Xiara Mercado Air Force Member Told Not to Speak Spanish in Uniform

It doesn’t matter if you’re minding your business, or living in a city with a large Latinx population or wearing a military uniform. If you speak in Spanish in public in the United States, you could be the target of hate.

For Xiara Mercado, who was wearing her Air Force uniform, she was criticized for speaking Spanish during her while on a Starbucks run in Hawaii. The Puerto Rican woman was chatting on the phone inside the Starbucks as she waited for her order. As she was leaving, an unnamed woman tapped her on the shoulder and told her she shouldn’t speak Spanish while in uniform.

“You shouldn’t be speaking Spanish,” the woman told her. “That’s not what that uniform represents… [It’s] distasteful.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” Xiara responded. “What’s distasteful?”

“You speaking another language that does not represent America and that uniform you are wearing, that’s distasteful,” the woman told her.

The comment shocked her, and Xiara needed a moment to compose herself. But when she did, she let the woman know that her bigotry wasn’t OK. “I’m sorry, ma’am, the only distasteful thing here is that you are clueless to your discrimination,” Xiara told her. “Please educate yourself.”

As she walked away, the lady shouted, “I don’t know how you are allowed to wear that uniform.”

Xiara stopped, turned around and replied, “I wear it proudly,” before walking away.

Today something happened to me. As I was waiting for a drink at Starbucks during my lunch time I was on the phone…

While the incident left Mercado feeling “more sad than mad,” it was an empowering moment for her. It, unfortunately, doesn’t always go this way. Many end up feeling frightened and worried. Bigotry has always happened, but with a president who openly disparages those who don’t look like him (i.e. those who aren’t white), many have felt increasingly unsafe. In 2018, Pew Research reported that 4 in 10 Latinos were discriminated against in the previous year. They were either told to stop speaking Spanish or told to return to their countries.

This content was originally published here.

Racist Walmart Customer Asks Indigenous Family To Speak English

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“If you live here in America, speak the language,” said the racist woman.

A racist woman was caught-on-camera attacking a mother and daughter who were reportedly speaking their native language, Hmong, with each other at a Walmart store in Appleton, Wisconsin.

The woman, who remains unnamed, reportedly approached the duo and commented, “If you live here in America, speak the language.”

Offended by the comment, Jasmine Xiong, the daughter, started recording the incident and later uploaded the video on Facebook.

“Ignorant woman made a comment because my mom spoke Hmong to me at Walmart and she said “If you live here in America, speak the language” so I called her out on it because America doesn’t have an official, single language, American English is just the most common, spoken language in America but I only got the last part of it so here ya go!,” wrote Xiong.

In the video, the woman can be seen approaching the two and then making rude comments. Upset by the comments, Xiong also chose a stern tone and told the racist woman that they were having a private conversation.

She then told the woman to walk away and said both of them can speak English very well. At one point, Xiong’s mother also stepped in and told the woman that she is also offended by her comments.

The woman then apologized for her comments, (because what else could she do?), and walked away.

As soon as Xiong uploaded the video on Facebook, it garnered thousands of shares and likes.

People supported Xiong and called out the woman for her racist comments.

“She was expecting you both not to be educated in both languages and that this would be her moment to step on others and feel dominant, disgusting. You ladies have the freedom to speak whatever language you wish,” said Brandon J. White, a commenter.

While another one said, “Everybody is the same we bleed red blood we are all human we are all brothers and sisters in God’s eyes we all should love each other and protect each other we should stop being racist.”

“Just racist people trying to make the world follow their own beliefs. America is a melting pot for all kinds of people. English is the most common language. There’s no such official language in America,” said Kia Thao, another commenter.


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Public University Suspends Prof. for Advising Foreign Student to Learn English – Artvoice

In a bothersome case of political correctness gone amok, a professor at a highly ranked public university in the United States has been suspended for suggesting a foreign student “learn English.”

The egregious incident occurred this month at the University of Kansas (UK), a taxpayer-funded institution with an enrollment of 28,500 that ranks among the nation’s top public universities. Situated in the northeast Kansas town of Lawrence, the school is the state’s flagship university and a premier research institution.

The “offending” professor, Gary Minden, teaches electrical engineering and computer science in the highly regarded school of engineering. Minden, an acclaimed academic, is a UK alum who received undergraduate and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering at the school.

In the 1990s he served as information technology program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a Pentagon agency with a $3 billion budget dedicated to developing technologies for the military. “DARPA goes to great lengths to identify, recruit and support excellent program managers—extraordinary individuals who are at the top of their fields and are hungry for the opportunity to push the limits of their disciplines,” according to the agency’s website. “These leaders, who are at the very heart of DARPA’s history of success, come from academia, industry and government agencies for limited stints, generally three to five years.”

During a recent class, Minden told a foreign student who was using an online translation system on a cell phone that the student should “learn English,” according to a local newspaper report. The unidentified student evidently was not bothered over the suggestion, but others in the class were offended and an “hourlong discussion” ensued in the engineering class which focuses on embedded systems.

During the discussion things apparently got heated and many students in the class became very upset. The professor told the local newspaper that he’s “frustrated” over the incident but refused to comment further for obvious reasons. In the article a university spokeswoman said “a number of students have raised concerns about events that occurred in their engineering class. In response to these concerns, the university has assigned a different instructor to teach the course while the matter is reviewed.”

This is hardly an isolated case of political correctness at taxpayer-funded schools in the United States. Public elementary, middle and high schools as well as colleges have taken an extreme leftist turn on several issues over the years and Judicial Watch has reported or taken legal action in several of the cases.

This includes exposing a Mexican separatist school that pushes Marxism and Anti-Americanism in Los Angeles, pervasive corruption in Chicago public schools and an after school Satan club in Washington State that received speedy tax-exempt approval from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Judicial Watch is currently embroiled in a legal battle with the Berkeley Unified School District in California to obtain the records of a middle school teacher who is a national organizer for a radical leftist group.

The teacher, Yvette Felarca, works at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School and is a prominent figure in By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), an organized militant group founded by the Marxist Revolutionary Workers League that uses raucous militant tactics to protest conservative speaking engagements. Felarca has been charged with several crimes, including felony assault, for inciting a riot in Sacramento.

A few years ago, Judicial Watch wrote about professors at a 54,000-student public university in south Florida that demanded the school protect illegal aliens by creating a “sanctuary campus.” The professors compared immigration enforcement to “fugitive slave laws.”

At the time students at colleges around the nation requested their undocumented classmates be protected, but the Florida professors blazed the trail as the first faculty members of an American taxpayer-funded establishment to officially call for campus-wide sanctuary in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s presidential election.

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How to Use Netflix to Learn English! – BridgeEnglish Blog

BridgeEnglish teacher Colleen Luckett is going to share three tips on how students can utilize technology they already have access to in order to supplement their English classes. In this first post in the series, Colleen gives students ideas on how they can use Netflix to learn English, and continue practicing English outside of the classroom.

When learning a language, the saying “use it or lose it” could not be truer. You’re getting a solid English language education here at Bridge, but if you go home and don’t use the English you learn in class, it will take longer for you to become fluent. So, here is the first tip in a series about how you can supplement your classes using technology: Use Netflix to improve your English!

Lights! Camera! Action!

Many of our students tell us the best way they learn English outside class is to watch American movies. Not only will you pick up many new words – and lots of slang! – but it’s great to hear actors’ various accents.

How to Use Netflix to Learn English 

Netflix.com still offers a free one-month trial, so sign up, grab some popcorn, and start watching! First, watch the whole movie with your language’s subtitles on (the words on the screen, telling you what the actors are saying), so you know what the movie is about. Then, follow these steps:

After you go through these steps, you can then try speaking the new words and matching the pronunciation to the actor. Keep in mind that accents vary across the U.S., so if the movie is set in New York, you’ll sound very different from a Coloradan! You can always bring new words you learned to your Bridge teachers and ask them to pronounce them, too.

Continue Learning English after the Movie Ends 

The more varied approach you take for learning English, the better it will be for your experience here in the U.S. Go to your classes, do your homework, join fun events, and talk to local people. And stay tuned for the next post in this series with more ways to use technology to learn English.

Do you have some favorite movies to watch to learn English? Please tell us in the comments! And if you want to keep improving your English, click here to learn some Denver, Colorado slang!

This content was originally published here.

Vince McMahon Reportedly Told Andrade To “Learn English And Get Back To Me” When He Asked For A Push

Vince McMahon Reportedly Told Andrade To “Learn English And Get Back To Me” When He Asked For A Push

Former NXT Champion Andrade seems to be getting a moderate push on SmackDown LIVE now and is the favorite to win the Money in the Bank ladder match. Is this because he finally took some English classes?

Filed Under: “WWE”
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This content was originally published here.

15 tips to learn English by yourself – Blog SEDA College Online

Looking for tips to learn English by yourself? SEDA College Online can help you to learn how to be self-taught. Check our tips!

Take Control

You’re the protagonist, therefore, act in favor of your personal growth and learn English. Take the first step and start from the basics. Organise your time in order to watch tons of classes from SEDA College Online.

Knowledge is your treasure

All that we learn can and must be used in our lives. English is one of the most spoken languages in the world. Whoever acquires this knowledge is able to communicate in any situation. That’s why you must study.

Do lots of research

The internet is a source of unending knowledge. Research websites, blogs and vlogs that will help you with learning.

Always ask questions!

Do you have any doubts on pronunciation? Are you with problems with grammar? Take part in online forums, ask around.

Seek Inspiration

Learning by yourself is a tough process that needs motivation. A good way of doing so is inspiring yourself on others who have reached the level you wish.

Count on your friends

Everybody has a friend who knows a bit of everything. Use this to your advantage and start a conversation in English. Sharing knowledge helps to memorize the content.

Check books and magazines

Do you like reading? Search for books and magazines in English. A great way to learn new words and fix your spelling.

TED Talks

There are thousands of talks and inspiring speeches, with amazing people from varied fields and areas from everywhere in the world.

You will realize the difference between accents and see that there is no problem in having one. Communication happens naturally!

Listen to podcasts

Choose a topic that you consider to be interesting and listen to the podcast many times until you get the content completely. Training comprehension is very important to develop a fluent conversation.

Do it in your time

One of the biggest advantages of free online classes is the possibility of pausing the video, go back and watch as many times as you want.

Exchange content

Learned something new? Share with your friends. This exchange is a super enriching process that will help you to learn a new language.

Take risks

Not sure yet how to pronounce a word? Are you afraid of getting near a gringo and start a conversation? If you don’t take risks, you will never know your true potential.

Make mistakes

Speak wrong, have an accent. There is no problem. Everyone has a bit of that and that does not make communication clear and effective.

Try again

Couldn’t communicate like you wanted? Start again. Repeat the words slowly until you can be understood.

Think of your future with your present English

Knowledge of a language makes people have new perspectives and trace new plans. A better job, an international trip, an exchange program. Aiming for a new life can help you remain focused!

Whatever your goal is, SEDA College Online helps you learn a new language. At the end of the course, you can still get a certificate. Access www.sedacollegeonline.com and learn more!

This content was originally published here.

Should You Learn French Like A Child ?

Many of you are learning French as adults. And it can be challenging.

So, the internet is overflowing with reassuring advise to sugar-coat the fact that learning French as an adult is going to be hard work.

Let’s stop the BS, shall we? Let’s see why it’s most unlikely an adult is going to learn French as a French child does.

And also what valuable lessons we could learn from the way children learn French.

1 – French Children Need To Speak French

Its’ pure survival instinct. Children want to speak. They long to communicate: it’s the next logical step in their development, and all things considered, communicating efficiently in any given society is a question of survival.

So their motivation is extremely strong.

As an English speaker, I doubt your motivation is as strong!

2 – People Make Huge Efforts to Understand Toddlers

Have you ever had a conversation with a toddler? You know it’s usually quite a challenge…

But as a society, we are so willing to encourage children to develop their speaking abilities that we all make a huge effort and bend over backwards to follow what the little one is trying to say.

Most of the time, we guess half of it.

Our daughter Leyla’s first word was “papillon” (butterfly). Well, after “Maman” et “Papa”. Now, it sounded nothing like “papillon”. It sounded like “papila”. But we know what she meant, and we were so happy to start communicating verbally with her. And so proud she picked such a long word!

If the French made even half these efforts to try to understand what you say when you speak to them (and didn’t immediately switch to English) it would make your French learning experience so much nicer!

learn french like a child

3 – Children Have An Amazing Memory

I don’t think I need to develop this point much. It’s a fact that, for most of us, as we age, our memory gets weaker. Most adults just can’t learn like a child and be as efficient as children at memorizing vocabulary. I actually wrote an article about learning French as a senior.

4 – A French Child Is In Constant Immersion

Not only do they live among their target language, but people are constantly speaking to them. Again, it’s a question of instinct.

I remember singing lullabies to Leyla in the womb. I never sang before, and never have since. When I was pregnant, I sang non-stop!

A doctor told me it was actually an instinct to develop your child’s language ability and connect him/her to your voice. Amazing, isn’t it?

So, all these are reasons why you shouldn’t aim at learning like a French child if you are past that stage.

But what do children do that can inspire us to become better French learners?

5 – Learn French Like a Child = Learn French in Context

Small children can’t learn from grammar books. So they deduct the rules from the context: well, they don’t really deduct the rule… their brain recognizes patterns and repeats them.

That’s why a 10 years old may sometimes throw in a subjunctive. They don’t know what the French subjunctive is. They just repeat a construction they’ve heard and memorized.

I often tell my students to do the same: understanding French grammar is actually a huge help for most adults.

But I’ve also met many students who seem to be “allergic” to grammar. Even when it’s explained really clearly. For them, learning in context is the key.

I suggest you checkout my French audio method “A Moi Paris”. All the method revolves around an ongoing, level adapted story. You’ll learn the French rules, I’ll explain and compare them to English, and then you’ll learn within the context of a real-life like story.

À Moi Paris Level 1

Beginner Level

À Moi Paris Level 1


6 – Learning French Like a Child = Learn To Speak First

That’s the big misconception about the way French is taught…

As a student learning French as a second language, chances are that you learned only “written” French. Even when you learned to speak, you were learning formal French, reading French literature or unrealistic dialogues…

“The spoken French taught in American classrooms is a fiction, based on ideas about how people should speak, not on how they do speak”
Waugh & Fonseca-Greber – University of Arizona

Nothing prepared you for the real French language like everybody speaks it in France nowadays. And that’s why you don’t understand the French when they speak.

So if you want to learn French to actually communicate, it’s essential you train on understanding modern spoken French and engage regularly in French conversation. I recommend taking regular French lessons by Skype, or doing a French residential immersion at a teacher’s house.

7 – Learn French Like A Child = Repeat What You Hear

Because of the way French is taught abroad, many students learn only from books. And therefore never develop an ear for the language or a proper pronunciation.

If you are familiar with my audio method, you know my motto is: “repetition is the key”.

When Leyla was little, she’d watch the same Disney movie over, and over, and over again. Each time, she guessed and memorized more words. When she was three, she said “c’est le serpent Ka : il kidnappe Mowgli et il l’hypnotise !”… not a typical three years old sentence… she must have watched that movie over a hundred times. Seriously.

That’s a great lesson kids can teach us: the best way to learn a language to communicate is to learn with by hearing it.

Of course, be careful to select an audio method which focusses on the French you want to use, and a teacher who has an accent and voice you like.

8 – Learning French Like A Child – Be Fearless

Another huge difference between kids and adults is that kids are not self-conscious. They don’t care if they make mistakes. And why should they? Nobody is mocking them… Everybody is pure encouragement!

Many adults experience a fear of speaking French. It’s not easy to accept to be vulnerable, to be unable to represent your “self” – your humor, your wit, your culture – like you do in your own language. The French accent sounds strange, it’s unfamiliar. The whole process is actually quite uncomfortable. And as adults, we don’t like that at all.

So let’s learn from our young ones. Stop caring! Nobody is asking you to speak French like the French. It’s OK to be you, to have your own cute accent, to make mistakes, to even sound silly at times.

I recently started making everyday spoken French videos. Oh my… the process was brutal. I hated my image on screen, the way my lips twist in all directions… At first, I couldn’t remember what I wanted to say, I totally froze. I was so terrified I gave up the project for a while.

But I really wanted to provide students with a tool showing them you can speak about everything using simple French, and make sense.

There is definitely a relation to be made between the fear of speaking in front of a camera and the fear you experience speaking French. So it made me closer to you.

There will always be someone around you who learned faster than you. Or another student who naturally has this amazing French accent. There will always be an obnoxious person who criticizes your French, or corrects you – even when you didn’t ask to be corrected! But that’s OK.

It’s OK to be less than perfect. Don’t give up, study regularly with a structured method, do your best. You only have to answer to yourself.

The post Should You Learn French Like A Child ? appeared first on French Today.

This content was originally published here.

10 Great Tips to Learn English with the Radio | FluentU English

English is all around you.

…As long as you know some great radio stations for English learning.

With a radio or online radio, the right English stations and some smart listening strategies, you can tune into English listening practice anytime, anywhere.

The radio is one of the most effective tools to improve your English listening skills, while also getting accustomed to the speed and tone of native English speakers.

Not only will careful radio listening improve your English understanding, but it’ll even improve your speaking fluency and pronunciation.

Follow this simple guide and learn some great tips to improve your English with the radio.

Tune In! The Ultimate Guide to Radio English Learning (With Top Radio Stations)

1. Make Time Every Day to Listen to the Radio

Before we show you our favorite tips and radio stations for learning English, we want to make this clear. It doesn’t matter how long you listen for, whether it’s just five minutes or one hour, but consistency is key.

Regular exposure (contact) with English is important, which is why you should listen to the radio every day.

To build this habit, start with the goal of listening for just one to five minutes every day. If the program is interesting, you might listen for longer, but the short time commitment will make it an easy task to complete.

Over time as the habit develops, you can slowly increase your daily listening time.

2. Find Your Favorite Talk Radio Stations

Everyone loves music, which many English radio stations will play, but if you really want to fine-tune (perfect) your English listening skills you should listen to a talk radio station. You can still enjoy your music, but you’ll learn English intonation and listening much better through the natural conversations on talk radio.

Talk radio shows span many different topics, from sports to science, so choose something that interests you.

To do this, use Google and type: radio + (the region you want) + (the type of show you’re looking for). For example, if you want an entertainment radio show from California, type “radio California entertainment” into your Google search bar.

This way you’ll narrow down your search (make the list smaller) and find a great station that matches your interests faster.

3. Don’t Limit Yourself to Just One Station

Try out a few different online English radio stations until you find the ones that you like learning with best.

Avoid any English radio stations with DJs who are really loud and try to make jokes all of the time. More often than not, these DJs don’t make much sense even to native English speakers, so you could become confused and frustrated.

If you’re really intent on learning English with radio, you should find a radio station that reports the news, tells you the weather or gives advice (e.g. advice on relationships or health problems). That way, you’ll hear clear English plus information that’s relevant to your life.

It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t listen to a radio station just because it has a lot of speaking. You need to find the perfect program that really keeps your attention. For example, if you’re into the Hollywood scene and love entertainment and gossip, check out Little Gold Men from Vanity Fair.

You can find more entertainment talk shows in TuneIn’s Entertainment Radio section.

The same goes if you’re interested in listening to sports broadcasts. Sports lovers should definitely try listening to radio stations and podcasts from the popular sports network ESPN.

4. Listen to Simplified English News Stations Online

If you don’t feel ready to listen to a full radio program for native English speakers, you can check out some big news stations that have easier versions for non-native English speakers.

Two such stations are the BBC and VOA (Voice of America). VOA is particularly good for learning English, as it allows you to choose the topics you’re interested in. It also has very up-to-date radio news broadcasts that are relevant to native English speakers’ cultures.

Depending on your level, a Google search for “radio news for kids” might also give you some new online English learning radio stations to explore.

5. Listen to Interviews

Listening to interviews will increase your understanding because they generally follow an easy question-and-answer pattern. Listening to interviews on the radio will help you to learn and practice intonation when asking questions, and also how people respond naturally to questions in English.

To get you started, NPR (National Public Radio) has an “Interviews” radio show. One of NPR’s most popular interview shows is called “Fresh Air,” which has lots of interviews with big-name celebrities.

The BBC also has an archive of interviews with important and interesting people.

Interviews will also introduce you to fillers (words that fill space to give you more thinking time). Some examples of fillers are, “Let me see,” “Give me a second,” and “Hm, good question.”

These fillers are useful to recognize and understand, and using them will make you sound more like a native English speaker.

6. Write Down Interesting Phrases or Words

Do you keep hearing the same words over and over again while listening to the radio?

If yes, it means that these are high frequency words that relate to the topic, so they’re probably worth writing down. Write the words or phrases you hear, and also an example of the context so you can understand how to use them properly.

7. Listen for Patterns to Help You Understand

When you listen to weather reports, for example, different reports can sound similar or repetitive. Weather reports will use the the same weather vocabulary and phrases most days, so use this to your advantage.

When you listen to specific programs there’ll be less repetition, but there are still patterns with timing. Perhaps a radio program has an astrologer on air (speaking live) talking about the horoscopes of the day at 8:00 every morning. If you enjoy astrology and horoscopes, tune in at this time every day.

8. Check out the Radio Station’s Website for Extra Help

All online English radio stations have their own website, and you should use them. Quite often they’ll record popular shows or parts and list them as podcasts so you can go back and listen to a segment that you found interesting.

Definitely go back and listen to a favorite show or segment again, as listening repetition is very important when learning English.

Also, some radio stations will post transcripts (the written text of the show) for fans to go back and read. These will be very beneficial to you, too. All popular shows have little written explanations that inform you of what the show is going to be about, therefore you’ll be able to build your background knowledge first and get an idea of what you’re going to listen to.

9. Don’t Use the Dictionary at First

When you’re learning a language, you might want to use a dictionary to look up all the words you don’t understand. But this isn’t necessary—especially in the beginning. It’s much more important to understand the main point than to understand every single word. If you generally know what the radio show is talking about—great!

If not, focus on understanding the topic of conversation, not every word that’s spoken. Over time your listening will improve and you’ll find yourself understanding more without having to even open your dictionary.

However, if you find that you hear a word many times that you don’t know, then it’s probably a good idea to look it up in the dictionary. If a word is repeated so much, it’s probably important to the topic.

10. Listen to Podcasts

Podcasts are fantastic because you can listen to them any time you want, like while going for a run, driving to work or walking to class. Listening to podcasts is convenient, there are endless topics to listen to and most are free!

One of the best and easiest to understand news podcast stations is BBC News Minute. You’ll get a quick, clear rundown of the absolutely freshest news—it’s updated every half hour.

If you want specific information, motivational speeches or talks on special topics, try listening to TED talks. All TED talks come in the form of MP3 and are easy to download. These talks include famous people such as Bill Gates and also everyday people like you and me. These talks are inspiring and often you’ll forget that you’re even listening to English because they’re so interesting.

Learning anything can be a bore, which is why it’s so important to listen to topics that interest you. You don’t have to remain glued in front of the computer screen while listening, either. You could certainly have the radio playing in the background while you cook dinner, drive or wash dishes.

Keeping it enjoyable is really important if you want to maximize your online English radio learning experience. After some time you’ll find yourself understanding the whole show, which is one of the greatest rewards!

Happy listening!

Oh, and One More Thing…

If you liked these tips, you should check out the FluentU app. Like the website, the FluentU app lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:

If you want to watch it, the FluentU app has probably got it.

The FluentU app makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.

FluentU lets you learn engaging content with world famous celebrities.

For example, when you tap on the word “brought,” you see this:

FluentU lets you tap to look up any word.

Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.

FluentU helps you learn fast with useful questions and multiple examples. Learn more.

The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. You have a truly personalized experience.

Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.

If you liked this post, something tells me that you’ll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.

This content was originally published here.

Mariano Rivera opened up about his struggles to learn English early in his baseball career

Mariano Rivera was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown on Sunday — a much-deserved honor for the best closer in baseball history.

When it came time for his speech, Rivera made a joke about going last — which was perfect — but he also shared a story from his first years as a professional baseball player.

Rivera signed with the Yankees out of Panama, and in his second year, he arrived to North Carolina without knowing a word of English. The language barrier was a huge source of stress for Rivera, and he told the crowd how he cried himself to sleep numerous times before asking his teammates to help him learn English.

Rivera said:

“On my way to Tampa, 1990, I didn’t know what to expect. I was leaving my hometown, my family, my people. First time on a plane. Arriving to Miami. I don’t know where to go. No English. Thank God for the people that were there that help us.

“We got to Tampa. I don’t know what I was expecting. But God guided me through. At that time everybody, most of the guys I played with, they were Spanish, so they spoke Spanish.

“But my second year in professional baseball, I went to Greensboro, North Carolina, where not too many people spoke Spanish. I used to, at times, go to bed crying because I couldn’t communicate, couldn’t communicate with my teammates. I was frustrated. I was frustrated because no English, no relationship with my teammates, with my manager, my pitching coach. I made one of the biggest decisions and the greatest decision I made. I talked to a few of my teammates, one is here, Bob Dillard and his family. I asked them, ‘Guys, please I need to learn English.’

“‘Whatever I do, whatever things I said that is not right, please you can laugh all you want, but please teach me, teach me the right way.’ And they did. They never laughed. They never laughed.”

I realize MLB called the story “awesome,” but Rivera’s story showed how baseball has long struggled to welcome non-English-speaking players. Only in the past few years have we seen every club employ interpreters, and the Marlins are even requiring English-speaking players to take Spanish classes.

Every team should do the same.

After all, baseball is a game with international reach. Players shouldn’t have their ability to form relationships with teammates and coaches limited by a language barrier.

Rivera’s ability to overcome those systemic flaws, though, was awesome.

This content was originally published here.

Teenager who arrived in Wales unable to speak English gets top marks in A-levels – Wales Online

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When Jamal Doghramachi came to Wales from Baghdad in 2013, he described himself as an “alien” in a whole new world.

Unable to speak English, the Iraqi teenager had to get to grips with a new culture, new technology and a whole new city, all while staying in a hotel as his family looked for their new home.

But after nine hours of revision a day, the dedicated student has gone from recently doing worse than he hoped his AS levels to walking away with an A* and two As at A Level.

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Jamal, from Cyncoed, Cardiff, said: “I felt like an alien. It was a completely different world.

“Here there’s a different religion, different first language, but it’s [also] the way people interact, the technology. There’s a completely different education system.

“In my country I was a top student in my primary school but coming here I had to start from scratch.

“Being in the bottom again, some years I wanted to give up.

“People were telling me for my language barrier I was doing well but it wasn’t enough.”

First only able to count to 10 in English, Jamal began to pick up the language by watching YouTube videos after making the move to Wales to allow his mother Fadya to complete her PhD.

But he says he also had to look out for those trying to mislead him along the way.

The Cardiff High pupil said: “I just had to pick it up. I remember in the first summer holidays I had been watching a lot of English YouTube videos about gaming, that sort of thing.

“They were mainly visual based which helped me to pick up the words.

“I got hit with quite a lot of bullying for the first two years I was [in Cardiff] because I was very vulnerable, I wasn’t a very social kind of person.

“People would exploit that and make me say bad stuff because they knew I didn’t understand.”

After flourishing in his GCSEs, Jamal’s mental health began to suffer after doing worse than expected in his AS levels.

Unable to finish the exam papers on time, he walked away with B, C and D grades – a far cry from his results today.

The 18-year-old said: “The thing that made me give up initially was that I kept running out of time. I always had 25% extra time but it still wasn’t enough.

“Last year was the worst one but I was going through a bad mental state.”

“There were so many life stresses happening, I wasn’t sure if I could stay in the country or not, how long my visa was going to last for, the thought of going back to Iraq and having to do my final year of high school there.”

Determined to improve his grades, Jamal spent nine hours revising a day while fasting for Ramadan in the run up to his exams.

At the same time, his mother was also busy in the final year of her pharmacy PhD at Cardiff University.

Now, after an emotional results day, Jamal will follow in Fadya’s footsteps to study pharmacy at university in his new home city.

The teenager added: “I’m very thankful to my mum.  I’m the type of person who doesn’t really know how to revise by myself so she had to revise with me constantly and suffer through it and also focus on her PhD and get that over with.

“It was my final year and her final year as well.”

This content was originally published here.