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back to article Dallas cops fine drivers for 'not speaking English'

Red-faced Dallas police chief David Kunkle has apologised to the local Hispanic community after it was revealed that his officers had fined 38 drivers for the novel offence of having an inadequate command of the English language. Among those who fell foul of the language police was 48-year-old Ernestina Valdez Mondragón, pulled …

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Grenade

Samuel L Jackson said it best .....

English Motherfucker! Do You Speak It ?

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Coat

Someone's got to say it.

If the American police start fining everyone who doesn't speak English properly over there, their legal system will collapse under the strain.

There's a certain Google spokesdroid well documented elsewehere here who's in serious shit under the yank "three strikes" policy on minor offences for a start......

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FAIL

Sounds like something my Grandfather would do

Bloody foreigners

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Anonymous Coward

Learn the language

I would highly recommend that you learn the official language of the country you are living in. How did you get a driver's license without being able to speak the official language of the country where you are driving and living? If you are an illegal alien then you should be deported.

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W

Fined for not speaking English properly?

Doesn't George Bush live in Texas? .........

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FAIL

How?

'She added: "I felt humiliated, sad."'

If she can't speak English, how did she manage to say this? Sounds pretty bloody eloquent to me.

I would imagine saying a word with more than two syllables would be a struggle for the average Texan cop, hence the big bucket'o'fail.

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FAIL

RE: Learn the language

English is not the official language of the USA, English and Spanish are recognised as de-facto official languages. A large percentage of the population are Hispanic, and there quight legaly, infact born there, often with a family history going back hundreds of years. Also Spanish was the first European language spoken in North America.

Perhaps these people wouldent have had any problems without that type of ignorant racism.

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Joke

Merkins

a ticket for "not speaking English"

Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha. ROTFL.

I doubt if the rookie cop speaks English either. Not for him such words as burgled, petrol, bungalow and caravan.

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Grenade

Europe: here is your golden opportunity

Fine all american tourists who visit european countries and don't speak the native languages!

On second thought: americans can no longer afford to visit Europe, let alone being fined in Euro. I was in Rome a few weeks ago and I noticed the almost total absence of Americans... I suppose the only Americans abroad are now located in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Flame

@ AC 13:17

"How did you get a driver's license without being able to speak the official language of the country where you are driving and living?"

What a racist twat you are. Does the concept of being taught in another language never occur to you? I live in Finland and I did my driving test here, although my native language is Engilsh. Despite the fact that I do, in fact, speak the local language, I was happier doing it in my own language and the driving schools were more than happy to oblige. It's an option which is offered and there's nothing wrong with it - and nowhere in this article was it clarified exactly /what/ the level of language fluency was. Many people are modest, especially when confronted with an official. I'm sure they could have gotten by in everyday life, almost certainly with enough ability to drive around. Go and crawl back under your rock, and I hope to god you never visit a foreign country. You'll probably end up beaten to a bloody pulp for your elitist and racist views.

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Anonymous Coward

@Learn the language

Given that Texas was originally settled by er, Spanish-speakers from Mexico, it's by no means certain this lady is any kind of immigrant. Unless, Mr/Ms AC, you happen to be a Native American, I'd suggest you don't have a leg to stand on. Oh, and the US has never adopted English, or any other language, as its official language anyway.

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@AC: 13:08

Congratulations, you've earned yourself the online equivalent of the Quite Interesting klaxon.

It has to be pointed out every time this issue comes up, but the USA has no official language.

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Joke

Made me laugh

"We don't have abilities to determine proficiency in any language'

That line on it's own made reading the article worthwhile :)

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Anonymous Coward

Wish they'd do that in the UK

Over here all the social security payment application forms are available in every language under the sun!

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WTF?

taser them

...it's the only solution...

They should just count themselves lucky they're not rushing to catch the tube in London whilst being guilty of being slightly foreign; our punishments are far harsher.

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Re: Learn the language

Just because you don't speak the primary language of a country does not mean you are an illegal immigrant. Green cards are issued to let you live and work for an extended period, and don't require you to have a significant command of English. Also, if you become a citizen with certain requirements (50 yrs old and living in the states legally for 20 or 55 yrs old and living in the states legally for 15) you can have the English requirement waived.

On the other hand, learning the dominant language of a country you live in, at least well enough to be understood and to understand people, is typically a good idea.

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FAIL

Cop almost hit the target

If she can't speak English, or Texan for that matter, then presumably she might not be able to read English. She might be at a loss for understanding traffic signs. Therefore, a danger to other road users etc etc.

But as the arresting officer was a thick as Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane, then fail.

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Stop

@AC: Learn the Language

Uhm. No. The US does *not* have an official language. Period.

Yes, a majority of the country speaks English (or some bastardized form of it), and most of it's business is done in English. But we do not, nor have ever made it a requirement to speak English in order to function as a resident (legal or otherwise).

Also, Lester -- please don't put latino in quotes, as if it's a made-up word. There is a strong cultural distinction around here between hispanic, latino, and mexican. I'd equate this with putting African-American in quotes.

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Coat

But what about

Prawo Jazdy?

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Paris Hilton

re. Learn the language

In the UK, the language of the law used to be Latin but hardly anyone could speak it (only a few privately schooled people I know have any knowledge of Latin).

I agree that it's useful to have knowledge of the local language of legislation, but it shouldn't be against the law; how would you treat visitors from other countries; arrest them at the airport?

I regularly work in countries where I have no facility with the local language, and have committed many crimes of pronunciation with names of places and people, but I haven't been arrested yet.

Paris, 'cos she knows all about the local tongue ...

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Tourists?

It looks like Dallas really doesn't have a tourism industry... at least, not from foreign countries.

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FAIL

@Learn the language

You may be interested to know that according to Wikipedia the USA does not have an official language.

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FAIL

Humiliated

That's a bloody good word for someone who doesn't really speak English!

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 13:17

The lady in question is a US citizen. Texas used to be part of Mexico; many of its inhabitants are of Latin American descent. It was only a little more than a hundred and fifty years ago that Texas was annexed by the US-- and English language education hasn't even been available for more than thirty years or so. Therefore, it's entirely possible that someone could have grown up in Texas and still speak Spanish as their mother tongue. And, finally, there's no "official" language in the US-- English just kind of wins by default. It's perfectly possible to get a driver's license application/test in several other languages, though.

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Boffin

@AC 13:17 GMT

As stupid as it is, thanks to "civil liberty" groups in the US, drivers license tests can be taken in a huge number of languages. In California, like many States, you can even request an interpreter coe with you to interpret when you take your driving test.

(See for example, http://www.dmv.ca.gov/dl/dl_info.htm)

"Besides English, the basic Class C written driver license exam is also available in the following languages:

Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Chinese, Croatian, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Persian/Farsi, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, Tagalog/Filipino, Thai, Tongan, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

Besides English, the basic Class C audio driver license exam is also available in the following languages:

Armenian, Chinese/Mandarin, Hindi, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese"

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FAIL

RE: Learn the language

1 Texas was originally part of Mexico.

2 Spanish was the oringinal language of the European settlers in North America (so who was lazy to learn another language?)

3 America is second only to Mexico in numbers of people who speak Spanish

Why do you think it is against the Law for people who speak Spanish to take jobs as driving instructors?

If you are so set against illegal aliens I hope you also are prepared to pay more for

1 The products that rely on their labor.

2 Agree to higher Tax's to pay for raising the children who you intend to replace them as workers.

3 Agree to higher Tax's again to support low paid workers in their old age.

4 It's one thing to steal another country for it's mineral resources, but stopping the people living in an occupied territory from having their family over to stay is wrong on a whole new level.

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Anonymous Coward

there for 30 years

I think its sad that she has lived in the US for 30 years yet picked up such a small grasp of English.

Although the US has no 'official' language, English clearly plays a major role across the country, therefore to make no progress in 30 years will only cause Hispanics to be more separated from the jobs and wealth that comes with speaking English.

Before I'm declared a racist let me just say that if a European of the same 'race' as me moved to the US without any proficiency of the English language it would be wrong of them to stay so disconnected from culture not to learn English over such a long time-frame.

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WTF?

Mainly?

"It was later revelealed that around a half-dozen officers had fined mainly Hispanics for the same deficiency."

Mainly?

Who made up the rest of the demographic spectrum, please tell?! Otherwise I'll just have to make the safe assumption that it's the Bush-Lovin', Republican Votin', Gun-totin' Texans...

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Thumb Up

RE: Samuel L

"What" ain't no country I've ever heard of. They speak English in What?

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Pirate

Lightweight

Sheriff Joe Arpaio knows how to deals with these people:

http://www.economist.com/world/na/displayStory.cfm?story_id=14700628

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Sly
Megaphone

Some states have an official language

but Texas is not one of them.

All for making redneck the official language of Texas say yee-haw!

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FAIL

@AC 13:54

"What a racist twat you are."

Hmm, the original comment @13:17 to which you refer is not racist as far as I can see, but please feel free to explain your assertion more fully. The original comment is hardly the most enlightened of views, and not one I would agree with, but it is not racist.

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Terminator

Since when

did Americans last speak English? Back in the first half of the 20th cenury, Noel Coward commented that they had not spoken it for years. Anyway, I read somewhere that, within 20 years the majority language in USA will be Spanish and is all ready in some areas.

As for "Latino" and "African-american": dreadful classificaitons. Are not all citizens there just "Americans" or are they still classified and controlled by race and origin? Horrible litlle country.(mentally that is).

I just loved the way one correspondent put *drive" before the right to "live" there. Got to get those priorities right.

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Megaphone

Her quote was translated...

To those that commented on her "I felt sad, humiliated" and thought she said it in English- did you ever think that might be a translation? Wouldn't make much sense to put the quote in Spanish in an English-speaking news article.

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Language isn't the issue

The issue here isn't whether or not the US has an official language, but that these police thought they could issue arbitrary tickets. How did they get away with issuing fines for non-fineable-non-offences in the first place?

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@AC 14:29 GMT

See above about being rasist and the use of Spanish in Texas.

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Yes and no

While English is not required for a standard drivers license, in order to hold a COMMERCIAL drivers license in the US, you are REQUIRED to be able to speak, read and write English. (See the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Act)

Interestingly, though this does not stop many states from offering the various CDL tests in multiple languages. (i.e. New York which offers the tests in 15 languages.)

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Troll

Question is......

could the cop in question speak proper English. She probaly couldn't understand the red neck. I sure as hang couldn't and I speak the Queen's.

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@ ac 14:44 GMT

Lets review these statement

“1 Texas was originally part of Mexico.”

And the local inhabitants revolted and becacaqm a seprate contry before aplying for state hood

Prior to becoming and indepant country Mexico was owned by Spain

“2 Spanish was the oringinal language of the European settlers in North America (so who was lazy to learn another language?)”

Um do you know how many Indian langues there were in this couintry

“3 America is second only to Mexico in numbers of people who speak Spanish

Why do you think it is against the Law for people who speak Spanish to take jobs as driving instructors?”

Show me that law. I couldn’t find such a law in Texas . In California they do hire spanish speaking instructors

“If you are so set against illegal aliens I hope you also are prepared to pay more for

1 The products that rely on their labor”

you mean like non union contructuion workers vrs union constrution workers.

“2 Agree to higher Tax's to pay for raising the children who you intend to replace them as workers.” That makes no sense.

“3 Agree to higher Tax's again to support low paid workers in their old age.”

That’s called medicare. We all pay into it , we all get it at 65 regaurdless of income

“4 It's one thing to steal another country for it's mineral resources, but stopping the people living in an occupied territory from having their family over to stay is wrong on a whole new level.”

Texas is not an occupied territory

Reason why to use illegals.

You don’t have to pay pay roll taxes

You intend to abuse your workers

You don’t want to comply with saftey standards

You want to cheat your workers .

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Anonymous Coward

@ 13:55 GMT (yes this becomes very tangential)

Native americans are not native to this country, they've just been here a little longer. As with all humans, they started in Africa and migrated (or were displaced to) the americas. While the cops in question are idiots, there is a problem with speaking a common language in this country. I'm not talking about my fellow citizens bothering to learn a second language (which would be nice), but the fact that people need to be able to communicate with each other. The southern drawl that I have to deal with is ridiculous. Even the people in this state can't understand each other and they're English speakers. Most of the Mexican population I deal with is illegal. I personally don't care, since most of them bust their a$$es for minimum pay (isn't right either). I do have a problem with people not being able to understand what's going on. Around factory equipment, this is dangerous.

This isn't just a US problem. I'm sure Europe (and by extension, the UK) is going to enjoy the same thing when the Muslim population gets large enough to start affecting your culture/laws also. Blending of cultures isn't a bad thing, but it's easier if it doesn't happen so quickly so the really dumb quirks get weeded out.

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Anonymous Coward

If you can't speeak the official language you should not have a driver's license

If you can't read and write the English language then how did you take the written part of the test to obtain a driver's license? English is the only official language of the U.S.A. While other languages are accepted there is only one official language - English. If you live in America you have an obligation to learn the language just like you would if you lived in another country, especially if you want to be or claim to be a U.S. citizen. A drivers license is a privilege not a God given right.

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WTF?

Which English?

A few commentards have pointed out that Texans (and usians in general) don't speak English. Not to be obtuse, but I wonder what they classify as English: Chaucer's, Shakespear's, Ben Johnson's, or the Cockney spoken within range of Bow Bells? Then there are other varieties spoken in India, Australia, etc.

Please be more specific.

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Silver badge
Coat

Interesting new tax?

Appart from some academic bods in the north-eastern towns, I reckon very few merkins could speak english to save their lives. So let's make it a new tax and be done with it.

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Boffin

@Paul 4

Being able to read the road signs in the language they are written in is not a racist requirement. Unfortunately, too many people tar others with a "racist" paint brush in order to stifle legitimate discussion.

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Flame

So the Viking settlers before the Spaniards

They were speaking spanish, too? Yeah, that's what I thought, amigo.

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Flame

What would be appropriate

Would be to take the fine out of the paycheck of each "officer" who wrote one of these tickets.

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Make it up as you go along

Make it new laws as you go along. UK police seem to have been doing that of late. I expect the next one will be "walking on the cracks in the pavement".

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A Little History.

When Texas was part of Mexico, it was unsettled. Very few Mexicans lived here due to a charming group of peoples called the Kiowas, Apaches and Commanches. When Mexico instituted the settlement programs, there were more English speaking settlers than anyone else in Texas.

Thus one could make the arguement that Texas has always been a majority English region, insofar as European languages are concerned.

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FAIL

That's Texas for you

That's Texas for you. The only time I went down there I got harrased by the police too. The people there really are weird, and the police there can do no wrong, except when they do. A few years ago, there was a nice article about a computer system crashing -- for over a month -- in one of the prison systems down there. Solution? Just not release anybody from jail. Some people were supposed to be in for a day or 2 and were in over 30 days. Eventually the judges started asking why no-one was showing up for trials. What was worse, the official in charge wasn't even apologetic, he was like "Well if they got picked up by the police they obviously committed crimes". I assume they got sued big time. I added several hundred miles on my last trip out west just to drive around Texas.

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IT Angle

¿Dónde está el ángulo de TI?

Voy a por mi abrigo.

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