Grand Old Party (GOP) lawmakers push for English as Minnesota's official language

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Piotr Bienkowski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 22:35
Member (2005)
English to Polish
+ ...
I wonder if they know... Feb 1, 2011

...the meaning of their state name and from which language it came.

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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:35
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Interesting issue Feb 2, 2011

The United States is now having to deal with something the Europeans have agonizingly dealt with for a long time now.

Communication within the EU entails very high translation and interpretation costs. May the U.S. fight off this issue before it reaches European levels of inefficiency.

Many U.S. states have non-English names. Some of the Spanish ones include Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Montana and Nevada. There are a few Indian (Native American) ones as well.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:35
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Completely agree! Feb 2, 2011

In Spain we are now living the nightmare that in some regions you simply cannot get education for your children in Spanish, cannot get official documents in Spanish, cannot use Spanish as the language for your business' signs unless it is a secondary language, and all sort of misdeeds of the kind... and even have to spend 12 million euro a year in interpreters in our [rather useless] Senate because senators who speak perfect Spanish (it is official in the whole of Spain, along with the other languages) insist in using their regional language to communicate with each other.

So after our experiences in Spain, I think GOP's initiative makes perfect sense. They might feel this is about heritage, but they will also save the taxpayer a pile of money as a result.


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:35
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agreement Feb 2, 2011

It is good to see a fellow translator agreeing with this point of view.

It would seem that it is in our best interests for communication to be a muddle, leading to more work for ourselves. However, this is a drag on economies and eventually could come round to sting us.

Translation isn't going anywhere but we should endeavor to communicate without a middleman.


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casey
United States
Local time: 16:35
Member
Japanese to English
Agree Feb 3, 2011

"Immigrants’-rights advocates at the time said that making English the state’s official language would penalize legal residents who do not speak English."

Not speaking English in a country where the good majority of people only speak English is not an ideal situation, and learning English poses no threats to one's culture. Immigrants' rights advocates should be encouraging immigrants to learn English to expand their opportunities and improve their daily lives. Most medium to large-sized churches offer free English classes. Encouraging immigrants to take advantage of opportunities to learn English is much better than forcing the majority to pay for translation/interpretation via taxes.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:35
English to German
+ ...
Re: I wonder if they know... Feb 3, 2011

Piotr Bienkowski wrote:

...the meaning of their state name and from which language it came.


Ahem... their state name is not "foreign", the word Minnesota comes from the Dakota name for the Minnesota River: Mnisota. The root mni (also spelled mini or minne) means, "water". Mnisota can be translated as sky-tinted water or somewhat clouded water. Native Americans demonstrated the name to early settlers by dropping milk into water and calling it mnisota. It can not get more American than that.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:35
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
The old times Feb 3, 2011

casey wrote:
Not speaking English in a country where the good majority of people only speak English is not an ideal situation, and learning English poses no threats to one's culture.

Some of the greatest creators and entrepreneurs in the history of the US were people who could not even say "hello" in English when they arrived to the country. As far as I am aware, during a big part of the 20th century the US had a system by which immigrants attended school for a whole year just to learn English. After that, they continued the normal education. That made perfect sense to me, and as a matter of fact it drove the country's economic and scientific growth. If you ban that... it is the beginning of the end in my opinion.


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:35
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
English Feb 3, 2011

The inability of people of the same country to communicate in the same language leads to disunity, inefficiency and, inevitably, conflict.

It would be interesting to know who these "immigrants'-rights avocates" really are. Assuming their motives are pure, shouldn't they take a closer look at whether they might be damaging the immigrants by putting up language barriers to their assimilation?


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:35
English to German
+ ...
It also helps... Feb 3, 2011

...to be able to read traffic signs properly.

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Melanie Nassar  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:35
German to English
+ ...
A native Minnesotan's view Feb 3, 2011

As a native Minnesotan and a vociferous supporter of immigrant rights (3 of my own grandparents were immigrants and spoke different languages before learning English; I am an immigrant in the country I live in), I feel that immigrants should be accommodated in every way possible, including providing interpreters when necessary. My grandparents were best served, I believe, by being forced by the circumstances to learn English, as I have learned Arabic. I don't believe it is absolutely necessary to declare English the official language to accomplish integration (this move seems to have another agenda, but I'm not informed on this particular case), as the US has never had an official language.
As Tomás pointed out, ideally the issue is dealt with in the schools, where children adapt and learn very quickly, and in the past, the problem was solved by the second generation at the latest. Immigrants should be given every motivation to understand the language of the country. Over-accommodating immigrants in a country like the US can be counterproductive in the end.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:35
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Well, everybody needs some job... Feb 3, 2011

Edward Potter wrote:
It would be interesting to know who these "immigrants'-rights avocates" really are. Assuming their motives are pure, shouldn't they take a closer look at whether they might be damaging the immigrants by putting up language barriers to their assimilation?

Well, as long as immigrants need to fight for their right not to speak English, rights advocates have a job...


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Justin Peterson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:35
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
"Immigrants Rights Advocates" are doing immigrants no favor... Feb 9, 2011

Refreshing to see that many translators are not buying the leftist "party line" on this issue. Encouraging or even compelling immigrants to learn the language of the country they move to is not intolerant, fascist or closeminded. It is reasonable, common sense and practical. Encouraging immigrants to believe that they really don´t need to learn English is just doing them a disservice by reducing their competitiveness and marginalizing them from mainstream society. Learning the language is just a simple act of respect for the nation you live in, not to mention essential to be able to function in it. It never even dawned on millions of Europeans moving to the US in the 19th and 20th centuries that they ought to demand some right to conserve their native language. Learning English was a given (as for my grandparents). By leading this Quixotic fight to defend Spanish in the US Hispanic "leaders" are just stigmatizing their community as one that refuses to learn English and embrace mainstream American culture. Latino immigrants should distance themselves from these people.

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Grand Old Party (GOP) lawmakers push for English as Minnesota's official language

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