Fighting a language barrier

May 1, 2014

In Avi Rudolph’s column “American Jewry must reclaim Hebrew” (April 25), the key word is “American.”

Joke: What do you call someone who knows multiple languages? A multilingual; What do you call someone who knows two languages? A bilingual; What do you call someone who knows only one language? An American.

Joke: An American is someone who, when he goes abroad, forgets who the foreigner is.

Joke:  An American is someone who, when In Paris, can’t figure out why people there refer to a window as a fenetre.

Americans, by nature, are foreign language aversive, expecting the rest of the world to accommodate them by speaking English. This is why Rudolph’s well-intentioned project is doomed to failure.

Steve Weissman
Baltimore

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