Why are English speakers so lazy about learning?

Guest   Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:13 am GMT
">>>What is this nonsense? No one detests Mexicans, and I can't walk out my door without hearing Spanish speakers -- both U.S.-born and non-native. <<<"

LOL. When I visited California, Florida, Chicago and Texas I tended to hear Spanish spoken alongside English. Sometimes they would mixed both languages yet many spoke them separately. Your assessment is clearly biased and flawed. Oh yeah...Mexicans are (usually) detested or frowned upon in the U.S. for many reasons already discussed.

">>>Enough with this "propaganda" tirade. The English language forms a large part of the culture of the United States, hence why people are passionate about its use.<<<"

Not even propaganda. Propaganda is what you are spewing: "hence why people are passionate about its use" - because if people were (or are) passionate about the English language the immigrants or legal residents would have left behind their languages a long time ago. Reasons why many people retain their motherland languages in the U.S.A is because of historical, political and religious causes.

">>>This so-called "laziness" -- which is not altogether true -- is easily explained by looking at a map. Whereas in Europe one can be in another country in a few hours' drive, in the U.S. you'll be in another state, where the language is -- you guessed it, English! For example, when I drive from my home state of New Jersey into neighboring Pennsylvania, I am not entering a region in which a different language is spoken. The same cannot be said of motoring from France to Germany.<<<"

So you are declaring "why U.S. Americans are lazy" response on geography - how redundant in the manner that in the U.S. one can encounter on a daily basis people of many language backgrounds speaking their native tongue, most specially, Spanish. Geography does play a role but the average U.S. American should remember that many places in the Southwest were or are historically inhabited by Mexicans which gives them their right to profess it - as their land was illegally seized. At least they should have this right, amongst others. But I guess you and many others have already made up your xenophobic minds.

">>>Despite the sizable Spanish-speaking minority, this is the case throughout the entire union -- from Maine to California. Other than in metropolitan areas (which I must confess, I do live in one), the "average joe" has little need to learn another language. Yes, learning other languages is pleasurable to those who have an interest in such things, but not everyone, and certainly not your average joe anywhere in the world, is as enthusiastic about all things linguistic as we are here on Antimoon.<<<"

They are not a minority as you say but a growing sizeable majority in certain states of the continental U.S. In metropolitan areas such as: Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas Spanish is the MOST spoken language after English. Many people who work in those megalopolis cities usually know Spanish to be able to communicate with immigrants or legal residents in their respective languages - so how can you honestly say that the average joe need not learn another language?? Your obviously being one-sided, and a right-wing nationalist. I am sorry to inform you MJD but people around the world typically have a yearning for various motives to learn different or similar languages. Europeans, Asians, Latin-Americans and Africans are great examples of knowing at least 2 or 3 languages WHEREAS the typical U.S. American knows 1 language. It goes to show that U.S. American nationalism is and shall be your demise.

">>>So please, save the "doctor of everything" tirades for another day, or at least think about what you write before you put a pen to the paper. Also, try to be more concise in your writing, rather than posting paragraph upon paragraph of fine print. <<<"

In a democracy where I reside in: I can say, write, spew and clamor whatever I feel like. Your country ought to learn to act like one. lol.
Guest   Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:39 am GMT
">>>Well, there you go then. It looks like you have it all figured out and somehow have been able to intuit what is in the minds of all US Americans, probably without ever having been to the US or gotten to know any Americans who have interaction with Mexicans or having spoken with any Mexicans about it either. It's also interesting that like George Bush, you don't allow real life nuiances and shaded complexities to get in the way of a simplistic ideal. Any issue that arises can be boiled down to a few simple maxims... "Americans are racists" Americans are facists" etc. The idea that by painting an entire population with one color you are guilty of the same thing you accuse Americans of doesn't occur to you because "you have right on your side". You make Americans "other" and therefore they are not nuanced like you. They cannot have individual motivations like the people in your group/nationality. The mark of zombie ideology is a refusal to consider an opposing viewpoint. I have considered your viewpoint and give you credit for certain areas. You on the other hand do not even consider anything outside of your program "Americans are imperialistic oppressors". It's not a lack of intelligence, but a lack of ability to accept ideas that do not align to your program.<<<"

Been there, done that. (refering about visiting, conversing with, immersing myself with U.S. Americans, illegals and legal residents)

Don't believe me. I dare you to ask & question....;)

Americans are (or should I be politically correct. lol) usually racists. The U.S.A. was founded unconsciously by racism. The U.S. constitution declares Africans as 2/3 a of human. When Mexico had abolished slavery - in 1830 - the U.S. were still beating them, killing them and spitting on their slaves and they STILL wanted to spread their antiquated ideology onto the Mexicans in the Southwest with their regressed mentality of spreading slavery via Manifest Destiny which happend in 1845 by the alignation of the Republic of Texas, and Alta California. The philosophies of those times were: "Mexicans are stupid, stagnant and regressed people" and they -U.S. government used this ideology to sell to the American people. The same occured earlier in the 1800s-1830s when the Native-Americans were thought as: "naive, regressed and stagnant" by the mixed Native-Americans and White Americans. We all know what happen to the Natives....they were misplaced to the Southwest in the "trail of tears, given baron land", we all know what happen to the Blacks "Jim Crow laws, servitude treatment until the 1960s", we all what happen to the Mexicans "land having been seized illegally, false promises of being able to cross into their former lands without perimeters". It goes to show U.S. culture is racist, imperialistic and fascist.

Americans or be that their government are (economic) imperialists. A lack of intelligence is not declaring them as being possibly so. For the reason that the evidence is there...you just have to get out of your sugar-coated shield.
Damian in Edinburgh   Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:46 am GMT
***Whereas in Europe one can be in another country in a few hours' drive***

In actual fact you can drive through as many as three different countries in little more than one hour's drive here in Europa - and at the same time take in French, Flemish, Dutch, German.....and in one particular country alone you can take in as many as four different languages all officially recognised within it's splendiferously, spectacularly, magnificently, beautifully scenic borders......German, French, Italian, Romansch.......Switzerland, of course. Lovely little independent Switzerland......

What a gorgeously precious wee treasure we have here in Europa, and not only linguistically by any means.

Between 04 and 09 August I shall be taking in three European capital cities as stopovers on a train trip using my European Rail pass all the way from Edinburgh, via London (2 nights), the Chunnel and Paris (1 night) - Vienna, Budapest and Prague (one night in each city) then back home again to Edinburgh. English, French, German, Hungarian and Czech being the order the the respective days (or rather nights). The last two Languages will be totally alien to me.
Guest   Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:48 am GMT
The moderators must be starting to get very edgy.
Damian in Edinburgh   Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:53 am GMT
Actually - five European capital cities, and not three, although the itinerary focuses mainly on Vienna, Budapest and Prague as points of interest. Prague I have veen to before - it's a favourite hot spot for Brits on weekend breaks, especially on stag/hen night celebrations. All due sympathy to Prague......or Praha as the Czechs prefer to call it. :-)
Xie   Thu Jul 24, 2008 7:23 am GMT
Some comments are just so mean to read.

>>Xie told us that SK's level is intermediate.

Did I? He's ok...

I was rather hoping that the discussion could be peaceful, and I was telling how disheartening it could be to see learners struggle. I don't want to see them struggle, but I'm never picky. As always, in an one-sided discussion setting, I could sometimes sound condescending without noticing it, even though I try to stay humble as I've ever been in my language with locals. And needless to say, you could guess how discussions get terribly (at least to me) one-sided when my people say bad things about you Americans. (which is why, in that case, sharing two languages would be better than one when no one can have a secret language)

You can of coz give WFC responses when you meet some really mean people in my country, as in yours or any others, but you can't be denying their very existence and say the world is still beautiful even if you don't understand what they're saying (and reflect, in whatever ways). Having a language to argue is better than understanding nothing of foreigners' rants, all except their facial expressions.

The same applies to some of my people, when they complain that, in foreign countries, they come across a lot of misunderstandings, very often owing to language barriers, and, to a greater extent, cultural differences. By "laziness" we mean the lack of motivation to understand. You don't have to love someone just because s/he is here, a foreigner. Having the power to understand is actually quite diplomatic...and could be very important for expats.

The non-learners I've mentioned are simply putting themselves in a very dangerous situation of understanding nothing when locals stop speaking English (sort of "pleasing" them, to make them feel comfortable with their (supposedly) only language, if I put it like a pointless rant). Personally, I don't see the point of NOT learning my lingo even after staying for 20+ years, whether that person is a South Asian immigrant that people can't even meet very often, or an average Anglophone CEO - if you can't even listen (not speak) the local lingo, how can you know whether they could be deceiving you or.. whatnot?
Xie   Thu Jul 24, 2008 7:34 am GMT
Many of my people are rushing to your countries to "learn English better". The world is free market and, yeah, I don't care WTF they do anywhere. But you can see that their very point of doing so could be 1) to survive in your countries (the power) and 2) to find better jobs back in their city. In any case, this kind of linguistic ability is socially practical.

I just don't know why. When has the situation become one that, in a city like mine, you "don't" have to learn the local lingo? Now, my style of debating could be different from yours, and I could expect you would pick me up on that... but certainly, certain people do it.

At least for me, I think, when it's possible, it's a polite practice to learn local lingo(s) in that random foreign country. Yeah, you don't do it if you only stay there for a week, but that would be very practical if your trip is well over a week...

Indeed, for this reason, sometimes I do think the same kind of mean people do exist among us. They only know English is useful (while ignoring Mandarin), and do nothing other than reading tabloids... again, I could put it more succinctly in my language, so pardon my gross generalization... but it's obvious that once they are beyond their borders they are quite incapable of understanding many things...

well, that's all I want to say about laziness. unlike that sort of polyglottery, the very ability I've addressed, as I see it, is certainly vital.
Guest   Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:13 am GMT
<< It seems like there is a missing piece of the story-your background. >>

Don't you worry about that.
K. T.   Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:51 pm GMT
"Some comments are just so mean to read.

>>Xie told us that SK's level is intermediate.

Did I? He's ok... "

Xie, you or someone claiming to be you wrote this, when I mentioned SK as someone who spoke Cantonese. It was several months ago.

I think "intermediate" in Cantonese is admirable. Tonal languages are not easy for native English speakers.

It isn't a sin to share one's language level. Someone who is intermediate in March could be upper-intermediate in December.

SK is Canadian, btw.
K. T.   Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:57 pm GMT
"<< It seems like there is a missing piece of the story-your background. >>

Don't you worry about that. "

What does that mean? I simply didn't understand the post. I wasn't the only one who didn't understand it. It seemed something was missing.
K. T.   Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:57 pm GMT
"<< It seems like there is a missing piece of the story-your background. >>

Don't you worry about that. "

What does that mean? I simply didn't understand the post. I wasn't the only one who didn't understand it. It seemed something was missing.
K. T.   Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:57 pm GMT
"<< It seems like there is a missing piece of the story-your background. >>

Don't you worry about that. "

What does that mean? I simply didn't understand the post. I wasn't the only one who didn't understand it. It seemed something was missing.
Guest   Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:39 pm GMT
<<"<< It seems like there is a missing piece of the story-your background. >>

Don't you worry about that. "

What does that mean? I simply didn't understand the post. I wasn't the only one who didn't understand it. It seemed something was missing.

Don't you worry about that. - It was supposedly the favourite reply of former Queensland (Australia) Premier (USA Context - State Governor), Joh Bjelke-Petersen, when presented with difficult questions from reporters.
Xie   Fri Jul 25, 2008 12:58 am GMT
>>Xie, you or someone claiming to be you wrote this

Probably the same me. XDDDDDD I used to have a longer name... or I should actually re-adopt a longer one not to use a rather popular surname of millions..

In his book, SK claimed to have a Chinese wife from ... ?Costa Rica? and she only understood Cantonese. He didn't learn it well until ... I don't know, but probably not before late 1960s. SK at least had learned French and Swedish before it. His ability is certainly phenomenal as both a diplomat and an ordinary person, yeah, and that had been the reason why I read his book.

And indeed, the picture isn't as dim as I may have painted it to be. If you could just open your mind a bit ...... and just shadow audios (could be very sweet if you were someone SK and you take audios from your native wife) over and over...

oh, well, indeed, as I wrote earlier, I actually felt somewhat disappointed when I was watching the legendary shadowing video. I think my French accent now is still at least a bit more intelligible than our honorable professor's Mandarin. I don't have to prove it. In that case, yeah, you see the monster of my language that keeps on putting some people off: the difficulty to pronounce. He should still have been a beginner, but speaking French on day 1 seems to be rather different from mine on day 1. And he's not even a complete beginner!

and yeah, I actually found the original text he was reading... and I found that I could only understand around 30% of his speech. In that case... I can really see why you say that's difficult.

and sometimes I suspect that I do have something akin to a perfect pitch, even though I've never proved that because I've been too poor to learn music. And indeed, while I like to listen to some music, I don't like playing any instruments (sour grapes? hm....), but it seems mastering tones is quite close to having musical ability...
Xie   Fri Jul 25, 2008 1:41 am GMT
*Another guy of the same forum tried to shadow my language as an almost complete beginner. I think he used a book like Colloquial Somthing, and... naturally, his speech was unintelligible.

I don't want to sound disheartening, but really, the two vids weren't much different from each other, except that I always regard our professor as a unique scholar whose ability is so phenomenal that... I'd regard him one of my most important teachers (in the dept of languages).

well, I see locals struggling with everything ranging from mandarin to russian anyway, so... the story of successful polyglots boils down to one rule of thumb: rather than those tricks you think of (tho, yeah, they've been very helpful), the ultimate reason of success is the proper use of motivation, and that often is what only an understanding person can have.

But then, when looking back, I find it hard to learn properly without the guidance of good teachers. I would have had to pay a heavy price without that guidance. After digesting it, I find that what the professor teaches is more like common sense, but that level of linguistic knowledge isn't what an average Joe could understand without understanding it at an "undergraduate" level.

My teacher (with a very heavy accent) used to tell us to "listen to audios over and over". This "sounded" like FSI, but it didn't help because I was never introduced to useful courses (but to deal with that darn boring monolingual textbook that I couldn't read) and.,... shame on myself, I didn't even read what the professor had been writing (it was in 2006). So, I understand one more source of laziness that I and some Anglophones might share.

Here, Orwell would be right: if you don't see the knowledge, it's non-existent, and you can't think in it. My opinion would then converge with those of Americans in another forum... namely that classes suck. There's no real commercialism in (my) class. Some teachers still want you to learn it well, huh? But the problem still remains that... at least in my case, all teachers I've met (German or Chinese) never mentioned anything about a grammar book or a course like Assimil/FSI/Linguaphone.

HOW CAN you say "hmm (in a rising tone), yeah, you can combine class and external learning materials (such as above) to become the no.1 star in class/earn GPA/benefit yourself ultimately"? Speaking of my experience in HONG KONG, China (now, it's just as developed as your home, I guess), classes are actually quite helpful for small talks, to be fair, but I always suspect that Assimil would affect their employment, so... no, they never say grammar. The one with a heavy accent above asked me to "listen to audios over and over" but I was never introduced to _any_ useful audios (until I discovered much more from Americans and others in another forum). The native teacher only hinted that I use the wrong (German) words very often, so I might ask her for help (hm...).

No, really, my language adventure has only been possible thanks to Americans and some others. Ironically, they are often stereotyped as lazy monolinguals like their British brothers, but these two types of Anglophones had been the most helpful - in the forum (yeah, and here too!), or in wikipedia, or ... Anglophone publishers have generally done a good job too. Despite our professor's complaint (the dumbing-down theory), I can still see that, even tho not every American has much motivation for quite natural reasons, they at least can learn the sharpest skills.... when you can see that you can even BUY university lectures freely in a bookstore.

You can't be fluent if you only have motivation. Like what admins say:


>>Or take a language you don't know (e.g. Latin). Now try to learn Latin by speaking it right now. Come on, speak Latin! Don't be shy. Practice makes perfect! — Obviously, you can't. Why? Because you need to see some example Latin sentences first.<<

This is why I think classes (in my city) are quite pointless. "Try to learn German by speaking it right now! Come on, don't be shy!" but if you have nothing except a dozens of words in your brain after 1 year... you can't actually speak it. People have the freedom to say they are fluent after 90 Pimsleur lessons, but you know very well how much they offer...

once I wrongly entered a room to listen to some news about certain studying opportunities (to practice German, i.e.). I didn't expect that it would be all in German, and I was with several would-be graduate students. So, of coz, my comprehension was much weaker than theirs. But with enough visual clues (the German business guy showed us a powerpoint presentation) ...and... his oral clues (rather slow speech), I still figured out the meanings anyway. That was before Assimil. I can't really comment, but... their fluency seemed quite limited.

I still won't know what it means to become a major student, but certainly, haha, I'll really be combining class and my own home-made input.... but I'm more after GPA and extra time for learning than "real" fluency it "offers".