Skip to comments.MILLIONS OF U.S. HOUSEHOLDS "LINGUSITICALLY ISOLATED"
Posted on 11/29/2006 4:15:47 AM PST by MeneMeneTekelUpharsin
Austin area school, government and emergency services are influenced by non-English speakers.
Spanish tops the list of languages other than English spoken in the Austin area, followed by Asian languages like Vietnamese and Korean. But Urdu also can be heard in Austin, along with Dutch in Round Rock and Russian in Hays County. It's a language smorgasbord prevalent throughout the state and the country. About 6 million Texans older than age 5 spoke a language other than English in 2000, and of those, about 2.7 million spoke English less than "very well," the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.
In 14 million U.S. households, people speak a language other than English. Of those households, 3 million are "linguistically isolated," where all members 14 years and older have at least some difficulty with English, the report found. The Census Bureau's national data, which were based on information from the 2000 census, also showed that about one in five people over the age of 5 spoke a language other than English that year and that about one in eight spoke English less than "very well." The data included new details about foreign language speakers in each state, including income and education levels that show the difficulty non-English speakers may face in finding good paying jobs.
"I definitely feel that bilingual education is important," said Cook Elementary School teacher Brooke Holland, who speaks both English and Spanish in the classroom. "As a fifth-grade teacher, it's important for (students) to gain the skills in English to be successful in middle school." Texas had 424,000 linguistically isolated households in 2000, where a foreign language was primarily spoken. In those, 278,000 primary renters or homeowners did not finish high school, and 39,000 had a bachelor's degree or more education. About 20,000 non-English households received some type of public assistance in 1999, and 167,000 received Social Security income that same year. About 151,000 of the linguistically isolated Texas households had incomes of less than $15,000, and 11,000 earned $100,000 or more. Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that advocates for lower levels of immigration, said that the high number of Spanish speakers nationwide presents an unprecedented dominance of one language among foreign residents in the United States.
As a result, it can become easier to find a job and function in life without learning English, Camarota said: "You might be beginning to change fundamentally the dynamics of language integration and assimilation." But Harry Pachon, president of the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute at the University of Southern California, said that the large number of foreign language speakers in the United States is a consequence of recent immigration, not evidence that immigrants are refusing to learn English. "When you do surveys of Latino parents, you find out that 97 percent of them want their children to learn English," Pachon said. In addition, he said that there is a process of language acquisition that takes time and that immigrants who come to the United States are eager to learn English in order to succeed in the United States.
"We're not getting the complacent, self-satisfied immigrant. We're getting the people who are trying to improve their lives," Pachon said. Many Central Texas government, school and emergency service providers have programs and employees in place to serve a linguistically diverse population. Ninety different languages were spoken in the Austin school district in 2005-06, when about 94 percent of the 18,522 students who spoke a foreign language spoke Spanish, district officials said. While 230 students spoke Vietnamese, 170 spoke Korean, the second and third languages most frequently spoken that year. About 16 percent of the district's teachers were bilingual in 2005-06. Such teachers who teach English in bilingual and English as a Second Language programs are highly sought, and the Austin school district pays certified bilingual teachers a $2,150 bonus stipend. In Round Rock schools, where about 15 percent of the district's 39,211 students have limited English-speaking skills, compared with about 23 percent of Austin's 81,003 students who spoke a foreign language in 2005-06, bilingual teachers are paid a $3,000 yearly stipend. In Hays, about 11 percent of the district's 11,877 students in the school district speak a foreign language; more than 98 percent of them speak Spanish. Bilingual teachers there receive a $2,000 yearly stipend.
Beginning in February, City of Austin employees who translate Spanish or American Sign Language in their jobs, pass a proficiency test in those languages and have regular and frequent interaction with the public will receive $150 a month in stipends, said Sylvia Gonzalez, assistant director of human resources for the city. The stipend already is available for sworn police officers and call takers who speak several languages. Currently, more than 15 percent of Austin's 1,372 sworn officers receive bilingual pay. while about 26 percent of eligible 311 and 911 call takers do, said Austin Police Department spokesman Cpl. Derek Israel. In addition, about 7 percent of the Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services 350 eligible employees receive bilingual pay, according to EMS spokesman Warren Hassinger. Ballots in Travis County are available in two languages English and Spanish said Mary Fero, spokeswoman for the Travis County elections division.
"Welcome to America...the official language here is English. Now learn it."
...I'm sorry. I was just fantasizing.
Yes, you were.
I was passing through the baking aisle at the grocery store yesterday and was startled to see announcements on cake mix boxes that instructiones* are now printed in Spanish, too. What the heck? I thought. Cake mix instructions are already illustrated for people who can't read. I'm getting impatient with companies who think bilingual package lables are chic.
Failed Marketing 101?
If they're linguistically isolated, they've no one to blame but themselves.
*Pardon my French
Oh, and pardon the typos.
I work in a Bronx neighborhood. Advertisements on buses and delivery trucks and store fronts are in Spanish and other languages I don't even recognize.
Apparently, as an English speaker in my own country, my needs don't matter.
Oh yes, lets all feel sorry for the jerks who come here illegally and then are victims of "LINGUSITICAL ISOLATION"!
Previous immigrants at least made an effort to learn English.
I guess I can't except anything but liberal dribble from Austin anyway!
I am glad you get it, I have no idea what it means.
No Se hablo here.
Is that the new term for unable to speak English?
Yup. It also means "Completely unwilling to learn English."
I just got back from a couple of days in Copenhagen. Almost everyone there speaks English. It seems that everywhere in the world people are required to speak English if they wish to do business - everywhere, that is, except in the USA.
A very flexible term, that is!
Guess it hasn't made it's way to Maryland yet. It's been this way for several years in Texas. Some products are written entirely in Spanish.
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