Tuesday, August 18, 2009

ESL, Ulpan, whatever- just do it!

On Shabbat, Eh went to visit one of her friends. There, we met another little girl, ' a cousin from Eretz Yisroel'. This was exciting to me and I didn't hesitate to mention that Eh's cousin from Israel was visiting as well.

While the kids were playing, I asked Eh's friend's mom if she knew how to say 'slides' in Hebrew. She said that unfortunately she didn't speak a word of Hebrew. Then, I turned to cousin-from-Eretz-Yisroel's mom and asked her the same question.
Her reply? A proud "I don't know. I live in an American neighborhood and I don't need to know Hebrew..."

I jokingly told her that she's like the Russians on Brighton who live in the country for 20+ years and can barely speak a coherent sentence in English. She agreed with a serious look on her face.

I let the subject drop but it bothered me long enough to actually post about it.

What's up with all these people who don't bother to learn the language of the country where they live?! The babysitters who want to teach you and your kids how to speak Spanish instead of trying to learn from you OR your kids how to speak English... The cleaning ladies whose vocabularies year after year after year don't change much and include something like 'bounty, Windex, Ajax (pronounced a-Hoks), fantastic, lot-of-work-more-money'...The students and their families who pride themselves in learning in 'Eretz Yisroel' yet can't express themselves well enough in a grocery store and may ask for 'chicken's underwear' instead of 'chicken bottoms'?!

And there are many many more examples but unfortunately I must get to bed or else. In conclusion, I say the foreigners should drop the pride in their ignorance and attempt to learn a little. I hear it may delay the onset of senile dementia...

14 comments:

still waiting said...

love it- totally agree!!!

La Poutine Cachere said...

"lot of work, more money".

Perfect!

Barb Chansky said...

A month ago I was actually swearing at the ATM because it always takes longer due to the extra "language selection" nonsence; scared the poor girl next to me

Sally Hazel said...

It's the pride in their on ignorance that annoys the heck out of me.,.

Moshe said...

yu no vat ur problem iz? yu ashamed of ver yu born!

Moshe said...

For those who watched newsradio, remember this:

Mr. James: "The original title of this book was 'Jimmy James, Capitalist Lion Tamer' but I see now that it's... 'Jimmy James, Macho Business Donkey Wrestler'... you know what it is... I had the book translated in to Japanese then back in again into English. Macho Business Donkey Wrestler... well there you go... it's got kind of a ring to it don't it? Anyway, I wanted to read from chapter three... which is the story of my first rise to financial prominence... I had a small house of brokerage on Wall Street... many days no business come to my hut... my hut... but Jimmy has fear? A thousand times no. I never doubted myself for a minute for I knew that my monkey strong bowels were girded with strength like the loins of a dragon ribboned with fat and the opulence of buffalo... dung. ...Glorious sunset of my heart was fading. Soon the super karate monkey death car would park in my space. But Jimmy has fancy plans... and pants to match. The monkey clown horrible karate round and yummy like cute small baby chick would beat the donkey."

Question: "Mr. James, what did you mean when you wrote bad clown making like super American car racers, I would make them sweat, War War?"
Mr. James: "Well, you know... it's LIKE when a clown is making like a car... racer... it's sorta... like... the FCC. The CLOWN... the clown is like the FCC... and I was opposed to the FCC at the time, right? So it was like I was declaring War. WARRRR!"

Question: "So then did the American yum yum clown monkey also represent the FCC?"
Mr. James: "Yeah, it did. Thanks a LOT!"

Question: "What did you mean when you said, "Feel my skills, donkey donkey donkey, donkey donkey?"
Mr. James: *Sigh*

Sally Hazel said...

Moshe, an excellent point( however, your comments begin to resemble somebody's posts...:)

Sophie said...

I used feel the same way you do, but as I got older, I realized that there's a lot of truth to the saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks".
I asked one of my coworkers to teach me some Hebrew and no matter how hard she tried and how many times I repeated the words, the next day they were out of my head! Very sad.
Also, some people who may understand the language, may feel inhibited speaking it due to their incorrect pronunciation.
Anyhow, before you launch into fits of righteous indignation, just imagine yourself moving to a different country where the language is completely foreign to you (unlike Hebrew which may not be so foreign).

Moshe said...

You mean like our families moving from Russia, to America and having to learn a completely different language?
You want foreign? I know 200+ words in Japanese. Wife probably knows more.

Sally Hazel said...

I had a decent vocabulary in Cantonese when I worked in China town. And I learned enough Spanish and Tagalog to communicate basic needs because I had an opportunity to learn it from my clients and colleagues. Darn it, I even learned English because I live in an English speaking country. No 'righteous indignation' here, just complete lack of comprehension...

Moshe said...

Daaamn!
I tried learning Mandarin using Pimsleur. Too freaking hard. Pinyin and letters that don't exist in Russian, English or Hebrew. Picking up some words from movies though.
Japanese is so much easier.

Sally Hazel said...

I was initially taught Cantonese by an Irish coworker- his pronounciation was understandably easier to grasp. Once I learned that the 'melody' is actually a bunch of words, etc I started to understand 'real' Chinese people, too

Moshe said...

Irish?!
Heh, sounds like American Fusion where Chinese guy goes to China to learn Chinese and is taught by a black student.

Sally Hazel said...

Grin. Well, in that China town place there was also a Chinese lady who lived in Cuba prior to coming here so she communicated with us in Spanish:)