Cultural Awareness In English Language

765 Words 4 Pages
In the 19th century, young scholars brazenly changed the course of language study by severing their ties to the classical Greek and Latin, and embraced the more modern, versatile English language. In this process of modernization, English became the prominent "mother tongue" and other modern languages (Spanish, French, Italian) became "foreign" languages. Out of this seemingly random occurrence caused by only a handful of people, a unique monolinguistic identity was born for North Americans. As the U.S. demographic evolves with more children raised in non-English households, it is questionable whether or not the "English-Only" movement is ethically sound.

The crux of this discussion lies at the end of the reading. "At a point when many
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Someone could be a doctor, PhD, or rocket scientist, but in North America, it seems their qualifications are invalid if their knowledge is not displayed in the English language. Call it racism, xenophobia, or ignorance, but there seems to be an assumption that being a non-English speaker and being intelligent are mutually exclusive. This gap exists in school age children as well. Despite the best of intentions, being the kid with an accent or imperfect English grammar is enough to spark ridicule not only from peers, but from teachers as well. The fact that is so often forgotten is that these children are not "stupid" or "slow" but are working on becoming proficient in a second language at such a young age. In comparison, it would be almost comical to see a group of "English Only" adults survive a day in a native French or Spanish 3rd grade class.

A critical question: when does the term "modernization" expire? What was considered modern at the turn of the 20th century certainly does not remain true at the turn of the 21st. Toasters, radios, and zippers were the cutting edge technology 100 years ago. Considering all of the changes that have happened between then and now, shouldn 't we give some thought to how our demographics have

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