From Reddit’s “Today I Learned” sub-Reddit: “TIL that German used to be the second most widely spoken language in the US, before it was forcibly repressed during WWI. Many local governments, schools and newspapers would operate in German.”
And not only Germans kept speaking German back then. Our great nation was littered with enclaves of ethnic communities where their language reigned: Polish, Italian, Chinese, what-have-you. Corktown in Detroit, for instance, was heavily inhabited by Maltese who spoke Maltese: in their neighborhoods, in their businesses, and in their Masses.
It was a beautiful thing, but then the federal government decided they needed to homogenize with the rest of society and tore down their neighborhoods. It’s the same homogenization that has made the public schools into an all-encompassing force, squashing out competition . . . and choice and the ability to find a school that fits one’s unique situation.
The homogenization, it was an ugly thing.
And we’re still dealing with the fall-out. The insistence by Americans that Mexicans “speak the language” is one such fall-out. If the Mexicans were merely allowed to hang out by themselves and meld into society gradually at their preferred pace (it would happen), Americans wouldn’t get irritated at the language barrier. But because they’re constantly thrown into English-speaking culture, the jarring inconvenience of the language barrier is a constant barb that heightens cultural tensions.
At least that’s how I see it.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList