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New Post 15-6-2009 12:57
  shuai
1199 posts
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Mandarin? Si The more languages we know, the better we are 

Mandarin? Si 
The more languages we know, the better we are

mandarinchinese

Owasso, of course, isn't the only school teaching Mandarin, as well as other foreign languages. In fact, 44 schools across the state offer Mandarin, serving 7,300 students. 

It is encouraging to know that our state school system recognizes the importance of learning a second language. And Mandarin, as difficult as it might be to master, is a good language to learn. 

After all, there are 1.3 billion Chinese in a country that is ever increasing its presence in the world economically. With the debt China holds from the U.S., Mandarin might come in handy some day when applying for a mortgage or bank loan. 

I was fortunate enough to get to travel to China a few years ago with an educational group sponsored by the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa. I was amazed by the number of middle and high school students who could speak at least some English. 

That is why it so good to see Oklahoma students getting at least an introduction to a foreign language. And that is why the English-only question that will be on the ballot is so discouraging. 

Elements of the English-only movement are under the impression that Hispanics moving here will not learn or do not want to learn English. Therefore, they intend to make learning the language even more difficult. By forcing all state correspondence to be written in English only, it makes learning a difficult language even more difficult. 

The argument is that if all state signs, brochures, etc. are written in English, Hispanics will learn English quicker. I think just the opposite will happen. Seeing signs, for instance, in both English and Spanish helps with word association. I'm no expert, but it makes sense at least to me. 

Although the English-only bill will not ban teaching a foreign language, it sends a message that Oklahoma is not open to change. It says that we still hold to the notion that everyone should learn our language rather than us meeting them half-way. 

The English-only question, like its close cousin House Bill 1804, is nothing more than another way to punish Hispanics, legal and illegal. They are quite simply politically motivated issues designed to capture votes at the expense of a minority.

Spanish, like Mandarin, is becoming more important by the day. Hispanics are the fastest growing minority in the country. And that scares a lot of folks. 

But history is our guide. Every ethnic group that has come to this country has assimilated. Second- and third-generation Americans speak English. Not because some law forced them to, but because they know that the key to success in America is speaking the language. 

Hispanics are no different. Parents and grandparents might not fully master the English language, but their children and grandchildren will. Passing restrictive laws is not the answer. And like it or not, the Hispanics are not going away. America, even with its current economic problems, is still the land of opportunity. And to make the most of that opportunity, learning the English language is imperative. 

Although it falls on deaf ears, I'll say this again: I do understand the meaning of illegal. I know that we have a problem with illegal immigration and understand that something needs to be done. But I'll say again that it is a federal issue not a state one. Passing onerous laws will not solve the problem, it will only make it worse. 

The schools such as Owasso and the many others across this county and state are to be commended for recognizing the importance of a second language, especially those that will come in very handy in a global economy. 

If only some of our so-called state leaders could be as open minded.


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