Se Habla Español?
Boston's city council is headed to Spanish class. According to the Boston Globe, Council President Michael Flaherty hired a Spanish tutor to come by City ...
Boston's city council is headed to Spanish class. According to the Boston Globe, Council President Michael Flaherty hired a Spanish tutor to come by City Hall for a couple of hours every Thursday.
Flaherty expressed concern about "linguistically isolated" residents in some neighborhoods and hopes to "open the lines of communication" between City Hall and Boston's growing Spanish-speaking population.
It's a noble idea, but unfortunately, it probably won't do nada. My own struggles with learning Spanish suggest that two hours of instruction, once a week, does not a communicator make. A handful of councilors may emerge confidently declaring "Good Morning!" and asking "Where is the bathroom?" and little else. (How many language classes have you heard of where they teach all the various politically savvy ways to answer the question, "Why wasn't my trash picked up?")
On the up side, public officials do send a positive message when they can say "hello" and "how are you" in a constituent's native tongue. (Knowing a few phrases is also helpful when you do need a baño in the barrio.) Still, I wouldn't dismiss the idea of having translators on board when it's time to truly "communicate" with Spanish speakers.