Language Barriers for Non-Speaking Citizens

The Language Barrier for Non-English Speaking Citizens Lynne Lilley Com/150 University of Phoenix Com/150 March 8, 2010 The Language Barrier for Non-English Speaking Citizens “No Habla English”. “21 million people living in the United States cannot speak English. Citizens are not just speaking Spanish, but Chinese and Russian are rising fast. ” (U. S. Bureau of Census, 2009) To force a citizen to speak a new language is discrimination.

Non-English speaking citizens and immigrants that are without good English skills will fall academically, in the judicial system and when receiving proper medical care. 47 million Americans five years and older used a language other than English. The children that have no English skills will not be able to understand what the teacher is trying to teach. Children will not be able to do their assignments correctly and will eventually fail the class. ”Some illegal immigrants are raising their children without teaching them English, hoping that the school will do that job.

The Washington Post recently reported that as many as two-thirds of the children in suburban Arlington County, Virginia, receiving language assistance from kindergarten through second-grade born in the United States to non-English-speaking parents who don’t read to them, talk to them, or provide them a background in any language. (Not Speakiing their Native Tongue, 1996) A child being educated in English opens many doors of opportunities. English as a Second Language learner has more benefits than those of native English. Native speakers tend to speak in slang or use cliches and have bad grammar skills.

There are even laws to wanting to learn another language as opposed to not knowing another language. In Albany, Georgia, they are trying to pass a law that students no longer have Spanish classes in schools and parents need to hire a tutor to come in to their home and teach the child a foreign language. Learning English will benefit a child not knowing the language and prevent barriers as an adult. Since the first amendment is freedom of speech, why do so many non-English speaking citizens run into barriers in the judicial systems? A citizen cannot explain an emergency to a police official such as; ho attacked them, who they were victimized by or the nature of the emergency they are having. There are just not enough bilingual employees in the judicial system whether it is police, courthouse officials, or translators. If an officer does not speak the language of the victim, the officer has to call a hotline service that will provide the correct language and that could take some time. Attorney’s that have non-English speaking clients recognize initially that such representation will be time consuming. They must begin their representation carefully, making sure a basis foundation for communication exists.

Another problem that occurs when the client and attorney waste time because the attorney, court clerk, or other individual fail to identify the correct name of the represented individual. Often times when a non-English speaking citizen has problems with the judicial system it occurs because the person cannot read the notices sent or end up having no counsel or able to consult with their counsel. Defendants end up doing lengthy jail sentences because they did not tell the court they needed an interpreter. “In Virginia, a convenience store clerk was fired for complaining about the employer’s unwritten English-only policy.

In Florida, two hotels faced on AFL-CIO boycott because they reportedly insisted they use English only. In New York, Long Life Home Care has been sued by EEOC on behalf of two workers who allege that the company prohibits employees from speaking Spanish only during breaks, lunch in the cafeteria and within one city block of their office building” (Lost in Translation, 2006). Judicial systems are not the only ones who have problems with language barriers; the medical field are affected too. Non-English speaking citizens and immigrants are receiving improper medical care because of the miscommunication.

The people who cannot speak English well are misunderstood, when they go to free clinics or hospital emergency rooms and attempt to explain their symptoms and illness or cannot understand the doctors or medical profession that are trying to help them. ” Interpreters are omitting questions about drug allergies. Patients are not telling nurses the correct symptoms. A mother misunderstood by putting oral antibiotic into the ears of the child instead of the mouth. The Puerto Rican word for mumps is not the same in Central America, so a child was mistreated.

A doctor mistakenly told a parent to put a steroid creme on entire child instead of just the face” (Yolanda Prtida, 2005). Language barriers in the medical field are dangerous and some times even fatal. There is definitely a need for more translators in hospitals and doctors office. Clear communication is essential for safe quality healthcare. Poor communication can lead to disastrous outcomes, especially for patients with limited or no English ability. Working together with non-English speaking citizens and immigrants would help eliminate some barriers.

When you call any bank or financial institute, public utility, or government agency, you can hear a prompt stating if you want to proceed in English press 1. That shows that we are working on a bilingual nation. A language barrier is not a disability, while those who cannot communicate are, of course, handicapped in our society. The inability to speak English is not a handicap in the physiological sense. ” Let’s face—English is a crazy language, and English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn’t a race at all).

That is why,-when-the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it” (unknown). Works Cited Lost in Translation. (2006, January 17). New York Times , pp. 1-2. Not Speakiing their Native Tongue. (1996, May 14). Washington Post , p. A1. U. S. Bureau of Census. (2009). Retrieved March 2, 2010, from U. S Bureau of Census website: http://factfinder. census. gov unknown. (n. d. ). Yolanda Prtida, M. D. (2005). Language Policy and Practice in Healthcare. Fresno: Center for Medical & Eduacation Research.

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