Letters to the Editor

Assimilate and learn English

Years ago when I immigrated into this great country, I was given two invaluable pieces of advice: If I wanted to graduate and succeed, I had better learn English and assimilate into this society quickly. Both I took to heart. Learning English first.

Recently we visited the Sunshine State, and as we arrived at the airport, a shuttle car picked us up. Being social as I am, I tried to start a conversation with the driver, but he did not respond. Later I learned he didn’t speak English. At the rental car agency a guy brings us our rented car, and started explaining its features, of course not in English. I had no idea what he said, but after I nodded a few times, he gave me the keys and we left in a hurry. Later at the hotel, again very few people spoke English. Explaining to a cleaning lady, who doesn’t speak English, that you need a toilet plunger with your body language, is a tough one.

It seems if you plan to visit one of the well-populated ethnic areas, whether it’s Florida or a “Little Bosnia” in St. Louis, you better know the body language. There should be a law that would require all immigrants, regardless of their ethnic background before becoming citizens, to take and pass an English exam. Bilingual signs and “for English press one” should also be outlawed. And yes, immigrants must assimilate, but unfortunately today they don’t.

Anton Babic, Belleville

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