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I'm on Hold

...with Comcast, the cable provider in my area. Here's the first part of their automated answering system:

"Thank you for calling Comcast. If you would like to continue in English, press 1. Para continuar en Espanol, marque dos."
Seriously, English isn't even the default language anymore? Perhaps someone thought it was insensitive to make Spanish-speakers push a button, but not English-speakers? (Please excuse any screw-ups in my Spanish.)


Mary Katharine blogs at Townhall and doesn't think she should have to press any buttons for English.


Comments (62)

It would make more sense to... (Below threshold)
joe:

It would make more sense to say "Press 1 for Spanish" and then continue with English unless 1 is pressed.

My thoughts exactly, Joe. T... (Below threshold)

My thoughts exactly, Joe. That's how most companies handle it, in my experience.

What's the big deal? ... (Below threshold)

What's the big deal?

It says, "Press one for English" and "Press two for Spanish." Where's the default for Spanish that you're seeing? "Marquer" is the contemporary Spanish verb for "push/press/mark" used for things like buttons, or check-boxes, but not for things like doors.

I'm sure that your cable pr... (Below threshold)

I'm sure that your cable provider offers many channels in Spanish, so there is probably a percentage of its customers for whom Spanish is their first language.

Do you live in an area in which there are Spanish speakers?

And are you so insecure that when others are speaking a foreign tongue, you assume they are talkin' trash about you?

I don't think Spanish is no... (Below threshold)

I don't think Spanish is now the default; just that Comcast seems to be giving equal status with this arrangement. Most of the companies I deal with have an option to press something for Spanish and leave English as the go-ahead language if nothing is pressed. That makes sense to me, this being an English-speaking country.

She's not saying that Spani... (Below threshold)
arb:

She's not saying that Spanish is default, only that NO language is the default choice.

My personal favorite?

If you want to shit, press 1.
If you want to go blind, press 2.

I'm doing my part down here... (Below threshold)

I'm doing my part down here to make Mexico bi-lingual. Im working hard to teach everyone I meet the word "toe". Fingers and toes are both "dedos", the only way to make sure it's understood to be a toe is to say "dedo de pie" so they all 3 of the people I've taught this in last 7 years were very receptive to a shorter version. They all called me "pendejo", which translates to "great teacher".

actually, I would rather pr... (Below threshold)

actually, I would rather press a button and continue QUICKLY than wait for the system to recognize no button was pressed. the former option to me is a lot quicker and a lot less waste of my time.

Besides, they aren't equal, why do you think English is the button #1 instead of button #2? And besides, it makes sense, suppose you are a foreign person who works in the states on a work visa? How does that fall into your hands? Try traveling to Europe, most ATM's and phone things have menus in at least 4 different languages (take Belgium for example, they had Flemish, German, French, English)

lmao @ pendejo being "great... (Below threshold)

lmao @ pendejo being "great teacher". And "gringo" means "Wonderful American" doesn't it?

bullwinkle, you're a hoot.

(yes, I live in the southern half of the central valley in California, I grew up among spanish speakers a little)

Don- Where did I i... (Below threshold)

Don-
Where did I imply I thought they were talking trash? That's just plain silly.

Don assumes everyone is tal... (Below threshold)

Don assumes everyone is talking trash about him everywhere he goes and he wrongly assumes the same is true for everyone. It's not paranoia in his case, it's fact.

Thank you Captain Abnormal.... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

Thank you Captain Abnormal. Are you getting the increased readership you have been hoping for by trolling here? Your wit continues to cut like a spoon.

Mary Katherine - why are on... (Below threshold)

Mary Katherine - why are only English and Spanish given choices? Where's "press 3 for German"; "press 4 for Tagalog"; "press 5 for French"; "press 6 for Russian"; etc?

I know some people may thin... (Below threshold)
John:

I know some people may think its chic to include Spanish. But it seems the whole bilingual thing is over embraced. I can understand areas that have large Spanish speaking populations, but bilingualism seems to be prevailent in areas that don't have one. Especially when you consider the bad taste it leave in some people's mouths.

It seems to not make sense in some places to the point that I can only explain it if there is pressure from somewhere to go bilingual that isn't really made too public. Or atleast I don't know about it.

As for bilingual seeming 'chic', speaking as someone from a so-called bilingual country, Canada, avoid it at all costs.

The biggest negative is that politicians are expected to be bilingual. This immediately shrinks the already anemic candidate pool down to next to nothing. To become satisfactory fluent, you need to be immersed in it at youth or study it for several hours a day for years. The former excludes people from non-Spanish speaking backgrounds from politics, unless they pursue the latter. However, no one but career politicians and millionaires (redundant, I know) have the time to invest in adequate language training.

I never liked the extra inc... (Below threshold)

I never liked the extra inconvenience of having to select a language on bank ATMs. If you choose Spanish then you should get your money in pesos.

John, they don't expect pol... (Below threshold)

John, they don't expect politicians to be bilingual, sure it helps, but what does that prove? Besides, where is the point that I mentioned? Suppose that you are someone working here legitamately with a work-VISA, not a citizen, and only command a mediocre knowledge of the English Language (enough just to get you buy, but technobabble is bad enough in English, suppose you had someone speaking technobabble in a language that you barely know?)

If you travel to Europe, sure each country is supposed to have its own language (minor countries are the exception), but, for example, when I was on a high speed train from Brussels from Belgium to Paris, they made announcements in 3 languages, Flemish (the "working" national language of the Belgian people), French (obviously from France), and English, having to do with neither country whatsoever. Are you saying they should stop announcing things in English just because the demographics really doesn't support it?
I do know that it sure as hell helped ME out when I was on a day trip with some friends when our ship tied up in Antwerp, Belgium. We made a day trip to Paris and it sure as hell made it easier to complete it and be back on the ship in time.

"BZZZ" Wrong again, Woody. ... (Below threshold)

"BZZZ" Wrong again, Woody. If you do your business in America, no matter what language you speak, you get dollars. If you do your business in Mexico, no matter what language you speak, you get pesos. Spain? The Euro. Turkey? The Lira.

It is not a minor inconvenience, in most places you don't even have to select a language, just slide your card and enter your pin. When I was in Belgium, it recognized my card as American somehow and automatically reverted to ENGLISH without me having to select a button (it happened in Turkey, too).

Just because you're conservative doesn't mean you have to be a bigot.

Satellite cable provider Di... (Below threshold)
dchamil:

Satellite cable provider DirecTv also uses this one-for-English, two-for-Espanol intro on their contact number 1-800-942-2788. No, I don't like it much either.

There are ATMs all over Mex... (Below threshold)

There are ATMs all over Mexico that give you the option for either pesos or dollars and English or Spanish. Even Mexicans don't like to keep a lot of pesos on hand, you can go sleep rich and wake up poor that way. If you use a pay phone most operators speak English or can switch you to someone who does. If you call Sky TV Mexico for service on your satellite dish just press two for English. I don't remember if you had to press one for Spanish or not but I think you did. It's not just the US, it's everywhere.

You should really go with D... (Below threshold)

You should really go with DirecTV instead anyway ...

Where did I imply I thou... (Below threshold)

Where did I imply I thought they were talking trash?

You didn't imply, that's why i asked. I'm trying to understand why you think this is such a problem.

I did, but if they knew I'm... (Below threshold)

I did, but if they knew I'm using their dish down here they'd shut me off.

ooh bullwinkle, you naughty... (Below threshold)

ooh bullwinkle, you naughty man, mary is going to have to take you over her knee and spank you for being so naughty

Uh, I meant to say that if ... (Below threshold)

Uh, I meant to say that if a person was to use a Direct Tv dish system in Mexico it wouldn't be legal and that would just be plain wrong. That hypothetical person would face disconnection and possibly criminal charges for using such eqipment contrary to mexican laws designed to maintain the monopoly of Sky TV and gladly pay twice as much. We should always obey the law. Stay in school. Don't do drugs. All that crap.

"I pity the fool who doesn'... (Below threshold)

"I pity the fool who doesn't do school, stay in milk, drink your drugs"

(reference to MADTV or Saturday Night Live's, I forget which, cartoon of Mr. T trying to find a job...if anyone else remembers)

Yeah, but was he taking a s... (Below threshold)

Yeah, but was he taking a stab at preemptive community service in hopes of a lighter sentence and smaller fine like I was?

Soon to come:Para ... (Below threshold)
Kevin:

Soon to come:

Para continuar en Espanol, marque uno. If you do not understand Spanish, press 2 for other languages.

About the thread issue...th... (Below threshold)
-S-:

About the thread issue...the psychology behind the order and preferences is, to my view, that the "default" or ANSWERING/responding language is first in English ("press [whatever] to continue in English" SPOKEN in English), while the carryforward (non-default) language then lapses into Spanish for those who are not conversant in English (the default, as the system communicates with first response).

Meaning, IF there was an assumption to the contrary in the U.S. that everyone converses in Spanish, these sorta systems would first-respond (default) in Spanish, and offer in Spanish an option to continue in Spanish, and then continue by default in English (just the opposite of what we now have).

These systems are incredibly annoying (I completely agree and I don't care for them, either, especially since I know no one who defaults in the U.S. to Spanish other than people who have *issues* with English, and it's usually because they want everyone to speak Spanish instead, not that they can't learn English or don't know English, but refuse to, at least as to those I've experienced who insist on some sortof Spanish-language-demand IN the U.S. (and in other European countries, just that the U.S. is particular target of this objective by some).

I agree that if they're going to offer options/information in Spanish, then why not also Tagalog, French, Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese (all dialects), hey, why not Aussie?

The Spanish option is peculiar in that regard and it's annoying to most of us because of that. Not like I've ever asked for a response in Spanish, nor never wondered about what the information would sound like in Spanish, all that.

Hey, Latin. There ya' go. Just opt to communicate everything in Latin and then let the Spanish-insistors figure it out or wander around with the limitations.

The point being that the English language represents culturally to some that which they want to deconstruct, if not eradicate. Thus, we get the Spanish imperialists.

The United States isn't Spain, to state the obvious. I'm rather curious whatever happened to the languages present among the many other original cultures in Mexico and Central, South America. Might as well include all of those languages in the telephone options, Japanese, Norse...

For Cherokee press 1837?</p... (Below threshold)

For Cherokee press 1837?

Just saying that the defaul... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Just saying that the default answers are in English, and pose instructions in English for English, while someone who didn't/doesn't/can't/won't learn English would have no clue (or little) what was being said in English and wouldn't comprehend (maybe) what was being said in English, thus, the continuance in Spanish.

BUT, it's an arrogant assumption, while refusing other languages and dialects, to continue in and only in Spanish, which is the point most of us get as to what's annoying about the process, and why Spanish is always the option.

Many in Customer Service and marketing/sales ARE Spanish speaking today such that they do apply a higher degree of attitude to and about English, and it causes a lot of us to go elsewhere when we encounter it.

Continue in Spanish, lose my business...is how many of us feel about this, is my point. At least here in the U.S.

When/if I go to Barcelona, I'll revise the perspective.

for Nigerian, press your so... (Below threshold)
-S-:

for Nigerian, press your socialsecurity and bankaccount numbers.

For Mexican, press your hom... (Below threshold)
-S-:

For Mexican, press your homeaddress, driverslicenese and bankaccount numbers.

What a silly thread. They ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

What a silly thread. They offer Spanish because many customers speak Spanish as their first (or sometimes only) language (not enough customers to justify the cost to add Tagalog, or Russian, or whatever). They have an either/or option instead of a diverted Spanish option because that is how their phone system works, most likely exclusively. Anyone who has set up a automated phone system for a company will tell you that most systems don't have options in setting up things like that, you just take what you get.

In any case, who cares? You managed to dial the phone, what difference does one more button make? Too tired?

For arabs, please press you... (Below threshold)

For arabs, please press your FBI identification number

This thread had me rollin'!... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

This thread had me rollin'! Especially bullwinkle's "For Cherokee, press 1837".

I think Swahili (sp?) would be nothing but clucks and clicks of the tongue.

Of course, the uppity liberals, whose moral superority and utter lack of humor shines ever-so brightly in some threads, I only have this to say:

"Lighten up, Francis."

Actually, mantis, it appear... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Actually, mantis, it appears that you are "too tired" to read the thread comments posted here prior to your own statement of the obvious.

About which, to restate another obvious point already shared on the thread, yes, we KNOW that, mantis.

A lot of "stuff" matters to a lot of us that seems to pass you by.

Actually, if you don't push... (Below threshold)

Actually, if you don't push either, eventually you'll get to talk to a human being, or a reasonable facsimile thereof; this is the default if you don't have Touch-Tone service.

The Bank Formerly Known As Bank One has a Spanish-language operator at 888-BANK-ONE, although they are no longer promoting the spelled-out version.

No, Swahili is easy to pron... (Below threshold)
joe:

No, Swahili is easy to pronounce. You're thinking of the Bushmen languages, I think.

Press UN for Esperanto?

Oh hell, this thread is ano... (Below threshold)
snowballs:

Oh hell, this thread is another keeper too.

Actually, it's a good way of learning Spanish - or English for that matter if you are here in the U.S. on a student or work visa.

?Que is la problema tu pinc... (Below threshold)
RiverRat:

?Que is la problema tu pinche pendejo? :-)

Estupido Americanos no hablan espanol en el Estado de California de los Estados Unidos.

!Chingada Idiota!

Welcome to Wizbang, if you'... (Below threshold)

Welcome to Wizbang, if you'd like to pretend you can speak Spanish but actually cannot press CTRL+ALT+DEL twice for service.

MK -- A couple of ... (Below threshold)

MK --

A couple of things strike me.

1) How many of the Spanish-speaking households feature children who are entirely comfortable with both Spanish and English and adults who are more comofortable with Spanish than with English? If the children grow up learning both languages, then is it acceptable for the adults to use Spanish in the interim?

2) How many of these Hispanic adults can speak passable English, but prefer Spanish for something technical like working with a cable box? What if providing the Spanish option is a way of giving them good customer service?

3) In a related vein, if the market demands that Spanish-language service be available, shouldn't companies be free to provide it?

--|PW|--

--|PW|--

Hmmmm.Look folks i... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

Look folks it has **nothing** to do with language or America or Mexico or any of that nonsense.

It's about the equipment and procedures.

I worked on a contract for Comcast several years ago in Union, NJ. I worked on the, then, new Customer Service Rep software they called "El Cid" (hey I don't name these damn things). When doing Call Center applications there are a lot of different parts that all have to work together. Hell they might be using the same software I wrote back then since I was responsible for the GUI portion which tends to evolve more than backend stuff.

And don't ever ask me what kind of hell it was writing it. The least of my problems was I had a "human factors" Phd literally standing over my shoulder telling me to move and resize screen components pixel by pixel.

This is an example of the complexity:
http://www.cosmocom.com/ProductInfo/techover.htm

(And keep in mind that several years ago when it was a lot more complicated and a lot harder. And we didn't use Cosmo, we used Aspect)

The primary reason that Comcast wants you to press a "1" or a "2" is to ensure that there is a positive response. If there is a default set on the language it would have to be based on a timer, which could complicate matters. If you're on the phone because the cable is out and the kids are whining because the Cartoon Channel is out, and the dog is barking because the kids are whining, then you might miss the message. If you miss the message and end up with a CSR speaking the wrong language, then you will increase the cost to Comcast for the call. You will also muck up the response rate numbers for the floor supervisor, who depends on good response rates for his salary, bonuses and promotions.

Plus by requiring you to provide a positive response, i.e. pressing a key, Comcast can reduce the workload on it's DNIS and call directing server. If there's a timer then you've got workload on the server until the timer kicks off, regardless of whether or not the caller is ready to be put through to a CSR. If there's a timer then you've got customers having to wait until the timer kicks off. Then there's the issue of just how much time you to set aside for the customer to make that decision. Set too little and then you'll end up with calls that will either cost more, because they're using resources that are finite, and/or angry customers. Set too long and you'll end up with angry customers.

Plus the ideal process involves getting customers into the queue ASAP. If there's a good flow going on in the queue then the call center is being used to capacity. But if there's a bottleneck at the director server and the queue becomes empty for some reason, then the call center is not being used to capacity as CSRs are sitting idle while customers are bunching up waiting for the timer to kick off.

By providing the "press 1 ... 2" process Comcast gets a positive response, correct routing of the call and reduced costs.

*shrug* It's been a few years since I last did a call center app so if I've forgotten anything, please don't hesitate to post it. And yes I have Comcast as my cable provider too. It's hell for everyone.

PW,You got sucked ... (Below threshold)
mesablue:

PW,

You got sucked into your own game.

Good for you.

1) It depends on where you live and how long the hispanic community has had a chance to establish itself. In many established hispanic communites in large cities we're talking second and third generation until we get to the little ones. There is no problem with english For most of them. I welcome their presence, legality and the quality of life that they know and live every day. Good people. The LEGAL hispanics don't have a question of language, just like any other nationality or race that voluntarily "moved" to our country. Just ask the Cubans that are here. My family is German and Scottish. I'm only second generation, but I don't expect, haggis and wienerschnitzel to be offered on every menu. Choice #2 on the phone is not expected to be "what would you like stuffed in your sheep entrails". They got it. Not an option. This is a great country because of it's ability to accept and allow people of completely different backgrounds to assimilate while holding onto what they hold dear. I say this having grown up in a large city and feeling blessed every day that I was able to be exposed to a variety of cultures and people of those cultures that wanted to share with me, as members of the USA. If you actually spend some time in those communities, they are the biggest supporters of assimilating into a culture that offers them the best opportunity to give their children a better life than they ever could have back home.

2) Most LEGAL immigrants from a spanish speaking country could deal with this without option #2. I've spent about half of my adult life in either South or Central America. I still speak crappy Spanish because I never chose to live there for the rest of my life. My fault. I've also spent years in the middle East, Eastern Europe before the wall came down and after and I've yet to master all of their languages. But, why should I? I didn't plan on staying there forever. When I go to another country i make sure that I at least attemp to communicate in their native tongue so as not to insult them. I tried to order dinner in Brazil in Portuguese and the next thing I knew a REALLY pretty girl sat next to me tried to feed me salt cod -- really nasty crap and a staple there (and much, much more) when I thought I was ordering lobster. I paid her for her time and got a great tour of some salsa clubs that I never would have seen otherwise without more than two or three words of a sentence coming even close to being understood. It rained that night, for those who care-- "shuva" is Portuguese for rain. I was never able to convey what snow was or what the Portugues word for ut may be, if it exists.

In a Lithuania I tried to order a ham sandwich and I ended up geting a fried egg on a piece of lettuce, with fries.

Point being. Yes there are a lot of hispanics here. But, we have a long history and continue to accept people into our country from wide and varied places. When did we decide that we should favor one group of a certain language background over another. And, I love the fact that we continue to accept people looking for a better life into our country and the diversity that they can offer us, as long as they accept US. No other country would even consider this question.

3) Of course. And they do.

GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL!.

Univision is channel 17 where I live and I never miss Sabado Gigante.

OK, sometimes I do, but it's only when I'm trying to help my Norwegian friend navigate Comcast's phone menu's

"Goddag"?


The least of my problems... (Below threshold)
mesablue:

The least of my problems was I had a "human factors" Phd literally standing over my shoulder

Absolute proof that the world is going to end soon.

Human factors Phd. ?

What a waste of skin.

I'll take option #2 before I deal with that.

Mesa:Sucked into m... (Below threshold)

Mesa:

Sucked into my own game? Not sure what you mean.

But I appreciate your response ... it was interesting.

Another thought came to me:

If Comcast offered only Instanbulese and Constantinoplean, would it get nobody's business but the Turks?

--|PW|--

Hmmm."I'll take op... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

"I'll take option #2 before I deal with that."

I knew something was up when my project leader apologised to me before disappearing. Along with every other member of the team aside from the C programmer who was doing the "softphone" component. The thing that really irritated me was that we were designing for a 640x480 screen, which was the standard at the time for the company, but there were plans to upgrade the monitors to 800x600. So all that nonsense was a complete waste of time.

That had to be one of the wierdest apps I've worked on. Most applications are MDI, not SDI with about 80+ windows ranging from small toolbars to data entry windows to displays of customer data. What made it worse too was that each window had several possible positions it had to be on the screen depending on the status of the call. So I had to put in code to "migrate" the screens depending on circumstances.

Believe me it was worse than it sounds.

The only thing goofier than this was having to write SDLC networking code in Microfocus COBOL on a OS/2 machine to connect a DEC Vax, IBM 360 mainframe and a PC together.

You haven't lived until you've written networking code in COBOL. It's like Marine Corp boot camp, once you've done that everything else is easy.

Hmmm.I think the b... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

I think the best part of that application was that I made it self-documenting. It had a built in module that would scan it's own source code for special markers that would specify how that comment was to be formatted in Microsoft Word. And it was able to take it's own screenshots and incorporate it into the Word document. Essentially I rebuilt all 1,400+ pages of the application's documentation every friday afternoon.

Of course when you've got Word document with 1,400+ pages of application documentation there's always going to be *somebody* who will want it printed out instead of merely reading it off the server.

I really could have used Darth Vader's choke grip right then.

Hey thanks for the trip down memory lane. Now I know I'm getting old. :)

"For Ebonics, be pressin' 3... (Below threshold)

"For Ebonics, be pressin' 3..."

Comcast is a independent, n... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Comcast is a independent, non-government owned corporation; a private enterprise.

Why don't they get to conduct business in whatever language(s) they choose?

If they want to reach more customers by offering services in multiple languages, why begrudge them that.

This is capitalism, pure and simple. Comcast is not a government entity. They aren't conducting public business. I honestly don't get why many of the commenters here --- who otherwise support capitalism and freedom to conduct business without undue government interference --- want to dictate to Comcast how it may conduct its business, and with whom.

Would you also protest if the guy at the deli down the street spoke Yiddish with those customers who understood it and preferred it? If not, what's the difference?

Sheesh, sorry I missed this... (Below threshold)

Sheesh, sorry I missed this. I was offline last night, but hopefully I'll be up and running again at home by tonight.
Anyway...only on a blog could you end up getting comments from the guy who may have created the automated service you were listening to. Great stuff.
And, Pennywit, I apologize for not responding quicker. Luckily, mesablue read my mind. I'll write more later, but I got some work stuff to do right now, grrr.

If Comcast offered only ... (Below threshold)

If Comcast offered only Instanbulese and Constantinoplean, would it get nobody's business but the Turks?

Is that why Comcast's customers get the works?

I just went back and read E... (Below threshold)

I just went back and read Ed's first comment about the Comcast menu.

Yesterday I had occasion to call my own cable TV service, which is Charter. Following the menu for "internet connectivity issues," I wound up with a voice robot that insisted on making me repeat all of the steps I had already taken before calling, to ascertain whether the problem I was trying to report was in (1) my cable modem, (2) my router, or (3) my computer.

There was no explicit default "shut up, cyberb!tch and let me talk to a human being" option, and after I bailed out and tried again a couple of times just to make sure I hadn't missed one, I finally just started pressing the # key until the robot gave up and passed me to a CSR.

And the CSR told me the problem was indeed in their network and they'd only recently noticed it (probably while I was phone-wrestling with Six of Nine) and also told me how to bypass the robot next time.

If I have to use the phone, give me a human being, not a freakin' Borg.

[slaps forehead]<b... (Below threshold)

[slaps forehead]

Seven of Nine.

I saw an episode of "Tripping the Rift" last night, so if I start talking about Darth Bobo when I mean Darth Vader...

tripping the rift is great<... (Below threshold)

tripping the rift is great

This post is really funny. ... (Below threshold)
Ryan A:

This post is really funny. Talk about making mountains out of molehills.

Seriously Mary Katherine, this is a cable company that has two different language options on their automated menu! Do you think there is some massive social conspiracy behind that? Maybe in the middle of the night, Comcast will suddenly switch things and make English number two and Spanish numero UNO. Then the takeover will be almost complete. Whahahahaha.

Even more humorous was the number of people that responded who agree with you and are equally paranoid. Jesus people, we share a border with Mexico and have alot of Spanish speakers in this country. Why is it that people in Europe have no problem speaking multiple languages but here in the US many see it as something that takes away from our patriotism? And who cares if some company puts Spanish on their automated phone system so they can serve all of their clientele?

Ryan, I'm suprised that you... (Below threshold)

Ryan, I'm suprised that you and others read my very slight annoyance and very short blog post as outrage and paranoia. I'm also surprised it got as much reaction as it did. Also (and I thought, needless to say) it wasn't the phone system per se that bothered me. I was actually pointing to the phone system as indicative of a growing (and I think, unfortunate) cultural attitude that it is unnecessary and even preferable for some immigrants not to assimilate. If that is the conspiracy to which you refer, then I am guilty. I'll post again on it after work if my Internet is working.

Joo no, meng, that joo keep... (Below threshold)
mosebez:

Joo no, meng, that joo keep me down by letteeng me speak espanol and not makeeng me leearn jor ingleesh. I only get work sweepeeng de floors and makeeng de donuts for joo and jor beetchy wife....

Mary Katherine:... (Below threshold)
Ryan A:

Mary Katherine:

I was actually pointing to the phone system as indicative of a growing (and I think, unfortunate) cultural attitude that it is unnecessary and even preferable for some immigrants not to assimilate.

And my point was that I think you are going overboard with that kind of thinking. I just dont see a big problem with bilingualism, period. I dont see it as a sign that that is some sort of disrespect for America or anything of the sort. I dont believe in some sort of perfect or static cultural ideal. Things change, as they always have.

Think about this: there are thousands of US citizens who speak fluent Spanish. Along with that, they vote. If they get together and push for legislation that includes Spanish along with English here in the US, well, more power to them. Thats the way democracy works, and one way that things might be changing.

And dont forget that these Spanish speakers are consumers as well, and businesses do all they can to appeal to their demographics.

That "growing (and I think, unfortunate) cultural attitude" might just mean more political and economic influence being exerted by Spanish speaking Americans.

I dont have a problem, at all, with people coming here from all over the world and continuing to speak or act in ways that they desire. If they are in the minority, of course, they will more than likely have to learn to navigate the dominant cultural ways in order to be successful, or at least survive. But as they gain influence, power, and wealth, they will be catered to more and more by people who want their business (or votes). This deal with Comcast is an example of that.

Things work themselves out. It sounds like you just have a problem with the idea of the US being a bilingual country in any way. I disagree, but respect your opinion.

I do want to know why you see these changes as so problematic.

Ryan, I'm suprised that ... (Below threshold)
Ryan A:

Ryan, I'm suprised that you and others read my very slight annoyance and very short blog post as outrage and paranoia.

...and for the record I only read it as paranoia, if that makes any difference!

;-)

McG:That makes sen... (Below threshold)

McG:

That makes sense. I heard that Comcast outsourced tech support to a company called ...

They Might Be Telecom Giants

--|PW|--

Besides..Mary Katherine? wh... (Below threshold)

Besides..Mary Katherine? where exactly do you live again? I live in southern california (Bakersfield, to be exact), and those telephone menus have had different buttons for different languages for many years. Try going to LA, I bet you'd find a telephone directory with English, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, and more. Stop acting like it is a new phenomenon and get back to work.




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