Tag Archive | "language choices"

Choices, Choices!

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Language Choices

Considered Unconstitutional, our politically correct society shuns certain words, phrases, and symbols as if they were nuclear waste.  However, these same phrases are not only allowed to exist, but seem to be celebrated in everyday transactions.


Consider, for instance, how often an automated telephone system, a check-out station at the supermarket, or the U.S. Postal Service asks you to choose between, ” English or Español.”  A tide of immigrants hailing from many lands built the United States.  Therefore, one wonders what happened to the rest of the ethnic groups that comprise our country.  Could these omissions be discriminatory?


In other nations, when one wishes to conduct everyday transactions, there is simply no choice of language.  Allow me to illustrate.  In 2001, I journeyed to Spain and Portugal.  In Spain, I purchased some merchandise, which I attempted to mail home via the postal service.  To perform this ordinary act, I was required to fill out a document in Spanish:  a task beyond my ability, as I possessed no knowledge of that language.  I asked for help, but no one in the postal service spoke English.  As a last resort, I threw myself upon the mercy of the desk clerk at my hotel; having been schooled in my native tongue, he was able to assist me.  Political correctness had nothing to do with my transaction; I simply had no other choice.


On home soil, it is a different story.  Evidently, the ACLU has turned a blind eye to the right to choose in the business world.  While attempting to pay for my groceries at a self-service station in a local supermarket, the machine asked me to choose “English or Español.”  Although the only real choice I could make was English, I still felt as if I’d been given the cold shoulder by the PC (Politically Correct) who walk among us.  As an Italian-American, my ethnic group was not represented.   Why was no love shown for those whose ancestors gave the world the Sistine Chapel, baked ziti, and Sophia Loren?


While we’re on the subject, why was no love shown for Indians, Africans, or the remaining plethora of our melting pot culture?  A person could get a serious complex trying to pay for his groceries!   Just think of all the potential lawsuits claiming mental cruelty by those of us left out in the cold.   To remedy this situation, checkout options should be altered to “English or the Language of your Choice.”   Imagine the delight of the multicultural throngs welcomed by machines speaking their native tongues.  Imagine the joyous noise made by the cash registers as thousands flock to buy preservatives, I mean, groceries.  More sales mean more jobs.  Now that’s a Stimulus Package if ever I saw one!


Envision the added benefits.  At the touch of a button, or a hundred buttons, shopping would become an educational experience.  In the time that it takes their wares to be scanned and bagged, young and old alike could learn different languages.    Forget store coupons; think of the savings to be had when one is not constrained to purchase the Rosetta Stone series of linguistic lessons.


The benefits could be multiplied if shoppers were given the choice of paying in dollars, yen, rubles, shekels, rupees, or other currencies; they would learn the true value of the money they possess.   Wouldn’t this be loads more fun that simply shelling out our hard-earned cash?   With all of these choices, we’d feel like contestants on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” 


But why confine the fun to the grocery store?  We should spread the entertainment around, starting with the wonderful world of credit cards.  Dialing our credit card companies, the robot could advise us to press 1 for English, 2 for Portuguese, 3 for Swahili, 4 for Norwegian, 5 for Native American (5-a for Sioux, 5-b for Navajo, 5-c for Chippewa, etc.), 6 for Mongolian, ad infinitum.   As an added bonus, the extra time we’d spend on the line waiting for our language to pop up would generate higher phone bills, thus putting more money into the hands of the underprivileged telecom providers.  Thus, we can pay our debts and contribute to humanity in one fell swoop.  What a party that would be!


So, if you want to make this world a better place and have a barrel of fun while doing so, write to your Congressman or Congresswoman.  Put the screws to them to change “Español” to “Language / Currency of Your Choice!”

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