I think that we should try to accommodate different languages and that there shouldn’t be any English only laws. The United States is not only a melting pot, but also has been a place of refuge for many. If we take away the right to speak another language and make everything English only, we are going against everything that America was founded on.
Our country is made of immigrants and people from other places. I think the additions of cultures is what has made America the place to come and is what helped create the “American dream.”
I think that there will never be a need to make English only laws. There are so many programs and volunteers that teach English, and even without knowing English people are still finding ways to get around. I have family in California that live in Glendale, or “little Armenia.” They haven’t learned a lot of English, but they have adapted to their community and surroundings enough to get done what they need.
My service learning is right on this topic. My family and I have been able to help teach English to a refugee family from the Congo. They speak Swahili, and their family is trying to learn English. We go with them and help them practice, as well as do things like reading and writing. The younger children are better at speaking and have learned good colloquial English, but the older siblings and mom struggle. It has been interesting to see how the mom excels the most in reading and writing, but has a hard time speaking, while the children have an easier time speaking but trouble grasping things like grammar and writing.
We had the family over for dinner, and we all tried to make them as comfortable as possible. One of the girls who is about 15 or 16, has beautiful braided hair. We were talking about her hair when I asked “do you think I would be able to pull it off?” Of course, when we hear this its easy to know what I was asking; I was wondering if I would look good if I had my hair braided like hers.
However, she looked at my terrified and immediately held tight to the hair on her head while saying “no no no no no.” She had thought that I was asking if I could literally pull her hair off of her head! We all laughed and I explained to her the colloquial meaning of what I had said.
I loved learning about motivation as a variable in intercultural communication and competence. It is a huge factor and dimension of being able to communicate, especially across different cultures. I had the opportunity to live in the country of Georgia, right by Turkey and Russia. It was fascinating and I remember being very intimidated by the culture, even though it neighbors Armenia. I was very motivated to learn the ways of the Georgians, their language, and their sense of humor. I saw others who weren’t motivated, and it seemed to halt any communication competence between the two cultures.
This was another point I noticed in Babakieuria. There was no motivation to really learn about the different culture or understand it, they just accepted it as “the way it was.” It was so interesting to watch this movie from this reversed perspective, because it all seemed so crazy. It just seemed ridiculous that this is how people were being treated and the way they were looked upon as different people. It is hard to believe that people have actually acted this way, and even might continually still. These people lack motivation in understanding different cultures and have no communication competence when it comes to intercultural affairs.
I absolutely love learning about culture and all the different diversity that it entails. I am lucky enough to have been able to experience many different cultures in my lifetime. My dad was born in Syria and immigrated to the U.S. when he was younger, so I was raised in a big, loving, Armenian family. They do things a lot differently, and I grew up seeing a lot of my dads siblings in their arranged marriages and different way of living. They brought a lot of traditions and components from the “old-land,” so I was raised on Armenian food, growing out hair and wearing black after a death of a family member, going to Armenian school, and participating in Armenian funerals.
In Chapter 2, we talked about different components and mores that are apart of culture. It is so interesting to learn about these when it is something we have participated in our whole lives. For example, some hidden components in American culture is not to talk about weight or even body changes in general. However, in Armenian and Middle Eastern culture, there is no offense in bringing up how much weight you’ve gained or the size of your feet or the acne on your face. This blunt truth is something that isn’t considered rude or impolite, even though to Americans it is incredibly innapropriate.
We learn so many different aspects to our social identification in our different cultures we are raised in as well as surrounded by. It is so interesting to learn about something we might not necessarily be aware of even though it is something we are involved in everyday.
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