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Thread: Why do so many Dominicans in the US never learn English

  1. #1
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    Thumbs down I Have A "NEW" Idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    How about all the "Latinos" learn to "SPEAKO ENGLISHO"???????????????????
    Then there would be no "shortage" of translators,or signage in ESPANISHOOO!!!
    CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC

    That said!!!
    I moved here 9 years ago.I LEARNED TO SPEAK DOMINICAN!!!
    I don't expect that all the signs here be in ENGLISH. (good thing Eh??!)
    I don't expect Dominicans to provide me an "SSL" course!
    I don't expect a translator/Native English speaker in every public office for my convenience!
    Why should "LATINOS" anywhere else!!

    "GIVE ME A FRIGGIN REST!"
    Last edited by Criss Colon; 12-17-2004 at 12:38 PM.

  2. #2
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    Criss
    I don't disagree with you especially when we are talking about the younger generation of Latinos/Dominicans in the area. Many are already learning English because they have to. However, try telling that to a 70 year old woman/man dying of diabeter/cancer who pulls their 7-10 y.o. grandchild out of school to go spend a day at the doctors as a translator. Have a heart dude! This is really what we are talking about. I was there. I was one of those kids, so I know.
    Peace

    Quote Originally Posted by Criss Colon
    How about all the "Latinos" learn to "SPEAKO ENGLISHO"???????????????????
    Then there would be no "shortage" of translators,or signage in ESPANISHOOO!!!
    CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC

  3. #3
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    Default CC is 100% right!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by deelt
    I was there. I was one of those kids, so I know.
    Peace
    Deelt, I was there too. I was one of those 12 year old kids who did not speak 1 word of English. You know what I did? I learned the darn language.

    You know what? The MOST important step these kids can take is to learn English...and learn it well! If you want to speak Spanish, or Spanglish....go ahead. Just make sure that English is your best language. That's where you live, man.

    We need Latino "community leaders" willling to promulgate this point of view. Let's stop this bi-lingual crap here in the US. Learn the language. Learn a skill. Defend yourself. Stop asking others for a hand-out. Don't expect the "white man" to give a rat's behind about you....pull yourself up!!!!

    How long will this defeatist, self-deprecating, "we are victims" attitude persist? Enough already.


    PS Sorry for the rant. I've been meaning to do this for a while...

  4. #4
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    Default "Mondongo" for Congress!

    When the "Irish" came to Boston,they already spoke "English",which gave them a "Jump" on the "Italians"! Those first generation "Italian Americans" all learned "English right away.Their parents knew that you had to speak English to get ahead!Even though they all(Italians) lived in the same neighborhood(The "North End") and could have never learned to speak English,they DID IT!!
    I have been in an apartment in "The Heights" where about 20 people lived."Dominicanas",and their American born children.There were 4 or 5 "Mami"s, and 15 or so kids.Some "school age" ,some pre-school,and some "babies".Not a "Husband" to be seen!Point is,no one spoke ant english! Not even the "American born" school kids! This "ESL" is a "Curse" forced upon these people by a teachers union looking for more power in the sxchool system.Many "Lations",and other ethnic groups send their kids to school for 12 years,aand they still are functually illiterate in english!!
    I have a pretty good job here in Santo Domingo,why,because I can speak,read,and write Spanish!When I lived in Thailand,I went to school and learned to speak enough "Thai" to survive in that country.(Reading and Writing is another story!)A country where almost no one but Thais can speak their language.Same thing in Vietnam.The biggest compliment you can pay a Country & People where you are residing is to learn their native language! It is an insult to live in a foreign country and not learn the language.Want them to think you are an "Englishman" or something???Many countries are less aggresive than Americans about this.I think it is because so many of American's ancestors came without english,and learned the language.A kind of,"My Grandparents learned english,why can't you???"Want to be accepted by "Americans"? Learn the language,"WE" just love it too, when a "foreigner" speaks "Good English"! It may or may not be true,but we see the person as someone who came to better their life,not someone who came to get a "handout"!cccccccccccccccccccc

  5. #5
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    I think there is a tendency to confuse ESL with bilingual education. ESL is simply teaching English to people who don't speak it. ESL usually uses English only in its teaching. You don't have to be bilingual to teach ESL, most teachers aren't. What CC is referring to is to bilingual ed. which uses the student's native language to teach other subjects while the student learns English. I heard some students are not enrolled in English classes until some time has gone by. I am not familiar enough with it, but I am familiar with ESL. All inmigrants to the US took English classes. It's just that today those classes for non-English speaking persons are called English as a Second Language, simply because those people already speak another language as their mother tongue. If you are learning Spanish in the DR and you are monolingual, then you are taking Spanish as a second language. If you are already fluent in English an French, for example, then Spanish would be your third language. In your case you would be learning Spanish as a third language. Get my point?

  6. #6
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    JC, you are correct (and as an ex-EFL teacher, I should have caught my own mistake ! cringe! ). I meant to say that a separate thread should be spun off to discuss the issue of whether or not Dominicans living in the US should learn English rather than constantly seek out programs and services in Spanish....

  7. #7
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    Mondongo and CC
    Please READ what I say.
    The younger generation < 40 will learn English. That's not the problem.
    The average age of a dominican in the US is about 26-27 y.o. This group will learn at least a working knowledge of English, with a minor retention of an accent at most. CC with that family you saw I would question how long they have lived in the US. Kids <14 y.o. pick up English within a year or two. Their brain is like a sponge. There is minor language isolation in the Heights. You can look it up in the Census data. This means that most kids under the age of 14 are exposed to and speak TWO language in the household.

    It's the OLDER generation 55+ y.o. that will find it difficult to learn the language at all. This is the demographic I am most concerned about that will need translation services.

    To agree with Keith the issue of this thread is addressing ACUTE healthcare needs. We can't turn some one away when they are DYING and tell them "Come back after you have taken ESL." Healtcare service provisions must be effective not politically correct. This is especially true in this age of terrorism and bio-warfare.

    PEACE

    Quote Originally Posted by mondongo
    Deelt, I was there too. I was one of those 12 year old kids who did not speak 1 word of English. You know what I did? I learned the darn language.

    You know what? The MOST important step these kids can take is to learn English...and learn it well! If you want to speak Spanish, or Spanglish....go ahead. Just make sure that English is your best language. That's where you live, man.

    We need Latino "community leaders" willling to promulgate this point of view. Let's stop this bi-lingual crap here in the US. Learn the language. Learn a skill. Defend yourself. Stop asking others for a hand-out. Don't expect the "white man" to give a rat's behind about you....pull yourself up!!!!

    How long will this defeatist, self-deprecating, "we are victims" attitude persist? Enough already.


    PS Sorry for the rant. I've been meaning to do this for a while...

  8. #8
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    Deelt and Criss your are absolutely correct.

    We should learn the language of our knew homeland. There is no excuse as to why a 15yr does'nt know English. It is essential for an immigrant to learn the language. Not only out of respect but, to survive. You won't get the American Dream by "I don speeke Ingle" your way here. I can't blame the older ones. Like Deelt said, >40 those arriving now and those that have been here for a many years. It must be understood that it is hard to learn a new language the older you get (I know Criss knows this). If you are young it should be the first thing on your agenda and a if you are old at least give it a try, you won't regret it.

    Another point is that the new immigrants from today are different form those European immigrants in the past. The new ones-especially Dominicans- don't want to lose their heritage. The ones in the past embraced their new homeland and purposely forgot their old one. That is why many of them and their children don't know even their own language. What survived unquestionably is the food. As soon as they got off the boat they said "English only." Dominicans today love their new homeland but, wont forget their motherland. We try to bring them together.

    As for healthcare, it is a shame this is happening. If healthcare is not offered at your job or it is too expensive, there are other sources. The state offers a variety of programs for its residents. You can be eliglible even if your income is on the higher end of the scale. I personally know that these programs are highly advertised. For example Child Health Plus. It's all over the media. They even have a van that goes around neighborhoods trying to enroll people. All this happens a far out as Suffolk county. I don't know if its the report but, something is definately wrong.

  9. #9
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    This happens in immigrant groups in many places. In the UK the first generation of immigrants from the Indian sub-continent learned little or no English, especially the women who are less likely to mix with English speakers. The children of course attend school and learn English.

    A journalist I know made a radio documentary about this situation among Dominican immigrants in the US. She portrayed the role of children of immigrants as interpreters for their parents, e.g. at parent-teacher meetings where the child uses the situation to his/her advantage.

    Is it that for much of the first generation, the move to the US was not intended to be permanent, although it often ends up being that way?

    The immigrant's idea is to save money for retirement back home in the DR, and so there is not the same motivation to learn English compared to other immigrant groups who arrived with no intention of returning to their native country. That combined with the tendency to live and work in closed Spanish speaking communities means that adult immigrants have to go out of their way to learn English.

    My next door neighbours in the UK were from Jamaica. They'd arrived in the country in the 50s or 60s. I lived next door to them for about 8 years, and every year they said that this was the year they were finally going to return to Jamaica, buy a house and retire there. Every year something else stopped them: money, another grandchild on the way, health reasons... For all I know they're still there. I imagine it's the same for many Dominicans in the US.

    I once visited Dominican friends in NYC and was taken aback by the husband's lack of English. He had lived there for 15 years, having moved there in his 30s. His wife, who is much younger, spoke fluent English, as did their children. It's a lot like expats here who never learn any or much Spanish: you can get by without it if you live in an expat community and don't work in a Dominican workplace.

    I can understand why this happens, but I can't relate to it. I guess I'm just too curious! I can't imagine living in a place and not being able to understand most of what goes on.

    I come from a family that has immigrated and emigrated criss-cross the globe, picking up a range of languages on the way. My mother's grandfather emigrated from Morocco to Venezuela in the 1890s. Family lore is that he taught himself Spanish and to read and write the Latin alphabet on the sea voyage across the Atlantic.

    BTW, I agree that this thread ought to be split, this is not the debate intended by the OP.

  10. #10
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    Default So how do we split it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chirimoya
    This happens in immigrant groups in many places. In the UK the first generation of immigrants from the Indian sub-continent learned little or no English, especially the women who are less likely to mix with English speakers. The children of course attend school and learn English.

    A journalist I know made a radio documentary about this situation among Dominican immigrants in the US. She portrayed the role of children of immigrants as interpreters for their parents, e.g. at parent-teacher meetings where the child uses the situation to his/her advantage.

    Is it that for much of the first generation, the move to the US was not intended to be permanent, although it often ends up being that way?

    The immigrant's idea is to save money for retirement back home in the DR, and so there is not the same motivation to learn English compared to other immigrant groups who arrived with no intention of returning to their native country. That combined with the tendency to live and work in closed Spanish speaking communities means that adult immigrants have to go out of their way to learn English.

    My next door neighbours in the UK were from Jamaica. They'd arrived in the country in the 50s or 60s. I lived next door to them for about 8 years, and every year they said that this was the year they were finally going to return to Jamaica, buy a house and retire there. Every year something else stopped them: money, another grandchild on the way, health reasons... For all I know they're still there. I imagine it's the same for many Dominicans in the US.

    I once visited Dominican friends in NYC and was taken aback by the husband's lack of English. He had lived there for 15 years, having moved there in his 30s. His wife, who is much younger, spoke fluent English, as did their children. It's a lot like expats here who never learn any or much Spanish: you can get by without it if you live in an expat community and don't work in a Dominican workplace.

    I can understand why this happens, but I can't relate to it. I guess I'm just too curious! I can't imagine living in a place and not being able to understand most of what goes on.

    I come from a family that has immigrated and emigrated criss-cross the globe, picking up a range of languages on the way. My mother's grandfather emigrated from Morocco to Venezuela in the 1890s. Family lore is that he taught himself Spanish and to read and write the Latin alphabet on the sea voyage across the Atlantic.

    BTW, I agree that this thread ought to be split, this is not the debate intended by the OP.
    This a much debated subject especially here in NYC and a facinating subject that of course will attract many posters.
    How does the tread get split off? Does the moderator do it? If so, let the debate begin.

    JOHN

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