No subject

Christina Paulston paulston at
Sat Jan 17 22:24:38 UTC 2009

	Some of the language-rights literature is based on law cases and  
quite a few of them is based on the defendants being sued for speaking  
their mother tongue at the work place.  One of the latest involved of  
all people the Salvation Army.  The employer usually loses the case.   

On Jan 17, 2009, at 3:01 PM, Don Osborn wrote:

> Has anything been written on this perspective of multilingual  
> interaction?...  Is it universal that people assume that speech they  
> do not understand between others is negative and about them? Having  
> lived in multilingual societies, I don't remember that sort of  
> general reaction, though the context might make a big difference,  
> and often someone in a multilingual group conversation will take it  
> upon themselves to brief someone who obviously is not going to  
> understand a particular discussion.
> I have had the impression since long ago that it is a "monolingual"  
> American trait. In high school I think it was, I remember an  
> interaction like this: someone asks an exchange student to say  
> something in their language, the latter then obliges, and then the  
> first student asks if they did not just say something bad about them.
> Two excerpts from the NPR article in particular give rise to this  
> question now:
> "So let's say that there's two staff members, me and another staff  
> member, sitting in the office, and we're both talking in a foreign  
> language - that we shouldn't do that if we both understand English,  
> because it's not fair to the other people who walk in and out of the  
> office, who may not understand what we're talking about," [District  
> Superintendent Brian] Whiston says.
>  . . .
> "I think human nature is, if you don't understand something, the  
> assumption is that they're talking about you. I think it tends to  
> put people who are not familiar with the language in an  
> uncomfortable position," [president of the Dearborn Federation of  
> Teachers Kevin] Harris says.
> . . .
> From: owner-lgpolicy-list at [mailto:owner-lgpolicy-list at 
> ] On Behalf Of jbale at
> Sent: Saturday, January 17, 2009 11:18 AM
> To: lgpolicy-list at
> Subject: Michigan: Dearborn schools leader: Foreign language use  
> limited
> This report on Michigan Radio, MI' NPR station, offers a little more
> detail than the Detroit Free Press article - and a little more cause  
> for concern.
> Keep in mind that Dearborn secondary schools are partnered with
> Michigan State University's Arabic Flagship, focusing primarily on
> curriculum development at this point.  In addition, one primary and
> one intermediate school use one of the largest FLAP grants to support
> Arabic instruction and curriculum development.  Like I said, this
> newest report is cause for concern.
> Regards,
> Jeff
> ---
> Jeffrey Bale, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor of Second Language Education
> World Languages Faculty Leader
> Department of Teacher Education
> College of Education
> Michigan State University
> 356 Erickson Hall
> East Lansing, MI 48824
> 517-353-0750 (office)
> 517-505-8888 (cell)
> 517-432-5092 (fax)
> jbale at

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