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After the amazing, both pro & con, responses to the joke re. learning English, I am just offering this information - (not to start another thread on the subject) but to offer to you who have decided that I am a xenophobe and a racist, the following:

My DH came to this country as an immigrant from Poland when he was 11 years old - not speaking a word of English. He had never attended school in any country since he was interred in a Soviet Slave Labour Camp during WWII (after escaping from the Nazis) for the "crime" of being Jewish. He started school in the 4th grade....learning the language of his newly adopted country and graduating with his Engineering Degree from a (family had no money for his higher education)state-supported college 10 years later.

My grandparents came to the U.S. with no money, didn't speak any language other than Russian/Polish and Yiddish. My grandmother worked during the day cleaning toilets in her apartment building....going to night school to learn English (the language of her adopted country), put aside pennies in a postal savings bank and managed to send her eldest son to college to become a pharmacist. He worked his way through college, saved his money and sent his next brother....and on and on....each of them learned the language, worked to feed the family and sent their siblings to college.

I live in South Florida and I do have a problem when I go to Miami and can find no one who can (or admits to) speaking English. Signs are in Spanish, directions are in Spanish, and although it would be beneficial if I did know that is, after all, the USA and the immigrants who are here should take advantage of the opportunities available to them in this country.

I lived in Japan as a military wife for over 3 years. I learned enough Japanese to get around....make my needs known (and shop <grin>). I learned a great deal about the culture and grew to respect our the many differences between their way of life in the early 60's and the western culture to which I belonged. However I never learned as much as my children did who attended Japanese schools and played with Japanese children. I never learned to read and write "kanjii" although I wish I had. My time there would have been so enriched by really knowing the language of that country. Unfortunately, I was there as a visitor not to live there forever and perhaps that influenced the situation.

All this to say, I don't care where you come from, I don't care what language you speak at home, I have no prejudice towards any ethnic or cultural group. However, if you choose to live permanently in another country, you would be best served by not demanding that changes in the native language be made to accommodate your needs, but rather learn to speak the language of the country you have chosen as your own. You, your family and your new country will benefit from your contributions.
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