Monolingualism

The monolingual mindset: Felicity Meakins at TEDxSouthBankWomen

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This is a Tedx talk about how linguistics can better inform teaching practices, using the relationship between multi-lingual indigenous children and monolingual English teachers in Australia as an example. While the solutions proposed are quite simple (such as providing teachers with resources about the at-home languages of these children), it just shows how under-informed these teachers can be about where these children are coming from. The talk also briefly addresses the issue of the monolingual argument "These people need to learn English."

Posted by Elaina Wittmer on April 20, 2018

Tags:
Monolingualism;
Multilingualism

Foreign Word Pronounciation

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College Humor showing how trying to fit in with the culture is not always a positive thing.

Posted by Sam Georgiana on December 15, 2017

Tags:
Performativity;
Accent;
Monolingualism

Spanish Words "White" People Can't Say

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A comedic take on "white" people trying to pronounce Spanish words and their struggle in the performance of a basic Spanish lexicon—even in words that share a striking spelling resemblance to its English cognate. Some noteworthy examples appear when the participants are asked to pronounce “refrigerador” and “negar,” with some subjects showing visible apprehension to merely attempt the latter.

Why Don't We All Speak the Same Language?

A part of Freakonomics' radio series "Earth 2.0" in which they discuss why humans have language and the costs and benefits of people speaking different languages. They also discuss what we should change if we were to "create" Earth again. [Published on 09-13-2017]

Posted by Melanie Stoddard on September 14, 2017

Tags:
Acquisition;
Globalization;
Monolingualism;
Multilingualism

English Motherf*****

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An interrogation scene from the HBO series The Wire. Through their use of mock language two detectives index a language ideology that places the immigrant's language as substandard to English. This language ideology restricts the agency of the immigrant by reinforcing language inequality through the positioning of English as the only tool that can serve the communicative function in this discourse.

Nail Salon

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In this video a comedian is talking about her time at a nail salon, all the while impersonating the women who work at the nail salon. She uses an accent to do so. Although she is using it as a joke, is stereotypes Vietnamese nail salon workers to be both pushy but also unaware. By doing this she further emphasizes a separation between the English customers and non-English workers. In watching the video, it is easy to think that the workers are uneducated because it seems as though they don't understand English, but there is no effort being done on the customers side to really communicate in their language. Here, English is being depicted as a more educated language, creating stigma for the women working.

Posted by Jackie B on July 2, 2017

Tags:
Indexicality;
Race,Ethnicity;
Monolingualism;
Stigma

British People Attempting Their Best American Accent

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This is titled "British People Attempting Their Best American Accent," which really encapsulates the main point of the video. Essentially, aside from a handful of outliers, the attempts at accents reflected stereotypes that some British people tend to think Americans hold. The accents revolved around "Southern," "Californian/Surfer," and "Hyper-Metropolitan" accents. The words included by those speaking generally reflected stereotypes involving surfing and smoking weed (for the Californian/Surfer), eating cheeseburgers, shopping, and gossip (Hyper-Metropolitan), and drinking beer and shooting guns (Southern). The participants were not asked to do a specific kind of "American accent," either, they merely did an accent that they deemed to be what is "the American accent." How Americans are perceived by these participants was evident in their style of speech and words chosen to reflect typical American conversation along; one could also possibly argue that this reflects that some British people group all of the American identities into one conglomerate identity which they deem to be wholly "American." Thinking about this more outside of the video, I feel that this could be true in terms of how Americans think of other cultures as well, like how Americans think of the British identities.

Press One for English

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This music video features a clearly Anglo couple singing in thick Southern U.S. accents about the need to speak English in the United States. It clearly showcases many examples of languages ideologies and subtle racism. The video indexes a strong relationship between an American identity and English ability by using many flags, referencing the U.S. military, and blatantly saying "English is the language of the land." They also support the dominance of English, associating it with the opportunities of America, even ironically saying that "We share this land of liberties, so please speak English". Language is closely tied to one's identity, and it is a great abuse to force language upon another person. It's also very difficult to learn another language, especially to full proficiency, once one has passed puberty. Despite these facts, the lyric "You chose to come, now choose to speak English", insists that to be accepted as an American, you must alter a fundamental aspect of your being. The song goes on to associate different languages with "others", saying " I don't live in China, Mexico, no foreign place," and frequently implying that to speak another language is to be lesser, especially in the U.S. These attitudes surrounding English are what create the English hegemony in the U.S., but just because it is the norm doesn't mean it is positive. Many nations are multilingual and there are massive benefits, but this song maintains that it is absurd to have "subtitles in 5 languages" and that as an American, "why should I have to press one for English?". English is massively dominant in the U.S., despite the present of many other varieties over time. The dominance of English is closely tied to the systematic oppression of various ethnic groups in the U.S. over time.

Trump Relies on Mock Spanish to Talk About Immigration (OPINION)

This blog post is about how non-Spanish speaking white peoples' use of "mock Spanish" is a form of covert racism that is used as a unconsciously strategic effort to silently dominate the folks who are imagined to speak the language, but to do so through attempts at silliness, humor and acting "cool” or "with it". [Published on 10-20-2016]

'English Only' Sign Triples Diner's Business

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This video reports about an owner of a diner in North Carolina that gained major support when he posted an 'English Only' sign at his door. In this interview the owner claims it started because of it was annoying to him and his staff to have to wait on people that did not speak English. He said it became very frustrating for both parties and eventually the Spanish speaking customers were hostile towards him. When the sign was first put out the diner tripled its business. People from the local community supported his stance and pledged their support for him in there continual attendance. He even said people requested to have their own signs so he made copies and has given out nearly 2,000 signs. What was shocking to me was the national support this man was getting. Celebrity new anchors and various organizations contacted him in support of his stance. One political organization even offered free law support if he were to come into any conflict regarding the issue. I figured something like this would have support, but not nearly to the magnitude it did. What shocked me even more was the lack of push-back he was receiving. He claimed that there was little to none. That being so, it can either show the dominant ideology in America regarding the English Only movement, or the difficulty to organize anti-Engliah Only groups.

Posted by Matthew Gerlomes on March 29, 2017

Tags:
Monolingualism

17 Reasons Americans Should Be Embarrassed They Only Speak English

This article gives insight onto why only being able to speak English, as is common to a majority of American's, is not a good thing. This article expresses how, as American's we should strive to learn other languages instead of expecting others to know ours. [Published on 03-19-2014]

"Pick-Up Artist"

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This artifact is showing how different people communicate on a daily basis, and how each person has a different way of showing how the communicate. With this skit, most of it exaggerated for comical effect. But this is showing the diversity of people and there language through a simple conversation in group settings. In this skit there is gender rolls being played of femininity and masculinity, while showing the differences within the women's language. And how this "Art of the Pick-Up" class is teaching women how to properly express themselves.

Multilingualism on cognitive development

This article talks about how children who are bilingual gain an advantage at problem solving versus a child who is monolingual. [Published on 02-11-2016]

Posted by Kelley Lane on February 11, 2016

Tags:
Youth;
Education;
Monolingualism;
Multilingualism

Arizona news anchor is drawn into debate on her accent and use of Spanish

A Spanish/English bilingual newscaster on an Arizona TV station is criticized for her pronunciation and use of Spanish. She wonderfully says, "change can be hard, but it's normal." [Published on 09-03-2015]

Posted by Kara Becker on September 17, 2015

Tags:
American English;
Spanish;
Monolingualism;
Multilingualism

Henry Cho, Asian American comedian with Southern accent

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Henry Cho is a Korean American comedian from Knoxville, Tennessee. He talks in his act about belonging to certain groups, using his own experiences as a Korean American southern English-speaking person as sources of comedy. The stereotypical cultural correlates of his appearance and his speech may be in conflict for some viewers.

BBC News: Economic success drives language extinction

Research shows that in countries with more successful economies, minority languages are at greater risk of extinction (due to one language dominating political, educational, and economic spheres). [Published on 09-02-2014]

Posted by Emma Rennie on September 4, 2014

Tags:
Power;
Monolingualism;
Politics and Policy

NPR Article on Russia and Nearby Countries/Languages

"Ethnic Russians" in Ukraine and Estonia are defined/described by their language ], especially in relation/contrast to the language spoken by the relevant nation. [Published on 09-04-2014]

Posted by Allesandra Jade Geffen on September 4, 2014

Tags:
Race,Ethnicity;
Contact;
Monolingualism

Coca-Cola's 2014 Super Bowl Ad

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The coke ad from the 2014 Super Bowl, in which "America the Beautiful" is sung in multiple languages. This ad sparked much internet controversy related to the U.S.' ideology of monolingualism.

Posted by Kara Becker on September 3, 2014

Tags:
American English;
Monolingualism;
Multilingualism

When Ordering Speak English

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States with English-Only Legislation

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James Crawford's map from 2003 showing those states that have adopted English-Only legislation.

U.S. English

The official website of U.S. English, the oldest citizen's action group dedicated to making English the official language of the United States.

Posted by Kara Becker on August 28, 2014

Tags:
American English;
Monolingualism;
Politics and Policy

Super Bowl's Coke Ad Didn't Sit too well with some people

A discussion of the negative reactions to Coke's 2014 Super Bowl ad, in which "America the beautiful" was sung in a number of languages. [Published on 02-03-2014]

Posted by Kara Becker on April 21, 2014

Tags:
American English;
Monolingualism;
Multilingualism

A call for respecting dialect diversity

A 2014 opinion piece profiling the work of Walt Wolfram and colleagues at N.C. State who have a dialect diversity program designed to raise awareness about dialect diversity and the way language is used as a proxy to discriminate

Posted by Kara Becker on March 9, 2014

Tags:
American English;
Education;
Monolingualism;
Stigma

English Only Rule Scrapped at Utah Prisons

A 2013 article on slate.com documenting the removal of the U.S.'s only written rule from a state prison limiting the language used during prisoner visits to English only.