'We Speak English' Ad: WATCH Controversial Alabama Governor's Race Advertisement

~Jennifer - posted on 04/29/2010 ( 33 moms have responded )

4,164

61

369

The Alabama gubernatorial race is heating up after Republican candidate Tim James released a controversial "We speak English" ad.

James vows that if he's elected, the Alabama state driver's license exam will be in English only, a cost-saving measure. He proclaims in the ad, "This is Alabama; we speak English. If you want to live here, learn it."

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

[deleted account]

Evidently Alabama would rather have people speaking English than driving safely. I would rather the test be given in a variety of languages and have people driving legally and safely. I don't care what language other road users speak, I just want to be safe.



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"Road signs are all written in American English so if you want to drive you should be able to communicate in that language."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



I speak English, but not American English and I can still get by. I'm sure people who speak another language will do just fine too. Reading road signs is not rocket science.

Christa - posted on 04/30/2010

3,876

14

209

LaCi, I'm not sure where you live, but I live in CO. I don't know if you know anything about CO, but our weather is crazy and totally unpredictable. Just this week we had an 80 degree day followed by a 40 degree day with a rain/snow mix. I am at a higher elevation then my parents house which is about 5 miles north. It rains there while it snows here. So on I-25 (our main highway) as you travel south you can be on wet roads in rain and before you know it in snow on ice. So we have marquees signs near where the change usually occurs to warn of the change before you slam on your breaks and find out the hard way. People here already don't know how to drive in snow not being able to see the warnings would make it worse. There are going to be situations where reading a sign is very important to your and others safety.

I don't know about the foreign drivers, but I know I wouldn't want to drive in another country where I couldn't read. Just riding the shuttle in Mexico scared the crap out of me because they drive much different there then we do here. Maybe we can't stop tourists from driving when they don't know the language, but we can stop those who DO live here from doing it.

Dana - posted on 04/30/2010

11,264

35

495

I agree with Christa, there are signs that need to be read for the safety of everyone else. Also I imagine that if people are taking a drivers test and they don't know English they'd need an interpreter. I wonder who pays for that?

Johnny - posted on 04/29/2010

8,686

26

322

I love that show. But I'm never going to Sudbury lest Angelina runs into me. I actually think that the portion of the test for road signs etc. should only be offered in the language that those signs are in. I've seen the horrendous results of drivers who can't understand basic signage far too often. A good number of drivers in my city do not speak enough English to know what "detour" means. And you see them driving through construction zones ALL the time. I saw it today walking home from the store.

Christa - posted on 04/29/2010

3,876

14

209

You all have gotten lost on the point. The point was NOT that you must speak English to be a good driver. We all know bad drivers are everywhere. I was saying IF you can't read signs, that increases your chance of being a danger to yourself or others.



LaCi, on the exit signs, I don't go by the numbers. When someone gives me directions they say get off at County Line or Broadway not exit 221. I don’t even know what numbers my exits are.



I'm thinking of it more for "lane ends" signs, "accident up ahead left lane closed", "ice up ahead slow down" etc. Those are all very important messages and if you can't read them you will be caught unprepared and become a danger to yourself or others.



And actually the manuals will change as new laws are added or changed. We just passed a law in my state where it's illegal to text and drive and illegal for people under 18 to talk on the phone and drive. Don't you think they had to reprint the manuals and tests to include these changes? I bet they did.



It all hits to the bigger issue of illegal immigration and the problems the US has with that. More often then not the people who don't know the language are illegal. People on student visa's are going to know enough of the language to get by otherwise how would they pass a single class? This and ideas like it are to encourage people who come here to learn the language. I know there's another thread on that more specifically so I won't get into that here, but that's really what this ad is about. IMO.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

33 Comments

View replies by

ME - posted on 05/02/2010

2,978

18

193

Awww....Christa...you just made me miss Colorado!

BTW...I was able to find my way around the Germanic countries of Western Europe when I was 18 (with just a few pointers) and I can only say a few things in German and not read a bit!

Jenny - posted on 04/30/2010

4,426

16

129

I am confident that I could drive in any country safely without knowing the language.

Sara - posted on 04/30/2010

9,313

50

586

So English is what they're calling what they speak in Alabama now, huh?

Jenny - posted on 04/30/2010

4,426

16

129

I was a late driver too Jo, I didn't get my license until I was 24 and I think I'm a better driver because of it.

?? - posted on 04/30/2010

4,974

0

172

And people wonder why the hell I am so fucking scared to drive ! I FINALLY got my Learners license in February (I'm 26 years old)... I haven't drove yet... and I'm waiting to go to my parents where you see maybe a dozen moving vehicles a day... IF you're out walking around.



There are just TOO MANY that don't know how to drive !

Johnny - posted on 04/30/2010

8,686

26

322

I don't know about anywhere else, but here, if you need an interpreter, you pay for it. And they are not allowed to help you on certain portions of the test, like the road signs. They can read the question, but you have to be able to pick out the that says "caution" yourself.

We actually had a huge scandal here several years ago where interpreters were in cahoots with employees at the driver's services center. Rich non-English speaking people were buying there licenses without actually taking the tests at all. There are literally thousands of drivers here who bought their licenses and the government has no way to figure out who did it, it was covered up so well. We also have a big problem with non-English speakers driving without licenses. Even though they can take the driver's tests with interpreters. I have witnessed 2 accidents where one of the drivers was unlicensed. One with a Mercedes and the other with an Infiniti, so it wasn't poverty that kept them from going through the licensing requirements and hiring the interpreter. They just don't want to be bothered to actually learn to drive properly. In one of those accidents, a male passenger was very seriously injured.

LaCi - posted on 04/30/2010

3,361

3

171

It's not nearly as bad as one KY ad I've been seeing lately. I'm close enough that the only news and political campaigns I see are louisville and KY.

HI! I'm ______
I'm Pro-life!
You should vote for me!

With happy images of his family floating around.

I was left dumbstruck. I didn't even know what to say when I saw it for the first time. Forgot his name though. I don't even know what he was running for.

ME - posted on 04/30/2010

2,978

18

193

This is foolish...People who aren't able to take the driving test because it's not available in their language will simply drive without a license...then AL will have all kinds of costs in arrests and court costs, not to mention all that paper work they will have to fill out and file...this man must think that the people in his state are total morons!

Emma - posted on 04/30/2010

1,590

15

114

After regaling my composure,
You let Overseas tourists Drive on your roads with out taking any type of test all they need is a valid licence from there country .....

Emma - posted on 04/30/2010

1,590

15

114

lol
That was Soooooooooooo cheesy
If that's the best election promise he can come up with i really pity Alabama.
Did this guy get in ? and if so is the test only available in English ? and How much money did it save ???
Still laughing

LaCi - posted on 04/30/2010

3,361

3

171

my point is that giving exams in english only is pointless, it won't change anything, it won't save money, and it won't prevent people who don't speak english from driving.

Sharon - posted on 04/29/2010

11,585

12

1315

You know Laci - THOSE drivers are also an issue. The mexican who cross the border for the day to go shopping. yeah... about them... we hate them. WE LOATHE THEM.

They can't do the speed limit. They ignore the lights, the ignore all signage... why? they can't read it... and you know what? They cause accidents. THEN?? oh you'll never guess what happens then!!! The very best ending to the fairy tale!! They go home.

They pay for their destruction, MAYBE you can collect on their mexican insurance, mostly you can't. LOL That is IF they stick around long enough to give you the information.

yeah, they may not speak our language or have the ability to read our road signs but they know how the law works around here.... time for that to change too.

LaCi - posted on 04/29/2010

3,361

3

171

"I'm thinking of it more for "lane ends" signs, "accident up ahead left lane closed", "ice up ahead slow down" etc. Those are all very important messages and if you can't read them you will be caught unprepared and become a danger to yourself or others. "



You know what really irritates me? People who wait until the lane actually ends to merge, which is 95% of people from my experience with our spaghetti mess. None the less, even if someone managed to drive without knowing a single word in english, all caution signs are the same and all signify caution. As for ice, I can't say I've seen an Ice sign other than the note to dumbass: "watch for ice" on bridges and overpasses which is up year round, which is common sense and we don't need a sign for. Color and shape signify everything. And as I said earlier you don't need a US drivers license to drive in the US. We accept other countries licenses and we accept international drivers permits, which includes hundreds of countries.







"And actually the manuals will change as new laws are added or changed. We just passed a law in my state where it's illegal to text and drive and illegal for people under 18 to talk on the phone and drive. Don't you think they had to reprint the manuals and tests to include these changes? I bet they did. "



Yes they have to click "print" frequently, every single time they run out of manuals. Changing the manual is as easy as changing it in the computer. Clicking print never gets any more difficult.





"It all hits to the bigger issue of illegal immigration and the problems the US has with that. More often then not the people who don't know the language are illegal. People on student visa's are going to know enough of the language to get by otherwise how would they pass a single class? This and ideas like it are to encourage people who come here to learn the language. I know there's another thread on that more specifically so I won't get into that here, but that's really what this ad is about. IMO."



Anyone from mexico or canada can mosey on over our border at any given time. We accept their licenses. Anyone flying in with a license we accept, or an IDP can drive here, no test required. Not speaking the language does not mean illegal immigrant. You can spend a month with your daughter in a different country, you are not an immigrant. You can visit your sick sister in another country while she needs help for a while, recovering from surgery maybe, you are not an immigrant. You still need to get around. Students can actually come to university and start with nothing but ESL courses. You don't need to speak english as a prerequisite.





And my recitation of answers in latin and greek does not mean I speak latin or greek. I have to memorize words in languages I do not speak frequently, to pass tests and to get by. As if it's terribly difficult to pick up "stop" when you arrive. You pick up words in time, you do not learn a language in a week, but you pick up what you need to know the fastest. You don't have to speak english to know enough english words to get by.

?? - posted on 04/29/2010

4,974

0

172

I agree. Generally when you're taking a test,(here anyways) you get a book to learn the rules of the road. If you're able to pass the test here -- which is on a computer, available in english and french -- then you have 1 year to drive with provisions.



In that time, if you don't speak the language of whatever country you're driving in, then you're going to have problems regardless.



Whether the signs are in English, French, Spanish, Pig Latin... once you get to the point where you have to go in and take a drivers test in order to get your license... it doesn't matter what language you speak - there are TOO MANY PEOPLE who CAN NOT follow simple road signs, period, getting passes from driving instructors.



Maybe instead of worrying about the language barriers, they should invest some money in making sure the people who are issuing drivers licenses are actually doing their jobs.

Jenny - posted on 04/29/2010

4,426

16

129

Jo, we should have ALL the contestants from that show. My point was language should not affect a drivers license. My cousin is a good example. He is a good driver but he can't read or write very well. So he can not get his drivers license but I gaurantee he is a better driver than most on the roads.

It is just one of many areas where people of differing languages can exist in the melting pot just fine.

?? - posted on 04/29/2010

4,974

0

172

Jenny, one the people on the last season of Canada's Worst Driver was from your town, she was kinda psycho lol and she only knew 2-3 of the road signs out of the 50 so'odd signs they were asked to identify

LaCi - posted on 04/29/2010

3,361

3

171

You can be in the United States legally, eligible to drive, and not a citizen.

Temporary resident status, you CAN drive, you do not have to learn the language, and you do not have to apply for citizenship or take an exam. Student Visa, prime example. International Driving Permits also don't require any exams, so I wouldn't say that people who don't speak english would be poor drivers when signs are in english is really relevent because it doesn't prevent non-english speaking drivers from driving here, or in a hundred other countries.

As for the drivers manual, the information contained does not change periodically. If they change the format that's their problem, it is a matter of clicking print in the language you desire. It's all available online as well, in several languages, so I don't see the dilemma.

Jenny - posted on 04/29/2010

4,426

16

129

I don't see a connection with language and driving skills. My area is as Caucasion as it comes. English speaking, white people are the overwhelming majority. However we have some of the shittiest drivers I've ever seen in my life. You just have to drive like everyone is out to kill you. Bad drivers come in ever colour and speak every language.

Sharon - posted on 04/29/2010

11,585

12

1315

The test changes periodically. DUH. Each time it has has to be rewritten. In every offered language.

But to me it makes sense. Most of our highway alerts are in american, most signs are pictorial, but a great deal is in written language.

Is it any wonder we're all pissed off at shitty drivers?

Its not just the test you know. Its the learning pamphlets, and every other pamphlet, test and form... hell why don't we just let the immigrants take the residency test in whatever their home language is? Oh wait! Part of the rules are that they have to know the american words for the answers (my mom had to study for this) so that is null and void... hhmm so anyone NOT speaking american... there is a pretty good chance they aren't legal citizens? eh? LMAO.

LaCi - posted on 04/29/2010

3,361

3

171

what you mean "exit 120" to "hwy 111"? I think numbers are universal. Not speaking fluent english doesn't mean you can't function, or that you're retarded.

La - posted on 04/29/2010

0

0

63

I agree Jo. Anyone who can't read the signs (whether english is their first language or not) and people who can't see and react as well (such as some elderly people) should not be able to drive.

?? - posted on 04/29/2010

4,974

0

172

Have you ever watched any of those "Canada's Worst Driver" shows? A lot of Americans and Canadians don't know what most street signs mean... I think those people should have their license removed, honestly, especially if they're gonna say people who don't speak english have to know what they are in english...

Christa - posted on 04/29/2010

3,876

14

209

That may be true for stop signs and such but how about which exit to take, or the new marquee signs they use to tell you of a special circumstance up ahead. There are many signs, particularly in a constructions zone or new areas that are just plain words, no signs or symbols to help. You NEED to be able to read English to be safe on the roads.

LaCi - posted on 04/29/2010

3,361

3

171

Except on drivers exams you are expected to know what signs are telling you based on colors, pictures, and shapes. They're all coded to be decipherable by anyone regardless of language or even literacy.

La - posted on 04/29/2010

0

0

63

Road signs are all written in american english so if you want to drive you should be able to communicate in that language.

LaCi - posted on 04/29/2010

3,361

3

171

lol @ the drivers exam being offered in 12 languages somehow costing them money. Because if you give the same amount of test but all tests in english you'll save money on... no.. not paper.. or ink.... because they're all still taking the test in one language or another... although you may need to print MORE english copies because the language barrier could lead them to have to take the test multiple times... and considering its multiple choice you don't need employees that speak the twelve languages, just the answer key...

Seems to me that test has already been written, and all you have to do is click "print" in the language you'll be needing. So I'm missing how this will save money.

I guess this relates back to the other thread. But that ad is just silly to me, seems irrelevant and distracting. I mean, what does he stand for that matters, what is he going to DO for alabama-besides HOPEFULLY something with public transportation since they'll be needing a lot more of it.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms