Ontopic Longer Coke ad to air tonight during the Olympics. Lets discuss language...

fly

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Oct 1, 2004
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So apparently Coke will be showing a longer version of the commercial aired during the Super Bowl where the song, "America the Beautiful" is sung in seven different languages. The mouth breathers of Twitter got all fired up last time about it. The debate is likely to start again tonight. While racism and xenophobia mostly signals low intelligence, I wonder if there is a shred of validity in their arguments. The US does not have a national language. I'm assuming that's because we've sorta stood behind the "melting pot" ideal. However, is that good?

There are plenty of arguments for having a national language, and asking people to speak it. Safety is an easy argument. Having to staff and speak Spanish to a 911 operator, ambulance driver, or doctor is ridiculous in cases of emergency. However, I think the best argument is simply integration. The 'melting pot' idea doesn't actually work if you don't melt into the fabric of the US by adding your customs, experiences, and knowledge. Today, we have areas of the country where English isn't used at all. These areas are basically a language silo that don't participate with the rest of the US. Can that actually be good?

How do other countries handle this? @Fat Lola @gee @tre @DJBrenton @polo (worth a shot)

edit: If you haven't seen or heard about what these fools are all up in arms about, check this:
http://www.voanews.com/content/coke-commercial-sparks-debate/1843696.html
 
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We handle it by being decent, understanding human beings. Most people who immigrate here make an effort to learn english to make their lives easier. We have two official languages here, and even an official languages act, which states that all federal services be provided in anyone's choice of french or english. In western Canada (BC) 15% of the population have a primary language that is neither english or french (lots of punjabi, cantonese and mandarin). Up north, there is quite a bit of Native languages spoken. We obviously cannot accomodate all languages, but I don't find it offensive that people bring new languages here - all of our ancestors did that. Canada is truly multicultural - that's what being a Canadian is. As long as you like hockey, you're good.
 
The only douchebags about language are hardcore French Canadians. Quebec literally has language police who go around giving people a hard time. They have laws for signage in stores stating that French must be displayed first, and larger than other languages. They tried to get Home Depot to change their name in Quebec to something more french. Home Depot pretty much told them to go fuck themselves.
 
I love the melting pot of cultures here, but there has to be some unity with language for us to all get along for the long term. :hs:
 
Up here in Canada, Quebec has a ton of people who speak only French, but the province is full of french infrastructure (so no issues calling 911 or whatever) and public-facing positions in the federal government are bilingual, so everything generally works.

I don't think the safety argument is valid - hospitals, 911 call centers, etc... are invariably staffed by locals, so if someone gets injured in a spanish speaking area of a city, chances are there's gonna be someone at the 911 call center who can speak spanish, and spanish speaking nurses in the ER. Most hospitals employ translators anyway.

I think putting your foot down and saying "YOU'RE IN 'MURICA, SPEAK 'MURICAN" is being an asshole, and the mass of people who share that belief are probably the reason why people of different cultures/languages often times *don't* participate.
 
I don't think the safety argument is valid - hospitals, 911 call centers, etc... are invariably staffed by locals, so if someone gets injured in a spanish speaking area of a city, chances are there's gonna be someone at the 911 call center who can speak spanish, and spanish speaking nurses in the ER. Most hospitals employ translators anyway.

Ehh... if you have an emergency, getting a translator over can cost valuable time, especially in a busy hospital
 
Ehh... if you have an emergency, getting a translator over can cost valuable time, especially in a busy hospital

you bring your own translator if you can't speak it. My wife's grandmother gets all confused and starts speaking Italian all the time, so my mother in law is usually with her to figure shit out.
 
you bring your own translator if you can't speak it. My wife's grandmother gets all confused and starts speaking Italian all the time, so my mother in law is usually with her to figure shit out.

That is ok if you have a routine visit, but people don't usually get to plan their emergencies
 
Ehh... if you have an emergency, getting a translator over can cost valuable time, especially in a busy hospital
There's probably not a lot of circumstances where time is extremely valuable (eg, blood loss, gunshot wounds, etc) and you still need to communicate with the patient, assuming they're even conscious.
 
There's nothing racist of xenophobic about believing that working to cement cultural breakdowns slows down progress in the US. Really @fly, you might as well start claiming that anyone who refuses to learn Spanish, Tagalog, Mandarin, Hindi, Hebrew, Keres, Senegalese-French and Arabic (languages in the Coke ad), or all other languages spoken somewhere in the US is racist and xenophobic.
 
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There's probably not a lot of circumstances where time is extremely valuable (eg, blood loss, gunshot wounds, etc) and you still need to communicate with the patient, assuming they're even conscious.

I was more thinking of children that had swallowed something or such, gunshots are easy to diagnose
 
We handle it by being decent, understanding human beings. Most people who immigrate here make an effort to learn english to make their lives easier.

I think that's my point. I don't have a problem with people speaking other languages, but we have large swaths of people that aren't making the effort to speak both the local language and their own. That just seems like it can't be good.
 
There's nothing racist of xenophobic about believing that working to cement cultural breakdowns slows down progress in the US. Really @fly, you might as well start claiming that anyone who refuses to learn Spanish, Tagalog, Mandarin, Hindi, Hebrew, Keres, Senegalese-French and Arabic (languages in the Coke ad), or all other languages spoken somewhere in the US is racist and xenophobic.
I don't really pretend to understand what you said, but I'm sure it was probably racist. :lol:
 
I was more thinking of children that had swallowed something or such, gunshots are easy to diagnose
So everyone should speak the same language in the US because a poisoned child might get brought into an ER and the extra minute spent tracking down a translator to figure out what the child got into might cause extra harm.

Makes sense, gotta protect those innocent/precious children.
 
So everyone should speak the same language in the US because a poisoned child might get brought into an ER and the extra minute spent tracking down a translator to figure out what the child got into might cause extra harm.

Makes sense, gotta protect those innocent/precious children.

if that kid's gonna die, it's the parent's fault, not the ER's fault. The parent choosing not to learn english is their choice, and they therefore accept the risks that go along with it.