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Thoughts on Bilingual Education

July 12, 1986

While we're on the subject of "bilinguistics": England's national language is English; France's national language is French, and Japan's national language is Japanese. For the life of me, I can't understand why the United States doesn't adopt English as its national language! American tourists in foreign countries expect to be able to find people who will speak English to them. Why can't--no, why shouldn't--we in the United States expect people who choose to make the United States their home learn to speak English?

Almost everywhere I go in Southern California (Los Angeles, in particular) I see examples of unwillingness on the part of foreigners to learn our language. Why must the United States cater to its foreign residents? Surely, if I went to live in France I would have to learn French! Our foreign residents want all the benefits that the United States can bestow, but they don't want to learn the language. Is that fair?

Has anyone noticed that the street signs at the intersection of Western Avenue and Olympic Boulevard are made so they include the names in Korean? Whose country is this, anyway?

GRACE B. WEINSTEIN

Los Angeles

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