Imagine a job applicant who speaks five languages with full proficiency. Almost effortlessly, they translate and transcribe even the most complex topics from one language to another. Their linguistic skills would make them an invaluable asset to any company, provided one invisible criterion:
One of these languages must be English.
For many refugees and asylees in the U.S. (a nation without an official language) lacking English proficiency is the unspoken penalty, the barrier preventing them from stabilizing themselves and their families in a new culture, new country and new world.
“Much of the world is Anglocentric,” said Mythili Menon, associate professor of English and linguistics. “We interpret the world through this monolingual point of view, through a language that has hegemony and imperialistic power over other communities.”