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.