Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Across the lines

Here's a conservative blogger raging against xenoglossophobia. For those of you not up on the latest polispeak, that means "fear of foreign languages".

Part of me wants to scream "Right on!" And rail with him against the ugly Americans. But then part of me brings up all the social and geographical reasons Americans have no need to learn foreign languages.

I recently got into an argument with my dad around immigration and globalization. I couldn't believe how angry he got because his ATM asks him what language he wants to proceed in.This is an old-school liberal, pro-union guy. He's also very into his Danish and Irish heritage, has travelled in Europe extensively, and drives a Volvo. He's no redneck.

He also encouraged me to live abroad, is proud of my education, and is happy that I speak a foreign language. But he has a kind oif NIMBY attitude to language. Those foreign ones are fine over there, but back home we speak English. It's a confusing position if you think only in terms of xenoglossophobia.

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