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Do you speak only one language? Nashville would appreciate that.

January 10th, 2009

I speak broken English, mostly. “Nekkid” for “naked”; “Who dat?” for “Hello, this is Nancy, to whom am I speaking?” when I answer the phone. “I’m not playing these little fuck-fuck games” for “Please, you will cease and desist bothering me. Thank you.”

I would love to be fluent in Spanish. Hell (or “hail,” as my Arkansas-born mama says it), I would love to be fluent in English. I can understand Spanish, sometimes. Bits and pieces. I can get the gist of what someone is trying to say. My comprehension is OK, but when I speak it? Oh, man, do I get shy. My daughter attended an incredible Head Start program for one year of preschool. About half of the parents were native Spanish speakers, and the program coordinator was starting up an English class for them. Would I like to attend?

“You can work on your Spanish, they can work on their English,” she suggested.

I was too shy to even try.

Another time, we had a craft project, working on goody bags to send home with the families. Would I like to sew with them? They brought in 6 or 8 sewing machines, and were planning to fill the goody bags with all kinds of items to send home. (Enough for every family, so no one felt singled out.) I’m shy about my Spanish, but I am super-shy about my sewing and knitting. So I dropped off my requested donation of tangerines and candy and left, making an excuse about having to be somewhere else.

I tell you this now because I wish I had stuck around. I took two years of Spanish in high school, two years in college, and am now trying to practice my Spanish as much as I can. (We live in a neighborhood where Spanish has become the second language.)

So. So, so, so… along comes an item in the New York Times about a councilman’s proposed ballot measure “to limit Nashville government workers to communicating only in English.”

I like second languages. And third languages, and fourth. Use what you’ve got.

I, Wacky Mommy, am officially announcing the following:

Spanish shall be adopted nationwide as America’s official second language.

?Por que no? (That means: Why not?) It’s worked well for Canada, with French and English. It’s worked well for the rest of the world for (fill in the native tongue) and English. People around the world speak English. We have a lot of Spanish speakers here in the states.

(My late uncle, shocked: “Whites are the minority in California now!” me: “Heh heh heh.”)

We could at least attempt to keep up by learning some basic conversational Spanish. I’m all about bilingual signage. Why not?

And Nashville? Maybe it’s time to brush up on your language skills.

1 Comment

  1. Hugs says

    Wall, hick — that’s as gooder ‘n idear as I hurd in a dawg’s age!

    January 13th, 2009 | #

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