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English language for cache description


Lennu
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In many countries it can be seen that cache description is only in the local language. This is quite annoying since it is a fact that this is a GLOBAL community. Geocaching website is in English, most of the forums here in Groundspeak are in English. It is an acknowledged fact that English is the most commonly used language for international communication for business, leisure and other.

 

Why not to translate the cache in English then? Of course this does not happen in every country. I am located in Finland and for at least 95% of the cache the description is in both Finnish and English. If a mystery cache is based specifically on knowledge of Finnish language, then in the cache description is at least specified: "Sorry, you need Finnish language to solve this riddle"

 

In Italy same thing. Some italians which are not proficient in English ask for translation help from outside.

 

In other countries instead, for example, France, Netherrland or Germany, a foreign cacher is frustrated by the language barrier.

 

This thing about usage of english language should be not a RULE but at least a RECCOMENDATION in Geocaching guidelines. As a cache creator I would certainly hope that people from many countries around the world would visit my cache.

 

Ultimately what is missing in some people is the awareness that Geocaching is a GLOBAL thing.

 

I would like to know the opinion of others

 

L.

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Google provides a web page translation service. It's not fantastic, but it will get you what you need to know in order to find the cache.

 

I do not believe that there should be either a rule or a recommendation that English be involved in a cache page. English is not quite as global as you make it seem to be and it is a fantastically difficult language. To require (or "strongly recommend") that people use English on their cache pages puts a burden on them that is not necessary. I don't feel that a person who makes a cache should be required (or recommended) to cater to English-only speaking travelers.

 

I also personally feel that it behooves the English-speaking person to learn a little about local cultures and languages rather than expecting to local cultures to, so to speak, expend all the effort for communication & understanding. Seems a bit one-sided to me, but that's just my $.02.

 

Besides which, if I am totally stumped and I /really/ want to find that cache, it might motivate me to make friends with a local English-speaking cacher, which will undoubtedly make me totally richer for the experience than I would have been if the information were just handed to me. Then again, I'm the person who really likes to get lost in Japan because I find the coolest stuff that way. : )

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Ultimately what is missing in some people is the awareness that Geocaching is a GLOBAL thing.

 

That's way I know that I'm not going to be able to read all the caches, nor do I expect to be able.

 

I have two choices, I can stick to traditional, single-stage, non-mystery caches and just follow the arrow. Or I can contact someone in the local community (non-caching too) who might be able to help me out.

 

That's one of the things I like about geocaching, we are a large community with a common interest and there are so many people who would be more than happy to help.

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I once asked a local for a translation for a hint. He was happy to help but a little confused. Added to the fun of the hunt. the hint was "las piedras lo cubren" and this was in Puerto Rico. Something to do with rocks.

 

I wouldn't want to read a poor translation on the cache page if the owner didn't really have a good handle on the language. better off just letting the hunters use google translate or something and figure it out.

 

One way the owner can tell if they should even bother with trying to translate to different languages is to reassess the situation after a few weeks or months, based on what language the logs are being written in.

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Perhaps it should also be translated to Mandarin, French, Spanish, German, and Zulu?

 

No, only english

 

That doesn't make sense. It's a GLOBAL thing you said. There are more people speaking Chinese natively. There are as many people native Spanish as English.

 

Furthermore: the latest release notes mentioned stuff about internationalization, so soon the website will be multi-lingual as well.

 

Isn't it a bit self-centered to say that everything must include English?

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Perhaps it should also be translated to Mandarin, French, Spanish, German, and Zulu?

 

No, only english

 

England is no longer the global empire.

 

Ok, then. Let's reconsider the opportunity of having English as a privileged language for allowing people of different culture to communicate.

 

Are you able of recommending a good substitute?

 

This is an interesting topic which goes well beyond Geocaching

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Perhaps it should also be translated to Mandarin, French, Spanish, German, and Zulu?

 

No, only english

 

England is no longer the global empire.

 

Ok, then. Let's reconsider the opportunity of having English as a privileged language for allowing people of different culture to communicate.

 

Are you able of recommending a good substitute?

 

This is an interesting topic which goes well beyond Geocaching

 

Perhaps you need to do a bit of research. Try one of the translation services online. Ask a friend to translate. Or even ask the CO. It just doesn't make sense to have an English translation guideline. Heck, there is nothing that says a CO even needs to speak English.

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I believe that the main purpose of geocaching is the hunt, not the cache page.

Most (lucky, not all) of the geocachers that we know don't even read their own language pages!

They are only interested in one of two things:

- precise coordinates

- geocaching statistics

 

The first one is universal, it doesn't matter the country where the cache is placed or the language of the description, if a traditional cache has precise coordinates, even a kid can look for it (and they do very often) without reading it. The second one only care about the coordinates and that the cache has a good hint, so he can find it quickly.

 

As a Portuguese geocacher once asked "recommended parking? recommended trail? what for?? what about enjoying the hunt, finding the best trail (or the right one at least :unsure: )"

 

I guess he's right. I believe we can have the best of both worlds, the long multi-language pages with lots of descriptions and the nice little drive-in caches with a explicit hint.

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Not every German is fluent enough in English (or even German) to provide a proper English listing.

 

But sure, you are right. Have you tried to contact the owner and ask for some translation?

 

GermanSailor

 

From what I've seen a lot of Americans aren't fluent enough in English to provide a proper English listing.

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Not every German is fluent enough in English (or even German) to provide a proper English listing.

 

But sure, you are right. Have you tried to contact the owner and ask for some translation?

 

GermanSailor

 

From what I've seen a lot of Americans aren't fluent enough in English to provide a proper English listing.

 

You beat me to that comment. I used to think people were intentionally using misleading clues or descriptions.

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Lennu, you bring up a reasonable topic for discussion. I do agree with those who say that having an English description on the cache page should not be required or recommended.

 

We've tried to translate some cache pages related to our travel bugs that are overseas and have not yet found a good online translator. The translations are often hilarious, but not very helpful! If we were actually going to travel and find caches overseas, we would appreciate the cache owners that did include English translations, but we would not feel it was their responsibility. We would feel it was our responsibility as visitors to figure out whatever we needed to enjoy our visit.

 

I would think that cache owners in popular tourist locations would be more motivated to include multiple languages on the cache pages, versus caches placed in locations less likely to see tourist traffic.

 

(+1 on Briansnat's observation!)

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If anyone uses google translate on a cache page and wants the English clarified so it can be better understood, why not post it on the forum here, there are plenty of native English speakers who can assist.

 

I do understand concerns about English, but using it as a global communication tool is not about giving greater access to English speakers, actually, it is about giving access to anyone whose second (or third) language is English. Of people who have an understanding of more than one language, by far the majority are going to have English as one of them. This also means it is usually free for people to get advice on translating something from English into their own language, whereas to get something translated accurately from Japanese/French/German to Finnish/Croatian/ is likely to be far more difficult.

 

I personally wouldn't want cache pages translated into English for my benefit as I can make sense of google translate. If you're not fluent in English, though, it is much harder to make sense out of an inaccurate translation. That was what the OP was asking for, it was for international travellers not for native English speakers.

 

The trouble with a recommendation like that is, it's taken as a desire for the cache owner to be an English speaker, and that is not acceptable in countries where English isn't the main language.

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While I respect the point you make, and it would truly benefit me as a mono-lingual English speaker. I don't entirely agree.

When I cache outside of the US, I will normally try to do research on the caches prior to the search,so I know I have the descriptors in English via a translation service (which is not always helpful).

 

I think a better route to getting descriptions into English (or any other language) is to ask Groundspeak to include a translator on the cache page. This way it will benefit all Global players.

 

Kiitos!

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While I respect the point you make, and it would truly benefit me as a mono-lingual English speaker. I don't entirely agree.

When I cache outside of the US, I will normally try to do research on the caches prior to the search,so I know I have the descriptors in English via a translation service (which is not always helpful).

 

I think a better route to getting descriptions into English (or any other language) is to ask Groundspeak to include a translator on the cache page. This way it will benefit all Global players.

 

Kiitos!

 

I'll take this one step further and entirely disagree. To expect someone from another country who speaks a totally different language as their native tounge to make their cache page, or anything for that matter, in your language as well is not only unreasonable buy totally self centered. The points were raised that english isn't even the most commonly spoken language out there, why make that the "official" Groundspeak language? Why don't you post your cache pages in Manderin to accomodate the Asian tour bus crowd?

 

And to call English a privileged language? That's just this side of offensive.

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To expect someone from another country who speaks a totally different language as their native tounge to make their cache page, or anything for that matter, in your language as well is not only unreasonable buy totally self centered.

 

I was going to say something very much like this. But then I noticed that the OP's location and realized that English is probably not his native language. That sort of changes the tone of his suggestion, doesn't it?

 

Consider another area that frequently crosses international borders: air travel. Pilots and air traffic controllers speak English everywhere.

 

There was a time when all educated people spoke Latin. That is no longer true. Esperanto had some adherents, years ago, but that didn't work out. English is as close as we come to a common worldwide language today.

 

Still, I think requiring English on cache pages is silly. If I'm going to visit another country, I can learn a bit of the local lingo or ask someone to translate for me.

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When I cache outside of the United States, I don't expect cache owners to translate their pages for me, just like I don't expect the waitress in the restaurant to know English, or anyone else I might encounter. I'm the traveler, the one who decided to visit a foreign country. While it's nice to run into someone I can speak English with, I certainly wouldn't expect it, or demand it.

 

That being said, when I notice a traveler of mine has entered a new country, I'll go to it's page and translate the goal into the local language (using google translate, it's gotten A LOT better over the years), b/c again, my traveler is the foreigner outside of it's home country.

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I think it's entirely appropriate for any cache page, or any cache log, to be in either

1) English, or

2) The local language

 

English is OK because it's the language of Groundspeak.

The local language is OK for obvious reasons.

 

The only thing that burns me is seeing logs in some third language, eg, German on a cache in Mexico.

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To expect someone from another country who speaks a totally different language as their native tounge to make their cache page, or anything for that matter, in your language as well is not only unreasonable buy totally self centered.

 

I was going to say something very much like this. But then I noticed that the OP's location and realized that English is probably not his native language. That sort of changes the tone of his suggestion, doesn't it?

 

Consider another area that frequently crosses international borders: air travel. Pilots and air traffic controllers speak English everywhere.

 

There was a time when all educated people spoke Latin. That is no longer true. Esperanto had some adherents, years ago, but that didn't work out. English is as close as we come to a common worldwide language today.

 

Still, I think requiring English on cache pages is silly. If I'm going to visit another country, I can learn a bit of the local lingo or ask someone to translate for me.

 

Actually no, I don't think his location changes anything about the suggestion. It actually makes less sense assuming he's not a transplant to his current location.

 

As far as common worldwide languages, French and Spanish (many different dialects of the same language, but the same language nonetheless) are as commonly spoken if not moreso than English. English is actually on the decline being that our international market isn't nearly as strong as it was coming up in the 80's and riding high in the 90's.

 

To each his own, I understand. The idea just doesn't make any sense to me, and a large part of me (and I'm a pretty large dude) thinks this may be some sort of joke. Hopes at least...

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Perhaps the best advice to everyone... when you write the descriptions, try to use vocabulary and grammar for YOUR language of choice that is EASY to translate correctly using Google or similar. Avoiding slang or local dialects would be a good choice as well...

 

To be clear, some cache pages make no difference if it's understandable or not, and others (unknowns) might require a lot of clarity. The also usually need extra work anyways to create.

 

Personally, I've tried Google translation of pages, and in the few languages I understand, the translation is at least as good as I can do on my own, most of the time much better.

 

Doug

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The only thing that burns me is seeing logs in some third language, eg, German on a cache in Mexico.

 

exactly :surprise:

 

This I also don't understand. I you found a cache in estonia, would you write your log in estonian? I would very much enjoy somebody logging german or spanish or finnish for one of my caches.

 

Sigh....

 

Sorry for seeming so disagreeable. It;s not usually my nature... :ph34r:

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My off topic comment is that given the state of the economy, perhaps we should all be learning Mandarin, Or simply use numbers and a universal code for our cache description -- except that is already done quite a bit and I am not a fan of it. But in any event, when we leave logs for caches in foreign countries, don't forget to put it all in CAPS because if we talk louder we are going to be better understood.

 

More on topic, the last time I traveled to foreign lands and cached, I was surprised by how many cache pages had at least part of the description in English. I did not expect that. But if need be, I could at least get a rudimentary translation online and then add that to the cache description through GSAK. For the most part, this is enough to get the general sense of the cache - but when I am traveling I tend to avoid complicated caches because I have other things that I could better be doing with my time, apart from this particular game,

 

I suppose if I had really needed something, I could have asked for help at the hotel. There used to be a cache in my general area that was placed inside a covered mall in a shopping area that is primarily Chinese. To find it, you had to figure out the corresponding place where the coordinates point or ask a local to translate a particular character. Most people would help.

Edited by Erickson
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The fact that you don't need to have any text on the cache page makes this proposed guidling un-enforcable. Since Mandarin is the most commonly spoken language in the world*, maybe that should be a requirement. And Spanish is just above English as well*, so why not add Spanish to the rule.

 

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_number_of_native_speakers

 

I think a better solution would be for GC.com to provide a hook into google translate. That would be cool. Why don't you go add that to the web page forum.

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I have done a lot of caching outside my home country, as a matter of fact more than two third of my founds are outside the Netherlands. Lucky for me I speak Dutch, German and English, which makes it easier with international caches. Ever considered learning an other language as wel?

 

Looking for caches in a strange language makes it an additional challange. Just think youre personal difficulty rating is increased by one star. I personally feel a local cache in a local language looks better than a cache in English language only dropped by a tourist cacher.

 

Next to the online translation sites (available in many different languages with a different quality levels) you always can ask a CO if he can send an English translation by mail. I found most CO's willing to help with language issues although it's sometimes difficult since it's not their native language. If the CO is not able to provide and you realy need the translation I'm sure you will find somedy of the cachers who already found the cache willing and able to provide you with a translation.

 

My cache listings are in Dutch when located in the Netherlands. Located in Germany they are in German with Dutch or English translation. English I provide always on request, but when adding it into the listing listings sometimes get very long. Looking to my caches in the Dutch language there are still a lot of founds reported by German and Belgium cachers, so people are able to figure out how to solve the language problem.

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I also personally feel that it behooves the English-speaking person to learn a little about local cultures and languages rather than expecting to local cultures to, so to speak, expend all the effort for communication & understanding. Seems a bit one-sided to me, but that's just my $.02.

 

I'm with you on this. I don't expect english anywhere I travel. it is my responsibility to at least learn the few words I need.

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Perhaps it should also be translated to Mandarin, French, Spanish, German, and Zulu?

 

No, only english

 

England is no longer the global empire.

 

Ok, then. Let's reconsider the opportunity of having English as a privileged language for allowing people of different culture to communicate.

 

Are you able of recommending a good substitute?

 

This is an interesting topic which goes well beyond Geocaching

 

Esperanto. Much easier to learn, and it comes without cultural or national baggage (for the most part). I have been playing with Esperanto for most of my life. What's neat about it is that it is absolutely simple to come up to almost full conversational speed in practically no time at all. I've had pen-pals in Russia, France, and Czechoslovakia using Esperanto with the ability to converse pretty freely, which wouldn't be the case if I were trying to write in Russian, French, or Czech (and I also doubt that it would be the same if they'd been trying to write in English. English is, as I mentioned, really difficult).

 

Don't see it happening, though, sadly enough. I find that unless one is really, really interested in linguistics or in international communication, one generally tends to stick with what one knows. What we've got going on with regards to an "international language" isn't English; rather, it's "bad English" (or, as I often encounter it here in Japan, "English According to The Script -- Just Stick to the Script, Please"). It's good enough for basic traveling needs, and it's good enough for basic commerce. But for actual one-on-one fully fluent, intelligent, expressive conversation? No way. However, the vast majority of people don't seem to really need fully fluent, intelligent, expressive conversation with other people in other countries. (Those that do put a lot of time into learning the applicable language.)

 

You don't really need fully-expressive language for geocaching, either (at least, not for the cache pages), unless you are really, really into (say) the background and history of a cache and its location (assuming it has a background and history) and enjoy learning that more than simply finding the cache. And in either case, machine translation will get you in the ballpark.

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The only thing that burns me is seeing logs in some third language, eg, German on a cache in Mexico.

 

exactly :surprise:

 

This I also don't understand. I you found a cache in estonia, would you write your log in estonian? I would very much enjoy somebody logging german or spanish or finnish for one of my caches.

 

Sigh....

 

Sorry for seeming so disagreeable. It;s not usually my nature... :ph34r:

 

I enjoy it when Japanese people log my caches in Japanese. However, they almost always take the time to write a little bit in English, if they can, although it's usually very short (along the lines of "I enjoyed finding the cache, thank you"). I appreciate that they, seeing that I'm American, take the effort to say something nice to me in my language. It's a very polite and nice thing to to, IMO. But I wouldn't be offended in the least if they didn't.

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I recently asked a finder of a cache that my travel bug was listed as bing in if he/she had seen the bug. He/she had logged the find in French, so I used google translate to send a French e-mail. Likely poor grammer, but I stated that it was google translate at the top, so hopefully the grammer will be forgiven.

 

Haven't heard back yet though...

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What language are the coordinates in?

The language of location! :ph34r:

 

This whole topic reminds me of a book I read back in the sixties called The Ugly American where the protagonist's attitude as he traveled the world was summed up by a quote from his travels in some foreign land where he did not speak the language... "I'm an American, speak English dammit!" :surprise:

 

Remembering that character's silly expectations helped me, when I got older and began to travel, to remember that I was a guest on THEIR soil.

Edited by TheAlabamaRambler
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Not every German is fluent enough in English (or even German) to provide a proper English listing.

 

But sure, you are right. Have you tried to contact the owner and ask for some translation?

 

GermanSailor

 

From what I've seen a lot of Americans aren't fluent enough in English to provide a proper English listing.

 

:surprise: "I speak two languages. English and bad English."

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This whole topic reminds me of a book I read back in the sixties called The Ugly American where the protagonist's attitude as he traveled the world was summed up by a quote from his travels in some foreign land where he did not speak the language... "I'm an American, speak English dammit!" :smile:

 

 

Like I mentioned up-thread, I had the same initial reaction. But the writer of the original post is not an American, and English is probably not his native language. Which, IMHO, casts the original post in an entirely different light.

 

There is a need for a "universal" language. Until fairly recently, Latin worked, but it no longer serves the purpose. Esperanto was invented for that reason, but it's unlikely that you'll meet anyone who actually speaks it. Chinese has the most native speakers, but most of them aren't allowed to travel and it's hard to learn. That pretty much leaves English, French, or Spanish as the logical choices. The international aviation folks have chosen English -- any pilot can communicate with any control tower in the world in English.

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It is an acknowledged fact that English is the most commonly used language for international communication for business, leisure and other.

 

I don't think the OPs post rises to the level of the "Ugly American". It seems his main point was some common language, and his use of English was mainly because English is a commonly used language, when international language is needed. If air traffic controllers, international companies and others used another language he might have suggested that.

 

Also, he may be in Finland, but from his post it is clear he has a good grasp of English.

 

Than being said I do not agree with the idea the cache page or logs need to be universal in language. Geocaching doesn't rise to the level of air traffic control. :) There is no urgent or dire need to all have the same language on a cache page.

 

I would have no problem with a visitor from any country logging one of my caches in their native language. I would rather work at finding a translation, than to just see TNLN, especially from someone visiting from out the area. :smile::laughing:

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It is an acknowledged fact that English is the most commonly used language for international communication for business, leisure and other.

 

I don't think the OPs post rises to the level of the "Ugly American". It seems his main point was some common language, and his use of English was mainly because English is a commonly used language, when international language is needed. If air traffic controllers, international companies and others used another language he might have suggested that.

 

Also, he may be in Finland, but from his post it is clear he has a good grasp of English.

 

Than being said I do not agree with the idea the cache page or logs need to be universal in language. Geocaching doesn't rise to the level of air traffic control. :) There is no urgent or dire need to all have the same language on a cache page.

 

I would have no problem with a visitor from any country logging one of my caches in their native language. I would rather work at finding a translation, than to just see TNLN, especially from someone visiting from out the area. :smile::laughing:

 

So, what is Finnish for TNLNSL?

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Lennu, you are very polite. I see nothing wrong with cache pages being listed in the native tongue of the country where it is hidden. I am American. It seems to me that too many Americans expect everyone to speak American. (English and American are different languages. :smile:)

If I travel to another county, it's my responsibilty to translate the cache page. Coordinates are universal.

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as a side question, is english th official language of the USA, if so then why does everyplace (seemingly) have their menus also in spanish. am i the only one seeing this

 

Because enough of their customers prefer to read the menu in Spanish.

No, English is the customary language of the US but it is not the "official" language. There have been political movements to try to make English our official language but none have succeeded.

 

Spanish is still regional in the US, mostly depending on where the aliens land en masse.

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ok ok point taken, BUT what about the language situation going into another country, When i went to Costa Rica, very few menus and signs were in english, why is the USA the only country that does this? PC? All it does is cripples our country futher.

 

There are areas in the US where French is the preferred languge.

 

Why are menus in spanish too? Because there are many Spanish speaking individuals who spend money at the restaurant that has a spanish menu.

 

Think it's getting bad here? In Canada they have to list everything in English AND French, especially in the East.

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as a side question, is english th official language of the USA, if so then why does everyplace (seemingly) have their menus also in spanish. am i the only one seeing this

 

ever heard of bilingual countries?

 

ok ok point taken, BUT what about the language situation going into another country, When i went to Costa Rica, very few menus and signs were in english, why is the USA the only country that does this? PC? All it does is cripples our country futher.

 

really, US is the only country?

 

 

let me give you a hint...is the Great White North, and no, we don't live in igloos..but have two official languages, English and French :smile:

Edited by t4e
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