In “Indian by Day, American by Night,” the typecasting of cultures is noted as being a “major part” of the call center industry. Lynda Ongel Lepcha gives a number of examples of how the principles of the East and West differ: “We in India are monochronic, while in the U.S. they are polychronic. We in India do one activity at a time, while in the U.S. they do several activities at a time. We in India have no active hobbies. Americans have active hobbies. In the West, it is ‘I, me, myself’; in India, the collective is more important” (Pal 3). Why would just speaking English in an American/British accent not be enough for adequate interaction? How might the various ways one can perceive self, life, culture, etc. play into how one actually uses the language for their purpose?
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o writes a narrative of her experiences growing up in Kenya and being forced to learn English in a colonial school. Her school left an indelible mark on its students by impressing on them that their native tongue, Gikuyu, was “associated with negative qualities of backwardness, underdevelopment, humiliation and punishment”. The culture and language that she was accustomed to was essentially stripped from her and tainted through her colonial schooling. She states that “the physical violence of the battlefield was followed by the psychological violence of the classroom”. We have had many discussions about bilingual education in our own classroom. How is Ngũgĩ’s experience similar or different from what we have discussed? Do you think our bilingual education system does an effective job at teaching English while still respecting and valuing the native culture and languages of its students? Ngũgĩ even expresses her fear and apprehension towards speaking Gikuyu in school. As teachers, how do we allow bilingual speakers the freedom to share their native tongue while still respecting English as the primary language spoken in class?
As we have discussed in class, language is culture. In the call centers in New Delhi, workers must learn, “…about U.S. culture, the U.S. accent, and U.S. vowels and consonants” says Sunil Wadhwa (Pal, 2). If English were to become a global language, how important is it that the culture, accents, vowels and consonants are also learned like in the New Delhi call centers? Aside from employment opportunities, what may be a motivation for English language learners to learn the British or American accents? Are there ways that people with English as their second language, who adopt the British or American accents, can maintain their native cultures, and if so what are they?
As Crystal tells us, “The prospect that a lingua franca might be needed
for the whole world is something which has emerged srongly only in the
twentieth century”. With this emergence in mind, if you were a U.N.
Official how would you argue for or against a common world language?
What languages would be included/excluded and how would you teach this
new language to the masses?
In his article, “Why a Global Language?”, David Crystal argues that “within little more than a generation, we have moved from a situation where a world language was a theoretical possibility to one where it is an evident reality”. He continues on to say “…all the signs suggest that this global language will be English”. Do you agree with Crystal that English will be the global language? If not, what language do you think it could be? Why? How would having any global language affect your daily life? Also, in your opinion, do the pros Crystal mentions outweigh the cons, or vice versa?
In Jamaica Kincaid’s article, “On Seeing England for the First Time,” her disdain for England is blatantly obvious. Learning about a culture that she felt did not pertain to her frustrated her growing up. She also felt that it was wrong of them to be, in a sense, worshipping the people who were rewarded for creating the slave trade. Kincaid felt no real connection with England, yet was forced to learn about it anyways. If English were to become our global language, do you think this mentality would resonate with those who would have to learn it? What kind of tension would this create for our global economy? How would you feel if forced to learn about not only a culture that did not pertain to you, but an entire language? And finally, do you see having a global language as a positive or negative thing for our world?
Mr. Santorum, campaigning in Puerto Rico this last week, said that he’d love for Puerto Rico to become a state, but that they’d have to implement an English language policy if they did.
Here’s a bit from the NY Times story:
…if Puerto Rico opted to become a state, it would have to make English its primary language.
“Like any other state, there has to be compliance with this and any other federal law,” he told the newspaper El Vocero.
His remarks drew immediate criticism, and prompted one delegate who had been pledged to him to quit, saying he was offended. There is no rule in the Constitution requiring the adoption of English for the admittance of new states, and the United States does not have an official language.
Mr. Santorum, like many American citizens, appears to think that the US has English as an official language.
In her article ‘English Should Be Our Official Language’ Phyllis Schlafly states, “Of course, English should be our official language. The language of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution is fundamental to our national identity. Without it, we will cease to be one nation.” Throughout the article Schlafly presents us with evidence as to why she feels this way. Reflecting upon this reading, as well as the other readings assigned for this week, answer the following questions: Do you tend to agree with Schlafly? Why or why not? Does the whole ‘English as an official language’ idea remind you of anything we’ve discussed previously in class? If so, what? And how does it relate?
As prospective teachers, we must understand current education policies and how to implement them in the most effective way. This can be stressful, especially with the amount of pressure some polices place upon teachers, such as the No Child Left Behind Act. Educating English Learners is no different, as Peregoy and Boyle state, “English Learners are subject to both general education policy and to policy specific to their English learner status,”(847). In past decades, more focus was placed upon standardized curriculum that was primarily instructed in English. This posed problems for new English students who were forced into an accelerated learning pace that could impact their English proficiency. As a teacher, what changes would you make to the NCLB Act? How would these changes be implemented, and what would your students gain from these changes?
Stephen and Suzanne Caldas face the challenge of raising bilingual children “in a culture that is overwhelmingly monolingual” (473). They employ numerous strategies including each parent speaking a different language and the parents speaking the same language but is different from the language spoken at school. Looking at this article and other articles we read what do you think are effective ways to raise bilingual children? If you were raised in a bilingual what were tools that both worked and did not work for you and why?