New York City becomes multi-lingual

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Fri Jul 25 14:35:45 UTC 2008


New York City becomes multi-lingual Chad Groening - OneNewsNow - 7/24/2008
12:10:00 PM

An English language advocate says New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has
opened a huge can of worms with a new policy aimed at providing services in
six foreign languages besides English. Many city services in the Big Apple
have been available for years in foreign languages. But Bloomberg's order is
the first uniform, citywide policy requiring agencies to provide assistance
and translation in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Italian, and French
Creole, the language of Haitian immigrants. Bloomberg argues that the nearly
two million New Yorkers who struggle with speaking English should be able to
interact more easily with government.

[image: English lesson]But Jim Boulet, executive director of English
First<http://www.englishfirst.org/>,
says this is yet another example of pandering to people who should be
required to become proficient in English. "It's more than just pandering;
it's driving up the cost for the taxpayers into the absolute stratosphere,"
Boulet contends. "This is political correctness run amok."

Those implementing the new policy, according to Boulet, must deal with the
fact that there are multiple dialects of languages like Chinese. "There are
not only three spoken dialects of Chinese, but two written versions – one
that's used primarily on the communist mainland and the other used on
Taiwan, which means that even the choice of written language will be a
political statement," Boulet adds.

Instead of this expansive language policy, Boulet believes New York City
should simply require that all official business be conducted in
English. "When the government gets in the translation business, mistakes are
going to be made in simple things of nuance -- all kinds of problems.
Whereas if the government in New York functioned in English, as it has for
over 300 years, and said if you don't speak English bring someone with you
who does, as immigrants did for 300 years, [we] wouldn't have a problem,"
Boulet laments. "But...now it's if the immigrant doesn't understand English,
it's our problem."

http://www.onenewsnow.com/Culture/Default.aspx?id=189402

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