An "English-only" city council proposal is sparking a vigorous debate—and, unsurprisingly, a good deal of anger—in a Southern California town. Although nearly two-thirds of the residents of the city of Walnut are Asian, as are three of the five city council members, a proposal to make public meetings English-only came forward after a citizen complained she couldn't understand what was going on. The city says it can't afford to hire translators, yet opponents say the measure is a civil rights violation and will marginalize people from participating in public discourse. A vote on the controversial measure is anticipated later this month.
I am not about to support the superiority of the English language. Being a polyglot of many languages, it is probably the most illogical language on the face of the planet. If the plural of mouse is mice, how come the plural of house isn't hice? Pronunce this word-ghoti. The correct pronunciation is "fish".
gh as in eough =f
o as in women =i
ti as in motion =sh
See what I mean?
Yet for all its quirks, it is the language we use for conversation and more importantly for business. I do not advocate that people who expect to live in the United States be required to learn English because English is the better language. I think they should learn it for self-defense. Do you really expect a landlord, a salesman or a banker to explain all the fine print of a lease, a contract or a loan in sufficient detail in another language? Most of us who have spoken English all our lives can't understand it. Good luck trying to translate.
Besides, how did God disrupt the Tower of Babel? How are we supposed to work together to solve common problems if we can't understand one another? English may not be a perfect language but, until the Chinese invade, it's all we've got.