• Morgan Fagg

Talking in tongues, watch your language

Updated: Mar 4

People are really starting to get strict about speaking English & Spanish


This morning as I arrived 5 minutes late for an early morning English class, I greeted the security guard and receptionist by saying “Buenos dias.” The receptionist smiled at me but the security guard joked, “You have to speak English” and looked at me and the poor girl at the reception desk. I apologised and responded with “Lo siento” and the receptionist greeted me with “Good morning” but I wondered how this man had the energy at 8 in the morning to joke with us in two different languages.


English has become a universal language that allows people to communicate or even joke with people from different countries and it is sad to see how unwelcoming some people are when it comes to non-English speakers. I am of course talking about Boris Johnson and his Home Secretary, Priti Patel who are currently in the news as they question immigration rights for non-skilled workers and people who can’t speak English.


The Home Secretary's own parents probably wouldn't have been eligible to get into England under her proposals and the Prime Minister has been questioned recently about whether someone born in New York would be deported for using Class A drugs if they were white. The question clearly irritated Johnson who was born in New York and has admitted to taking cocaine when he was a teenager.

Doesn’t sound fair to stop people from entering a country if they can’t speak the language and I remember reading about Helen Keller in my English book when I was a child. Maybe deaf Americans like Helen Keller will have to learn British sign language and maybe people who can’t speak English properly will simply be deported. Sorry George VI.

In America, opposition to Spanish speakers has gone viral in recent years as more and more people openly criticize (Sorry criticise) people for not speaking English but America doesn’t have an official language and is a land full of immigrants.


Not only that but people get violent about their Second Amendment rights which allows them to carry assault weapons into restaurants in some states yet forget other people’s First Amendment Rights which includes the Freedom of Speech.


No one should be telling anyone what languages they can speak and I remember being called a racist on Twitter once for saying that Melania Trump can’t speak English fluently.


I’m sure a European criticising an Eastern European’s English isn’t the definition of racism and I am not saying she can’t speak English, she is welcome to try; I am saying she can’t speak English at a sufficient level to keep from being deported by Priti Patel's policies in the UK.


I teach English as a second language and I find Melania Trump's fluency to be an insult to all the Spanish speakers who communicate so well in English. Many who would never claim that they are fluent.


A few weeks ago, in England, an apartment complex went viral for posting signs that said that people had to speak English now that the UK has Brexited Europe.


While many people have already commented on this issue, I would simply question if English is the only language spoken in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.



Back to the security guard this morning who was wide awake and alert in two languages. This man carried no gun or belt of bullets like some security guards do in Spain and while he had a pair of gloves attached to his belt, they didn’t appear to be those horrible combat gloves I see other security guards carrying.


Gloves that can act like knuckle dusters with a hardened ridge along the knuckles.

Useful for breaking glass in an emergency or someone’s face if they wanted to.


Armed with only a smile, this security guard could probably handle any situation but not everyone is as welcoming and by lunchtime, I could see on tv that the far-right political party Vox was proposing that Catalans should have to pass a Spanish test too.


Exactly 12 hours after greeting the friendly Spanish security guard insisting that I speak English and while on my way to a Spanish class at 8pm, two policemen were stopping and frisking teenagers. One strung-out policeman was literally fuming as he vaped constantly from an electric cigarette and started saying to the young teenagers that they had stopped, "You are in Spain, you should speak Spanish."


Priti Patel, the policia and political parties are starting to get very strict about languages so like Oscar winner Colin Firth, I guess I better watch my language.



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