Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Fear of Foreign Tongues

Xenoglossophobia—fear of foreign languages—is a communicable, but curable, disease.

“Speak American! You’re in America now.” I’ve heard this more than once from total strangers who’ve heard me speak in Spanish to someone else.

The first time it happened, the rudeness and ignorance of such a statement left me speechless. I didn’t know what to say, but by the second time, I had my comeback ready: “Do you mean Navajo? Dakota? Choctaw? Nahualt? Sorry. Wish I could, but I only know two European languages: English and Spanish.” That always leaves them speechless.

...to read full column, titled "Speaking in Tongues," go to the New York Daily News website.


UPDATE: Sheila Donnelly writes on this subject in the Austin Daily Herald. Douglas Bower, an American living in Mexico talks about how American "expatriates" (they never call themselves "immigrants when living abroad) don't want to learn Spanish. Go to ezinearticles to read his column.

5 comments:

Rita Prats said...

Fantastico...Me encanto....Ese miedo es el que no permite que la educacion del pais integre las cosas nuevas y distintas... Tan maravillosas que los emigrantes e inmigrates traen en su maleta cultural e historica..

Albor said...

Tremenda! Creo que Lola la bloggera es de las que habra que leer sin falta...

Caro said...

Dolo, bienvenida a bloglandia! La columna, como siempre, merece la frase de Homer Simpson, "It's funny coz it's true."

dagmaris said...

Que se prepare USAMERICA. El dolor que le va a caer encima con estas ironias no lo cura la medicina.

Un abrazo
D.

Anonymous said...

I will speak in Spanish to my in-laws but they seem to have fits when I speak in Bosnian.