Some Countries Demand You Speak Their Language

While the debate continues here in the U.S. about whether people should be required to speak English, other countries are taking action.

While the debate continues here in the U.S. about whether people should be required to speak English, other countries are taking action.

The Associated Press reports a new law in Italy requires basic Italian proficiency for permanent residency permits following five years of legal residence.

The AP article says Italy is just the latest Western European country to make such demands on an expanding immigrant population in exchange for work permits or even citizenship.  It's also meant to keep a sense of national identity intact.

Austria is another country with language requirements.  Foreigners from outside the European Union have to speak German within five years of residency or they could be kicked out.  The government believes speaking the language helps immigrants integrate better into society.

Britain is another country enforcing language requirements.  The country, out of terrorism concerns, is requiring prospective citizens to pass an English competency test.  British officials tell the AP "The tests will help weed out those who don't plan to contribute to British life."

The language requirements do have their critics, saying the policies are discriminatory and simply a way to keep out immigrants.

What do you think about all of this?  Do you think the U.S should make speaking English a requirement for immigrants who come here or do you think it's all unnecessary?







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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Rusty Shackelford Location: Pitt County on Mar 11, 2011 at 12:52 PM
    Sounds like a fine idea to me. The liberals would love to make this country more like Europe, here's one instance we can agree on!
  • by Nova Location: SHNC on Mar 11, 2011 at 07:41 AM
    Not here in the Good ole' USA, Here we have it backwards, here you as an american will have to learn other languages to hold a job. We all had to learn at some point and if people want to come here to live, work and play then they should have to adapt. However just like every other issue that comes across the board some organization is going to cry racism or discrimination so here no one would ever be required. People should have to atleast have enough knowledge of our language.
    • reply
      by Just Saying on Mar 31, 2011 at 11:16 AM in reply to Nova
      You are so right !
  • by Bruce the Shark Location: Greenville on Mar 11, 2011 at 04:44 AM
    One should not have to hire ESL teachers. When in Saudi Arabia, I had to learn a little Arabic. No signs in English for me. My Hungarian grandparents learned English in 1939 when they immigrated to America.
  • by Tim Location: La Grange on Mar 10, 2011 at 05:07 PM
    To our British friends, I say "Good show!" Austria and Italy have the right idea, as well.
  • by devil's advocate on Mar 10, 2011 at 09:06 AM
    Of the Hispanic people I've met, most are trying to learn English, but it takes time, money and patience. Everyone should know working English (speak whatever you want at home or with friends/family) BUT it does take some time. The US would have an easier time making people learn English if we made it our official language (right now, we have NO official language thus we have to print DMV manuals, etc in any language needed) In order to become a citizen, people DO have to pass a US History/Civics and spoken/written English test. If we made every person who entered the country do that---WHOA it would be expensive!
  • by Clifton on Mar 10, 2011 at 06:45 AM
    The old saying is, "When in Rome, do as Romans do". People coming to the USA need to learn to speak English. The US has no need for a second language.
    • reply
      by Debra on Mar 22, 2011 at 07:53 AM in reply to Clifton
      HERE HERE !! I agree 100%
  • by Audra Location: SoCal on Mar 10, 2011 at 01:30 AM
    I recently dealt with two different PHYSICIANS that I could hardly understand. It's tragic. My health care in the hands of someone that I can't communicate with. YES you should have to speak the language, and clearly. I've worked in property mgmt., as a receptionist, as a corporate admin assistant, & in transportation. If I can't translate from your accent, it's BAD. Nothing so important as our DMV manuals or anything else of that nature should even be printed in another language. It's not a right, it's an abused privilege. Other countries that require such things have it 100% right. I would hesitate to be a foreign tourist without a small grasp of the language at my destination. LIVE somewhere without speaking the language? Never! It's insulting that I have to press a number on the phone to get the language of this country so I can continue with my business.
  • by A Location: Tyrrell County on Mar 9, 2011 at 12:29 AM
    I agree. You should have to speak the language of the country where you choose to reside. Quiet frankly the test for obtaining the US Citizenship needs to be revised so that the potential new citizen also has to prove that they have some knowledge of the American Heritage. We are a country of immigrants but most of them (including me) choose to contribute to this country by becoming productive citizens and not relying on the welfare system.
  • by Brian Location: Kill Devil Hills on Mar 8, 2011 at 05:43 PM
    You should be required to speak, write, & understand English before being permitted to reside in this country. This is a big issue out here on the Outer Banks with the foreign exchange students & Hispanic population in general. I should NOT have to deal with people that can't speak the language or refuse to use it. This should be made a law & is long over-due.

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