Response Task for US Language Landscape
Submit this on your student ePortfolio by Tuesday, November 24th, 9am.
To post, use your ELN 101 module and make sure to publish it so that I can see it.
Your Response Tasks
Response Task 1 15%
As you browse through the news headlines, note down headlines, the dates, and languages in the incidents listed in the newspapers.
Headline Date Language Under Attack
Write a paragraph in response to the questions below:
• What attitudes towards people speaking a language other than English (LOTE) have you witnessed?
• Have you or any of your friends or family members personally encountered similar attitudes? Explain.
Response Task 2: How Did We Get Here? 20%
A. What were your answers to the questions from the lecture? Using your background knowledge, what top two or three languages in the United States can you name for the following years? Note that the English arrived in Virginia in 1607.
B. After watching the video, revise your list below. What were the top two or three languages for the same dates?
Response Task 3: The Melting Pot? 20%
A. What are some historical reasons the United States does not have an official language?
B. Complete the tasks below:
• List the top 10 languages of the United States in 2019 and the number of Americans who speak those languages.
Language Number of speakers
• Which of the languages on the list are frequently spoken by NYC public school students? Are you familiar with NYC neighborhoods in which one can encounter those languages? Give examples of neighborhoods and languages, based on your personal experience.
Response Task 4: The Language Graveyard? 30%
The videos in this part of the lecture give a general picture of the so-called “assimilation” and “Americanization” in the United States.
A. Native American languages
In the video “Language. Native Americans,” one of the first speakers associates language with the adjective dead. Why? What are the family stories in the two clips you watched? What does Wiley (2010) say about what happened to native American children on p. 309?
• Describe the story of Native American language loss in the US in your own words in a paragraph or two.
• What did you personally learn about the original languages of America?
B. German language (based on Prof. Rakowicz’s ELN 101 materials)
Based on the videos, consider (a) what the anti-German sentiments and attitudes were; (b) what caused these attitudes; (c) and what these attitudes meant for the German language at the time.
Your task, respond to a, b, and c above:
• Describe the story of German language dominance and loss in the US in your own words in a paragraph or two.
• What does the case of German language in the United States teach us? What lesson do you think the case of German offers us?
Response Task 5 25%
Based on the article,
• What are the explanations for the lack of truly multilingual presidents in the United States after Franklin Delano Roosevelt (US president 1933-1945)? List at least four reasons given in the article “Why American Presidents Aren’t Bilingual Anymore.”
• In the past presidential elections, bilingual candidates have been attacked for their linguistic capabilities, particularly by the Republican party. However, in 2016 some presidential candidates, for example Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio, flaunted their Spanish-speaking skills. Why was that?
In your opinion, is Spanish destined for the US language graveyard? How can Spanish-speaking communities avoid the language loss experienced by the Native American and German-speaking communities? How is it possible not to “repeat history”? Express your opinion; be sure to support it with what you have learned in this lecture and previous course material.
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