don't know English you cannot know enough to cast a vote.
For a journalist, Mr. Rooney shows an incredible lack of understanding about available information in other languages about the election. There are virtually hundreds of sources of media in print, radio, television and the Internet, which provide plenty of information about the candidates in many different languages. In fact, naturalized citizens often might have more information available because all of them can have access to at least two sources, one in English and at least another in their native language.
Mr. Rooney's comment about knowing the English language also misunderstands the fact that some naturalized citizens have been speaking English as long as he has.
Naturalized citizens include Canadians, Australians, Britons, and other immigrants from English speaking countries. These people know English very well, even if in Mr. Rooney's way of thinking they talk "kind of funny."
What bothers me the most about his comment is the fact that Mr. Rooney seems to suggest some kind of litmus test to be able to vote. Does he not know that literacy tests were used in this country to keep people from voting?
Id' be very surprised if he did not. I do, and I did not start speaking English until I was sixteen years old. I bet many new citizens also know it because their ethnic group may have been a victim of discrimination.
Everyone who is a citizen should be allowed to vote. Indeed people should be encouraged to participate. Native-born or naturalized citizens including those who just passed their naturalization test, should exercise their rights. The last presidential election, which Bush supposedly won by five hundred votes, might have turned out differently if all the votes cast were actually counted and if all naturalized citizens had made it to the polls, even if they spoke English with an accent.

Unbecoming Swiss

It’s tough becoming a Swiss citizen. For the third time, Swiss voters have turned down a proposal to make it easier for foreigners to become naturalized Swiss citizens. Nearly 57% of Swiss voters indicated that they don’t want to bring their country’s citizenship requirements in line with other European countries. The vote prevents third-generation foreigners born in Switzerland from becoming citizens. About 20% of the Swiss (1.5 million) population is made up of non-citizens. The French and Italian speaking cantons voted in favor of the changes but the German speaking ones voted against.

Bush’s National Guard Lack of Service

Although George Bush got an honorable discharge from the Texas National Guard, he did not finish his service. He left it six months early so that he could attend the Harvard Business School. How many other people could have gotten that kind of favoritism?

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Shortage of Bilingual Poll Workers

It's happening in California and also in Texas. Shortages of bilingual poll workers may make it difficult for every vote to count. Part of the problem is the fact that poll workers are paid only $7.00 an hour. The hope is that those individuals who have recently become citizens will turn out to vote and exercise their rights. Lack of bilingual poll workers will make it difficult. That will hurt democratic candidates since a significant majority of Latinos are registered Democrats. The fewer of them vote, the better it will be for the GOP.

Italian Language Endangered?

Many languages around the world feel threatened by the 500-pund gorilla known as the English language. Several countries have passed legislation to protect their national languages from the onslaught of English words. France is one of them, but others such as Brazil, Germany, etc. are considering following suit to limit the invasion of English words in their languages. Italy is no exception. Communications minister Maurizo Gasparri has indicated that the Italian language needs to be safeguarded. Gasparri stressed the fact that while Italian is being studied as a foreign language abroad in increasing numbers, more needs to be done on the technological front to protect it. The need is severe in the field of computers where English is used almost exclusively.

Raise the Minimum Wage to Help Business

The student aide at my school was all excited about the California legislature's recent vote to hike the minimum wage to $7.75 an hour in the next two years.
Unfortunately for the student, it won't happen. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill, believing it would "create barriers" to economic development.
Schwarzenegger's veto goes back to the traditional Republican held belief that by boosting wages you increase the cost of doing business and damage the economic climate.
History, of course, points in another direction. When the federal minimum wage was increased during Bill Clinton's presidency, Republicans railed against the negative effect it would have on the economy, particularly its potential impact on small businesses.
None of that happened. Although some people may remember Clinton's personal weaknesses, virtually no one would try to take away his positive influence on the economy. More than twenty million jobs were created during his presidency. That means business must have done pretty well, otherwise no one would have been hired. Raising the minimum wage did not damage the economy; it may have helped it.
President George W. Bush, like other Republicans, opposes raising the current federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour. Bush's economic strategy has been to lower taxes, which benefits the wealthiest Americans. If Bush had managed to create any jobs, you can just imagine how the GOP would have made sure you heard about it.
Lowering taxes on the wealthy created nothing but huge deficits for the country and jobs have been lost. Since Bush took office there are 1.1 million fewer jobs. If giving money to the rich doesn't help the economy, putting it in the pockets of people at the bottom of the economic ladder by raising the minimum wage, makes sense. It would help the more than 15 million people who earn the minimum wage, the vast majority being women.
The hike would mean that people would have a little more disposable income. In all likelihood they'd spend it all on basic necessities and that of course would generate economic activity which would even benefit small businesses, exactly those the GOP is trying to "help" by opposing raising the minimum wage.
Another concern about a hike in the minimum wage is that fewer people would be hired. But research by the Economic Policy Institute found that in 1996 and 1997 minimum wage increases did not cause job losses. More jobs became available.
Another study by the Jerome Levy Economic Institute in 1999 found that the increase in the minimum wage did not affect the hiring decisions of most small businesses.
Raising the minimum wage would not only benefit those at the lowest level of earning power. It's quite likely that it might also have some impact on others who make little above the minimum. People who work at Wal-Mart, a significant percentage of whom live at the poverty level or slightly higher, might eventually see more money in their pockets.
At the national level, the minimum wage has not been increased in eight years. Whatever increase occurred eight ago has been eaten up by inflation.
John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, wants to increase the federal minimum wage to $ 7.00. Even $7.00 does not mean you make it out of poverty. You need at least $9.00 an hour to move beyond the poverty line, according to the Poverty & Health Insurance Report of the 2003 US Census.
Although Arnold Schwarzenegger is officially a Republican, true conservatives often show doubts about California's governor being a fully-fledged member of the GOP. The recently-passed California state budget occurred because of the support of the Democratic-controlled legislature with only a handful of Republican legislators voting for its approval.
Given Schwarzenegger's weak GOP credentials, he had little choice to veto the bill to raise the minimum wage in California. As usual, Republicans worry about the big corporations rather than workers. The sad thing is that by raising the minimum wage, even corporations would have profited because all the "extra" money earned by workers would be gone back in the economy, benefiting business, which opposes the raises. And en español.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Bilingual Priests from Mexico to US

Given the shortage of bilingual priests in the US. Mexican nationals are being trained in a Catholic seminary with the idea that they will provide services in American cities with high concentrations of Hispanics.

If America were Iraq, What would it be Like?

Juan Cole explains very well the situation in Iraq in American "terms." Must read.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

A Phrase a Day to Cure Monolingualism

To celebrate the European Day of Languages (September 26th) A Rubery company wants businesspeople across Europe to learn a phrase a day. To bring this about the company has launched a series of lessons lasting 30 seconds to teach a simple phrase from a different European country each day. A similar kind of celebration will occur in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where language specialists at Queen's University will provide a sample of 17 European languages next Monday.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Bush to UN: Help

In his speech at the UN Bush asked other nations to help in Iraq. Those listening to him must have be thinking what Colin Powell apparently told Bush before the war: You break it, you own it. Bush still doesn't get it. Unfortunately, he broke it and "we," American taxpayers own it. What Bush does not get is that terrorism is not an American problem but a global one requiring international solutions. The UN should and will help fix Iraq but as long as Bush is president the stain of the "illegal war" described by Kofi Anan will remain and will not wash. If Kerry gets elected, he'll have a difficult job in, but at least he'd have international support.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Latin: A Dead Language?

Unlike modern languages, the study of Latin focuses on learning the structure of the language, its vocabulary, and the ability to read and understand. Of course, a sound foundation in Latin is beneficial in learning the Romance languages but it’s also valuable in becoming more sensitive to English.

Bush to Apologize?

Dan Rather apologized for using memos, which came form a questionable source. Yet, the facts remain that Bush joined the National Guard to avoid going to Vietnam. He used his family connections to avoid the war. Kerry volunteered and carries shrapnel in his body. More than a thousand Americans died in the Iraqi war and more than ten thousands of Iraqis also lost their lives. Rather apologized for his mistake. Et tu Bush?

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Selling Cars en E$$pañol

As the purchasing power of Latinos increases, smart companies make efforts to reach them in Spanish. Sometimes even when people may not be in the market to buy anything, just hearing a description may end up in a sale. A car dealership in Kansas City focused its efforts on reaching out to Hispanic and increased the bottom line by $825,000 in new and used car sales (Free subscription). A study by J. D. Power and Associates found that Hispanics are responsible for 8 % of all new vehicle sales and that figure is expected to rise to 13% in 2020.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Do You Believe Bush or Canadian Healthcare?

A lot of Americans are buying their prescription drugs in Canada. They save money. Bush says that doing so is a dangerous practice. Is he right? Do you think Canadian drugs are safe? More than 10 million Americans have already bought Canadian drugs. Many more are planning to d the same. Should we also adopt Canada's single payer system for healthcare and insure everybody? Healthcare for everyone or profits for Bush's buddies running American corporations?

Shortages of Bilingual Poll Workers

Both San Diego and Ventura Counties are struggling to find enough bilingual poll workers. San Diego County had agreed to hire 900 Spanish-speaking bilingual poll workers for the November 2nd election but they are far short of meeting that goal. Ventura County adopted plans to offer bilingual county workers a full day’s pay as and up to $90 for poll duty. In essence, county employees would do their regular government job and receive a small bonus for their bilingual skills. San Diego may want to do the same.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Voting in Spanish?

Lubbock, Texas is looking for bilingual clerks to help in the general election this fall. Many Americans feel that you have to know English to be able vote, but the law is pretty clear about allowing every citizen the opportunity to participate. If 5% of the voters in a given county don’t speak English according to the US Census, election materials must be provided in that language. Often that language is Spanish but it can be another such as Chinese, Korean, or a Native American language.

Bush: Se Habla Español

President Bush speaks passable Spanish and made good use of it in the 2000 election. He hasn’t stopped doing it. At the Republican National Convention he sprinkled his speech with Spanish when he said No dejaremos a ningún niño atrás - we will leave no child behind." In spite of his use of Spanish, bush ahs done virtually nothing for Latinos since being elected. He promised to deal with the issue of immigration and made a proposal in January of 2004. Yet, his plan has not gone anywhere in spite of bipartisan support in the US Senate. Bush, in fact, sent feelers to the Senate leadership to slow down the process fearing a backlash of the right wing of the GOP. Bush can try to speak Spanish to attract voters, but his words will ring false (free registration).

Multilingual Pennsylvania

Students at Penn State can chose from about 60 languages, from the traditional Spanish, French, Italian, German, to less commonly-taught African, Middle Eastern and South Asian languages.

Fees Go Up for California College Students

In the last few years, the economic crisis in California has forced the state to borrow and cut programs. Taxes have not been raised even if modest increases on the very wealthy would have spared fee increases for Californians. Fees for California college students have been increased and will continue to do so every year for the next ten years. That is of course not a tax increase, but for parents and students who have to pick up the higher cost, it’s a “tax” even if you don’t use the dreaded word.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Re-Elect Bush and Keep Going to Canada to Buy Drugs

In the last three years healthcare costs went up 59%. All under Bush’s watch. Bush wants to continue having the market take care of things. That ahs led people to buy prescription drugs in Canada and Mexico. If Bush is re-elected you can expect more people will go abroad to buy their medicines. Bush also wants to privatize Social Security. Will people have to go to Canada for their pensions if his plan is eventually implemented? Bush badmouths government every chance he gets. He is forgetting HE is the government. Unfortunately, unlike the Canadian and European governments, Americans can’t afford healthcare. Time for a change of government?

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Another Dual-Language School

This dual-language school is in Encinitas, California. Four kindergarten and first-grade classes are using the dual-language approach in English and Spanish. In kindergarten and first grade, students receive 90 percent of their instruction in Spanish and 10 percent in English. In second grade the distribution shifts to 80 percent and 20 percent, before reaching a 50-50 balance by fifth grade. There are at least 150 dual-language programs in California.

From American Indian Languages to American Culture

Fifteen students from Italy from Bologna are learning about American culture while visiting the U.S. to study Native American languages. The students are in Montana where they visited a Nkwusm Salish language immersion school and were impressed by school children speaking their native language alongside of English. In Italy, something similar is happening with dialects. Although Italians use standard Italian in everyday affairs, some regions are beginning to offer courses in the dialects as well to prevent their disappearance which some linguists fear is inevitable.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Curing American Monolingualism?

She made it clear in three languages that diversity is important at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, California. Superintendent/President Victoria Munoz Richart addressed students, teachers and staff members during her inaugural celebration in French, Spanish, and English. That kind of linguistic ability is rare among college presidents. Munoz Richart recently became the chief executive officer of the college. A native of Mexico City, she earned her B.A. in French ad Spanish, a master's degree in education from the University of Texas in Austin, and her doctorate in education from the UCLA.

Friday, September 10, 2004

GOP: Buy All the Assault Weapons You Like

The ten-year ban on assault weapons will expire and Bush with the Republican-controlled Congress will not renew it. Assault weapons are nothing but military tools. They have no use other than to kill lots of people in a very short period of time. Watch for more deaths and more tragedies thanks to the GOP.

Insurance Rates Rise Again

Medicare premiums went up 17% recently. Health insurance rates paid by employers went up 11% last year. Since Bush became president took office rates went up 59%. What has he done about it? Nada. Since companies are not willing to pay the cost, they have been passing it on to their employees. I pay $300.00 a month for coverage, which a few years ago was paid completely by my school. I am lucky. I have insurance for my family and me. More than 40 million Americans don’t have health insurance. Canada? Europe? Socialism? Help.

Nader: Smart but Blind

Ralph Nader, whose 90,000 votes in Florida gave us George W. Bush for four years, now says Kerry will lose in November. He may be right. Nader is a smart man but it’s unfortunate he could not and still can’t see the difference between a not-so-perfect Democratic Party and a very bad GOP. If nothing else, the next president will quite likely nominate two or possibly more Supreme Court Justices. Do you think a Democratic president would nominate Scalia or Thomas clones? Will Bush? You bet.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Number of Iraqi Deaths

Many American newspapers reported the more than 1,000 deaths in the Iraq war. The number if likely to grow. Yet, there is an even greater number. It’s Iraqi deaths, which are just as tragic. It’s not totally clear how many Iraqis have died in the war. Estimates range from 10,000 to 30,000.

San Luis Teacher of the Year

Tina Lucas, a Baywood Elementary School teacher, was selected Teacher of the Year for San Luis Obispo County. She will represent the local area in the California statewide contest that will be decided later this school year. I have no doubt she is an extremely talented and dedicated teacher. And it’s always a good thing for education when someone is recognized. All teachers gain in some way. At the same time all teachers lose a little. There are a lot of wonderful teachers who deserve awards and many times they go unrecognized for years and may never win Teacher of the Year.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Multilingual McDonald’s

Happy meals and languages from McDonald’s.

More Than 1,000 Dead in Iraq

More than 1,000 Americans have lost their lives in the Iraqi conflict so far. Most of these deaths occurred after President Bush declared major combat over. If Bush is re-elected you can except more Iraqs and more deaths. For what?

Most Studied Foreign Languages in US Colleges& Universities

1. Spanish 746,000; 2. French 201,979; 3. German 91,100; 4. Italian 63,899; 5. Japanese 52,238; 6. Chinese 34,153; 7. Latin 29,841; 8. Russian 23,921;
(Language Magazine & Association of Departments of Foreign Languages of the Modern Language Association, 2002 figures).

Most Widely Spoken Languages

1. Chinese (Mandarin) 1,075,000,000; 2. English 514,000,000; 3.Hindustani 496,000,000; Spanish 425,000,000; Russian 275,000,000; Arabic 256,000,000; Bengali 215,000,000; Malay-Indonesian 176,000,000; French 129,000,000; (From Language Magazine, Ethnologue, etc.)

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Truthful Texans

George W. Bush served in Alabama National Guard. Yet, no one at 187th Air National Guard remembers him. Did he really serve?

Keeping Hawaii Multilingual

Budget cuts at the University of Hawaii Honolulu may mean reducing courses in Filipino and Ilocano. Although the number of students is increasing, the university budget has remained the same. The administration is considering reducing classes in the spring semester and offering them only in the fall. A group of students at the University is fighting the proposed cuts. Currently, about 200 students are taking Filipino classes and another 100 are taking Ilocano.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

International Baccalaureate in Boston

Although Massachusetts eliminated its bilingual education programs a few years ago, languages are alive and well in the state. The Ecole Bilingue, a French-American International School of Boston, offers bilingual education in grades pre-K through 12. It also offers the French baccalaureate and beginning this fall it will make available the International Baccalaureate (IB). The diploma is highly regarded worldwide and has a strong emphasis on global studies. The Ecole Bilingue has 470 students representing 40 nationalities. They include French, Americans, and the rest represent many other countries. Subjects are taught in French and English. Students in the upper grades can also add another language choosing from either Spanish or German.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Medicare Premiums to Rise 17%

Medicare premiums paid by elders and disabled will rise 17%, according to the Bush dministration. It's the largest increase in history. Of course, you did not hear that at the recent RNC. How do you spell Medicare in Canadian?

Arnold's True Lies?

Arnold Schwarzenegger stretched the truth when he gave his talk at the republican national Convention this week. The tanks he saw and scared him as a child were in all likelihood British not Russian since he lived in an area of Austria occupied by Great Britain after World War II. As to his leaving a socialist Austria in 1968, the Austrian chancellors between 1945 and 1970 were conservatives. When he left the Austrian government was run by a coalition government whose leader was Josef Klaus, a staunch Roman Catholic and a vocal critic of communists and socialists. Of course, the story Schwarzenegger said made sense in Hollywood and also in politics which is becoming more and more cinematic.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Quick Notes About The RNC

I did not get to watch much of the Republican National Convention yet a few things come to mind. While the Democratic National Convention was very gentle on Bush, the GOP speakers attacked John Kerry viciously, The main assaults came from Zel Miller, a former Democrat who eventually saw the "light" and became a Republican. Miller was apparently so angry in his keynote address that he made John Dean look tame. Zel Miller's anger spilled into the post convention interviews. He got angry with CNN reporters who dared challenge some of his assertions. He later went on to MSNBC and got angry with Chris Matthews and wished he had been living in another century so he could have challenged Matthews to a duel. The attacks on Kerry continued from Vice-President Dick "Halliburton" Cheney. Cheney got a whole bunch of deferments and did not serve in Vietnam. Yet, when it comes to sending other people to war, he is very quick on the draw. His boss, of course, is no different. George W. Bush joined the National Guard and when he made Texas safe, he went to Alabama to do the same. The trouble is that hardly anyone remembers him serving. Apparently he did a lot of partying (subscription) and on one occasions even boasted about how much alcohol he had drunk the previous night. To his credit, Bush did give a decent speech at the Convention. Yet, he also gave a laundry list of programs he believes are important. One of them would invest more in community colleges. As a community college instructor I got all excited but then it occurred to me that since Bush has created such huge deficits largely because of his tax cuts to his rich friends, there is nothing left for me. The RNC ended on a positive note. Kerry, who eventually got angry at the attacks from GOP and the Swift Boat veterans for truth, did something remarkable. He gave a talk in Ohio right after Bush finished his speech at the RNC. Several cable news outlets carried his speech, stealing some of Bush's thunder which would have occurred in the post-speech commentaries. Will Kerry continue in his "angry" mode and possibly go negative on Bush? Or will voters eventually figure out that since Bush has nor record to run on he can only win by attacking his opponent?

Monolingual Media?

Unable to find journalists who speak Spanish in the U.S., the editor of La Voz, a weekly Spanish newspaper in Arizona, hires reporters from Latin America. Yet, officials at the University of Arizona School of Journalism are planning to help fill the need for bilingual reporters. They intend to attract bilingual high school students who show interest in journalism and encourage them to further their education and become the next Walter Cronkite en español.

Another Dual-Language School

Kids in Madison, Wisconsin, will have the opportunity to grow up bilingual thanks to Nuevo Mundo, a new dual-language school. Students will study school subjects in both English and Spanish.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Inspired by Nixon?

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s speech at the Republican National COnvention was great according to many pundits. So much so that speculation about the “gobernator” running for president may become a possibility if the constitution were to be changed to allow naturalized citizens to become presidents. If that were to happen, we might it owe it all to Richard Nixon. Apparently, Schwarzenegger became a Republican when he heard the Nixon-Humphrey debate. It’s difficult to imagine anyone being inspired by Nixon and more difficult to swallow anyone admitting having been inspired by a president who resigned in shame. Nixon resigned in 1974 at the height of the Watergate scandal to avoid impeachment and possible criminal prosecution. As they say in Spanish, “dime con quien andas.. “ ( You can judge a man by the company he keeps).

Lincoln, Roosevelt, and George W. Bush?

Laura Bush praised her husband at the Republican National Convention last night. She said that presidents don’t want to take the country to war but sometimes it’s necessary. Bush agonized on the war, just like Lincoln and Roosevelt did, according to the first lady. Yet, the list of Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Bush somehow is incongruous. Maybe 100 years from now the three names can be listed one after the other and sound OK, but in the present time Bush does seem to lack gravitas to be in the company of the other two presidents. Interestingly, Mrs. Bush did not include her father-in-law, who also took the country to war in the group. Does it mean that her husband agonized more than his dad?

Bush Flip-Flop?

Well, Bush changed his mind. Yesterday he said we cannot win the war on terrorism but today he changed his mind. Did Giuliani give him a call?

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Bilingual in Reno, Nevada

Growing up in two languages is a gift American parents can give to their kids as dual-language schools become increasingly popular. Although still a fraction of US education, the numbers of school teaching all subjects in two languages continues to grow. The Mariposa Bilingual Academy is Nevada's first dual-language school. Students will study in both English and Spanish from kindergarten through sixth grades. However, plans are underway to build bilingual middle and high schools.

Giuliani and Bush's Unclear Words

At the Republican National Convention last night Rudolph Giuliani praised Bush and said that by re-electing him we'll "see an end to global terrorism." "Unwavering Bush" seemed to have a different opinion. In an interview with NBC's Today Show he said we cannot "win" the war on terrorism (free subscription) but we "can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world." Should Giuliani have checked with Bush before giving his speech?

Monday, August 30, 2004

Spanglish as Jazz?

Thanks to Ed Lanza of HispaniCon for pointing out this article about Spanglish, the hybrid Spanish-English spoken by many Latinos in the U.S. Although some people consider Spanglish an aberration and bad Spanish, professor Ilan Stavans, author of "Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language" (Rayo, 2003) has a different opinion. He differentiates it historically from the linguistic experiences of other immigrant groups. Stavans compares Spanglish to jazz, which originated among people who did not read music and so had to improvise, and eventually this art form spread throughout the world. Will Spanglish develop and become a fully-fledged language as Spanish evolved from Latin or die out once the influx of Spanish-speaking people wanes? Only time will tell.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

The Cost of Bilingual and Special Education

There is no doubt that students in in rich school districts score high on test scores and also receive high quality education. Money and quality education go hand in hand. In parts of Texas, poverty, lack of knowledge of English, and special education require significant increases if kids are to succeed. It's the same all over the country. Some people say money does not necessarily translate into learning, which in theory is true. But lack of adequate resources is almost a guarantee that limited success will be inevitable.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Importing Teachers from Mexico

Shortages of bilingual teachers are forcing some Texas schools to recruit in Mexico.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Curing Monolingualism in Iowa?

A dual-language school in Iowa generated strong negative reactions from some local residents who believe that in America you speak English and only English. Many other enlightened parents realize bilingualism is a gift for their children in an ever-shrinking world.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Teacher Shortage in Foreign Languages

Need a job teaching foreign languages or ESL?

No English, No License

Efrain Soto, an immigrant from Venezuela, still cannot drive a car. His English is very weak and the examiner for the road test failed him, recommending that he learn English. Hamden, CT does not have bilingual examiners. Officials said it would be desirable, but resources are limited. Many states offer the written part of the license test in a number of foreign languages and some also give the road test in a variety of languages. Connecticut does not. Do you need to know English in order to drive? Do tourists visiting the US know English or can they drive legally with an international driver’s license?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

French Speakers Are Happy

Although the United Nations has six official languages, it has only two "working languages" in which documents are translated—French and English. Yet, in many practical terms English is the working language of the UN. The French often complain bitterly about English dominating the UN at the expense of French. Not so at the current Olympics in Greece. The French language has been given its recognition in the Olympics and Francophone speakers are happy. M. Pierre Andre Wiltzer, French foreign minister with portfolio for Francophonie, presented a trophy to Organizing committee of ATHENS 2004.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Future Mussolinis?

Although most Italians would probably not be proud of carrying the burden the name Mussolini entails, Alessandra, the Duce's grand-daughter (free subscription) wants to make sure it survives. She wants to change the Italian law and make it easy for mothers as it is for fathers to give their surnames to their children. Currently , Italian laws says that mothers may pass on their last name to their offspring when the father's last name is not known. Alessandra had to fight for three years to be able to have her three children use both her husband's and her last names.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Enforcing Bilingualism

Dr. Grenville Goodwin's signs in his Ottawa optometry office have been in English for 53 years. Now he must change them and add French, according to the Canadian federal government. Goodwin is mad and sees no reason why he should not continue to provide his services in English only. But there is a catch. He is renting office space from the the federal government and the rules are that both French and English signs must be visible. The rules apply also for French business owners who must also provide signs in English.

More Heroic Words

After 35 years of silence, William Rood, an editor of the Chicago Tribune, wrote a first-person account of his experience in Viet-Nam. Rood, who served with John Kerry, confirms the heroic actions of the Democratic presidential nominee and the platoon he commanded. Rood's experience is direct. He was there. He saw it. The individuals who are running ads questioning Kerry's service did not serve with Kerry and are little more than political hacks. Bush has no record to run on and has to hope that enough doubts are raised about Kerry to make Americans believe what is not true. The bottom line is, if you're getting on a speed boat, do you want Bush and his words to accompany you, or someone who has shown enough character to spill his blood for his country?

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Heroic Words?

In the 2000 primary Republican campaign, George W. Bush attacked John McCain's Viet-Nam's heroic record. At one of the debates, McCain reacted and told Bush he should be ashamed (video) for those actions. McCain went on to say that five US Senators, all Vet-Nam war veterans and heroes, sent George Bush a letter saying he should apologize. Who organized the five Senator's action? John Kerry. Similar Republican attacks were aimed at Max Cleland, a hero, who lost three limbs in Viet-Nam. Now a group called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" is attacking John Kerry's record in Viet-Nam. Kerry spilled his blood for his country while George W. Bush was living the good life in the US. McCain recently stated that Bush should denounce the Swift Boat Veterans' ad. McCain is supporting Bush for reelection. However, if Bush doesn't disassociate himself from the ad, McCain should get off George Bush's boat and join Kerry, a war hero like himself.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Bush and Kerry: Looking for votes "en México"

Latino Pundit has a post about George P. Bush, the president's nephew and his bride, looking for "votos" in Mexico. Apparently, there are a million U.S. citizens living in Mexico. The Bushes have strong links to our southern neighbor since Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida, married Columba Garnica Gallo, a native of Guanajuato. John Kerry's campaign is also active in Mexico. The Democratic candidate's people have held a voter-registration and ballot-request drive in Guadalajara.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Curing Monolingualism in Hungary

Hungarian Prime Minister Péter Medgyessy made it clear to his ministers that retaining their jobs would depend on their progress in becoming bilingual. With a reshuffling of ministries approaching, it appears many ministers fail to make the grade in spite of serious efforts to learn a second language. What about Hungarians language fluency in general? Well, it's no better than their ministers. A survey by the ministry found that only 19% of the population can communicate in a foreign language. Hungary trails behind all the other new European union member states. Slovenia, on the other hand, leads the multilingualism field, with over 70% speaking one of the major Western European languages (English, French, German, Italian or Spanish), and 91% speaking at least one foreign language. Within the European Union as a whole, 53% of the population can communicate in at least one foreign language. The Scandinavians lead the pack when it comes to language knowledge while the British continue to suffer from monolingualism.

More Spanish, Less French and German

British students show decreasing interest in foreign languages. This year's A-level results among British teenagers reflect a sharp fall in numbers taking exams in French and German. German was down by 8.1 per cent and French was down by 2.5 per cent as compared to last year. Numbers in Spanish are up but they don’t make up for losses in French and German.

Mommy and me en español

An interesting program in which young kids learn Spanish with their parents was the focus of an article in my hometown newspaper. San Luis Obispo also has a dual-language school in which elementary school students learn all subjects in two languages.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Selling in English or Español?

My fellow blogger HispaniCon pointed out an article which focuses on the diversity of the Latinos in the US. Broadly speaking, there are two groups, separated by language—English and Spanish. For Gregory Rodriguez, of the New America Foundation, the proportion of foreign-born among the Hispanic population reached its peak during the 1990s. Latinos are becoming more an ethnic rather than an immigrant communty. What does this mean for advertisers trying to reach the diverse Latino buyers? Do you advertise in English or Spanish? The interesting thing is that once Latinos lose their language, they also lose much of their culture and become Americans and move away from the "Hispanic market."

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Dreaming in Two Languages?

What language do bilingual people dream in? Myths and truths about the lives of bilingual individuals.

Exit Bilingual Education?

HispaniCon has a post about US English celebrating the "slow death" of bilingual education. Yet, with the exception of California, Arizona, and Massachusetts, which virtually eliminated bilingual education, most states are continuing it. It certainly is alive and well in president Bush's home state of Texas.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Linguistic Diversity

A 33-square kilometer area in Southern California is one of the most linguistically diverse in the country.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Does the GOP Parle Français?

With the latest polls showing John Kerry gaining on George Bush in battleground states, Dick "Halliburton" Cheney is attacking the Democratic presidential nominee. The assaults emerge in a number of ways but they also have to do with Kerry's connections to French. A GOP Senator said Kerry "looked and acted French." French is OK, though, if the politician is Republican. Porter Goss, the recently-nominated CIA director, was like Bush and Kerry educated at Yale, and is fluent in French and Spanish. How do you spell hypocrisy in French?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

One Language for Europe?

Multilingualism is typical of the European Union. Yet, as the number of member countries increases, more and more pressure will push for a common language. English is the likely candidate, particularly in view of the fact that it's the most widely studied foreign language. This is true in Europe as well as the rest of the world. Some people already view English as a basic subject alongside of the national language (s), math, and science. Will the European Union solve its linguistic "problems" and choose English as the only language? I think a more likely scenario is that several major languages will be chosen as official ones, which is what what has happened in the UN.