Thursday, December 29, 2005

Translating the New Testament into Gullah

There are about 10,000 speakers of Gullah (LA Times, free subscription), an English dialect going back to the seventeenth century. It’s spoken mostly in the Sea Islands off South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The total number of speakers may reach as many as 250,000. Now they even have the New Testament (De Nyew Testament) in Gullah, sometimes also called Geechee. The language may have developed as a statement of defiance as slaves talked without their masters understanding. For some, it developed as a practical way of communicating. About 3,000 copies of the De Nyew Testament have been sold.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Bilingual Teachers: Spain to the Rescue

The shortage of bilingual teachers in parts of the US forces some school districts to seek them in Spain.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Holidays Around the World

English Merry Christmas ; Happy Christmas
Italian buon Natale
Spanish feliz Navidad ; feliz Pascua
French joyeux Noël
German frohe Weihnachten
Russian с Рождеством
Arabic ميلاد مجيد
Chinese 圣诞快乐
Afrikaans geseënde Kersfees
Albanian gëzuar Krishtlindjet
Aragones goyoso Nadal ; goyosa Nabidá
Aymara suma navidad
Basque Eguberri on
Brazilian Portuguese feliz Natal
Bresciano bu Nedal
Breton Nedeleg Laouen
Bulgarian Честита Коледа
Byelorussian З Калядамi
Calabrese buon natali
Caló bounnez funtandal
Catalan bon Nadal
Cornish Nadelek Lowen
Croatian sretan božić
Czech veselé Vánoce
Danish glædelig Jul
Dutch prettige Kerstdagen
Esperanto feliĉan Kristnaskon
Estonian häid jõule
Finnish hyvää joulua
Flemish vrolijke Kerst
Furlan bon Nadâl
Galician bo Nadal
Greek καλά Χριστούγεννα
Hebrew חג מולד שמח
Hindi क्रिसमस मंगलमय हो
Hungarian Kellemes Karácsonyi Ünnepeket
Icelandic gleðileg jól
Indonesian hari Natal
Irish Nollaig Shona
Japanese クリスマスおめでとう
Korean 즐거운 성탄, 성탄 축하
Latin Natale hilare
Latvian priecîgus Ziemassvçtkus
Leonese Bon Nadal
Lithuanian su Šventom Kalėdom
Malagasy tratrin'ny Krismasy
Maltese il-milied it-Tajjeb
Manx Nollick Ghennal
Maasai enchipai e kirismas
Mokshan Roshtuva marxta
Mudnés bòun Nadèl
Napulitano felice natale
Norwegian god Jul
Papiamentu bon Pasku
Persian کريسمس مبارک
Polish Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia
Portuguese feliz Natal
Punjabi ਕਰਿਸਸ ਖੁਸ਼ਿਯਾੰਵਾਲਾ ਹੋਵੇ
Quechua paqariku atawsami
Rapanui here noere
Romagnolo bon Nadél
Romanian Crăciun fericit
Serbian срећан Божић
Slovak vesele Vianoce
Slovenian srečen Božič
Swahili heri kwa sikukuu ya Noeli
Swedish god Jul
Tagalog maligayang pasko
Traditional Chinese 耶誕快樂
Triestino bon Nadal ; bone feste
Turkish Mutlu Noeller
Ukrainian З Рiздвом Христовим
Valencian bon nadal
Venetian bon Nadal
Welsh Nadolig Llawen

Bilingual Santa?

Santa Claus speaks español.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Freedom of Speech in English only?

In the “good old days” some immigrant kids were hit by teachers for speaking a language other than English. Kids are no longer hit but sometimes still receive unfair treatment. A high school student in Kansas City, KA was suspended for speaking Spanish in the hall. Superintendent Bobby Allen of the Turner School District soon rescinded the suspension and also issued a personal apology. Some other kids of Hispanic background are apparently receiving less than professional treatment by school officials at Hardy Elementary School in Texas. Parents of Hispanic kids have complained that their sons and daughters have been yelled and unfairly punished by their teachers.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Wanted: Bilingual Teachers

If you are a bilingual teacher looking for a job, check out the Philadelphia School District. The Head Start program at Luis Muñoz-Marin School is staffed by English-speaking teachers. Parents in the North Philadelphia community are not happy at all. In Philadelphia, 14 percent of the student body is Latino. However, only 4 percent of the teaching staff is Latino and most are not bilingual.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Interpreting: Justice in the Courtroom

If you don’t speak English, you have the right to an interpreter, according to American laws. There are 200 court certified interpreters in seven languages in Washington State, in addition to those certified in American Sign Language for the deaf.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Thursday, October 27, 2005

British Kids to Become Bilingual?

British ministers are developing a plan that would enable all British elementary schoolchildren to study foreign languages. The aim is to make language lessons available to all seven to 11-year-olds by 2010.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Speak English or Else?

Must you speak English only at work? Apparently so. In an e-mail sent out to employees at Cleveland Clinic, in Florida, recipients were told that speaking languages other than English is allowed only with “with those patients or vendors who are not English speaking.” The clinic’s administrators denied allegations that they are forcing their employees to speak English and only English and that is against their policy to "restrict the use of any language in the workplace." Company officials said that they value, encourage and embrace diversity in the workplace among employees, staff, patients and visitors. English-only policy can be considered discriminatory by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Bilingual Census?

In order to get more accurate results, the US Census began experimenting with questionnaires in both English and Spanish. The idea is to encourage more people to fill out questionnaires and end up with more accurate counts of Hispanics residing in the US. Precise number of residents are important for local governments because the federal government uses these numbers to allocate grant money for housing, education and other programs and to determine the number of representatives in Congress and in state legislatures.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Popularity of Arabic

Soon after 9-11 it became clear that Arabic became an important language. Enrollments in Arabic language courses doubled between 1998 and 2002 according to the Modern Language Association. It’s no different at the State University of New York in Oswego.

Bilingual Teaching Positions

The increasing Hispanic population creates jobs for bilingual individuals. In education it’s no different. Bilingual teaching positions are available in many parts of the country.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Linguist Reserve Corps?

Since 9-11 it became clear that one of the weak links in fighting terrorism is our shortage of linguistically qualified government personnel. Although American officials manage to collect lots of data, shortages of bilingual personnel make it difficult to translate the information and use it efficiently. The US Senate tried to deal with the situation by passing a bill that would create a civilian linguist reserve corps pilot program in the Defense Department. The linguist reserve would help government officials decipher communications that could prove vital to our security.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Multilingual Greeks

Fifty percent of Greeks can communicate in a foreign language, but in Britain and Italy the figures are much lower. Only a third of Britons and Italians can speak a second language. The data comes from the Eurobarometer survey, conducted by the European Commission. Greeks are in line with the EU average as 50 percent of the bloc’s citizens can communicate in a foreign language. Some 44 percent of Greeks speak English, and 8 percent speak French or German. The most gifted linguists are Luxembourg’s citizens. Almost 99 percent of them know at least one foreign language. But then for citizen of Luxembourg the second language is in some ways their first since Luxembourgeois is spoken by a small segment of the world’s population. Speaking only Luxembourgeois would limit one's opportunities in the world economy.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bilingualism at the LA Times

The new Op-Ed editor at the Los Angeles Times is bilingual and values languages skills (free subscription).

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Monday, September 12, 2005

California: The Bilingual State?

Although California, Arizona, and Massachusetts virtually eliminated their bilingual education programs, dual-immersion programs are alive and well. Dual-immersion schools focus on developing skills in two languages and create bilingual and bicultural individuals. It’s happening in California. Whittier, San Bernardino, San Diego, Porterville.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Reading: Not Only in English

The increase of Spanish-speaking people in the US is also affecting libraries. In order to serve all patrons many libraries across the country are increasing their holdings in Spanish. The Denver public libraries are no different. They are restructuring to serve the population they serve. Changes are occurring in libraries across the country, both big and small. Some libraries offer reading materials in English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Russian, Korean, and Chinese. Some people, however, object to money being spent for Spanish language materials because it might undermine the English language. Do these people also object to books in Braille because it also undermines the English language? Efforts to accommodate readers of a language other than English aren't new in Denver. "In 1913, we had a branch library with Dutch and English," said Diane Lapierre, director of strategic initiatives for the Denver Public Library. Janet Cox, adult-services supervisor at the Pueblo Library District, in Colorado, said it best as she defined the role of libraries. She stated that libraries "provide material to meet the needs of the people in the area, whether that be in English or Spanish or another language." Read on.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Affirmative Action for Men?

Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers created a controversy not too long ago when he stated that women are not as good as men at science and math. In China, men are not as good as women at learning languages. To balance the enrollments Chinese universities are accepting men with slightly lower scores. Officials explained that they are giving some preferential treatment to male students, but it is limited to classes of "less-popular languages and special situations." About 80% of the students at Chinas prestigious Foreign Language School at Peking University are women. The preferential treatment of men would lower women’s enrollment to 70%. gender discrimination? Laws suits would not be uncommon in other countries but in China….

Friday, August 26, 2005

Is Bush Anti-Bilingualism?

George Bush made language history when he ran for president in 2000 by sprinkling his speeches with Spanish phrases (Free registration). Although he admitted he does not speak Spanish very well, he got a lot of mileage from his limited linguistic skills. During the campaign Bush never maligned bilingual education and Texas, unlike California, Arizona, and Massachusetts, has not eliminated bilingual education. Now, however, it seems Bush is joining the English-only bandwagon. His administration is not going to publish a report it commissioned on bilingual education. The reason? It appears the findings support bilingual education. The study was commissioned in May of 2002 and was charged to take a hard look at the exiting research on bilingual education. Russ Whitehurst, assistant secretary for Education Research and Improvement, stated at the time that the No Child Left Behind education reform law "puts a strong emphasis on using education practices and programs based on sound, scientifically-based research." The findings apparently contradict the administration proposal and Whitehurst sent back the manuscript to the authors to find their own publisher.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Bilingual Iraq

A draft of the Iraqi constitution (Article 4) states that Arabic and Kurdistan are the two official languages for Iraq. Iraqis are guaranteed the right to educate their children in their mother tongues, such as Turkomen or Assyrian, in government educational institutions, or any other language in private educational institutions, according to educational regulations.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Less French and German Fluency

Studying French and German is becoming less popular with British teen-agers. However, the total number of students taking A level in foreign languages went up. The decrease in French and German was offset by increases in Spanish, Italian, Mandarin and Russian.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

New Book

My new book is coming out September 16, 2005. Here is a preview.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Tongue-Tied Scots?

Scotland is experiencing a serious shortage of university students in modern languages because not enough of them are signing up to train in the subject. The deadline for admission is almost at the door and so far less than two-thirds of the places at the country's teacher training colleges have been filled. Ian Smith, dean of the faculty of education at Strathclyde University said that they were hoping to recruit 60 modern language students, but so far only 28 materialized. One of the problems for language teachers in Scotland is that many schools need graduates who can teach not one but two foreign languages. And those candidates are difficult to find.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Bilingual Voting?

In 1965 Congress passed The Voting Rights Act which says bilingual ballots may need to be provided. If more than 5% or 10,000 voting-age citizens in a county don’t speak English "very well," according the US Census figures, and are fluent in another language, election materials need to be translated. Forty years later the language rights are still not protected. The city of Boston is being sued for allegedly violating the voting rights of limited-English speaking citizens. The US Department of Justice is suing the city because of complaints experienced by immigrant citizens. Bringing the suit forward was a challenge because the Chinese immigrant citizens were concerned about being identified fearing retaliation. Yet, the US Department of Justice was able to assure that no one would suffer for coming forward and testifying.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Importing Bilingual Teachers from Mexico

Given the serious shortage of bilingual teachers in Texas, school administrators are bringing in Mexican national to fill teaching positions.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Not Much Blogging Lately, But...

Very little time these days. Finishing up a grammar workbook for introductory Italian which will be published next month. You can still read my weekly column (link on left).

Friday, July 01, 2005

Latin Not Quite Dead Yet

Although Latin is not as popular as the other foreign languages, it’s holding its own. Don Best, principal of Gatlinburg-Pittman High School, in Tennessee recently requested a new Latin teacher during a meeting of the Gatlinburg Board of Education earlier this month. All four county high schools offer Latin, which is somewhat rare these days. Spanish is, of course, more popular, but the fact that Latin is viable is certainly remarkable.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Social Security en Español etc.?

Much of the discussion about Social Security has been about President Bush’s plan to privatize it lately. The program, however, has been very successful and it looks like Bush will not get his way. One of the successes is the availability of information. The Social Security Administration makes its web site available in 15 different languages: Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, Farsi, French, Greek, Haitian-Creole, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. Those who work, contribute, and eventually deserve to receive benefits will not be prevented from it because they don’t know the English language. The SS Administration even makes interpreters available in many of these languages. Everyone who qualifies for benefits will get them. Almost everyone. Undocumented workers will not. Although the millions of undocumented workers contribute to Social Security under fake names, they will not collect a dime. Billions of these contributions which cannot be determined who actually sent them in go into a "earning suspense file." In the past two decades, the fund has grown to nearly $200 billion.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

One Year Not Enough to Learn English

It happened in California. Research by a state agency found that it takes anywhere from 3-7 years for immigrant kids to learn enough English to qualify for English-only instruction. It also happened in Massachusetts. A recent study found that most Massachusetts immigrant kids do not learn enough English in one year of immersion and cannot transfer to regular classrooms. Both California and Massachusetts virtually dropped bilingual education and replaced it with one year of immersion. Experts have been saying for years that you cannot learn a language in a year in spite of the myth that kids learn languages fast. In fact, the opposite is true. Children learn slowly in comparison to adults. Kids do have an advantage in that they can acquire a native-like pronunciation but adults will typically retain some kind of foreign accent.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Math and Modern Languages Are "Hard" Subjects

The Swedish government is proposing that math and modern languages be given extra weight in high school to encourage more students to study them. Apparently, students are focusing on courses which will give them high grades but little knowledge. Which languages? French, German, Spanish, Italian and Russian.
Sweden's education system is focusing on making sure Swedes can operate globally without having to resort to using interpreters. Although Swedes are doing very well with English, English only is not enough. What about Americans? Is English only enough?

Official Languages and Not

Basque, Catalan and Galician languages were not granted official status in the European Union. Gaelic, on the other hand, was granted official status. It will be a boost for the second language of Ireland.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Foreign Languages in Ireland: New Realities

Language study in Ireland should be revised to meet the new needs of the global market, according to a new report issued recently. Most Irish students study languages for historical reasons. French is the most popular with about 75%, German is second with about 20%, Spanish is third with 4%, and Italian fourth with less than 1%.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Teenager Polyglot

He speaks eight languages besides his native Macedonian. Kire Angelov, a teen-ager from Veles, knows English, Italian, Japanese, French, German, Spanish, and the one made up by Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien. He has almost finished the creation of his own language, which he called Sinioier (light). Unfortunately, no one else speaks it. Kire has won a scholarship to the United States.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

English Only Web Sites?

Many major American cities provide their official websites in multiple languages. Philadelphia makes its site available in 12 languages, costing the city about three thousand dollars annually. Eric Gioa, a New York City councilman, (D-Sunnyside) suggested that New York City should also provide a multilingual web site. Minority Leader James Oddo (R-Staten Island) disagreed vehemently saying that "throughout its history, the common and unifying thread that has bound individuals... has been the English language." This is only partially true. The US has always been a multilingual country from its beginnings although English has been the dominant language. As usual, when it comes to providing services for immigrants, Republicans oppose them while Democrats favor them. This is strange since Republicans are pro business and most businesses provide services in many languages to attract customers. Sounds like republicans don't want to attract immigrants and at the same time don't want their votes.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Curing Monolingualism in Connecticut

It used to be that students’ first opportunity to study a foreign language occurred in junior high school for Central, Eastern and Western schools in Connecticut. Now it’s different. The first opportunity occurs in elementary school. That means when students reach middle school they have already had two years of Spanish or French. The district received a federal grant for three years totaling $285,000 to introduce foreign languages in elementary schools.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

When Words Kill

The most dangerous jobs in Iraq are those held by interpreters. Most of them work for Titan, a civilian contractor which provides language services to military personnel. Interpreters work alongside of soldiers but in most cases carry no weapons. Interpreters are despised by Iraqi insurgents who see them as traitors. Merely being seen in the company of American soldiers poses risks which can lead to death.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

No English, No License?

Like many American states, Alabama offers driver’s license tests in a number of languages in addition to English. Now a lawsuit would make tests available only in English. Six individuals who are members of an English-only advocacy group have sued Alabama Governor Bob Riley and Department of Public Safety Director Mike Coppage for allowing tests in other languages. They claim that since Alabama passed a law declaring English the state’s official language, services in other languages should not be available. These extremists are not really trying to protect the state or the country from other languages but are really attempting to make it difficult for immigrants to integrate. Without licenses, people are stuck and can’t get to the store, go to school, jobs, and Americanize. They could also pose a threat since some might drive without a license and endanger other motorists. Unfortunately, English-only people are blind and can’t see two inches from their noses.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Vetoing English Only

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano vetoed and English-only bill for her state because the measure is “flawed.” The bill, according to the governor, will not accomplish the goal of making all Arizonans fluent in English. English-only laws are always insulting particularly to those citizens who speak a language which has existed in the US long before English came to the new world.

Adieu to French

Ventura College is dropping French I, II, III and IV as well as German III and IV. The cuts will save district approximately $120,000. Savings emerge primarily from the French and German’s instructor’s salaries. While these two languages are being cut, an extra section of beginning Spanish will be offered. The addition of the extra Spanish course is certainly welcome; cutting French and German most certainly is not.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Tongue-Tied Americans? No Problem

According to an editorial of the Wall Street Journal, Americans don’t need to learn languages because everyone else in the world is learning English. English only is enough. However, the WSJ says that after 9/11 things have changed. But Americans still don’t need to learn languages because we have immigrants who know languages (subscription) and all the FBI and other government agencies have to do is create a U.S. Civilian Linguist Reserve Corps. That would be a list of immigrants who are fluent in languages and call them when they are needed. Simple? Leave it to the Wall Street Journal to solve complex problems without any effort. (Thanks to Hispanicon for the tip).

Monday, April 25, 2005

Benedict XVI: Beyond Language

If you want to understand Benedict XVI beyond his linguistic abilities, go to Body and Soul.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Benedict XVI & Spanish

Newly-elected Pope Benedict XVI speaks many languages but yesterday said nothing in Spanish, causing bewilderment among Latin American journalists present. Benedict XVI thanked the news media for their coverage of the transition, addressing reporters in Italian, English, French, and German. Nada en español. Maria Antonieta Flores, a Mexican journalist with Il Publico newspaper, said Spanish-speaking journalists “wanted him to speak in Spanish."

Friday, April 22, 2005

Multilingual Pope

Newly-elected Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) has much in common with John Paul II not simply form the point of view of ideology but also linguistically. John Paul knew eight languages. Ratzigner knows ten. The superstar of linguistic knowledge, however, was Giuseppe Mezzofanti (1774-1849), an Italian Cardinal who spoke more than 38 languages fluently. Although he never left Italy, managed to learn how to speak languages without an accent. People from all over the world came to challenge him in their native tongue. They all reported their amazement at this man's fluency.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Camping out for a Chance to Enter a Bilingual School

Parents wishing their kids to enroll in North beach Elementary School camped out as early as a day before for a chance to get in the day after and obtain a lost for their kids. Given the limited number of spaces available, long lines developed. At least one parent needed to wait in line to ensure a space for their kids. The school teaches speaking, reading, and writing in both Spanish and English beginning in Kindergarten.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Multilingual Pope

John Paul II spoke eight languages. Will the new Pope be also multilingual? It's quite likely although language fluency is not the only requirement to be elected Pope. Yet, since the Catholic Church is a global entity, it's certainly an advantage to have a Pope who can speak several languages, which come in handy when the Pope travels the globe, as was the case with John Paul II, and will likely be the case with the new Pope. Which languages? There is little doubt that Italian is an essential language since it is the working language of the Vatican. In addition, English, Spanish, French, and Spanish are considered very useful languages for obvious reasons. Latin is also beneficial since it is one of the two languages used in the Conclave, which will elect the new Pope. Yet, even in the election process Italian is apparently the language used in the discussions, which will lead to the election.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

NAHP Award

You can read about my National Association of Hispanic Publications award by clicking HERE.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Not Much Blogging Lately, But...

Not enough time to blog. In any event, you can read my weekly column in English published at La Oferta (San Jose-San Francisco) by clicking HERE. These articles may be reprinted. Contact me for permission. I am also contributing a few times a month to L'Italo-Americano (in Italian).

Monday, January 31, 2005

Japanese Becoming More Popular

Japanese is one of the five languages most requested by healthcare clients in the state of Illinois. When non-English speaking patients come to a hospital interpretation is requested. Often the language barrier is broken via a three-way telephone conversation. Spanish was the language most requested, followed by Polish, Russian, Japanese, and Korean. The number of language services requested by Illinois clients increased 22 percent, from 41 in 2003 to 50 in 2004. 2000 census figures revealed that 19 percent of Illinois' population speaks a language other than English at home.


Sunday, January 30, 2005

Parents Fight to Keep Languages in School

Forty-five parents and foreign language teachers recently attended a school board meetings in Brookfield Wisconsin and pleaded for foreign language to be taught for 90 minutes a week as part of the regular school day curriculum. Elementary school teachers testified that the day is already too full and other classes would suffer. Another point against foreign languages is the cost. Until two years ago elementary school kids in the district were exposed to French, Spanish, and German. However, the program was eliminated because of budget cuts. Some school districts consider foreign languages a frill. That is not the case in other countries. Maybe they know something we don't?

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Keeping Latin Alive?

Budget problems may force Harwich, Massachusetts schools to cut language programs. Yet, Schools Superintendent Rosemary Joseph is trying very hard to save languages. Responding to a question about whether Latin is really necessary, Joseph stated categorically that it is. She pointed out foreign languages are essential to making the school attractive to students.

Friday, January 28, 2005

English Only in Arizona

Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, recently introduced a bill that would make English as the official language of Arizona. If it receives enough support, it will appear in the 2006 ballot. In all likelihood voters will approve it. That would follow the elimination of bilingual education from the state and a more recent proposition which denies benefits to undocumented workers in Arizona. If the English only bill is approved federal law would not be affected. Twenty-seven other states have adopted English as their official language. The idea is to hit immigrants and force them to learn English. As if immigrants need more incentives to learn English. The effect of the new law will be minimal and will only serve to make Arizonans feel good about attacking immigrants and foster a climate of monolingualism, which is dangerous to the security of America.


Texas to Increase Funding for Bilingual Ed

State Representative Rene Oliveira of Brownsville, the ranking Democrat on the state House education committee, proposed an increase in funding for educating bilingual students, from 156 (M) million dollars to 468 (M) million dollars. Oliveira also proposed doubling of the amount of money the state spends on pre-kindergarten bilingual education from 454 (M) million dollars to 908 (M) million dollars.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Kansas: More Money for Bilingual Education

Although Kansas spends $19.7 million a year on bilingual education programs, only $9.2 million comes from the state. Local school districts provide he rest. Officials believe that more money is needed, but have not determined how much.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Dual-Language Schools Popularity Create Waiting Lists

The popularity of dual-language schools in San Francisco generates long waiting lists. Some parents are forced to send their kids to private languages schools costing as much as $15,000.00 a year.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Bush: Spending Political "Capital" on Immigration?

In January of 2004, George W. Bush proposed an immigration overhaul, which would match American companies with foreign workers needing jobs.

The program would provide temporary legal status through a guest worker program to millions of undocumented workers in the U.S. and possibly others who would come into the country legally if jobs are available for them.

Because the right wing of the GOP was very much opposed to the idea, Bush soft-pedaled it and the plan went nowhere.Recently, Bush picked up where he left off in January. He said he campaigned on the issue of immigration and intends to keep his promise.
And also en español.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

More English Invasions?

It's not just the English language which is invading France. Now even Britons are taking up residence in France in increasing numbers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Not One Damn Dime Day

As Bill Moyers says below, tomorrow will be "Not One Dime Day." Do your part. Spread the word and hold on to your money.
===============


Subject: Not One Dime Day
From: Bill Moyers
Not One Dime Day - Jan 20, 2005


Since our religious leaders will not speak out against the war in Iraq, since our political leaders don't have the moral courage to oppose it, Inauguration Day, Thursday, January 20th, 2005 is "Not One Damn Dime Day" in America.

On "Not One Damn Dime Day" those who oppose what is happening in our name in Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour national boycott of all forms of consumer spending.
During "Not One Damn Dime Day" please don't spend money. Not one damn dime for gasoline. Not one damn dime for necessities or for impulse purchases.

Not one damn dime for nothing for 24 hours. On "Not One Damn Dime Day," please boycott Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target... Please don't go to the mall or the local convenience store. Please don't buy any fast food (or any groceries at all for that matter).

For 24 hours, please do what you can to shut the retail economy down. The object is simple. Remind the people in power that the war in Iraq is immoral and illegal; that they are responsible for starting it and that it is their responsibility to stop it.

"Not One Damn Dime Day" is to remind them, too, that they work for the people of the United States of America, not for the international corporations and K Street lobbyists who represent the corporations and funnel cash into American politics.

"Not One Damn Dime Day" is about supporting the troops.

Now 1,200 brave young Americans and (some estimate) 100,000 Iraqis have died. The politicians owe our troops a plan - a way to come home.

There's no rally to attend. No marching to do. No left or right wing agenda to rant about. On "Not One Damn Dime Day" you take action by doing nothing. You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed.

For 24 hours, nothing gets spent, not one damn dime, to remind our religious leaders and our politicians of their moral responsibility to end the war in Iraq and give America back to the people.

Please share this email with as many people as possible. Commercial speech must not be the only free speech in America!

Bill Moyers

Saturday, January 15, 2005

When English Only is not Enough

Chris Loughran believes that "to be bilingual " will become a strong asset in the new millennium and that's why her son Ryan has been going to a dual-language school since Kindergarten. Ryan is now 11 and he keeps on honing his bilingual skills in Junior High School.

A recent report published by Goldman Sachs points out that Ryan is on the right track to succeed in the global economy. The report sings the praises of dual-language schools, which teach academic subjects in two languages. The report stressed that if young Americans wish to take leadership roles, they must have skills and knowledge of "languages ,geography, and cultures."


Friday, January 14, 2005

Translation by Computer?

The joke among translators is that computers may do a literal translation and miss the meaning. "The flesh is strong but the spirit is weak" was translated and when it came back to English, it came out as "The meat is good but the wine is not." Things are changing, however. With the number of countries increasing in the European Union, the amount of translation has had a parallel growth. To increase their productivity, translators are using computers as aids. One such program is TransType2, which allows rapid and accurate translation. TransType2 uses a blend of commonly used technologies which include Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) and Machine Translation (MT). To assure high quality translation, human translators are used. As they type, TransType2 gives them suggestions which can be easily incorporated in the final product. Increase in productivity has been about 25 to 30 per cent, which is certainly significant. The TransType2 prototype is currently designed to assist translations from English to French, Spanish and German and vice versa but other languages will be added.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Bilingual Lawyers

Lawyers wishing to work for Los Angeles-based Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton's entertainment and media practice need to be bilingual. It began last summer with Robert Darwell, who heads the transactional side of the practice. While he was negotiating financing for "Lord of War," a new movie starring Nicholas Cage, with a German lawyer and French producer, Darwell who speaks French said he wished he had had a German-speaking colleague present. New associates of the firm will have to be bilingual. Although English is the international languages of movies, knowing the customer's language can be a big asset. The biggest one is that it will get your foot inside the company.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Searching for Bilingual Teachers

Although California, Arizona, and Massachusetts virtually abolished bilingual education, other states have wisely maintained them. Texas is one of them. Shortages of bilingual teachers have always been present. It's no exception now. Austin Community College is looking for individuals holding a BA with English and Spanish skill to train them as bilingual teachers.

Spanish Helps You Get Jobs

Competition for jobs can be keen. Knowledge of a foreign language, particularly Spanish, can be the extra edge that will make it possible to find jobs.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Gonzales: Attorney General for the country or for Bush?

George W. Bush has said a number of times that he admires judges like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas because he believes their judicial philosophy centers on of the strict interpretation of the law. His appointment of Alberto Gonzales as U.S. Attorney General reveals the opposite. Gonzales has a long history of stretching the law for political purposes, particularly to help his friend who nominated him.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Speak English or Else?

Forcing workers to speak English at the job site may lead to a lawsuit for a McDonald’s in England. The management of the fast food in Manchester ordered its staff of 70 to speak English and only English instead of Urdu or Chinese. In the U.S., lawsuits because of English-only orders at the job site have been occurring for a number of years. Typically, they involve Spanish-speaking employees suing their companies for forcing them to speak English and only English at work.

Shalom or yalla bye?

English is having an impact on other languages causing some countries to take defensive measures to protect their national identities and culture. Israel is no exception. Although several languages are used in the country, including Russian, Arabic, and English, Hebrew remains the official language. Yet, more and more English words are entering Hebrew, causing concern even at the highest level of government. Hebrew is now "littered" with English words. A proposal has been made to make Hebrew the only official language which would have the effect of removing Arabic from signposts except for Arabic communities within Israel.



Monday, January 03, 2005

When Languages Die

Although Spanish is the primary language of Mexico, there may be as many as another 150 indigenous languages still being spoken in the country. Yet, their numbers are declining fast. Their economic value is very limited. Their cultural value, on the other hand, is immense. As they disappear little by little, the civilization of their speakers also dies.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Reaching Out to Hispanics

Using public transportation in Danville, Virginia is becoming easier for Hispanics. The city transit system is going bilingual with a Spanish-language version of its transit guide. In addition, 25 full- and part-time city bus drivers will be going to school to learn basic Spanish to be able to communicate with passengers. Members of the Danville police and fire departments will also be learning Spanish.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

2005: Year of Languages

2005 will be the year of languages, according Mommouth College President Richard Giese, who proclaimed the new year The Year of Languages. Giese supports the initiative by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. It calls on all Americans in the coming months to increase their appreciation for and participation in the study of foreign languages. Giese said languages can help solve problems and even "save lives in times of natural disaster, such as the current tsunami relief efforts in Asia." Giese went on to say all Americans should be proficient in at least one language and culture in addition to English. He added that foreign language education must be part of the core curriculum and be treated as central to the education of all children.