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.