View Poll Results: Is it important to be considerate to those who can't speak English well?

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  • No, they should not be here if they can't already communicate well in English.

    1 2.22%
  • Yes, of course. As long as the person is trying, we should cut him some slack.

    39 86.67%
  • Not sure

    0 0%
  • Other (explain)

    5 11.11%
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Thread: Is it important to be considerate to those who can't speak English well?

  1. #1
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    Is it important to be considerate to those who can't speak English well?

    I speak three languages: English (my native language), German (fluently as a 2nd language), and French (on a rudimentary level). I can tell you that it's hard to learn another language. It's not something that you accomplish in easily in 30 days, despite what some marketers of language courses may tell you. I feel for people new to the country who are struggling to get up and running with English, but are not always treated respectfully.

    Hence, my question on whether it's important to be considerate toward people who aren't good at speaking English yet. Note: The poll is not about people who come to the US and never bother to learn English. It's about people who come here and commit to learning the language, but who have not yet reached proficiency. They may speak with a heavy accent, use bad grammar, use poor word choices, or lack the vocabulary to say what they mean. But they're trying.

    By being considerate to them, I mean speaking slowly to help them understand or sticking to basic vocabulary, or defining a word for them if they say they don't understand it. It could mean speaking in their language if you happen to know it.

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    Re: Is it important to be considerate to those who can't speak English well?

    In everyday life, it's important to be considerate of other people on a regular basis for a number of reasons, including understanding them and they understanding you. When I meet someone on the street who is lost or looking for something, I have no way of knowing if they have been living here a long time, just moved here, or simply visiting on vacation. It would never dawn on me to be ignorant or insulting to them simply because they were struggling with the English language.

    As for learning a new language, I for one am terrible at it so I'd never criticize someone else having trouble with English - after all, my pre-alzheimers English is not always the greatest either.

    What I have noticed, however, here in Toronto, is that there are pockets of Asians who have emigrated to Canada and bought up sections of the city, including shops and malls, and turned them into single language Asian areas where English is not spoken and English is not used in any signs or products solds. I personally find that to be ignorant and rude and disrespectful of the great country that invited them in.

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    Re: Is it important to be considerate to those who can't speak English well?

    It's actually not hard to learn another language if your young but it gets harder as you gets older. I think you should be considerate, considering I am one here in Belgium right now. I am proficient at French but it's different form Quebec French which I learned. I try as hard as I can, but some of the vocabulary is lost on me.

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    Re: Is it important to be considerate to those who can't speak English well?

    Quote Originally Posted by CanadaJohn View Post
    In everyday life, it's important to be considerate of other people on a regular basis for a number of reasons, including understanding them and they understanding you. When I meet someone on the street who is lost or looking for something, I have no way of knowing if they have been living here a long time, just moved here, or simply visiting on vacation. It would never dawn on me to be ignorant or insulting to them simply because they were struggling with the English language.

    As for learning a new language, I for one am terrible at it so I'd never criticize someone else having trouble with English - after all, my pre-alzheimers English is not always the greatest either.

    What I have noticed, however, here in Toronto, is that there are pockets of Asians who have emigrated to Canada and bought up sections of the city, including shops and malls, and turned them into single language Asian areas where English is not spoken and English is not used in any signs or products solds. I personally find that to be ignorant and rude and disrespectful of the great country that invited them in.
    Well from my very limited experience, some of them know English especially ones form Hong Kong are fairly good.

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    Re: Is it important to be considerate to those who can't speak English well?

    Quote Originally Posted by 0bserver92 View Post
    Well from my very limited experience, some of them know English especially ones form Hong Kong are fairly good.
    Indeed - when out of their area, they speak English fairly well, but they rudely create blocks where clearly those who speak English are not welcome. I find that disrespectful of a country that welcomes you in.

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    Re: Is it important to be considerate to those who can't speak English well?

    I selected "Other". In my mind it's a matter of time and intent. When you decide to come to a new country, I would like think that one of the first things you would do is to learn the main language spoken in that country. Even if you're not fluent in it when you arrive, I would suggest that it should be a main priority until you speak/read/write the language reasonably well. For a period of time (I'll say 18 months as a guess) there should be some accomodations made for these people. Those accomodations should be people to assist them in filling out the english-language forms for whatever they may need. After that 18 month period, they would need to find someone on their own to assist them in filling out forms, dealing with government agencies, etc....

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    Re: Is it important to be considerate to those who can't speak English well?

    yes, it's important to be considerate. even if they don't speak the best English, their kids will. I only speak one language myself.

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    Re: Is it important to be considerate to those who can't speak English well?

    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post
    yes, it's important to be considerate. even if they don't speak the best English, their kids will. I only speak one language myself.
    That's a nice idea but don't necessarily count on it. The city I grew up in has a significant third to fourth generation Sicilian population and I went to high school with kids for whom English was essentially a second language even though they had never been to Sicily.

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    Re: Is it important to be considerate to those who can't speak English well?

    Quote Originally Posted by Luna Tick View Post
    I speak three languages: English (my native language), German (fluently as a 2nd language), and French (on a rudimentary level). I can tell you that it's hard to learn another language. It's not something that you accomplish in easily in 30 days, despite what some marketers of language courses may tell you. I feel for people new to the country who are struggling to get up and running with English, but are not always treated respectfully.

    Hence, my question on whether it's important to be considerate toward people who aren't good at speaking English yet. Note: The poll is not about people who come to the US and never bother to learn English. It's about people who come here and commit to learning the language, but who have not yet reached proficiency. They may speak with a heavy accent, use bad grammar, use poor word choices, or lack the vocabulary to say what they mean. But they're trying.

    By being considerate to them, I mean speaking slowly to help them understand or sticking to basic vocabulary, or defining a word for them if they say they don't understand it. It could mean speaking in their language if you happen to know it.
    As far as I am concerned if they are trying to use the local language I am cool with it. When I was in country in the middle east I used Arabic when I wasn't on base and out and about in Dubai and Kuwait City. I sucked badly but hey I got cut lots of slack and everybody got laughs from my crappy skills. When in Rome and all.
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    Re: Is it important to be considerate to those who can't speak English well?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tigger View Post
    That's a nice idea but don't necessarily count on it. The city I grew up in has a significant third to fourth generation Sicilian population and I went to high school with kids for whom English was essentially a second language even though they had never been to Sicily.
    i've never met a second generation immigrant who didn't speak perfect English, but i'll take your word that you have. it doesn't matter. they'll become part of America just like every other immigrant group has.

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