Nelson Mandela and The Afrikan Languages Essay

Nelson Mandela and The Afrikan Languages Essay

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“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” This quote was once said by the late, great South African leader, Nelson Mandela. He learned the Afrikaans language while he was in prison in order to communicate with the white Afrikaner guards. Mandela was imprisoned for standing up against the apartheid government that was committing human rights violations against black South Africans. Fellow prisoners were deeply offended when they heard Mandela speaking the language of their oppressors, but in Mandela's mind, Afrikaners are still Africans, he believes that they are still people of his country, and he really wanted to understand them. Learning the language played an important role in Mandela's walk to freedom. It is evident in his case that learning other languages can be very beneficial, and very rewarding. Today, knowing how to speak, read, and write in languages other than the native tongue gives that person an advantage over those who don't.
The United States of America has always been referred to as the “melting pot of the world”, known for welcoming people from different countries, customs, religions, and beliefs. Immigrants come to the US to find new opportunities, and a better way of life. Different races mean diversity in cultures, and languages. For non-English speaking, it poses a big problem.
Not being able to communicate using the English language is preventing immigrants to find a better paying job, which in the first place is one of the reasons why they moved to the US. Not only that, but children that are not yet proficient in English are falling behind in school. This is where Bilingual, and English immersion program...


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...I Believed That Bilingual Education Was Best ... Until the Kids Proved Me Wrong." Washington Post 3 Sept. 2000. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 6 Apr. 2014.
Bale, Jeff. "Bilingual Education Is the Best Approach for English Language Learners." The U.S. Latino Community. Ed. Margaret Haerens. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2011. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "The Fight for Bilingual Education." International Socialist Review (Jan.-Feb. 2010). Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 6 Apr. 2014.
Chavez, Linda. "Bilingual Education Is a Failure." Education. Ed. Mary E. Williams. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Is Bilingual Education Failing to Help America's Schoolchildren? Yes: The Agenda of Latino Activists Is Closing the Door on Many Hispanic Children." Insight (3 June 1996). Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 8 Apr. 2014.

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