Speak English good—or get out of America.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jul 23, 2012
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If theirs one thing that irritates me, its that Imigrants are always mispelling everything—when they bother to even speak American.

Via Reddit: “Saw this in a parking lot. The irony almost hurts.”

In any case, seriously, the Yankees themselves are a wonderful example of internationalism and team effort. Ichiro, anyone?

America is about the Melting Pot—about the American Dream—the Land of Opportunity. We’re about the middle class, a meritocracy where you can work hard and start a pauper, end a tycoon—we’re not about proud but hollow Love-it-or-Leave-it nationalism.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


8 Responses to “Speak English good—or get out of America.”

  1. lasirena says:

    "we’re not about proud but hollow Love-it-or-Leave-it nationalism."

    Actually, that is the face that the US presents to the world, despite the existence of many people like you. The sad fact is that your media has infected the minds of a very large portion of your nation, playing to the lowest common denominator, and unfortunately, with the spread of Fox and its ilk north of your border, many Canadians are now infected also.

  2. elephantjournal says:

    Of course—that's the point of this post—to remind us of our ideals. There's much good happening here, too.

  3. elephantjournal says:

    Oana York Judgemental. Most Americans would have to leave. Sad. Signed: a first-generation Romanian immigrant, working as a writer/editor.

    Marga Ayers so sad it's funny.

    Patricia Dianne Brooks Pierce Most of these people cannot even read and write their own language much less our complex one. I deal with them every day as a Western Union agent. And I used to just hate to see them coming. Somewhere over the past 2 years my ocmpassion has grown as my understanding of them has grown. "Walk a mile in their shoes"… or at the very least get to know the person not just the nationality.

    elephantjournal.com Patricia, sounds like you didn't look at the photo, or read the blog.

    elephantjournal.com Oana, sounds like you didn't look at the photo, or read the blog. But at least you commented!

  4. SwamiMike says:

    I want to buy some red sticky letters and correct the van owner's work.

  5. Suri_k8 says:

    If you are going to live in a foreign country you should definitely make the effort of learning the native language..why not? …and this ofcourse applies to americans living abroad too .

  6. Elaine says:

    It is hard work to learn a new language. In the last three years I have had to learn Spanish in Mexico and I am now in Brazil trying to learn Portuguese. I have found it very difficult to do and certainly a long way from being fluent in both languages. I am lucky I can also afford lessons.

  7. realtortracy says:

    Oh how I love hearing someone slaughter the one measly language they speak while they dismiss people who speak multiple languages!

  8. yogasamurai says:

    The issue is a good one, and this makes for good fodder. Hardy-har-har. A few opinionated caveats from Samurai Schoolmarm —

    Spelling and language competence are two very different things? Spelling is more about level of education and literacy. I have worked with Latinos my whole life and many of the more unskilled immigrants coming can't spell in Spanish for shit. But they speak their own language just fine, of course. I could spell in Spanish perfectly before I could speak it fluently.

    Second, these mistakes are made all the time, including at EJ, and even, AHEM, after a piece has been "edited." They're becomes "there." It's becomes "its." Some of these mistakes are very, very common in our world. It's a little glaring to see someone make it in a bumper sticker – just as it is in a published blog piece.

    Again, though, the people making them are writers and editors who are highly fluent in English.

    In general, it doesn't seem to be the best argument to say, hey, you have no write (ha, see what I mean) to raise the issue of other people's level of assimilation. Why? Because you're "stupid yourself! See, you can't even spell the language you think it's so damn important to learn.

    The fact is, those of us who have actually worked in the Latino community (or others) know that English acquisition is powerful and can impact a first-generation immigrant's ability to get a better job, and to break out of "linguistic isolation." Not everybody wants to, actually.

    This was true of earlier waves of immigrants from Europe also. My grandparents, Dutch Jews, spoke shitty English their whole lives, and in those days, people really just fell back on their churches and other vestiges of their ancestral culture – and just didn't mingle much.

    It is sometimes funny to hear people espouse certain double standards. People like what's familiar, and don't want to stretch. But that goes both ways: So native-born Americans don't want to stretch to accommodate and welcome a Spanish-speaker, and a Spanish-speaker doesn't want to stretch to learn the dominant language of the country they have immigrated to.

    I do reject the notion that the problem lies simply with the "host" nation and the attitudes – and spelling abilities – of some of its peeple (sic). There's a certain benevolent white paternalism that says, oh these people are so poor and downtrodden, they can't be made to speak English! Maybe not made, but it might help them if they did. There's a balance here. You know, yoga, balance.

    I should add, though – on a post that is too long, you know me – that the pattern is almost always the same. The first generation struggles but assimilation in subsequent generations is rapid. The evidence that I am aware of suggests that people are assimilating linguistically at the same or even a faster pace than in previous generations. A lot of us are just too young to remember, or we didn't have immigrant relatives.