Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I don't want to press "1" for English!

I have nothing against immigrants--really, I don't: My grandparents came to America from another country, and I'm glad they did. However, I have a huge problem with people who arrive in this country and then not only fail to learn English but also expect the rest of us to cater to their native language.

When my grandparents arrived in the US they immediately set about acclimating themselves to the new culture, including the language. Never once did they expect anyone to print special versions of flyers, phone books, newspapers, coupons, driver's license exams, or anything else in THEIR native tongue. And why should they? After all, when you move to another country the onus is on you to adapt to its culture, not vice versa.

So what pisses me off is not immigration, per se, but rather the idea that everywhere I look there are signs written in foreign languages and--last I checked--I'm still in America. What bugs me the most is having to "press 1 for English" when I call American companies. Why should I have to select English when we're in America?! Why isn't English the default language? Why can't they come up with some other way of dealing with non-English speaking callers? (Never mind that I wish those non-English speaking callers would learn the fucking language.)

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