May 19, 2008

No Mas!

Recently, I received a Motorola Bluetooth headset, complete with a separate instruction booklet printed in Spanish. Now, it's common for electronic products to come with a cheap paper instruction booklet in several languages, including English, Spanish, French, and German. But this is the first time I have seen one with a separate, glossy, expensive-looking Spanish language instruction booklet.

This means that I paid more for this headset because of the cost of that booklet. On a broader scale, we all pay more for every street sign, government booklet, Department of Motor Vehicles instruction, and corporate voice mail instruction in Spanish that is directed at U.S. residents. Plus, each of these bilingual messages takes away one more incentive for non-English speaking immigrants to the United States to learn English.

I'm not some anti-immigration nativist. I recognize that almost all of us are ancestors of immigrants, voluntary or not, and that's what makes the U.S. so special. But I'm convinced that it's important for non-English speaking U.S. immigrants and their children to learn English toute de suite if they want to make it economically in this country, and that learning our common language is the one cultural tie that has bound us together as Americans for over two hundred years. Plus, doing so might save you and me some money on Bluetooth headsets.


Post a Comment

<< Home