As the parent of two immigrant teens (Romania) I can attest to DE's opinion that English is very difficult to learn (as a second language). I learned this trying to explain English to my two girls.
We (English speakers) have plenty of rules pertaining to language but we tend to break each and every one of them. We have many words that change meaning based upon context and some based upon spelling. We place nouns at the end of the sentence rather than at the beginning (except for the military) so you have to read or listen to the whole sentence before it makes sense. We adopt words from other languages and incorporate them into our dialect, sometimes as slang and other times officially. We make up words out of nothing (rather than the German practice of appending meaning to existing words).
OTOH, we have a lot of fun with our language and tend not to be too nationalistic about it (unlike the French) so perhaps all is well.
I have enough trouble understanding some of the people who speak (Southern US) English where I live
Last edited by anotherguy; 03-10-2016 at 02:53 PM.
Remember: "Its Are Country. Speek English."
We have to save the Earth! It's the only planet with football and beer.
We require immigrants to learn English as a form of adoption of American culture even though it isn't enforced. It is also an economic issue in that it costs real money to conduct business, privately and publicly, in multiple languages. Nevertheless, when necessary, (in court for example) should the participants not be well versed in English translators are furnished. Highway signs on I-19 between Tucson and Nogales are in both Spanish and English (and the metric system is also used) so exceptions are made (in that example, for tourists primarily).
Getting back to the original post...
There are quite a few radio stations in the U.S. where the DJs speak English with a slight Latin accent, usually on Top 40 and Rhythmic stations. It isn't required. But the management is trying to aim at English-dominant Hispanics. So the DJs are likely people of Latin background.
In NYC, the morning host at the CBS Top 40 station WBMP, Shoboy, had been the host on a CBS Regional Mexican station in Dallas. On that show he spoke Spanish. Now he's speaking English, with a slight accent. When he does some comedic characters, he turns up the accent. I'm sure those who listen to stations such as WPOW Miami, KPWR Los Angeles, and other English-language stations with large Latino audiences, will hear Hispanic accents among the DJ staff.
It's hard to speak English, especially if the person arrives as an adult. You can pretty much trace when the person arrived by the accent. If they came before kindergarten, they likely have no accent. Coming to America in grade school, there'll be a slight accent. After that, they'll likely have an obvious accent all their lives.
I think Americans' impatience with foreigners speaking other languages or having accents is confused with not being smart or not trying. It's not a matter of intelligence. If you say to yourself, I learned to speak English and it wasn't that hard, remember that all humans learned to speak the language of their parents and community, no matter how complex. But learning a language as an adult is very difficult. And English is among the harder languages due to so many irregular verbs, odd spellings and the influence of so many different languages on English, each with its own set of differing rules.
Then there's the embarrassment factor. If I try and get it wrong, or can't remember the English word I want to say, I'll feel foolish. I know Spanish pretty well but when I'm on the spot trying to talk to someone when visiting a Spanish-speaking country, I know that's how I feel. I follow some of the conversation but then miss a few key words and I'm lost. If I suddenly found myself living in San Juan or Mexico City, I'm sure I'd get better at it but never feel totally at home in it.
Last edited by Gregg.; 03-10-2016 at 04:01 PM.
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