No Puedo Hablar….

…but I suppose I had better learn.

Que es esto?

I have an orange tree in front of my house that the SJ County Ag Department likes to use for an insect trap. Sometime almost every year I get a knock on my door and a nice employee asks if they can put the trap in my tree, and I am happy to comply. We always converse in English.

Since I am now busy counting nuts (see older posts for an explanation) this time I missed the trap placing person’s recent visit. But they were nice enough to leave an informative paper on my front door to tell me what they had done and if I had any questions whom to contact. At least I suppose that is what it did. It was in Spanish. And there was no English version.

If you live in California you are certainly used to seeing Spanish and English side by side everywhere. My bank has more signs in Spanish on the walls than English versions. Drive into Stockton on Waterloo Road and you will see billboards and business signs that are entirely in Spanish with no English necessary. The highest rated TV station in Los Angeles broadcasts in Spanish. You get the idea: California isn’t quite Canada, which has two official languages. But in parts of our state English is definitely a second language.

I have assumed until now that while official government communications may be printed in multilingual versions, an English script would always be available. Apparently the Ag Department has concluded otherwise and considers the Spanish version sufficient for official government communications.

I am very much out of touch with the political currents in our Golden State. But rather than get angry, I see the humor in the silliness. And when an government entity adopts a “Spanish first and only” approach to documents, silliness abounds.

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  • Blog Author

    Rich Freggiaro

    Richard Freggiaro is a Stockton area native who grew up on his family’s farm. After an nine year detour to Davis for College, Washington DC for work, and Iowa for graduate school, he returned to San Joaquin County and spent the next quarter century farming with his father. He has been married to Diane for 31 years. He is (mostly) retired which leaves him plenty of time to ride each of his 4 bikes, and he is an enthusiastic and passionate cyclist. Read Full
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