Barack Obama on Learning Spanish

Barack Obama, during a rally at Powder Springs, Georgia, has suggested that American children learn to speak Spanish. It’s a suggestion that is bound to get people talking, in English.

Barack Obama at Powder Springs


“I don’t understand when people are going about worrying about “we need to have English only. They want to pass a law, “We want English only”. Now I agree that immigrants should learn English. I agree with that. Now I agree that immigrants should learn English. I agree with that but. But understand this! Instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English, they’ll learn English, you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish! You should be thinking about how your child can become bilingual. We should have every child speaking more than one language. Y’all it’s embarrassing when Europeans come over here they all speak English, they speak French, they speak German, and then we go over to Europe and all we can say is Merci Beaucoup. Right?”

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)

Predictably, the people Obama is referring to, such as US English, are not happy. US English points out that twice in the last three years, the U.S. Senate passed measures to make English the national language and to reduce multilingual entitlements. Legislation is currently pending in both the House and the Senate that would make English the official language. One bill, H.R. 997, the English Language Unity Act, has nearly 150 bi-partisan co-sponsors.

There is a large number of countries with English as the official language while nurturing proficiency in other languages in early education. England, USA and Australia are the only three countries I’m aware of that have English as the “de facto official” language.

Photo by Joeff Davis

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