Puerto Rico: Should English Be a Second Language?

There is a move afoot to make Puerto Rico bi-lingual by requiring the compulsory learning of English as a second language. The argument in favor of the proposal points to China and Chile which have successfully implemented programs to teach school children English and could provide Puerto Rico an opportunity to act as the gateway to South American business.

Proponents of the measure say that fears of "cultural elitists" that a bilingual Puerto Rico would eventually translate into statehood for Puerto Rico are misguided, and that fluency of the English language serves as a tool to ensure prosperity and not as a danger to cultural heritage.

There's lot's more on Puerto Rico at Let Puerto Rico Decide.

< Virginia: Have a Miscarriage, Go to Jail | Fox News Wins Dismissal of Ramsey Libel Suit >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Re: Puerto Rico: Should English Be a Second Langua (none / 0) (#1)
    by Rori on Sat Jan 08, 2005 at 02:13:03 PM EST
    I personally think they should have to. Speaking only from former experience living in California, where if you are not bilingual in Spanish now, it makes it very hard to find a job... I think learning a second language is ALWAYS a good thing.

    If you are claiming that you need Spanish to get a job in California, you are lying through your teeth. That will never be necessary. But in a state which will soon be more than 50% Spanish speaking (or descent), it's good not to be left out of OUR culture. For that same reason, I'm always learning tidbits of Hindi, Korean, Russian, Farsi, and other LOCAL languages. People who don't like multiculturalism are missing out, and ought to just keep out of California. We will happily trade 100 racist whites for any five decent immigrants, language and cultures happily accepted. If PR's want their kids to learn English, bully for them. But I recall the destruction of culture imposed by Carlisle schools on the reservations. If this is a nose-of-the-camel attempt to Anglify PR and stigmatize island culture, then throw it in with the US-coup of Haiti, the horror at Guantanamo, and the continued attacks on Venezuela, as a return of the bad-old days of 'American' hegemony in the Carribean. Kids in PR, if they have computers, are probably learning English for the same reason they are in China: access to the English Internet. --

    Don't think any of you have been or lived in puerto rico? the fact is english had always been a second language, that is a fact of life, yes people do speak english in a way? anyway what people should be asking is, why is that place still part of the empire? and why is it over 2000 drug gangs ran that place? conflict among the gangs is a normal way of life; isn't funny that we hear so little about puerto rico? "and its been apart of the usa for over 100 years". Bi lingual Language has always been part of that island.

    To all humans, learn as many languages as you can, useful as well it is really cool. We Yanks are kind of English-centric but it is a great mind excercise to speak another language. English is now the "lingue franca" of the world so it is the responsibility for English speakers to learn those languages that will soon be obsolete so that they don't disappear altogether in the ubiquity of Amer-English. Maybe we can wear funny hats as we learn these languages. The Anglosphere is vast......

    To follow up on Fred's comment...I've been to PR numerous times on business and yes, those living like in San Juan are somewhat fluent in English. But travel away from a tourist spot and it's not the case. I've been to the other side of the island and found practically no one who spoke anything but Spanish. On one of my trips, I stopped and ate at a Denny's in Ponce and even though the menu was in English, no one working there could speak it.

    Paul In LA writes - "People who don't like multiculturalism are missing out, and ought to just keep out of California. We will happily trade 100 racist whites for any five decent immigrants, language and cultures happily accepted." Nice. You know Paul, everytime you make such an over the top threat/comment you create another bunch of people who despise you. You must be awfully young, or dumb, or both, not to realize that you catch more flies with honey. As a social liberal, based on these comments, I see no difference between you and those white guys you are talking about.

    OK, PPJ, let's have an example of a 'threat.' What threat do you see in what I wrote? On the contrary, it was YOU, wasn't it, who wondered aloud about whether I would be lynched for free speech? The fundamental difference, lifelong and forever, is that I am not a racist. And you are. You just don't admit it, though killing 100,000 people for vague ideas of evil is very much RACISM. So don't give me this right-wing clown act of yours. You're part of the darkness of that murder. And I'm not. Why don't you go get yourself one of those .50s so you can protect your brick house. --

    Paul In LA - You are the one making racist remarks and comments about others, not me. " and ought to just keep out of California. We will happily trade 100 racist whites for any five decent immigrants, language and cultures happily accepted." If you want to specify that there was no threat in the comment, the question becomes, what would you do if they don't keep out? Wouldn't it be better to try and get along? And why do you assume they are racists? And no, I didn't wonder if you would be hanged for free speech. I noted that if you had made certain statements during WWII they might have hanged you in front of the recruiting office. That was a comment about history, not a threat. That wouldn't happen now, as you well know. And are you telling us that fighting wars against those of a different race is racist? So what would you have us do with Arab terrorists? As for guns for security, I prefer to live in a secure area, and if I wanted to shoot someone I would use a shotgun. Simple to use, doesn't require great accuracy, very noisy and very effective. But the fact is I don't want to shoot anyone, and would wait for the police unless the person came into my home and threatened me and my family. Paul, there is something I don't understand about many on the Left. And that is the anger at America. The first comment on this thread merely said that it was difficult to get a job in LA if you don't speak Spainish, and recommened that people learn a second language. How true his job claim is, I don't know. But I would guess that if there is one job, and if one qualified applicant speaks English only, and the other qualified applicant speaks English and Spainish, the second one will get the job. Especially if the job is in shipping, distribution or retail. Looked straight forward to me. Yet you took offense. Why?

    Because it is a LIE, unless you're talking about a business marketing services to Spanish-speaking persons. How much of the job market do you suppose is involved in that? A TINY proportion. I made no racist remarks, and you know it, you racist. Fighting wars against 'those of a different race' does not necessarily involve the wholesale slaughter of innocent people. Except that you buy Limbaugh/Hitler's theory of collective guilt. Because you are a racist. Just admit it; it's obvious to everyone anyhow. You'll feel better. 'Protecting your brick house' was not a comment on choice of weapon. It was a statement that you seem to think you are immune to the results of your racism. You are not. You will suffer for what you have done. No brick walls will protect you. --

    Re: Puerto Rico: Should English Be a Second Langua (none / 0) (#10)
    by jimcee on Sun Jan 09, 2005 at 01:27:05 PM EST
    I can't think of a time when PPJ has said anything racist but I do know that Paul has a rather high opinion of himself and is really judgemental about those who dare to disagree with him. I'm sure that Paul will have something nice to say about me now that I've written this post.

    Paul In LA - Nice threat. Now what have I done? Disagree with you and provide some advice about living with each other. Yeah. That really is a terrible thing. And I don't have time to listen to Limbaugh, so you will have to tell me what he said. Fighting wars always involve innocent civilians being killed. Has for centuries. And won't change, although with weapons that are more accurately targeted we are reducing the number. Smart bombs are much easier on civilians than car bombs. And if you think being bilingual in LA, or anyplace in today's world, would not help you in a business career, well, that is so dumb I don't know how to answer. jimcee - Thanks. Maybe virtue is its own reward! ;-)

    Really! SUPPORTING AN ILLEGAL INVASION THAT HAS REPORTEDLY KILLED MORE THAN 100,000 PERSONS, mostly innocent civilians CERTAINLY not involved in terrorism of any sort, is racism. Does that really need clearing up? Heil Hitler, Jim. --

    Paul In LA - As hard as it is for you, try to be factual. Buy yourself a dictionary: Racism: " a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race 2 : racial prejudice or discrimination - rac·ist /-sist also -shist/ noun or adjective And use it. You are just making yourself look dumb.

    Re: Puerto Rico: Should English Be a Second Langua (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 07:17:05 AM EST
    By all means, English should be taught in PR. Spanish should be taught in the US as a required course as well. The more we know, the better, there is no downside. I had a very difficult time in Spanish class, just couldn't get it. I always regret not trying harder at it, such a beautiful language.

    Re: Puerto Rico: Should English Be a Second Langua (none / 0) (#15)
    by Rori on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 11:39:33 AM EST
    Jeez, Paul. Did I say you HAD to speak Spanish to get a job in LA? No. I said it has become increasingly difficult to get a job if you are not bilingual. This was MY experience when I lived there and was looking for work as an administrative assistant. YOUR mileage may vary.