Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/27/2012

Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/27/2012According to The New York Times, the Obama administration hopes to arrange a Yemen-style transition to a new government in Syria. The U.S. president reportedly plans to outline his idea to Vladimir Putin when they meet next month, suggesting that President Bashar Assad might be eased out of power without the complete destruction of his regime.

In other news, unemployed Tunisians are desperately trying to cross the border into Algeria, where they hope to find work. The would-be immigrants cite the lack of job opportunities and the “absence of government” in their home country as reasons for their migration.

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Thanks to Barry Rubin, C. Cantoni, Derius, DS, ESW, Fjordman, Insubria, KGS, McR, Steen, WM, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

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3 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/27/2012

  1. Anon #1
    I grew up in a suburb of NYC. I started grade school in 1959 and graduated in 1971. Many of my fellow classmates were progeny of immigrtants from all over Europe. It was not at all unusual for them to speak perfect English and be at the top of their classes in school while also speaking a European language at home. I didn’t think anything of it when going to visit one of my classmate’s home that they spoke Polish, Russian, Armenian or some other language in their homes.
    The difference is that these families wanted to integrate and adopt the culture of their new host country.
    Having whole generations go by not being able to speak in the host country language is IMO a fairly recent development. It is also my opinion that it is just as much the fault of the host country as it is the immigrant.

  2. @ Babs–

    Yes! A child is quite malleable where language is concerned. Greek at home, English in school. What’s so hard about that??

    Did you ever read “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”? I loved that book when I was a kid – it showed what determination could accomplish. Must’ve read it 10 times.

    Cultures that value intelligence and academic striving will make sure their kids will learn the local lingo.

    BTW, in areas of New England, it wasn’t uncommon to be raised in a French-Canadian ghetto going back many generations. Kids didn’t learn English if they didn’t want to. So the ambitious ones usually began in earnest by early high school. And they often chose to enroll in some other foreign language just to see if they could do it. NONE of them ever took “English as a Second Language” class. Nor did the school waste money on offering such pablum.

    Some of my college instructors were from that milieu. My anthro professor used to tell us amusing stories about having to go to the corner store for her mohter to buy, say, toilet paper. It was a small establishment so the proprietor would get whatever it was you wanted. For the life of her, she could never remember the word order: did she want toilet paper or paper toilet?? For a teenager, that was agony.

    Another said his hardest task was not the words but trying to figure out where to place the emphasis in a word or a sentence. He found himself ending every phrase with an inflection, as though he were asking a question.

    I can think of a regional difference right now: here in the south those who were “born here” pronounce the word INsurance, whereas up North it’s inSURance. Same for ambulance and police.

    And it took me many years of living here to decipher this one, asked by any average attendant at a gas station: “chiketahl?” Believe it or not, that word means, or translates to “May I check your oil?” – as he gestures toward the hood of the car.

    In the rural south, even with the advent of self-service gas stations, if there is a car repair shop attached, there are always high school boys hanging around talking about cars.

    This is a culture where boys are still trained to be courteous to women. Thus, one of them would inevitably shuffle over to lift the hose from its rest and unscrew the car’s gas cap before I could untangle the safety belt. “Filler ma’am?” meant, “do you want me to fill the tank?” In a poor area, many ppl would buy small amounts at a time, so it was a crucial question.

    In my response, the crucial thing, however much gasoline I might want, were the words “please” and some form of “thank you”. As in, “yes, please, fill it up and top it off. I appreciate you doing that for me”.

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