Pandering to xenophobes, from sea to shining sea.
related: It’s not a race (it’s a social construct)
FILED UNDER: casual xenophobia
The best would be if the first sign had a UK flag, denoting the country that actually invented English.
Jan 19, 2009 at 9:40 pm rating: 57
That’s what the second sign means, right?
Jan 19, 2009 at 9:43 pm rating: 14
Sadly, non-English-speakers will be unable to understand the signs’ messages.
Until those messages are translated, I foresee nothing but the heartbreak of lost sales and shattered dreams.
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:35 am rating: 48
‘course if it weren’t for us, the Brits would all be speaking German! Singing “Deutschland über alles!”
Jan 20, 2009 at 3:08 am rating: 27
You guys were late.
Jan 20, 2009 at 4:50 am rating: 18
OMG Sout, you’re from Russia too?? ((hugs))
Jan 20, 2009 at 9:28 am rating: 13
In Soviet Russia, English speaks you!
Jan 20, 2009 at 9:44 am rating: 27
Damn you and your sparkling wordplay!
Jan 20, 2009 at 10:14 am rating: 2
Sorry, we’d have been there earlier, but we couldn’t find anywhere to park our egos.
Jan 20, 2009 at 7:27 pm rating: 16
Not to mention Welsh, Manx, Cornish…
Jan 20, 2009 at 8:48 pm rating: 2
Because “staff” is the subject and “All (of) our” is merely a modifying phrase, shouldn’t the first sign read All (of) our staff speaks English? If the sign writer is going to complain about not using English, then he/she should learn the language before criticizing.
Jan 20, 2009 at 9:40 pm rating: 27
That’s what I’m thinking. Ignorance abounds!!
Jan 21, 2009 at 12:49 pm rating: 1
They say “English” but clearly they mean “Dumbfuck”.
Jan 19, 2009 at 9:44 pm rating: 62
Nacey, your comment strikes me as being a wee bit presumptuous. (Seriously. There’s no need for condescension. Not today of all days.)
These folks might just as easily have meant to say: “Fuckwit” or “Douche Nozzle.”
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:19 pm rating: 30
THIS – for the win.
Jan 20, 2009 at 4:20 am rating: 1
Qué. Yo no puedo leer el signo.
Jan 19, 2009 at 9:48 pm rating: 18
Eso es porque no sabes español. ¿”el signo”?
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:18 am rating: 13
Jan 20, 2009 at 2:43 am rating: 2
unfortunate names blog
or Spangled Manglish
Jan 20, 2009 at 3:49 pm rating: 20
Chupa mi velga, wetback!
Jan 22, 2009 at 9:36 pm rating: 0
Star Spangled Manglish!
Jan 23, 2009 at 4:35 pm rating: 5
Wow, this just makes me sad. I can’t even come up with something clever to say, it bums me out so much.
Jan 19, 2009 at 9:50 pm rating: 28
Now do you see why I’m such an enthusiastic promoter of communicating entirely through the magical common denominator of all the world’s cultures — that funky little door opener that I call … “interpretive dance?”
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:50 am rating: 61
Yes, the Dude’s landlord Marty’s “cycle” is what it’s all about. It will unite all languages into one, I tells ya!
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:02 am rating: 7
Mark, I was just sitting staring a thousand yards off into space, when I realized I might have left my unitard and capezios at your place Saturday night.
I’ll pick them up when we have our next interpretive dialogue. (By the way, I’ve come up with a better way to express my displeasure over “what went down on the Gaza Strip.”)
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:28 am rating: 7
Yeah, but how would you like to get your prostate exam results in interpretive dance?
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:34 am rating: 7
Jan 20, 2009 at 7:29 pm rating: 3
At least they didn’t demand people speak ‘American’.
Jan 19, 2009 at 9:51 pm rating: 29
Yer’n ‘Mer-ca, son, talk ‘Mer-can.
Jan 19, 2009 at 9:55 pm rating: 46
I’m sure that all of the people who are so impressed by this sort of bullshit are the type whose ancestors spoke perfect english right off the boat!
Jan 19, 2009 at 9:52 pm rating: 20
No… but the LEARNED!
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:11 am rating: 9
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:38 am rating: 43
Rachael, why are you anti-Pilgrim? Or at least against people of British ancestry? Yes, many of my ancestors DID speak perfect English right off the boat. Doesn’t mean that I don’t think sign #1 is silly.
Jan 20, 2009 at 8:27 am rating: 12
Rachael – first of all, what’s with the extra unnecessary “A” in your name? Must be the British spelling.
And as for my ancestors, I don’t believe they spoke perfect English… I mean, my grandfather was from Oklahoma. You do the math.
Doesn’t mean I don’t agree that if you are gonna live here, you should try to speak the language.
Jan 20, 2009 at 9:20 am rating: 19
You’re living proof of the AmDream. I’d no idea you were of OA descent.
I’ve been through Oklahoma. [Shudders.] The poverty….. it’s so sad. They don’t seem to have much in material wealth, either.
Jan 20, 2009 at 10:33 am rating: 7
TOS – I’m not one to Nit Pick, but remember… Oklahoma is OK…
Jan 20, 2009 at 10:42 am rating: 7
When my ancestors came off the boat they spoke no English, but they quickly learned.
Sure, there was the incentive program to help them. It was called a bullwhip!
Jan 20, 2009 at 7:43 pm rating: 19
I believe that’s why we are called “Crackers” CB.
It has nothing to do with saltines.
Jan 21, 2009 at 9:17 am rating: 2
I’ll bet these are the same people who expect the rest of the world to speak English whenever they travel abroad. The tourists who yell, hoping that by being louder they will be more understandable.
Jan 19, 2009 at 9:52 pm rating: 39
I highly down most Americans speak the languages of the countries they visit or inhabit!
I had those same views when I first moved here to The Netherlands from America in 2001. I ain’t gonna learn nuttin’ I said.
Well 7 years later, I speak Dutch (but hey I leared it well by 18 mos in or something gimme a break!) and most Americans now piss me off.
Germans piss me off too for the same reason as do the French. The Germans who live closest to us are always here and they just expect everyone to speak German to them.. and the Dutch just do it without flipping any birds! When you go to France, they can usually speak English but refuse. We do our best to get by with some french when there, but even so we have moments we’d not be able to say something and it really pissed me off that they would just act like they couldn’t understand you…
Jan 20, 2009 at 7:08 am rating: 11
you highly down? you leared it? those Dutch have been messing with your English, Laura..
Jan 20, 2009 at 8:14 am rating: 9
Really? my experience in France was that as long as you TRY to speak French they are quite happy to help if you are struggling, also that most French people who speak English (which is no where near 100% of French people BTW) are usually excited to practice their English with a native speaker.
Jan 20, 2009 at 8:31 am rating: 13
are you the Laura from Laura speaks Dutch podcasts? highly improbable , but that would be funny though. groetjes
PS: on behalf of the French, really sorry to see that happens all too frequently in my country, some of my fellow citizens have a lousy “you’re in France speak French” approach.
I always do my best to intervene and do ze translation (in my best ‘mer-can accent of course)
Jan 20, 2009 at 8:39 am rating: 9
Laura, I find it troubling that most Americans, Germans and the French piss you off. In the words of Nigel Powers, “There are two things I hate in this world, people who are intolerant of other people’s cultures, and the Dutch.” Being American with German roots, I don’t share your strange point of view. In fact, I was rather hoping you’d be pissed off at Germans because they tried to take over the world…twice. Send tulips. Ta!
Jan 30, 2009 at 2:15 pm rating: 2
I Get It
I get it. If I moved to Italy, or France … I would be expected to learn ( and understandably so) the native language. It’s not wrong to expect people to take the responsibility to educate themselves, and learn the language of the country they choose to reside in. They made the choice, it’s simply part of it.
Jan 19, 2009 at 10:05 pm rating: 80
the USA has no official language. and by your logic, we’d all be speaking one or some of the thousand languages that are native to this country (which have all but disappeared). i think european languages have a slightly stronger geographic claim. maybe not.
Jan 19, 2009 at 10:22 pm rating: 38
Re: I Get it,
I agree with you.
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:01 pm rating: 13
“Thousands” of native languages? Please. Move to any other country in the world and you’d be expected to learn their predominant language. Should be no different here.
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:05 pm rating: 28
Maybe you should learn to speak Cherokee.
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:39 pm rating: 46
For the most part, by the second generation, immigrants are English speaking, so why moan about it.
Luckily, the Germans, Italians, British, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, and French are much nicer to their immigrants…right?
And NO ONE could ever accuse them of carving out empires and oppressing the populations native to those lands…right?
I mean, just look at how diverse their governments are. Their various ruling bodies are littered with children of immigrants…right?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DR. KING.
CONGRATULATIONS, PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA.
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:52 am rating: 37
AllCourt, are they still speaking Latin?
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:13 am rating: 9
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:32 am rating: 4
Folks shouldn’t talk about history unless they want to address all of it.
I once heard a saying about glass house dwelling and stone throwing not being a good combination.
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:48 am rating: 9
Yeah, but you probably heard it in English.
And it was probably back in the days before the invention of “thrown-rock-proof” glass.
As for history chat, geez, as much as I’d love sit here and address all of it, I’ll have to take a rain check tonight.
Jan 20, 2009 at 2:45 am rating: 4
Sure, move to a country and learn the language so you can conduct your everyday business and make friends with the natives.
But there’s nothing to stop you chatting away to your family or fellow french/ mexican/ norwegian/ whatever in a language that’s familiar and comfortable to you both whenever you damn well please. I may be wrong but I get the impression that’s also what the signs are ruling out – after all it’s damn annoying when you’re trying to eavesdrop and you can’t understand the language…
edit: It’s alien enough moving to a new country where everythings different we have to strip people of being able to grab something familiar when they get the oppertunity.
Jan 20, 2009 at 4:30 am rating: 28
Why do people always come up with the “eavesdropping” argument?
What you have to say is not so very interesting to others.
It’s just that hearing, what one’s brain interprets as random noise droning into one’s ears is annoying and uncomfortable.
Haven’t you ever noticed that you can be in a crowded, talk-filled room and still hear someone call your name, even though everything else is just background noise, and not get a God-awful headache?
This is because your brain is quietly interpreting and filtering out what it doesn’t need.
When confronted by a language it cannot interpret and filter, the poor brain is stuck in a constant struggle to make sense of it, thus directing more attention to the “noise”.
In short…no one is “listening” to you. They’re just stuck “hearing” you.
Jan 20, 2009 at 7:52 am rating: 22
Extra comma…but you get my meaning.
Jan 20, 2009 at 7:59 am rating: 0
True, there is no official language here in the U.S. However, I don’t think it’s that offensive to ask people who benefit from the rights guaranteed them under the Constitution of the United States of America to speak the language in which it’s written.
Jan 20, 2009 at 8:20 am rating: 20
CB got it half right.
The “cocktail party effect” describes how we can listen to one speaker and filter out other conversations from a similar location.
However, the ability to do so is much stronger when the voice you are listening to is in your native language, and the interference is in a foreign language. This is because there is a big difference between your target voice and the voices you are filtering out. In short, the bigger the difference, the easier it is to filter things out.
Anybody can personally increase their own irritation based on a selected sound, (I’ve known cowboys to gnash their teeth whenever the Dixie Chicks are played) but that’s self-inflicted, not inherent to our brains.
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:44 am rating: 4
I respect anyone’s right to speak another language around me.
I work in a customer services setting in a predominantly American-standard-english speaking country.
If you can’t speak it, I will NOT play charades with you to satisfy your ‘needs’. I will point and laugh at you. Deal with it.
Jan 20, 2009 at 2:37 pm rating: 4
ImaWurdiBitsch, I think the offense is caused by the indignant and self-righteous tones of people such as the sign writers. The request itself is quite reasonable.
One thing that disturbs me is the way people say that the Constitution gives or guarantees rights. The Constitution delineates rights which are supposedly inalienable. No one gave me my right to free speech.
While we’re at it, why not have everyone convert to the same religious strain as the majority of our forefathers, because even though we have religious freedom, everyone knows this is a Christian nation. It’s the same argument.
Jan 20, 2009 at 6:00 pm rating: 14
In my experience, people who say “just learn English” to immigrants are almost always people who don’t speak another language themselves. They don’t realise what a challenge it is.
If you’re native-speaker of English you have saved yourself the immense effort of consciously learning a phonetic system that doesn’t have a close match to the spelling system, highly restrictive syntactical rules, lots of phrasal verbs (unknown in other languages) as well as a number of sounds that certainly don’t exist in your first language.
I think there might be an innate language acquisition ability similar to having an “ear” for music. It’s not just a question of motivation or effort.
Jan 20, 2009 at 8:59 pm rating: 25
Not to put too fine a point on it, but many languages have a number of sounds that are not all that easy for native English speakers as well. I can’t roll an ‘R’ to save my life, for example. I can make a strange, watery ‘L’ though!
It’s a door which swings both ways.
(Hell, I don’t even know whether to use “which” or “that” there )
I don’t think anyone is saying be fluent, just functional.
If you choose to view these notes from their most negative extremes, you’ll find that you may have an extreme reaction/response to them.
Jan 21, 2009 at 12:30 am rating: 1
So, for a person who speaks English as a first language to say that others should learn it to be wrong to say so…so it is wrong for a person who does not to say that EFL speakers are in some way arrogant for being unable or unwilling to acquire other tongues.
Shouldn’t the “it’s too hard” argument extend to all?
For me, it’s natural to say “the red ball”, not “the ball red”.
Jan 21, 2009 at 12:40 am rating: 1
a lot of times it has nothing to do with an unwillingness or laziness to learn the english language. it’s not easy to learn english for some mexican immigrants because they spend a great deal of their time working shitty jobs with other mexican immigrants. they don’t have time to take a night class or something.
Jan 25, 2009 at 3:03 am rating: 8
When I worked at a kid’s camp in NY, they thought that the official language of Canada was American. So sad.
Jan 19, 2009 at 10:08 pm rating: 15
What language did these camp kids presume to be spoken by the Québécois?
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:40 am rating: 5
Where I live, we’ve been speaking Spanish so long that there’s actually a separate dialect of the language. This is because the many families and towns who have been speaking Spanish for generations didn’t move to the United States, the United States moved to *them*.
Then again, the “English first” folks have never been known for their ideological consistency. If they were, it would more properly be a “Lakota First” movement.
Jan 19, 2009 at 10:28 pm rating: 35
I’ve never quite understood all this English only bull. Perhaps it’s because I live in Canada, where English and French are both official languages. Unfortunately, je ne parle pas francais.
Jan 19, 2009 at 10:48 pm rating: 10
I Get It
Since the vast majority of the 50 states have enlish as their offical language, it’s a fair assumption that english is viewed as a national langauge; even former presidents have stated as such.
While I can appreciate diversity, it is up to each individual, of any descent to educate themselves. Refusing to learn English, while living in America, is ignorant at best. By doing so you choose to segregate yourself… for a land of united people, that’s plain..silly.
Again, it’s a choice to live here. It’s a choice to learn the language that 96% of people speak, understand, and communicate with here. You have noone to be upset with, but yourself if you refuse to learn.
It’s common sense — and while I don’t agree with demoralizing people by using the signs, i do ‘get it’.
Jan 19, 2009 at 10:48 pm rating: 33
Esos quienes quieren que ingles es la unica lengua nunca saben hablarlo.
No me odies porque yo soy mas intelligente que tu.
What the english only people don’t seem to realize is that they’re speaking another language because they’re talking shit about you. And you’re too dumb to know.
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:15 pm rating: 9
I always liked the people, when I lived in Arizona, who said nasty things about me in Spanish while smiling, nodding, and generally being personable.
More, though, I liked the looks on their faces when I politely and cheerfully reminded them that this was a family and children’s establishment, and I’d have to ask them to keep that kind of language to a minimum. They were never really sure if I was referring to the language itself, or the things they were saying about me.
The confusion alone was worth it.
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:19 pm rating: 22
I Get It
Bean, that assumption is the stupidity. You’re assuming I am not multi-lingual. It by no means, makes you more intelligent, quite the contrary. Not to mention – it just makes you immature and a coward.
Learning the dominant/and or official language in any country you reside in, is wise. It’s for the success of you as an individual. Why limit yourself?
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:48 pm rating: 17
OK. New Rule. From now on, everyone must emulate “I Get It.”
No more limiting yourselves. Your days of unsuccessful individuality are over! Capite?
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:25 am rating: 6
Bean, tu conocimiento de español no te hace bilingüe ni más inteligente que quienes no lo saben, pero gracias por el esfuerzo de aprenderlo y usarlo. Por otra parte, si utilizas el español para burlarte de quienes no lo conocen, actúas exactamente como una persona racista. Patético que uses el lenguaje español como escudo para poder insultar a la gente; patética tu falta de valor.
Your wrong assumption (knowing more languages than the average, or pretend to, make you more ‘intelligent’ than others) is so sad and adds nothing to the discussion. It aggravates the cultural gap, the racism and the xenophobia.
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:30 am rating: 12
I don’t think that refusing to learn the national language costs you individuality..it just makes life more difficult for you. People come here for a better life…to achieve different things…that being said, there’s a price to pay. It’s an absurd point to make, but what if a minority of people came to the US and drove their cars on the left side of the road? Sure, they could get by and maybe survive…but it’d be much more difficult than just going along with the established rules we’ve agreed to adhere to. The point is, when you have a nation you have to rule by majority…to do what’s best for the masses…and like it or not, there needs to be some assimilation.
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:59 am rating: 15
I love how foreigners can often speak and write English better than most Americans LOL Nice example of that!
Jan 20, 2009 at 7:11 am rating: 10
Juana – you rule. And well done for being gracious enough not to pint out the errors Bean made in his/her Spanish – really, if he/she’s going to showboat like that, it’s important to get the grammar and spelling right.
Jan 20, 2009 at 8:26 am rating: 5
point. ahem. I meant point. (Hoist by my own petard there, no? and the damn thing won’t let me edit. for shame..)
Jan 20, 2009 at 8:28 am rating: 1
Hey, if English was good enough for Jesus, I guess it’s good enough for everybody else.
Jan 19, 2009 at 10:55 pm rating: 45
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:09 pm rating: 8
I KNOW ‘Glo. I mean, REALLY. Jesus was white and spoke English. Therefore all you lesser peoples should try to be like Jesus!
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:55 pm rating: 6
♥ niwhdin ♥
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:39 am rating: 3
Awww, zB… awesome!
(I used to go to Hupa for the White Deerskin and Jump dances.)
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:54 am rating: 3
Only seven percent of Americans possess a passport.
Twenty-two percent of adult Americans are functionally illiterate.
Thirty-five percent of the Seventy percent of Americans who can not flare their nostrils, can not do so because of hereditary complications caused by their ancestors having nonconsentual sex with livestock, poultry, visiting kin, and severely wounded woodland animals.
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:07 pm rating: 16
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:09 pm rating: 4
I suddenly feel a lot better about the fact that I can flare my nostrils.
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:20 pm rating: 10
This is good news, indeed.
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:54 pm rating: 1
Passport? We don’t need no stinking passport.
So if the livestock, poultry, visiting kin, and severely wounded woodland animals all consent to the sex, then it’s all good?
Rufus T. Firefly
And 35.4% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:31 am rating: 10
The 35.4% figure was from 2007.
The 2008 numbers have just been released: 45.3%.
Jan 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm rating: 6
I for one am glad things like important signs and information are available for people who are more comfortable in another language. Seems like a good idea.
Now lets all go act like sh*ts to Engrish signs for not getting english right in their native country.
I also wonder where the magic “Now I speak perfect fluent english within a week” buttons are on all these immigrants.
Normally it takes a lot of time and soap operas.
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:44 pm rating: 7
I Get It
If you’re going to make multi-lingual signs, then it should be equal. Each & every language should be represented; not a select few. Or you choose the dominant/official language/s.
People don’t learn overnight, but it’s not my tax-dollars that should pay for their ignorance. Their choice – they pay for a translator, or instruction or whatever it takes.
Or we provide for all.
It’s common sense. Utilizing and learning the dominant language is the first step in working towards economic and social success. It no longer promotes segregation. The list goes on & on.
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:21 am rating: 6
That’s funny, I thought Blacks spoke English when Jim Crow laws were in effect.
Thanks for clearing that up for me. That whole segregation mess makes perfect sense now.
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:59 am rating: 11
I Get It
AH yes, my bad. There is no other form of segregation in society other than race. Silly me thought this was about language and communication.
Thank YOU for clearing that up and putting words into my mouth. The whole don’t speak english in a society where it prevails now makes sense to me now, what a relief!
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:23 am rating: 6
I never put words into your mouth.
AND, I haven’t said much of anything about the signs, nor have I stated a position on the matter, just thrown out random facts and clarifications so as to not draw fire from either side on a divisive issue.
Thank YOU for putting words into my mouth.
Jan 20, 2009 at 8:04 am rating: 4
i would rather my tax dollars be spent on translators, ESL courses and multi-lingual signs than guns, bombs and bullets.
Jan 20, 2009 at 9:45 am rating: 28
I’m not sure that disbanding our Military is the best move though M-A …
Jan 20, 2009 at 9:59 am rating: 3
Maybe rather than spending more on the military than all the rest of the countries on the planet, COMBINED, we should spend twice as much.
Then we’d be twice as safe.
Jan 20, 2009 at 10:46 am rating: 5
I am hardly one of those “Peace Through Superior Firepower” folks, but not funding the military/disbanding the military doesn’t seem like a smart move either.
Jan 20, 2009 at 10:52 am rating: 3
I’m not in favor of disbanding the military, either.
There’s nothing quite like the sound of a phalanx of of smartly-attired sousaphone players playing military marching songs to awaken the flickering embers in ones loins, and alchemically transform them into a fulminating blaze of ferociously barbaric intensity and dazzling iridescent brilliance.
You’ve never known rapture until you’ve succumbed to the urgency of the bugler’s call and abandoned yourself to music and completely ravished another while the band plays on.
So, I say, keep the military’s bands, but I can’t see much value in the rest of it. (Maybe rather than being fired outright, service personnel could be given the option of keeping their jobs if they learn to play a snare drum or brass instrument before the next payday.
Jan 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm rating: 4
does anyone here speak jive?
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:49 pm rating: 20
Stan might be able to speak a little jive if we get him liquored-up enough.
C’MON PEOPLE! IT’S OUR ONLY CHANCE!!!!
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:14 am rating: 2
Oh stewardess, I speak jive!
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:25 am rating: 8
But do you like gladiator movies?
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:27 am rating: 0
Joey, have you ever been in a Turkish prison?
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:39 am rating: 4
If they find out you’ve seen this, your life will be worth less than a truckload of dead rats in a tampon factory.
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:58 am rating: 1
“Oh stewardess, I speak jive.”
“He said that he’s in great pain and he wants to know if you can help him.”
“Would you tell him to just relax and I’ll be back as soon as I can with some medicine.”
“Jus’ hang loose blooood. She goonna catch up on the`rebound a de medcide.”
“What it is big mamma, my mamma didn’t raise no dummy, I dug her rap.”
“Cut me som’ slac’ jak! Chump don wan no help, chump don git no help. Jive ass dude don got no brains anyhow.”
Jan 20, 2009 at 5:01 am rating: 5
My bad. In place of “non…….. sex,” it should read: “pseudo-sensual, nonconsensual conjugations.”
Thanks for coming.
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:51 pm rating: 2
Quite a long time ago I went to a diner in Alabama that was plastered with American flags, murals of eagles, giant pictures of Bush, guns, and deer-heads.
Among the various signs in the room were “We only speak American English here!” and the best one: “We will periodically play the American anthem. If you refuse to stand and salute the flag and then recite the Pledge of Allegiance, we will be kicking you out.”
I happily informed my parents that I would do no such thing (as a Canadian, I would have no problem with standing for the anthem, but it was now a matter of principle), and I placed a great emphasis on asking specifically for “French Fries” instead of the “Freedom Fries” in the menu. The waitress tried to correct me, and I just stared at her blankly until she left.
I was a pretty stubborn 14-year-old.
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:54 pm rating: 33
I Get It
Now that’s just a scary place. Ick.
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:57 pm rating: 2
Hail, hail [Alabama] / Land of fruit and grape / Land where you’ll regret / If you try to escape / No matter if you tunnel under or take a running jump at the wall / Forget it, the guards will kill you, if the electrified fence doesn’t first.
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:02 am rating: 3
I believe that a place like that still exists. It’s called Oklahoma where, by state law, every school day is opened with a 60-second “moment of silence in which to pray, meditate, or engage in other silent activities” and is followed by the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
I wouldn’t mind participating in this activity if it wasn’t mandated by state law. Of course, I could abstain from participating, but it would be frowned upon and considered as providing a bad example for the students I work with.
I look forward to the day when I can move back to good-old un-American Michigan where no such law exists.
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:06 am rating: 1
Hmm… I’m not sure that I understand the problem with going into a restaurant that contains “American flags, murals of eagles, giant pictures of Bush, guns, and deer-heads”. Seems like, perhaps, there might have been a theme. At a glance, I was thinking you were referring to confederate flags (nevermind the fact that the people who profess their love for the confederate flag don’t realize that it isn’t even actually the confederate flag…but anyway…) I do not, however, have any problem with the fact that there was an American themed restaurant somewhere in America. Now, the thing about standing and saluting and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance seems a bit much, considering that I’m there to enjoy my meal and my meal plans don’t normally include having to stand up and sit down several times while my food gets cold. Again, however, it seems like a theme and I probably wouldn’t eat there if I didn’t want to participate in the theme.
As for the “American English” sign…I don’t have a problem with that any more than I have a problem with driving down Main Street in my smallish southern town and seeing signs written completely in Spanish or any other language. Why be biased against the people who only speak American English in America if we aren’t going to give a hard time to the people who speak other languages here?
Jan 20, 2009 at 7:59 am rating: 2
I speak British English. Would they throw me out?
Jan 20, 2009 at 8:33 am rating: 4
tink – yes, we probably would. not cause we don’t understand you, but just cause you are a limey.
Jan 20, 2009 at 9:09 am rating: 9
SB: “She’s been really good to us, Jon…leasing us the rights to use the English language…”
JS: “Sam, Sam…she leases you the right to speak English?”
SB: “Uh, yeah, that’s how we’re talking…”
JO: “That’s right, Jon, and that last sentence just cost you three dollars, Sam. We’re going to need that by the end of the week.”
JS: “Ok, Sam, you know in the US we don’t pay anything to speak English.”
SB: “Sure you don’t, Jon. Yeah, right. And I suppose your children aren’t drafted into the beefeaters at age 14, either.”
JS: “No, actually–”
JO: “NO. Jon! Jon! DO NOT BLOW THIS FOR US!”
– Samantha Bee, Jon Stewart, and John Oliver; The Daily Show, 12.08.08
Jan 20, 2009 at 10:48 am rating: 6
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:28 pm rating: 3
Olson: did I forget to mention the Confederate flags, or… ?
See, the point I was trying to get across, was this was not an American themed restaurant. There wasn’t American memorobilia decorating the walls, no historical photos, nothing of that nature.
This restaurant didn’t pretend to be anything other than a backwoods hick diner that was clearly and obviously incapable of tolerence of other people’s beliefs or differences. The entire energy of the place, and the various “The French can f*ck themselves” and “Ragheads go home!” graffiti on the outside of the building made that pretty apparent. My apologies for not conveying that properly.
And unfortunately, at 14, I didn’t have a say when it came to where we ate; add to that the fact that we had been driving for six solid hours with barely a break and it was the only place to eat in the surrounding area.
Jan 20, 2009 at 3:02 pm rating: 5
Mishee – ah, fair enough. They probably can’t make a decent cup of tea anyway.
Jan 20, 2009 at 4:47 pm rating: 0
We used to have to drink out of a rolled-up newspaper!
Jan 20, 2009 at 5:03 pm rating: 2
Lucky you! Some guy in aviator shades and a smokey the bear hat would give us our drinks out of a bucket with a long handled dipper.
Jan 20, 2009 at 5:08 pm rating: 2
“giant pictures of bush” Me likey! hehe
Jan 20, 2009 at 5:32 pm rating: 4
We would have thought it was a dream if we had rolled up newspaper! Our mum poured the hot tea straight into our hands!
Jan 20, 2009 at 5:59 pm rating: 2
In Soviet Russia, rolled up newspaper drinks you?
Jan 20, 2009 at 7:45 pm rating: 2
I do hope that diner in Alabama has now duly replaced those giant pictures of Bush with giant pictures of Obama.
Jan 22, 2009 at 6:43 am rating: 3
So let me get this straight… the person who vandalized the third sign went to the trouble and expense of purchasing stickers, and carries them around for the purpose of defacing Spanish-language signs? What a sad, empty person he or she must be.
Jan 19, 2009 at 11:59 pm rating: 22
Sad, empty, but securely held together with stickers.
Jan 20, 2009 at 8:06 pm rating: 8
I had somewhat of a Lewis Black moment the other day. I went to Chipotle and ordered a burrito…the girl working (who appeared to be of some sort of spanish descent) had no idea what i meant. It’s one thing if people want to be true to themselves and maintain their culture in their homes or among their friends…but I agree that if you go to reside in a country and the language is predominantly whatever, then at the very least learn to fake it…especially if you’re going to be in a position that requires you to deal with the general public.
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:00 am rating: 11
I, for one, do not believe that expecting people to speak the language of the country in which they reside equals xenophobia. I don’t have anything against immigrants, but I do have a problem with being expected to cater to their unwillingness to learn the language. If I lived in France, they’d damn well expect me to learn French. If I lived in Italy, same thing, and so on and so forth. I don’t understand why this always has to turn into a racial, ethnic, xenophobic, anti-immigration issue.
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:58 am rating: 19
Heather, your argument is based on the flawed logic of your own baseless assumptions.
Die Sauerkraut ist in mein Lederhosen.
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:07 am rating: 8
I sure hope not. Sauerkraut ist fur Wuerstchen, nicht Lederhosen, aber Wuerstchen darf ins Lederhosen tragen.
Jan 28, 2009 at 12:31 am rating: 2
This is just crap. What about the 80 year old Grandmas that move here only so she can spoil her grandkids, not to start a new life? What about the person who has just moved here last week and is working hard to learn the language, but still needs to shop in the mean time? And what do you mean predominant language? 6 blocks over the predominant language is spanish. Another couple blocks over it’s Vietnamese. It’s called the Melting Pot people, get your heads out of your butts and have some common courtesy.
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:58 am rating: 25
If she’s 80, then odds are her grand-kids are in their 30′s.
Anyway, it’s probable that her great-grandchildren don’t even understand the language of the “old-country”. That’s the normal course of matters…we call it assimilation.
assimilation versus acculturation.
When one forgets or never learned the language of their parents of grandparents, it is a sad thing.
One can easily learn 2 or 3 languages growing up. In fact, this is better for the development of the brain, not to mention the development of a more open mind when growing up.
Acculturation is the inclusion of a new culture while retaining the old one.
Jan 20, 2009 at 6:09 pm rating: 1
Ahhh, the eternal immigrant-forum discussion: should we force our children to learn our native language? I consider this the opposite extreme of “you’re in America, speak English or else”.
My 16yo knows several languages – DarkBasic, C++, some Java, PHP etc. However, our attempts to teach him his native language have by and large failed. He knows a few basic phrases, but that’s it. When we tried to keep him fluent in both languages, he ended up failing at both. When I saw him struggling in kindergarten because he was confusing the two alphabets, I quickly gave up on my efforts to keep him bilingual, and his grades went up. Unlike his brother, he doesn’t have an ear for foreign languages, including, sadly, our native one.
This goes back to the original point – not everyone is capable of learning a new language to the point of being fluent. I honestly don’t know anyone that hasn’t tried. Live and let live.
Jan 20, 2009 at 6:37 pm rating: 0
I didn’t mean anything negative by it, Elena. It’s just the way things are, and it has happened with each wave of new-comers to our shores. Italians, Germans, Greeks, Poles, Czechs, Japanese, etc.
I don’t think anyone’s suffered by it to any great extent.
Jan 20, 2009 at 7:28 pm rating: 2
It’s not “xenophobia” to expect that people who choose to live in a country (legally or otherwise) at least learn the basics of that country’s dominant language. Sorry if that language is no longer Lakota; it is what it is. English. You know, the thing our Constitution and street signs are written in.
I’ve learned enough German, French, Russian, and Spanish (the last one by immersion, unfortunately) not to make a complete ass of myself when I travel abroad. It wasn’t even that difficult, and I’ve found that my efforts, however meager, are almost always appreciated. Likewise, I can tolerate a lot of broken English from a Spanish speaker who is at least TRYING.
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:59 am rating: 18
Re: your last sentence: that’s mighty big og you, littleo.
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:09 am rating: 3
and it’s big OF you, too.
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:10 am rating: 0
That’s the point. It’s not like Europeans are particularly gracious with me all the time, either, but I don’t necessarily begrudge them. It’s on me to act correctly when I put myself in that situation.
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:18 am rating: 2
littleo – ‘the last one by immersion, unfortunately’
Nice. Real nice. I’m sure they speak very highly of you, too.
Jan 20, 2009 at 8:38 am rating: 9
Puts me in mind of something I read once … “Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English, it means they speak at least two languages”
Jan 20, 2009 at 8:42 am rating: 11
I agree ghostie. I make fun of those guys, and then I don’t get my cigarettes in a timely fashion.
Gotta keep the shopkeepers happy!
Jan 20, 2009 at 9:05 am rating: 2
I’m not certain that your attempts at communicating via tourist phrase books has any mitigating impact, one way or another, on how much of an ass you appear to be when you’re travelling abroad.
American tourists, in general, are considered by most of the world to be naive, uncouth, ill-informed, somewhat arrogant, unsophisticated, and loud.
On the upside: we’re considered to be better tippers than most; we’re not prone to go on drunken drinking binges as northern Europeans; as we’re nowhere near as rude as the Germans.
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:11 am rating: 3
That whole argument is tired, and I’ve seen it proven wrong as often as right. In my experience, my “attempts at communicating via tourist phrase books” (though I’m not actually using books, I just know how to say basic things) have in fact “mitigated” just fine. More often than not, the native people have warmed up noticeably when they realize I’m not fluent, but I’m trying.
Incidentally, I’ve frequently been mistaken for a non-American when abroad, probably because I don’t do any of those things you listed.
It’s amusing just how much you’ve assumed about me on this thread — that I’m a loud, uneducated Republican. You couldn’t be more wrong.
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:23 am rating: 6
Are you a soft-spoken, semi-educated republican?
I kid because I love.
I’m far too quick in assuming things about people.
I’m ecstatic about what I’m watching on television, right now.
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:00 pm rating: 3
I’ll have you know that waiters usually make way less than minimum wage, and we have to … share … our tips …
Oops, sorry, wrong over-emotional non-funny topic-that-wouldn’t-die.
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:14 am rating: 22
I think the “speak English or git the hell out” crowd seems to ignore the fact that having little money and limited access to education often makes it hard for one to learn the language.
Go, privileged assumption! U-S-A! U-S-A!
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:33 am rating: 11
I think the “speak English or git the hell out” crowd is also plagued by poverty and limited educational opportunities.
Their inability to compete in the marketplace for the higher paying career opportunities instills feelings of inferiority, which prompts them to lash out at anyone and everyone to whom they feel superior.
(Non-English speakers make easy targets for those who are desperate for any form of one-upsmanship. “I learned English when I was a baby. Since you didn’t, I’m better than you.”)
Jan 20, 2009 at 2:03 am rating: 15
The town I live in has multiple signs in multiple languages all over town about the FREE ESL courses that people can take here. You have to be pretty poor to not be able to afford free….
Jan 20, 2009 at 8:07 am rating: 4
This is also often true. In which case it’s even more ridiculous to expect someone else to easily pick up a 2nd language when you (the general “you”) can not.
Jan 20, 2009 at 9:40 am rating: 2
It’s hard to become fluent in another language, especially one as inconsistent as English. It is not, however, all that difficult to learn a few basic phrases — enough to get by in public.
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:16 am rating: 1
There are free ESL classes offered all over where I live…and in most places, esp. closer to the border.
There is no excuse for not making an attempt. And, ftr, I am not “plagued by poverty”, “uneducated” or even ” instilled with inferiority”. What’s more, I enjoy helping a friend who immigrated from Venezuela, learn the different phrases and words she’s not familiar with. She also puts forth a lot of effort TO learn. As should others who come here to work and go to school. I do not believe I should go into a store and not be able to communicate with the worker bc they didn’t learn English and got hired simply bc they’ll work for less.
Jan 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm rating: 0
Here is a little twist that hasn’t been addressed here yet. I’m a police officer and I’ve been really concerned at how awful it is when non-English speaking immigrants call for help as victims. We are sometimes unable to sort things out for several minutes until a translator can be located. It’s a very sobering aspect to this argument. I’ve travelled the world and just thought it was appropriate to learn some basic “mother toungue”…even if I was only there for a week or 2. It’s shocking to me that folks would live here and not know at least a foundation of English.
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:44 am rating: 11
I’m sure that the situation you described would be frustrating for all concerned, but I have to believe it is hardest on non-English speakers living in the U.S. (especially in those situations when they’ve just been robbed, beaten, and sodomized by heartless, English-Only advocating, republican thugs).
Most of these immigrants are struggling to survive, learning what English they can, and wondering how the US became such a huge global power when most of the Americans they see are fat, stupid and lazy.
If learning English were mandated by law, you would be busier than ever waiting for translators to explain why they were being arrested.
Jan 20, 2009 at 2:34 am rating: 4
You really make it hard for anyone to take you seriously when you assume that A) people who advocate “English-only” are automatically Republicans, and B) Republicans are somehow more likely to beat and sodomize people. That’s just ridiculous.
Also, if Americans are so fat, stupid, and lazy, why do these people want so desperately to be among us? Is it because, despite our apparently across-the-board obesity and idiocy, we’ve somehow managed to create a really great country with a (usually) thriving economy? And they, for whatever reason, haven’t? You need to think these things through.
Ironically, “fat,” “stupid,” and “lazy” are all charges frequently leveled against these very immigrants you are so disproportionately bent on defending.
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:13 am rating: 4
I beg to differ.
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:09 pm rating: 1
“…we’ve somehow managed to create a really great country …”
Who’s “we”? Unless you’re 100+ years old, you created nothing. Your skinny, intelligent and hard-working ancestors did. Chances are, BTW, that their English was less than perfect.
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:18 pm rating: 5
Yes, we should be proud of America’s economy. But maybe you should think through your own questions. Why DO so many people give up their homes, families and lives to come live in America? Could it possibly be because America is so selfish and short sighted that while all Americans chest pound about all men being created equal, they actually mean only all men within our borders? Maybe if America signed the various UN sanctioned commerce standard agreements, guaranteeing FAIR wages even outside of this country, people would stop needing to be on this soil to be protected. Yes, we’d have to pay a little more for our crap, but maybe hey–you’d get to buy them from an English speaker.
Jan 20, 2009 at 10:09 pm rating: 8
Well, I definitely know enough Spanish to get by in another country, but I certainly wouldn’t know how to explain a situation to a dispatcher if I got attacked or mugged or anything. Add that to the panic victims often experience when they call in, and it’s probably pretty natural to lapse back into your original language inadvertently, even if you did know enough to get by ordinarily.
Jan 21, 2009 at 4:49 pm rating: 3
I think it is hilarious that the first sign contains improper grammar. OF! All OF our staff speak English! EXCEPT THE SIGN MAKER! DUR. Ignorami.
Jan 20, 2009 at 2:17 am rating: 5
I was about to post the same thing–wondering why it had taken all (of) us so long to pick up on that bit. Thank g-d for Ctrl+F!
Jan 20, 2009 at 3:07 pm rating: 2
I was born and raised in Mexico until I turned 14 or so – then moved to the US. I always made it my goal to learn English as fast as I could so that I could use my abilities to their full potential – whether it was to get good grades, find a job, or do the simple things like going shopping, etc.
I will agree that if you move to a different country, then you better be prepared to learn the language – however, if you’re in the border states, then it’s not unreasonable to expect most, if not all, local shops (and law enforcement) have staff that will speak Spanish.
If they want to make money, at least.
A lot more people (at least in the Mexican community here) are trying to learn English than you realize, but when you’re a full grown adult, it will naturally become harder to learn a different language.
The ones that are just lazy though? Yeah, they piss me off.
Jan 20, 2009 at 2:29 am rating: 16
wow, no Mishee lately? That’s a welcome change. Did she find somewhere else to vent her PA sexual advances?
Jan 20, 2009 at 3:02 am rating: 3
What an excellent demonstration of PA behavior, tfg.
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:01 am rating: 6
Sounds to me like someone feels left out when it comes to feeling the warm glowing ecstasy that accompanies being tenderly bathed by Mishee’s subtlely supple attentions.
TFG, she only charges $99 for the first half hour (and only $51 for the second). Cough up the dough, and you’ll see why she gets the tongues of both boys and girls* wagging like puppy dog tails.
(Incredibly, even four out of five jaded trannies have succumbed to her sensual allure.)
She even accepts paypal, ferchristssakes.
(No personal checks, unless accompanied by two pieces of photo ID and a recent bank statement.)
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:27 pm rating: 3
This horseshit about everyone needing to speak English only in America is just insane. I occasionally see some asshole on a bus telling various Chinese people on the bus that they should speak English. Once it was a drunk racist; another time it was some popped-collar Abercrombie douchebag. Just because someone is speaking another language doesn’t necessarily mean s/he can’t also speak English. I lived abroad for a few years. I can now speak four languages. But when I interacted with other Americans abroad, did I speak to them in the local language, or to the language that is most familiar to us, and made the most sense? I spoke English. Why should two Chinese immigrants speak English to each other on a bus in the US? Leave these fucking people alone!
Jan 20, 2009 at 3:22 am rating: 31
If they’re fucking on the bus, I would think people would have more to yell about than what language they were using at the time.
Jan 20, 2009 at 7:06 am rating: 12
Hey, if I’m gonna get a live pr0n show, I want to be able to hear the dialog!
Jan 20, 2009 at 2:13 pm rating: 1
A lot of people here seem to assume that it’s only possible to speak one language, which is patent rubbish. It’s not uncommon for people to speak perfectly understandable English, but still feel more comfortable speaking their native language. And what about the technical words that don’t often come up in conversation? Even if someone does have a basic grasp of English, you shouldn’t expect them to every single term that could come up.
Having multilingual staff and a few translated signs isn’t discriminating against English speakers or discouraging people from learning the language, it’s just good manners.
Jan 20, 2009 at 5:57 am rating: 12
My… Name… is…. Earl….
Jan 20, 2009 at 9:06 am rating: 6
hmmm couple of things:
1. a long the lines of what Nephtis said, The “English only in my store” type signs are stupid. The market will sort it out. I can’t imagine that such a sign actually HELPS the owner’s business. Enough revenue loss and the store will close its doors. That said, English is the dominant language here in the US. So this also means that those people who refuse to learn the dominant language (no matter what their mother tongue is) are also not likely to do well in our market place.
2. context is everything. There was a sign much like the second one in my High School. Except it was in French and said “French Only Beyond This Point” and was posted on the door of my French Classroom. So if that sign is say … on an ESL building … it is hardly passive aggressive.
3. lastly all of the comments here remind me of this from xkcd
Jan 20, 2009 at 9:10 am rating: 4
It is kind of ironic that any shop owner would insist on English only in their store when most buying power is now coming from overseas. “Have you learned how to say ‘do you want fries with that’ in Chinese yet?” (to quote 30 Rock)
Jan 20, 2009 at 10:55 am rating: 4
Yes, the dollar has tanked and large corporations deal heavily overseas … but the owner of ‘Billy’s Bait and Tackle’ is unlikely to be receiving a lot of big orders from China
Jan 20, 2009 at 10:59 am rating: 3
No, I’d think that their customer base is more Nordic/Baltic. Hva koster denne?
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:02 am rating: 3
Really? I would think their customer base would be more American redneck. How much for that tub o’worms?
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:11 am rating: 2
I hate it when the NASCAR set presumes to speak on behalf of all Americans. Granted, stupid comes in all shapes, sizes and nationalities but only the genetic anomalies created when cousins procreate can produce ironic offerings like these.
The irony, of course, is that the more patriotic a person purports himself to be, the less the dialect he speaks in resembles English. It’s unfortunate that these inbred freaks insist on flying the same flag I do, fortunately they make it easy for outsiders to distinguish the difference by flying a Dale Earnhardt flag next to it.
Jan 20, 2009 at 9:31 am rating: 17
Oh Claw, how I have missed you.
Jan 20, 2009 at 5:42 pm rating: 1
Anyone else having a flashback to Monty Python’s Hungarian Phrasebook sketch?
My hovercraft is full of eels.
Jan 20, 2009 at 10:41 am rating: 5
I will not buy this tobacconist, it is scratched.
Jan 20, 2009 at 10:46 am rating: 3
Do you want to come back to my place? Bouncy, bouncy.
Jan 20, 2009 at 10:51 am rating: 3
My nipples explode with delight!
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:12 am rating: 3
You have beautiful thighs.
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:22 am rating: 2
If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:40 am rating: 2
Drop your panties Sir William; I cannot wait until lunchtime!
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:02 pm rating: 4
Ti O, please. I beseech thee.
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:45 pm rating: 0
‘Dis iz da intarwebs, I spects uz to speak in teh LoLz.
Jan 20, 2009 at 10:43 am rating: 25
Stroh’s is spoken here.
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:10 am rating: 5
these signs are not only rude, they’re unnecessary – the blank look on the listener’s face is usually enough of a clue.
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:20 am rating: 4
So, the blank faces of English-speaking Americans aren’t so inscrutable, after all.
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:43 pm rating: 0
This problem will never be solved between the two sides until people realize that just because you were born in the USA doesn’t mean you “own” it. To many people, America is more than a country, it is an idea. English is one of the hardest languages to learn and I know many people who speak it, but do not know certain words, words that just need translated.
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:31 am rating: 1
Toby Keith Rocks
Laugh it up, you lilly-livered, limp-wristed liberal wussies. But when I say the Pledge of Allegiance I say it in English.
I don’t mind people who are visiting this great country but there are too many wetbacks and dune coons running around calling this place home and not bothering to learn enough of the language to get by. Then they want to get on welfare and make the rest of us pay the way for them.
Not this cowboy. I say that before you call this country home you best learn to talk the way the rest of us do. It’s the American way. If you don’t like it I’ll put a boot in your ass.
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:39 am rating: 3
As outlined in the Dungeon & Dragons players handbook, I disbelieve that “Toby Keith Rocks” is real, and believe that he is actually a figment of claw71′s imaginary Rouges Gallery.
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:50 am rating: 6
I’m as fond of blushing red as the next fella, but not enough to open an imaginary cosmetics counter.
Claw has some explaining to do.
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:38 pm rating: 1
@ Toby Keith Licks:
Sorry, dipshit, not today. Hopefully, not anymore.
Jan 20, 2009 at 2:48 pm rating: 1
I meant to do that.
Jan 20, 2009 at 3:21 pm rating: 1
Expecting people to be able to speak the lingua franca isn’t fucking xenophobia.
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:45 am rating: 1
*wishes people would write their comments in English*
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:56 am rating: 20
Pour on; I will endure.
In such a night as this? O Regan, Goneril!
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all—
O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
No more of that.
Jan 20, 2009 at 12:19 pm rating: 4
Wait, wait…are you telling me that King Lear made that “Speak English” sticker?
Jan 20, 2009 at 2:56 pm rating: 3
If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes.
I know thee well enough, thy name is Olivia;
Thou must be patient; we came crying hither:
Jan 20, 2009 at 3:52 pm rating: 1
Vex not his ghost. O, let him pass. He hates him
That would upon the rack of this tough world
Stretch him out longer.
Jan 20, 2009 at 3:58 pm rating: 2
Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand!
Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back;
Thou hotly lust’st to use her in that kind
For which thou whipp’st her.
Jan 20, 2009 at 4:38 pm rating: 1
I should have said;
“Every inch a king”
Jan 20, 2009 at 4:56 pm rating: 1
Timo.. stop it.
I’m all hot and bothered now. You know how excited I get about whippings.
Jan 20, 2009 at 5:46 pm rating: 2
It’s okay, Ti O, we were all thinking it.
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:27 pm rating: 1
Jan 20, 2009 at 1:15 pm rating: 0
yayyy, south philly!
Jan 20, 2009 at 2:08 pm rating: 0
When people wax poetic about the good old days when immigrants all immediately learned to speak English, I remind them of that American Icon Lawrence Welk – his parents were immigrants, but he was born in the U.S. And yet, he didn’t speak English until he was 21. It’s not a new thing.
I also notice the large amount of crossover between the groups who object to businesses including Spanish text and the ones who prize the free market. By adding Spanish text, businesses are responding to a demand that will increase their profits.
Jan 20, 2009 at 2:10 pm rating: 4
TUM they don’t REALLY prize Free Market … they just think they do … because you are right. If they REALLY loved a Free Market they would be all about including Spanish (and other) language signage.
Jan 20, 2009 at 2:17 pm rating: 2
Where I work, we have a lot of Spanish speaking employees. Quite a few have worked there for years and have made no attempt to learn the language. It’s very frustrating and mistakes are often made due to the language barrier. The most frustrating thing was having one of the guys who spoke both, ask me why I didn’t learn Spanish. I told him that when I moved to Spain, I would learn Spanish, until then, they should learn English, as they moved here. Oh, and I do understand enough to know when I’m being insulted, and I agree with the poster who says that’s cowardly…if you’re going to insult me, at least do it in a way you “know” I understand.
Me personally, I’m on team ” you need to know English to work in America”. And you can go ahead and dis me for it, as I know someone will, but if I moved to France or ANYWHERE else, I’d be expected to learn the language to be employable. This is the ONLY country that lets people get away with this crap, and paints it as “racist” if you dare to disagree.
Jan 20, 2009 at 3:12 pm rating: 6
Okay, why do so many people in this thread keep bringing up France? Was France founded by immigrants? inhabited almost 100% by immigrants and their descendants? I missed the memo that refers to France as The Melting Pot. We are in a special situation here, and sorry, but France does not apply.
BTW I’d like to learn Spanish someday. A lil extra knowledge, and extra exercise for my brain, definitely won’t hurt.
Jan 20, 2009 at 6:46 pm rating: 7
CaleeAnn opined: “Oh, and I do understand enough to know when I’m being insulted, and I agree with the poster who says that’s cowardly…if you’re going to insult me, at least do it in a way you “know” I understand.”
Until I read your comment, I was convinced that evolution was a one-way process.
It’s as if you’re delinquent in paying your brain bill.
The wheel’s still spinning, but the gerbil’s climbed up your poo hole.
You’re at least three and a half ounces shy of a Quarter-Pounder.
Objects in your mirror are far and away dumber than they might appear.
Jan 20, 2009 at 10:02 pm rating: 7
Aw, are you trying to hurt my feelings? boohoo. Sorry dude, I am guilty of typing/thinking/saying incomplete thoughts at times…guess I shouldn’t hit the bong before sitting down and trying to compete with your self proclaimed superior intellect. Maybe I should offer you a hit? You are clearly in dire need of one, or you wouldn’t get your lil panties in a bunch so easily.
Jan 21, 2009 at 12:34 pm rating: 1
Take the language problem. Take the foreign problem. Take Abyssinia. Say, you take Abyssinia and I’ll take a hot fudge sundae on rye bread.
Jan 20, 2009 at 4:28 pm rating: 3
Jan 20, 2009 at 4:58 pm rating: 2
One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know.
Africa is God’s country, and he can have it.
Jan 20, 2009 at 8:14 pm rating: 2
Look how racists try to pull innocent americans into the fray! If you have a brain, it’s a sad kind of funny. Funny because of the blatant ignorance, sad because they use humor to spread hate.
Jan 20, 2009 at 7:04 pm rating: 0
It’s funny because it’s sad, and sad because it’s funny…..
Once again, we find ourselves snookered by these cunning, diabolical, racist geniuses!
Certified, where have you been? You should have warned everyone ages ago!
Jan 20, 2009 at 7:27 pm rating: 1
I’m not a racist. I’m a lingualist.
Jan 20, 2009 at 10:09 pm rating: 0
Did I mention that I’m also quite cunning?
Jan 21, 2009 at 12:35 am rating: 2
Yep. I’ve been told that I am quite the cunning linguist.
Jan 21, 2009 at 12:38 am rating: 2
Woman on the Verge
I once worked in a doctor’s office where a man brought his mother, an Italian speaking woman, in because he knew that the doctor was Italian. The doctor refused to speak anything but English to her – saying that she chose to live here so she better learn quick.
What was my point? Oh, yeah, that doctor was a prick.
Jan 20, 2009 at 9:01 pm rating: 15
Why can’t these uppity immigrants learn to speak their native languages when their clients bring folks from the old country to chat with them.
They’re too lazy, that’s why!!!
Jan 20, 2009 at 9:20 pm rating: 1
The doctor is a freakin moron. Not understanding or misunderstanding a medical term can cost you your life, this is why many immigrants seek out doctors who know their native language.
A Dr’s office should be the last place to pontificate about having to learn English. Maybe this Dr is in the wrong profession. Maybe he should be teaching ESL instead.
Jan 21, 2009 at 1:13 pm rating: 5
So no one should EVER speak english to americans in other countries, right? So they can see how fucking dumb this seems. And then of course it will be the fault of all us “foreigners” that are hostile towards americans. It won’t occur to people like that why people are sometimes hostile, right?
Jan 20, 2009 at 9:06 pm rating: 6
There go my vacation plans.
Jan 20, 2009 at 9:15 pm rating: 1
but are tax payer dollars going to support literature for non-native language speakers in these “other countries” as in done in places like california and texas???
Jan 21, 2009 at 12:43 am rating: 0
I thought Xenophobia was the fear of warrior maidens.
Jan 20, 2009 at 10:03 pm rating: 3
I ain’t ascairt o’ you, Xena!
Jan 21, 2009 at 12:56 am rating: 1
Do… Esperanto por la gajn?
Jan 20, 2009 at 10:18 pm rating: 0
Hey, hey hey…Rockstar!
Look. I don’t mind if you show up late for work every once in a while. But 28 hours late?
Up all night again? ( ?????????)
I assume everything’s snorted out?
Next time, if you’re gonna blow us off, please show us the courtesy of a call.
You may not realize this, but there are dozens of people out there who would LOVE this job.
Anyway, it’s good to have you back. Do some skimming, whip out a few “concepts,” and we’ll review your progrss at the break.
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:24 pm rating: 1
By the same logic we should all be speaking Native American languages…
Jan 20, 2009 at 10:35 pm rating: 1
Question: Has anyone here ever shared close cubical/office space with someone who speaks (constantly on the phone) a language other than one you understand?
Any language…you don’t have to be an English speaker to respond.
I’m just curious.
Jan 21, 2009 at 12:55 am rating: 1
Yes, I did, with a Chinese guy and an Indian guy. Don’t see a problem with that. All it takes is to get over yourself and agree that they’re not talking about *you*- they’re most likely talking about their kids’ grades or what to cook for dinner. Just like the rest of us. Hey, when my parents call me at work, I don’t switch to English either, because they understand it poorly. I do however keep my voice down, like I would with any personal phone call.
Jan 21, 2009 at 8:12 am rating: 4
What makes you think that I assume anyone is talking about me?
Geez, I really despise that attitude!
I didn’t even say that I had shared a cubicle…I just noticed that no one had yet mentioned something like that…someone’s always mentioning their work experiences here, so I thought that was odd!
No need for me to get over myself, Goldie, but you might want to tend to that chip on your shoulder.
Jan 21, 2009 at 8:18 am rating: 2
Wha? Have you had your coffee yet CB? I meant the generic “you”, because I’ve heard this complaint a lot.
Sharing a cubicle is an interesting experience, that I do not wish to relive. In fact, it’s the conversations I did understand that were a problem – some of my cube neighbors had major TMI issues
I cherish that chip on my shoulder. It’s part of who I am
Jan 21, 2009 at 8:25 am rating: 5
I”m with you Goldie–I’d sometimes rather overhear conversations I can’t understand. They’re easier to tune out, and therefore less distracting. I imagine in close quarters like a cubicle setting that might be a benefit.
Jan 25, 2009 at 9:50 pm rating: 0
Each side of the argument here has shown its ignorance and intolerance in equal measure.
A multi-lateral TKO.
Congratulations, you all fail.
Why? Because there is no “Right”, just your strongly held opinions.
“Think, it ain’t illegal yet!”
Jan 21, 2009 at 1:15 am rating: 3
I was actually quite impressed by the general tolerance level of the audience. Then again, I’m from Ohio; my expectations are low.
Jan 21, 2009 at 8:15 am rating: 2
Ever notice how people that can’t speak English can count their American money perfectly?
They sure made the effort to do *THAT* didn’t they?
Jan 21, 2009 at 1:36 am rating: 0
Are you equating learning a language with learning a currency? Please say no. Assuming you only speak English BS (please correct me if I’m wrong), I’d bet you’d pick up how to use money (what does each note/coin look like) quicker than the language (words, grammar, reading, writing, speaking….need I go on?) if you went to a non-English speaking country.
Jan 21, 2009 at 2:52 am rating: 1
Ah, 55, what a deliciously appropriate match between the nickname and the comment’s content.
Jan 21, 2009 at 8:14 am rating: 0
Jesus Christ, how many times do I have to say “Humorless dicks need not apply”? What is it about opinions that makes people such fuckers? *headdesk*
Jan 21, 2009 at 12:44 pm rating: 0
I worked in a convenience store for over 4 years, and occasionally I’d get foreign customers, either tourists visiting (I live near Niagara Falls) or folks who came here to live.
There was one woman in particular who came in and started babbling at me a mile a minute in Spanish. I had no idea what she was saying. I told her “no habla espanol” (one of the few Spanish phrases I DO know, aside from a some colors, numbers, and “my name is” and I would have apologized if I knew how to say it), she rolled her eyes at me and huffed and puffed, and then we ended up having to practically conduct business by some strange form of charades or sign language.
I wouldn’t have gone as far as posting “English only” signs in the store (that’s just mean!) but I certainly got frustrated when these people would come in, speak to me in Spanish, and then get MAD at me when I didn’t understand them.
If I ever travel abroad, I’m going to do whatever it takes to make sure I can speak enough of the language there to get around. I might not be fluent or anything by the time I leave, but I’m going to try to at least be understood.
I certainly don’t believe these people should abandon their native tongue and speak English always, but I should hope they at the very least they try to learn SOME English. Simple phrases, you know? “Where is the bathroom?” “How much is this?” “What time is it?” “Can I have a pack of Newports?” Stuff like that. If they want to speak their native tongue with their family, go ahead, talk trash about me in Spanish. I’m not going to understand a word of it, so why should I care?
P.S. From my own personal experience, most Middle Eastern, Eastern European, and Asian (the groups of people I saw the most) tourists/immigrants seemed to have few problems with learning enough English to conduct your average convenience store transaction. Just saying.
Jan 21, 2009 at 3:45 pm rating: 2
I’ve seen the “English only after this point” sign before at the English School–and it’s to remind ESL students to practice their English conversation skills.
Jan 21, 2009 at 5:47 pm rating: 0
Yes, that second sign up there does have a definite “ESL school” look about it. I mean, a laminated printout? It probably wasn’t on the wall in front of passport control at JFK.
Jan 22, 2009 at 7:17 am rating: 0
THANK YOU for the people who post these things!
AMERICA the BEAUTIFUL … if you don’t like English … get the fuck out!
And, FUCK YOU liberals who want to say those of us who have fought for your right to take pot-shots at us … you’re really tough on the internet … let’s meet somewhere and have a conversation you might not like in ENGLISH!
Jan 22, 2009 at 9:34 pm rating: 0
I think it’s cool to hear all the languages that I do everyday. Especially the French, cuz it always sounds beautiful and/or hot, and I speak it, so I get to eavesdrop.
What I don’t like is when the store/service owner/operator barely speaks English and I cannot communicate with them. AAA dispatched a non- or barely English speaking service truck to me when I was stranded on a highway at night. Not cool. We couldn’t communicate, so I had to wait another half hour + in the dark for the next service provider to arrive. On the other hand, I had to take language tests in order to work overseas, and had to be highly conversant before I was accepted.
The AAA example is not an isolated incident in my town. Shops, dry cleaners, restaurants, gas stations – it just goes on and on. I know we are the land of the free, etc. etc., but grrrrr when simple tasks devolve into frustrating experiences all because many haven’t bothered to learn the language of the country where he/she lives and works.
/closes cellar door to avoid cabbage toss
Jan 23, 2009 at 2:02 am rating: 0
Wow… if this bothers you, you’d be appalled by Japan…
Jan 23, 2009 at 10:07 am rating: 0
…I kinda sympathize with the sign maker, while it’s a bit unnecessary to make a sign about it.
It’s not that I don’t like foreigners, but if someone has been here upwards of 5 years it’s time to learn the language. Whether or not you want to become a citizen here, learning it’s native language is something you should do when you move here.
Jan 23, 2009 at 10:09 am rating: 1
Two hilarious parts.
1) If there are so many Latin immigrants, chances are it’s somewhere in the US which was captured by military force from Mexico somewhere back in history… as evidenced by the fact that all the towns are named in Spanish (ie: Los Angeles). Maybe those should be changed to English too?
2) Of the many Americans who have moved to Costa Rica, or any other Latin American country, how few of them can speak a word of Spanish. I once went to a youth hostel in CR where the American ex-pat owner actually said (in thick drawl) “We don’t speak no spaaaynish heee-yehr. I ain’t learnin”.
Jan 23, 2009 at 6:50 pm rating: 1
I do want to point out that this sign looks like the english-only signs at my college. At first I thought it was being racist, but then I realized I was in the english training area, and they were forcing the english only zone to encourage the new speakers in using the language instead of their native tongues.
Jan 24, 2009 at 12:59 am rating: 0
It’s not racist to expect all citizens of the US to speak English. But that’s the problem. These signs are directed at people who refuse to become citizens. They come into our country illegally, use the country’s resources, but refuse to be responsible American citizens.
If I moved to Germany, I would be expected to learn German. Period.
It’s not about disliking a race, it’s about disliking people entering America illegally and not assimilating.
Why is this so hard for people to understand?
Jan 25, 2009 at 6:25 pm rating: 2
Have you ever MET a German? They almost ALL speak English! Learning a new language comes through necessity for most, so I actually find it hard to believe that you’d end up learning much German. Just ask all your countrymen on the bases there…
Ironically, I bet a Spanish speaking American citizen WOULD learn German pretty quickly if they moved to Germany.
Jan 25, 2009 at 7:11 pm rating: 0
Some people enter America legally with their families, but are too old to assimilate. Try moving to China when you’re 70 and learning Chinese. Good luck.
I think all the media hype about illegal immigrants is starting to mess with people’s heads and that’s a shame. I’m seeing a new wave of real prejudice against immigrants, in a country built by them. *shakes head*
Jan 25, 2009 at 8:05 pm rating: 2
Josh–I was in Germany a couple yrs ago, and the relatives I stayed with didn’t speak a lick of English. To me, it makes things more interesting–if more time consuming–to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak the same language as me.
On the other hand, I’ve only been on one US military base, and in several US Embassies, and it was all English of course. Not sure the base is a great example of how all Germans speak English.
A friend of mine who is Mexican married a German man. She is required to learn German to become a citizen, but language classes are provided to her for free. Most community colleges offer adult ESL classes, and need English speaking volunteers to tutor. If it’s so important to the sticker-wielding folks (and a lot of posters here) that everyone speak English, maybe they could spend an hour or two a week being part of the solution.
Jan 25, 2009 at 10:12 pm rating: 0
I am a foreigner who lives in US. And I think it is pretty offensive that there are people living here for 20 years, legally or otherwise, and who have not bothered to learn English.
But again, when I was in my home country, very often I would meet Americans and Brittons who were living there for quite a few years and who had not bothered to learn our language.
There are dumb people everywhere.
Jan 28, 2009 at 12:04 am rating: 6
two cents: Being a tutor for someone who DOES NOT WANT to learn English will do no good.
Goldie: LEGAL immigrants built this country. Not ILLEGAL ones. Get a clue, you PC robot. Try thinking for yourself for a change.
Jan 29, 2009 at 2:26 pm rating: 2
Wait WHAT? I’d like to see you back that up with numbers Mr. “American” hot head. I bet that’s totally inaccurate seeing as the illegal ones are the ones forced to do the shitty jobs cheap, en mass. I bet your economy is propped up more by illegal immigrants than anyone likes to think. In fact, the one intelligent and totally out of character thing that George Bush did was to go all soft on illegal immigration.
Jan 29, 2009 at 5:23 pm rating: 2
Josh: Bush is the worst President America has ever had.
Legal immigrants (our founding fathers) built America. Illegal immigrants are currently draining America’s resources. Two different things.
No-one forces illegal immigrants to take low pay for jobs.
Don’t bother bringing up native Americans. I’m part Creek Indian.
Jan 29, 2009 at 10:34 pm rating: 0
I agree with Penelope. If you don’t want to learn English, fine, your choice. My great grandparents never learned to be fluent but they also didn’t expect people to learn their language.
So don’t expect me to learn Spanish any time soon.
Jan 30, 2009 at 11:08 am rating: 1
Oh and I’m also not one of those Americans that expects people in France or Germany or Russia to speak English to me when I’m traveling there. Obviously it’s a different language and I don’t need to understand it. I don’t expect other countries to have to learn English just to appease the American tourist.
Jan 30, 2009 at 11:16 am rating: 2
What are you, some kind of communist? EVERYONE should know how to speak American! If it was good enough for Jebus, it’s good enough for EVERYBODY!
Jan 30, 2009 at 11:28 am rating: 0
Que? No te intiendo.
Jan 30, 2009 at 12:21 pm rating: 0
This is so fucking sad! Sometimes, I just can’t believe how intolerant my fellow Americans can be.
Feb 27, 2009 at 4:50 pm rating: 0
Wow. You should call this site either “passiveagressivecomments.com” or “passiveaggressiveposttitles.com”
Mar 7, 2009 at 1:39 am rating: 0
This bothers me for a couple of reasons:
First of all, yes, in fact this is “America”, or North America to be exact. In North America, English, Spanish, and French , and even Inuit are spoken.
“America” does NOT equal “United States of America”.
Also, we speak English in The U.S. thanks to the English. Thank you Britain!
Mar 9, 2009 at 4:51 pm rating: 0
Shut up Anna.
Fuck you Britain!
Mar 9, 2009 at 4:52 pm rating: 0
¡Bienvenido! Mi casa no es su casa. | PassiveAggressiveNotes.com
[...] America the not-so-beautiful [...]
Apr 21, 2010 at 6:29 pm rating: 0
2011: The Top Notes of the Year
2010: The Funniest Notes of the Year
2009: The Best Notes of the Year
2008: Your Favorite Notes of the Year
Carnivores: keep being awesome!
actually totally reasonable
a little patronizing
clip art catastrophe
flowers, trees, houseplants & gardens
landlords and property managers
Moms & Dads
more aggressive than passive
most popular notes of 2010
most popular notes of 2011
most popular notes of 2012
most popular notes of 2013
now that's management
sex sex sex
signed with love
spelling and grammar police
thanks (but not really)
unnecessary "quotation marks"
You call that punctuation?