English is the language of America . . . isn't it?

I'm all for people for whom Spanish is their first language to have access to services. However, it makes me roll my eyes when, after dialing customer service phone numbers, I am sometimes asked to press a key on the telephone pad - usually 1 - if I want to continue in English. I do feel this should be automatic and not require action for any American company. If someone wants to continue in Spanish, let them hit a number. But the last time I checked, our country's official language was still English. What's wrong with assuming that we speak English unless otherwise noted?

Have you ever encountered a phone line where you had to do this? How did you feel about it?


Patricia W. said...

Correction, Bettye. Believe it or not, America does not have an official language. It is recognized that the majority of its residents speak English but there is no official designation. Perhaps because the founding fathers were all immigrants themselves, and possibly conversant in more than one language? Who'd have thunk that we'd progress to where so many people struggle with one?

bettye griffin said...

You’re so right, Patricia! How many times has my husband pointed this out to me that an official language has never been designated. But I’m not sure all the founding fathers could be called immigrants. Franklin, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Hancock, and I’m sure a bunch of others were all born in the colonies. I suppose Franklin and Adams spoke French as well; they both spent a lot of time over there. But most of those guys were of English or Irish stock. You’re right, I guess they never imagined there would be so many people who speak Spanish or the Slavic languages coming to the United States.

Maybe that’s the reasoning some companies ask callers to press 1 for English, so as not to seem like they’re discriminating?

Thanks for posting!

DonnaD said...

I don't mind pressing the button for English so much as I mind getting people from India trying to answer my question when they can barely understand what I'm saying. Call centers be damned.

Ladysilver said...

I am with DonnaD. although I do have a problem with the 1 for English. No we do not have an official language, but it is an unspoken "rule" that Americans speak English.

I hate that call centers outsource their calls. I have hung up on people after getting cut off while I am trying to talk or not getting a person to understand what it is I was calling about to begin with.

bettye griffin said...

What you said, Donna!

Ladysilver, thanks for letting me know it's not just me who's ticked off by pressing 1 for English.