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Language Hierarchy

Written By: RaulR on July 30, 2008 No Comment

In my education 140 class we have encountered the issues of language translations programs for immigrants in an article called “English for the Children” by Gutierrez, K (2000). It had occurred to me that the article only focused on the issues of language accommodation for Hispanic immigrants, rather than from a global perspectives of incorporating translation programs for other countries. My instructor Usree, informed me that there is such a thing as language hierarchy, and Spanish is one of the most privileged of all the other languages. This made me upset to think that there is not that much equality happening when it comes to language translation services. Perhaps the main issues always has to deal with money, government in relation to the area as well, but my instructor made a good point that language translation services should be available in certain places such as hospitals, bus stations, and so on.If it is an issue of money, then could we not find better solutions to the many resources we have in this country, such as enabling translation services to the many nearby Universities, colleges within every state? I now would like to end by doing a critical analysis of two academic pieces that relates to the issues of language privilege, diversity, particularly with hispanics a piece called “Foreign Policy”by Huntington (2004), and an article by Delpit called “other People’s Children: cultural Conflict in the Classroom” (1995).
In the article by Samuel P. Huntington, his ideas about language diversity is dialectically very oppositional to Lisa Delpit’s ideas of language diversity in her article Other People’s Children. Huntington’s strong argumentation advocates for a unified “American identity” and language, his idea would lead many readers with the interpretation that people should embrace the roots of our “white -Anglo” forefathers who founded this country. As opposed to Delpit, who advocates for the embrace and inclusion of linguistic and cultural diversity, a means that education should foster within a “global community.”
Huntington argues that immigration into the United States from Latin American countries, such as Mexico poses a threat to deconstruct the “American” national language tied from the legacy of the Anglo-Protestant culture that once thrived, but still dominates this country. He utilizes the rhetorical tool of appealing to many reader’s pathos or emotions with the idea of Latinos’ unwillingness to assimilate to “American ideals.” Huntington’s position is that he defines cultural and political integrity by unification through the English language. He has his points that we should all be unified by one language. Knowing how to speak English has given me the advantage to learn about other cultures because of researched materials available, I can learn about any other culture because of my knowledge of the English language. However, Delpit leaves us with the idea that we should still embrace and hold on to our own cultural roots and beliefs. Huntington’s arguments that “something must be done” before Spanish-speaking immigrants become the power structure, is a weak argument. There are ways that he can re-phrase this argument, instead of taking the easy way out and trying to make it seem like the Hispanics poses to be a big threat to America.
Lisa Delpit views are completely hyperbolically at different endpoints from Huntington as far as the issue of diversity is concerned. While Huntington’s views are from a more conservative, privileged foreign white policy maker, as if readers are supposed to envision him with this popular “American ideology” of him as some kind of ‘protector’ of American ideals. Delpit’s views are purely from the perspective of an educator. She is a voice for a culturally and linguistically diverse American student population. She leaves us with this mentality that we should approach language and diversity from a bigger picture, and that is to relate it to a bigger picture and that is to think globally. She stresses the importance of the diverse linguistic forms that students bring to school, and how that can only empower the cognitive development of children. Huntington’s argument cannot stop the growth of diversification in America, yet we should still stress how English as the power language has a positive point that it unites other races together, whereas Delpit’s article helps us to contribute a growth in expanding our cognitive development through our diversity in language, and learning to think as a global community.

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