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The Forum > General Discussion > Language problem

Language problem

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My nephew has bought a house in a suburb in Sydney where there are a lot of muslim residents. 2 little girls (around 6 to 8 years old were walking past his neighbours ,when their dog started barking at them .these little girls were terrified and my nephew went out to see what was wrong (they both wore head scarves)He tried to pasify them but they never understood a word he said and seemed even more diturbed,they ran of screaming .... I wonder where these children go to school?
At that age you might think they know a little english at least.
I wonder if they attend an Islamic school where their language is spoken . I think it is quite dangerous that they never understood english. it was an open discussion when my nephew came back inside.
Posted by patricia22au, Saturday, 27 January 2007 7:55:35 AM
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I think it is dangerous, not of your rather big claims that kids donít need to take English as part of their compulsory education, but for you to jump to conclusion and start forming ill-supported opinion, particularly in an environment where everything seems to have to do with your race.

There are other perfectly valid explanations of the kidsí behaviour:

- They are terrified, as you acknowledge in your post, of the dog in question (what kind of dog are you referring to?)
- They are afraid of strangers, in this case your nephew, and their parents told them not to talk to strangers. Note in this case they are just kids.
- They are pretending to not understand your nephew, to have a bit of fun.

Let me know if these not not plausible.
Posted by Goku, Sunday, 28 January 2007 8:51:08 AM
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My point is,these children did not I underline ,did not speak english. They were not being funny ...at all.
The dog is a medium sized mutt.the children had been to a party 3 or 4 doors down and had balloons. that may have triggered the dog off ,My concern is the parents have bought these children up to speak only their mother language.Maybe they speak little english ,but not so at the time this happened. They paniced.
How can they tell some one to help them if they are not taught english....
Posted by patricia22au, Sunday, 28 January 2007 12:42:55 PM
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In certain parts of Sydney you will find many headscarf-wearing little girls who are newly-arrived in this country.
Posted by Riddley Walker, Sunday, 28 January 2007 1:48:18 PM
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The fact that they did not speak English does not mean that they can't.

Human beings under stress almost always respond in their native language, and under the circumstances, it's perfectly understandable that these kids hurried off without responding, even more so if a response would have been necessary in a foreign language.

Ask yourself, patricia22au, what you would have thought if two white, unveiled little girls in this situation had refused any consolation and run away. My guess is you would have concluded that they were to frightened and confused to respond.

Sounds to me like you are the one panicking, patricia22au. Dangerous, indeed!

In any event, have you thought of taking issue with the owner of the dog, rather than the frightened little girls?
Posted by w, Sunday, 28 January 2007 7:43:58 PM
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W, dogs are usually expected to bark if they are startled by something. I wouldnt be taking issue with the dog owner. What do you expect it to do, blow bubbles and turn somersaults?

I think the point is that no-one wants to see scared little girls (or boys). It makes it hard to help someone if there is a language barrier, particularly if one is panicked. Yes, perhaps they would have run off screaming anyway in this situation. The issue is how do we (any Australian) extend help to someone that has trouble understanding what we say? I feel strongly that people need to have good english skills when coming to this country (with obvious exceptions - refugees is the one that springs to mind, but they should undergo funded programs immediately). Situations that involve panic or confusion have the potential to end up much worse when there are communication problems.
Posted by Country Gal, Sunday, 28 January 2007 8:26:42 PM
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