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updated: 7/1/2011 11:29 PM

Have patience with English learners

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I agree 100 percent with Ms. Cepeda's column titled "When the accent is on the language." Yes, it may be difficult for those of us who speak only English to understand an immigrant's accent, but please be patient -- after all, they are trying and English is a very difficult language to learn.

The example I give of that is a simple sentence: I like to read, and yesterday I read a red book about an unusual reed. If you were just trying to learn English, don't you think that the varied pronunciations and spellings in that sentence would be very confusing? And I won't even touch on idiomatic phrases!

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Furthermore, here's a note to everyone whose only language is English -- when you're in a store or on public transportation or anywhere else that immigrants are also present, don't think that because they're speaking to each other in their native language that they're talking about you. I know many people who have told me that that's the way they feel -- they're sure that they're being talked about! My comments to them are two simple questions: First, what makes you think you're that important or noteworthy that strangers would be talking about you? Second, if we were traveling in France together, wouldn't it be easier to speak to each other in English?

In the U.S. we have long ago stopped speaking English, per se; we speak American-English, That's why we speak of people who come here from England as having an English accent! I leave it to you to sort out the accents of those born and raised in Brooklyn, Chicago, Memphis, Atlanta, Boston. So even those born In the U.S.A. have different accents. Bottom line -- let's forget about accents and concentrate on not being so judgmental.

Judith A. Carlson

Des Plaines

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