Spelling bee gets a Spanish spin -- S...

Spelling bee gets a Spanish spin -- Schools, Lake County (Illin...

There are 107 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Apr 2, 2008, titled Spelling bee gets a Spanish spin -- Schools, Lake County (Illin.... In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

Children at a north suburban school stepped to the microphone Wednesday in one of the first Spanish spelling bees statewide, joining a growing effort to put a multilingual spin on the traditionally English ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.

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Dumb As Bricks

AOL

#1 Apr 2, 2008
Well, isn't that dandy.
Most 'students' in public schools in Illinois are barely - if at all, proficient in ENGLISH and now the schools are facilitating Spanish on a large scale. Gee, I wonder why? Could it be because the Spainsh-speaking venues of the world are experiencing such huge economic growth that the future probability of economic interaction is so great that it's essential to prepare Illinois' students to take advantage of those opportunities? No, that's not it; the Spanish-speakers are coming HERE to escape the poverty there. So, it must be that the Vernon Hills schools think that it's a critical use of public/taxpayer's dollars to educate those in their charge to be able to speak in the native tounge of their busboys, dishwashers, kitchen-staff, landscaping-crews, day-laborers they pick up in front of Home Depot and the like. Let's see, how many patents have been registered in Spanish in the last 30 years? Surely, they can't be preparing their students for job interviews in ANY professions, other than either the restaurant business and/or in penal/law-enforcement.
No, they've decided that it's not Chinese language or Indian dialects {the two fastest growing economies in the world with nearly half of the world's population between them} that their students need, but, to be able to order a burrito without using English.
Yo prefearo hablas in Englaise, por favor! No habla in Espanol; no muy gracias, no.
Viva La Raza

United States

#2 Apr 2, 2008
This is great! I see this type of stuff going on more and more everywhere I look around here in Chicago.
Que Freeking Pasa

AOL

#3 Apr 2, 2008
What the...
Talk about a waste of taypayer's money.
Why not have spelling bees in Hebonics too while you're at it?
Sheesh.
Shame on you, shame...
Grendet

United States

#4 Apr 2, 2008
The PC nihilists in charge of this farce need to be dismissed immediately. Few enough Spanish-speakers have even marginal knowledge of English, and this absurd idea is doing nothing to remedy that. If I were to send my children to school in Mexico, for example, what would the honchos do to me if I had the temerity to demand English-language events such as a spelling bee? We should stop this racist dismantling of American culture.
myself

Rockford, IL

#5 Apr 2, 2008
If these people had half a brain they'd be focusing on English - who needs to speak the same language as the dishwasher or landscaping peon? Maybe the idea is to cultivate a permanent underclass? And as 'Dumb as Bricks' said, students should be learning Chinese and Indian, the languages of commerce and of the future.

And 'Viva la Raza'- why is this "great"? What makes it "great"? We'd like some insight as to why you'd say that. I doubt you can make as strong of an argument as 'Dumb as Bricks' did above.
Pedro

United States

#6 Apr 2, 2008
Hey, we're a bilingual country after all so I don't see nothing wrong with this!

Yo hablo Español!
themadtrader

Greenwood, IN

#7 Apr 2, 2008
Pedro wrote:
Hey, we're a bilingual country after all so I don't see nothing wrong with this!
Yo hablo Español!
No, I don't see nothing wrong neither. Learn the language, Bro.
pc nuts

Crystal Lake, IL

#8 Apr 3, 2008
This is outrageous.

This country has an enormous illegal alien problem, and 75% of the millions of illegal aliens are Hispanics from Mexico, Central and South America. One big problem with Hispanic legal immigrants and illegal aliens is their inability or refusal to learn English. This bonehead idea contributes to the problem of Hispanics not assimilating, resulting in two separate cultures.

Our society will be less successful if we are not a cohesive society able to communicate in a common language.

This is a stupid and harmful idea.
Katie

Caen, France

#9 Apr 3, 2008
Well, I guess I'll be unpopular and applaud this effort. For all of you ballyhooing this school's "PC nihilism" (and I'm not sure I understand what's so nihilistic about a grade school spelling bee), perhaps you should take a look at the Vernon Hills school district. This isn't one that struggles much with poverty, nor to receive a passing grade for NCLB. The students receive the vast majority of their instruction in English, if you're so concerned, and dual language instruction can only serve to benefit both native English and Spanish speakers. Having learned French in school from a young age (which, yes, included learning spelling) has helped me enormously in better understanding my own language and in creating personal and professional opportunities
Anyone who wants to reduce this spelling bee to an effort to cater to illegal immigrants or some sort of Hispanic coup of the sacred white American culture needs to cross a border without the aid of a cruise ship.
And may I posit that this spelling bee wouldn't be so contentious were it in any other language but Spanish? After all, learning a language's orthography is an important aspect of being able to communicate effectively.
Nonnie

Chaville, France

#10 Apr 3, 2008
Dumb as bricks is a load of BS, and can't spell English correctly himself. So, Hispanic people are only service people, as he states in his disgusting litany? Shocking, just absolutely shocking to see such xenophobia and racism. They just work harder. Duh, they have the not-so-fun jobs and do them!

Honestly, multilingual is a rather important résumé/ CV item.(Fluency is important, not jsut the fact, well, I barely passed with a C-). Even in the US. It shows branching out, learning capabilities, and effort (a minimum grade with no fluency does not count).

The people at Manpower in Michigan were surprised I was applying for late shift factory jobs, cleaning jobs, anything. I have a teaching degree and speak three languages fluently, but I needed a job. Couldn't find a teaching job in the middle of the year, and needed to make money (for student loans before moving to Europe). So I worked a not-so-fun job. But at my factory job I spoke French with the Polish guy, Spanish with a guy I hadn't seen since high school, but we had fun and mixed it all up and spoke a mix of the both! Traded German phrases with another woman whos grandfather is German. We all had fun in the Breakroom. Everyone spoke English, it's jsut that some spoke other languages in addition.

Cohesion does not mean monolingual. Cohesion needs a common denominator (the local language, so English for the US) but there is absolutely nothing wrong with being able to speak other languages! We should not put down others who want to learn other languages and PRACTICE them in ways such as spelling bees, or using the language in the field in everyday life.
Tic

Downers Grove, IL

#11 Apr 3, 2008
Ok as they have to spell words like
Deportation, Immigration, illegal etc...
Mary

Lombard, IL

#12 Apr 3, 2008
We live in America, which is an English speaking country, or so it should be. If you want spelling bees in Spanish or any other foreign language, go to a different country. I'm tired of Spanish speaking people being treated as if they don't have the ability to learn English. They are smart. All other foreign born people have learned to speak it.
Nonnie

Chaville, France

#13 Apr 3, 2008
hmm, an earlier post attempt didn't work... so let me rehash a couple commentss:

Anyway, I am a foreign language teacher and Spelling bees in Spanish is an excellent idea for a classroom and language club! Boy oh boy, now I want to go back to teaching.

Spanish is fairly easy to spell though, so they should offer spelling bees in other languages, like French, German, Italian, and Latin, which are popular langauges we can learn in middle and high schools. Those are a bit harder to spell (although I find French to be a cinch, but that is just my opinion).

You don't need to be Anglophone ot participate in an English spelling bee, just like you don't have to be Hispanic to participate in a Spanish spelling bee. I think a foreign language spelling bee (ok, so a French or German one would have to be a regional or national thing, seeing as how not as many younger students speak or study those languages as much as Spanish) would be a great idea. It would motivate a lot of students - it is more appealing than just simply taking the national French exam in your French class some day.

The only thing would be to allow for a variety of accents. Which Spanish accents do they allow? Chilean? Colombian? Castellano? Andalucian? Peruvian? I mean, in France, the word "pain" is pronounced nasally, except in the south, where they call it "paing" but still spell it the same. The Québécois accent is differnent, too. In English, are we excluded if we pronounce an -out word with a Canadian or Scottish accent? My coworkers make nice fun of my Michigan accent, but I make nice fun of their British accent English (which is funnier because they are French!). Are you excluded from a spelling bee if you spell "colour" instead of "color"?

Either way, it doesn't matter. Spelling is fun! I hope spelling bees in other languages continue and catch on. I know I will offer them in my Spanish and French clubs and classes!

Learning a foreign language and practicing it is not a crime, it is an opportunity.
Nonnie

Chaville, France

#14 Apr 3, 2008
Katie, let's talk!! and have lunch!!
pc nuts

Crystal Lake, IL

#15 Apr 3, 2008
Nonnie wrote:
Dumb as bricks is a load of BS, and can't spell English correctly himself. So, Hispanic people are only service people, as he states in his disgusting litany? Shocking, just absolutely shocking to see such xenophobia and racism. They just work harder. Duh, they have the not-so-fun jobs and do them!
Honestly, multilingual is a rather important résumé/ CV item.(Fluency is important, not jsut the fact, well, I barely passed with a C-). Even in the US. It shows branching out, learning capabilities, and effort (a minimum grade with no fluency does not count).
The people at Manpower in Michigan were surprised I was applying for late shift factory jobs, cleaning jobs, anything. I have a teaching degree and speak three languages fluently, but I needed a job. Couldn't find a teaching job in the middle of the year, and needed to make money (for student loans before moving to Europe). So I worked a not-so-fun job. But at my factory job I spoke French with the Polish guy, Spanish with a guy I hadn't seen since high school, but we had fun and mixed it all up and spoke a mix of the both! Traded German phrases with another woman whos grandfather is German. We all had fun in the Breakroom. Everyone spoke English, it's jsut that some spoke other languages in addition.
Cohesion does not mean monolingual. Cohesion needs a common denominator (the local language, so English for the US) but there is absolutely nothing wrong with being able to speak other languages! We should not put down others who want to learn other languages and PRACTICE them in ways such as spelling bees, or using the language in the field in everyday life.
Your points on the benefits of a multi-lingual society are valid. By itself, having this spelling bee in Spanish to use Spanish learned at the school is fine. However, in the context of the massive Hispanic illegal alien problem, and the inability or refusal of many legal immigrants and illegal alien Hispanics to learn English, this appears to be one more way that the U.S.'s English language is being overtaken by Spanish.

It is distressing to many of us that traffic signs, ATMs, appliance instructions, signs in stores, and many other examples, are written in Spanish as well as English.

I was surprised to see signs in both English and Spanish at a polling place for the recent presidential primaries. Isn't it a requirement to be a U.S citizen to vote? And isn't it a requirement for naturalized citizens to be able to speak English?

A multi-lingual society is an admirable goal. But it appears the English-speaking citizens in the U.S. are the ones that will soon be forced to learn Spanish to be able to function in our own country. We are the ones that will be multi-lingual (English and Spanish), while Hispanics remain the ones that are mono-lingual (Spanish) in the U.S.
Angry

United States

#16 Apr 3, 2008
Im sorry the last time i checked we spoke english and people need to learn out to speak it. we shouldnt be having spelling bee in spanish now. we dont need to cater to people who dont even know how to speak english
Katie

Caen, France

#17 Apr 3, 2008
"It is distressing to many of us that traffic signs, ATMs, appliance instructions, signs in stores, and many other examples, are written in Spanish as well as English."

Why is this so distressing? It's not as though the native-born population has to worry about forgetting how to speak English.("...it appears the English-speaking citizens in the U.S. are the ones that will soon be forced to learn Spanish to be able to function in our own country". Really? I don't have a single task that I do on any given day in the US that would require me to speak a language other than English. And whose "own" country is this? There are plenty of Spanish speakers who are American citizens, after all).

The end result, if we do see the demographics shift to a Hispanic majority, is that we would have a bilingual culture. While multilingualism isn't the easy route, it opens the door for a better understanding of differing cultures, languages, and certainly provides the opportunity to reduce philistine attitudes like those found above.
Vicki

United States

#18 Apr 3, 2008
THIS IS AMERICA and we speak and spell and write in ENGLISH. I am sick and tired of changing things for the Spanish speaking population. THEY REALLY NEED TO LEARN to speak and spell and write in ENGLISH the language of AMERICA/ USA.
Melissa

United States

#19 Apr 3, 2008
Did you notice that most of the kids that do win spelling bees are either home schooled or their parents came from other countries - mainly India or China, Japan, etc.?
Hmmm

Round Lake, IL

#20 Apr 3, 2008
Gee, how wonderful. Now can they actually spell in English??
Probably not. Que lastima...

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