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Human understanding

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The single most important way that we can get along with our fellow man is to understand him. This understanding can occur in many ways, but the critical one is through language. We have to be able to understand what he says in order to get along well with him. And that is why anyone coming to America to live must learn English.

This is not a xenophobic assertion. It applies to any situation where a newcomer enters a foreign nation. If someone were to take a job in Warsaw it would be incumbent upon them to learn Polish. The Poles would not be obliged to learn English for the new arrival's benefit. Such a fact is so obvious that it should not have to be stated. For one thing, it's a practical necessity. For another, it only shows a decent respect for one's new culture. You're in their house: you do things, as a rule, their way.

To be sure, there's nothing wrong with a neighborhood of, say, ethnic Poles living in the United States having signs in their stores in Polish. Nor is it wrong to keep your old customs within your own household or group. But if you really want to become part of a new culture, and presumably you do if you've moved into one, then you are more obliged to learn the language of your new home than your new neighbors might be to learn yours. That might be nice of them but it is not obligatory. They were here first; you came to them. You're the one who needs to adapt.

If you insist on having things your way, well, it is that which is truly arrogant as opposed to the majority of the nation wishing to keep things as they are. Why should a newcomer demand such consideration? But more, it will in the long run keep you separate. Language will be a wedge which will keep you from being understood and accepted. That would not be the fault of the general populace. And you and your family will be the ones who suffer most.

Anyone short of thieves and ne'er do wells should be welcome in America. It is our reasonably open borders which made us great. But if you really want to be an American, speak English. Only then will you fully understand Her.

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