Shall We Balkanize America, or Unify Her?
Dear readers. Allow me to recount two seemingly-unrelated experiences that clearly reflect two antithetical attitudes towards America’s linguistic unity as demonstrated by two residents of my home town, Irving, TX.
Let’s start with the attitude of a Mexican national who resides in Irving.
At Home Depot one evening, a man approached me and asked for advice on which brand of caulk to buy. I told him that I was not a store employee but that I could give him my own personal advice, if he was interested. Yes, he was interested.
I immediately noticed his heavy Spanish accent. He was struggling to speak to me in English and was having great difficulty understanding my responses. Being a fluent Spanish speaker, I continued discussing the merits of certain brands of caulk over others, in Spanish. He immediately warmed up to me when he saw that the language hurdle had suddenly and unexpectedly been removed. We continued conversing pleasantly in Spanish for several minutes. His wife joined the conversation, too.
He complimented my Spanish repeatedly and effusively. My response, translated into English: “And you, my friend? How about your English?”
He smiled and made the typical excuse that he can’t afford to take English classes and doesn’t have time. I told