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I have received some emails as a result of my previous post. These emails conveyed messages which ran along the lines of "...you ethnocentric bitch..." and other, similar, uncomplimentary epithets.

In my own defense, I can say that I speak six languages (seven, if you want to count now-defunct Fortran and now that I think of it Latin makes 8 and Ameslan is 9). I have lived overseas, learned the local language, though I had no intention of becoming a citizen. I just wanted to be able to speak to other people in their mother tongue and to be able to understand them when they spoke to me. (One of the countries of residence not only had different languages but different writing systems as well.)

I think that people who live in my country should do what I did. Everyone, no matter how tone deaf, can learn enough of a language to get along in the day-to-day interchanges. And making the effort to speak the other person's language says, "I respect your culture and I want to be able to communicate with you." It's too bad that I have not been able to keep up my fluency in some of them.

A person who has lived many years in this country; a U.S. citizen who is third generation, all non-English speaking; a person who rejects any notion of speaking my language insults me. He says that he does not care to talk to me; he does not acknowledge the existence of the country in which he lives and works; his insistence that business be conducted in his language, not English, is a slap in the face.

Is it too much to ask American citizens and residents to speak some everyday English? I think not.

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