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Opinion: Spielberg’s West Side Story reveals us the worth of multilingualism


Please, forgive my occasional verbal stumbles and awkward English pronunciation. English will not be my first language. sounds acquainted? The time period “non-speaking” is usually used to explain individuals like me who grew up with a second language and discovered English later in life. It is time to exchange this derogatory adjective for an adjective that respectfully refers to our linguistic id. Out of respect, cease apologizing to us for who we’re.

It is unlawful to say something to somebody. It’s like calling a girl non-male or a minority non-white. If “native” is the so-called norm, then calling somebody a “non-native” perpetuates a departure from the “norm” and doesn’t mirror who the audio system actually are.

We ought to substitute “non-speaker” with “English learner” or “multilingual speaker”. This change might change how we train college students and alter public attitudes in the direction of us to be extra welcoming.

I used to be excited to see that the US Department of Education is utilizing “English language learners” or “English learners” to establish kindergarten by highschool college students whose “English is not the mother tongue — but those who are actively trying to learn it,
We are a rustic of immigrants. yearly, roughly 1.18 million immigrants Arrived in America, based on information from the US Department of Homeland Security. In migrant households within the nation, Only 17% speak English, According to a Pew Research Center analysis of the 2017 American Community Survey, the rest speak Spanish (43%), Chinese (6%), Hindi, and related languages ​​(5%). We can’t pretend that new immigrants can magically speak and write in English as soon as they arrive. on average, It takes 4 years to accumulate English language proficiency And Academic English proficiency can take four to seven years, based on varied research. And take into account that this information is for Ok-12 college students, who study comparatively shortly in comparison with adults. The older you start learning a new language, the harder it becomes,
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I got here from China once I was 30, and have been right here in America for 16 years. I really feel like I have not achieved the effectivity I need to do. I’m a lifelong English learner. Many grownup immigrants battle with English much more than I do. And discouraging suggestions from native audio system will not assist.

When it comes to native English speakers, we cannot deny the notion that a person who speaks American or British English is white. But think about Indians and Singaporeans who are originally born in the English language, however will not be seen as native audio system or in some circumstances don’t consider yourself,

Putting “non” before “native speaker” emphasizes the deficit. Prohibition as a prefix this part of our identity is never enough. In the US, not speaking English or speaking English with an accent means that it is difficult to qualify as an American.

Spielberg’s authentic use of Spanish in “West Side Story,” for example, contrasts sharply with the then-president. Donald Trump mocks Puerto Rico in Spanish accent During Hispanic Heritage Month in 2017, just weeks after the island was slammed by Hurricane Maria. Spielberg’s decision to forgo subtitles in the remake of the 1961 film, on the other hand, shows respect for the language and its speakers.
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Instead of non-native audio system, we ought to be known as bilingual or multilingual audio system. In truth, those that come and are in class, regardless that their English mastery ranges differ, already converse a couple of language. Telling us multilingual emphasizes our achievements and studying English provides to the richness of our id.

Calling us English learners emphasizes the method of studying, that over time we will develop into higher in a position to talk with English audio system from delivery. This title offers precedence to the journey of growth.

Certainly, phrases have their limits. I do know each of my options could pass over necessary that means. “Multilingual” can also refer to native speakers who are learning other new languages, or who speak several languages ​​but none of them are English. Some people may not like to be called English learners because it does not give importance to other languages ​​that a person can speak.

Let’s pick the word casual and remind people about it. Personally, I use the two interchangeably. I call myself an English learner so I am reminded to keep learning. And every time I hear, “Sorry, English is not my first language,” I say, “So you are multilingual. Good for you!”

Language is not just what we say, but our history and identity. We cannot claim to be a diverse society if we ignore all the colorful languages ​​that immigrants speak. mourning from loss of life of bell hooks This week, I revisit his phrases of knowledge teaching for infringement, “This name for the acceptance and celebration of numerous voices, and consequently numerous language and speech, inevitably disrupts the primacy of Standard English.” Spielberg confirmed us, in a nation that has traditionally been obsessive about the thought of ​​supremacy, that respect is a brave selection and that multilingualism is our true color. This is who we’re.



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