Friday, March 5, 2010

I Need You to Speak English

I know this is a very controversial topic, but here goes.  I need some families in my neighborhood to learn English.  There, I said it.  I'm not trying to take away anyone's ethnic identity, but I don't understand how you can live in this country for years and years and not learn basic English.

This came into play several times this week already.  First, the girls are having some friends over tomorrow to watch movies.  One of the moms called to ask what sizes the girls wore.  I didn't understand until she said, "Birthday party.  What size?"  I tried to explain that it wasn't a birthday party, but didn't get anywhere.  Her daughter is going to show up with birthday presents.  No, that won't be too awkward.

Because the girls take the bus with several children on the block, I tried to explain to a neighbor that her daughter wasn't coming to the party tomorrow because I only invited a few of the girls' classmates.  I know her daughter knows about the party, so I wanted to make sure everyone understood who was invited.  The mother had no idea what I was trying to say.  It was like I was talking to the wall.

Last summer a neighborhood girl fell and hurt herself.  I carried her to her house, but couldn't communicate with her father.  Luckily it wasn't a serious injury, but still it would have been nice to explain to him what happened. 

While I like our ethnically-diverse school, the fact that so many parents don't speak English very well is also a burden on our schools.  We have translators for five or six different languages -- as if we couldn't use that money for other programs that would benefit the children.

It's not like we're the only English speaking family in the neighborhood.  On the contrary, the number of families who don't speak English is actually quite small.  It's just that those families have children who play with our girls. 

I don't want to talk about something complicated like stock derivatives.  I just need the neighbors to learn enough English that I can have a conversation with them about our children. 


dcr said...

you're "preaching to the choir" honey...but then i do live in california!

hope your weather is not horrible.

Rachel said...


eatmisery said...

I have the same problem here. It's so frustrating at times.