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More anti-Spanish language hysteria from the GOP, and this time it's Illinois Congressman Bobby Schilling (R-IL17) that did the crime.

Quad City Times, Schilling's home paper:

Schilling spokesman Jon Schweppe suggested Tuesday that the congressman’s comments weren’t out of the ordinary.

“Congressman Schilling was clearly talking about what every freshman in high school taking Spanish 1 understands — you must first learn the fundamentals and proper grammar of your own language before learning a second language,” he said. “This is something any foreign language educator would tell you.”

The Raw Story:
Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-IL) on Tuesday faced criticism for claiming that many Latinos had trouble learning the English language because they had not fully learned Spanish.

“One of the biggest problems is — you know, I’ve got some Hispanic friends — is that a lot of those folks that don’t know English, is primarily because they don’t even know Spanish,” he said in April at a town hall event. “They don’t even know their own language. So that’s why you’ve got these teachers coming in helping them to try and get them better with their own language and then kind of teach them. It’s a pretty tough battle.”

Cheri Bustos (D), Schilling's opponent, stated on twitter that he refused to apologize:

If you want an upgrade from Boehner puppet Schilling, vote for Bustos if you want sanity and a Democratic and Pelosi-controlled House.

Originally posted to JGibson on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 11:03 PM PDT.

Also republished by Land of Lincoln Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is the fallacy of "proper" English (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    billmosby, CherryTheTart

    where some folks think one form of English is more "correct" than others.  Actually there are many dialects of English, each of which with its own idiosyncrasies and one being better than the other is a delusion.  One dialect is "better" than another only so much as it exists as a social register.  My daughter becomes irritated with me in that I tend to shift dialects and social registers according to the situation and audience.  She calls me a chameleon.

    I used to teach my students that no dialect is better than another but they had to learn the "standard" dialect, which has been called "Americanized BBC English" (which is really not spoken by any group) in order to make their way in the dominant society.

    It is the same way for Spanish which has a rich history of dialectical difference.  In HS, my Spanish teacher insisted on "Castilian" Spanish or "Spanish Spanish"; in college, the teacher taught "Mexican Spanish" as she termed it, which was closer to many dialects, though it was not intelligible to all dialectical speakers.

    Maybe Schilling should be aware of the Indian precedent where much official business is done in English but Hindi is the lingua franca among many diverse groups which may speak one or more local dialects, such as Telugu.  Therefore, many speakers are multi-lingual.  

    In many parts of the world, speaking several languages is expected; only in the US is speaking only one language seen as a bad thing and a presidential candidate was ridiculed because he is bi-lingual.  I think there is a minor controversy in Wingertopia over if Mitt speaks French or if he remained linguistically pure during his stay in a foreign country

    •  One of the most jarring things I have seen (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is subtitles for regional British english dialects on Masterpiece Theater productions.

      Even more jarring is the more recent habit of some news videos of supplying subtitles for American english speakers from Appalachia and from some southern U.S. areas.

      Moderation in most things.

      by billmosby on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 11:40:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  for some dialects they are necessary (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CherryTheTart, JTinDC, billmosby

        It all depends on what your "ear" is accustomed to.  I grew up around what is now called Gullah and for many years (before college) spoke a variant.
        I have never had any problem with understanding Gullah but have had problems dealing with people from other regions if I happen to slide back into my native dialect

        •  That happens to me when I slide (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          back into Texan, lol.

          I find I can understand most english after hearing it for several minutes. Although there was one teaching fellow from India I encountered in college in the 60s. His vocabulary and diction were perfect, his pronunciation was pretty standard, understandable Indian english. But he spoke between 2 and 3 times faster than people in Michigan did. I just couldn't listen that fast, lol. Nobody could get him to slow down for very long.

          Moderation in most things.

          by billmosby on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 10:45:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I just got off the phone with a guy in New England (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and his speech was pure New Englander (and a joy to hear) but between a poor connection, my hearing loss, and my southern accent, he had a hard time understanding me and me him.  Fortunately he was patient and we concluded our business satisfactorily

    •  I remember. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That we had a Spanish exchange student, and our Spanish teacher had to explain that her pronunciation would differ from what we were taught.

      I will say that certain dialects of English take concentration. I can't say they're not intelligible. But they are different enough that it's not easy to follow.

      I was just laughing about this tonight, and I'm not happy about it, but five years of Spanish and four years of German. I speak English. You really need the back and forth on a regular basis to gain and maintain any literacy. I can sort of look at texts in both and give general idea. But I don't speak them or even read them well. And I was good at them.

      •  I agree; among other languages (0+ / 0-)

        I was required to exhibit proficiency in Latin, Koine Greek and Hebrew (both modern and classical or biblical).  I remember a bit of the modern Hebrew and Latin has enough cognates for me to limp along, but the other languages are gone with the wind after some 40 years of my study of them.

    •  Dialect? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rich in PA
      Hindi is the lingua franca among many diverse groups which may speak one or more local dialects, such as Telugu.  
      Telugu is not a dialect - it's a totally separate language. Somebody who knows only Telugu has as much chance of reading, writing or understanding Hindi as a foreigner to India.

      Almost each Indian state has a different language - and these are different languages not dialects. The end result is that if a person from one state goes to another, he is as helpless as a foreigner who has landed there. Unless he knows Hindi or English. Hindi is well known in the Northern states but lesser in Southern states. English has some traction in urban areas but lesser in rural areas.

      •  I misspoke; attribute it to trying to economize (0+ / 0-)

        in the amount I have to type with its being late at night.  Language in India is an extremely complex subject, the same as language in China is extremely complex.  Maybe it was too complex to attempt a brief comment on.

        My experiences are largely with H-1B physicians who spoke four or more languages each and their experiences are certainly different from that of the average Indian.
        In any case, my bad

      •  Of the top 30 languages in the world..... (0+ / 0-)

        ...six are (non-English) minority languages in India.  (Probably 7, if you subtract Pakistan's Urdu speakers)  
        Mitt Romney — Salt Lake City, UT

        Romney '12: Berlusconi without the sex and alcohol!

        by Rich in PA on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 03:55:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have a friend from Spain who says (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the same thing. Can't understand people from latin america very well because "they don't speak proper Spanish".

    Which reminds me of an old lyric by Lerner and Loewe:

    "There even are places
    where English completely disappears-
    Why, in America they haven't used it for years!"

    Now, as one who has learned smatterings of German and Russian, I can tell you that if I had learned more about the terminology of language- what we call all those pesky parts of speech- that explanations of the details of how other languages are structured and used would have fallen on less deaf ears.

    So in that respect I suppose that a more complete knowledge of one language would be of great benefit in learning another language.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 11:37:02 PM PDT

  •  Another GOP Congressman bites the dust! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  There is a sense in which he's correct... (0+ / 0-)

    ...but it's such a different sense from he intends that it's just coincidence.  I once towards Spanish to native Spanish speakers, which was strange but not superfluous.

    Romney '12: Berlusconi without the sex and alcohol!

    by Rich in PA on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 03:57:24 AM PDT

  •  This is even more damaging to Schilling (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Bobby Schilling walked out on Sensata workers in Freeport (which is in the redrawn IL-17) who are losing their jobs thanks to outsourcing:

    Joe Lieberman, Mike Madigan, Andrew Cuomo, and Tim Cullen...why are they Democrats?

    by DownstateDemocrat on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 02:56:01 PM PDT

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