25 American Kids Weigh in on What Language the U.S. Speaks

By Stephanie Meade
Founder, Editor-in-Chief of InCultureParent.com

When the multilingual Coke ad came under siege at first I couldn’t be bothered to listen to the noise, because that’s all it was to me — misguided rumbling that didn’t deserve attention. But as the #speakamerican clamor crowded headlines and my twitter stream, I knew our children were the ones who had the most powerful message for us all.

Bilingualism is the proud voice of the U.S. with a growing percentage of children growing up bilingual and multilingual. For these kids, bilingualism is just as American as French fries, apple pies and pizza. And then add in some curry, tagine and tamales too. Currently one in five households, including my own, speak a language other than English at home. And those statistics don’t even count the speakers of English at home that are learning a new language at school. There are over 530 immersion schools in this country and demand for them is outpacing supply in many communities. When I hear polemics about English only, it confounds me why so many see language in zero-sum terms. English can and does peacefully coexist together with hundreds of other languages, as it always has. English-only discourses are a rearview mirror perspective of our nation, one that fails to confront the reality of the present or consider the future of our country in the context of a globalized world.

Speaking another language is not a threat to the fabric of the U.S. — it is the very thread that makes the fabric beautiful. And more than that, it is the thread that when woven together gives us strength. So let’s stop looking in the rearview mirror and start considering the America that will lead us into the future.

What language does America speak? English and over 300 other languages.

I speak English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. I’ve studied Russian, Japanese and German. And I’m learning Arabic.


What languages do you speak?

* Please note: We tried very hard to find a Native American language to represent in our clip, and regret we could not find one in time. There were also many other languages we wanted to include, and it was strictly a matter of timing that we couldn’t represent more.

This video was originally published on InCultureParent, an online magazine for parents raising little global citizens.

Follow Stephanie Meade on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/incultureparent

Woman Drinks Coke Instead Of Water For 16 Years


A 31-year-old Monaco woman was recently admitted to the hospital after suffering arrhythmia and fainting spells. Her potassium levels were found to be absurdly, dangerously low. These are bad warning signs, but the woman had no family history of heart problems. Further investigation revealed that the patient had not had a sip of water in 16 years; instead she drank only cola.

The doctors told her to stop drinking cola, and then promptly wrote a paper describing the case.

This is one of those instances, like in the movie Super Size Me, that isn’t really indicative of anything besides the specific case it describes. In Super Size Me, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock consumed nothing by McDonald’s for a full month, and found that his health rapidly deteriorated. And, well, yes, of course it did; probably not even McDonald’s executives would suggest that anybody actually do this.

That, though, was a movie about an experiment, not someone’s actual life. And so it’s fascinating to see just what kind of damage such an extreme diet choice can do to a person’s body. The patient apparently drank about two liters of cola every day! Here were the effects:

The patient’s blood-potassium level was 2.4 mmol/L. Norma blood-potassium levels for a woman of her age should have been about twice that.

A QT interval is the time in between the start of the Q wave and the end of the T wave in a patient’s heart. It’s dependent on heart rate but indicative of other things; a lengthened QT interval suggests severe arrhythmia and could indicate death. This patient’s QT interval was 610 ms. A normal QT interval for a woman her age should have been no more than 450 ms.

The patient suffered severe fainting fits.

Amazingly, as soon as the doctors took the patient off of her bonkers cola habit, her potassium levels and QT intervals returned to near-normal. Within one week, her QT interval was 430 ms, and her blood-potassium levels returned to 4.1 mmol/L. Amazing how much torture the human body can bounce back from!

The case was reported at a European health conference this week.


Coca-Cola Recommended to Treat Stomach Blockages


Coca-Cola might rot your teeth and load your body with sugar and calories, but it’s actually an effective and safe first line of treatment for some stomach blockages, researchers say.

Yes, the same corrosive elements in the soft drink that wear down tooth enamel also seem to be quite good at dissolving stubborn, indigestible material that can build up in the stomach, studies show.

Researchers reviewed studies on the unconventional treatment that have been published over the past 10 years. In total, they looked at 24 papers covering 46 cases of patients with gastric phytobezoars, which are hard masses made up of indigestible parts of fruits and vegetables, like cellulose. These build-ups can cause pain and they tend to develop in people who have trouble moving food through their digestive tract, either because of a previous gastric surgery or some other condition.

For exactly half of those patients who tried using Coca-Cola to relieve their stomach woes, the soft drink was all that was needed to break down the blockage. And for 19, the beverage worked in combination with another endoscopic technique (such as mechanical lithotripsy). In just four cases, patients needed surgery to have the obstruction removed. Those numbers mean Coca-Cola has 91.3 percent success rate, the researchers said.

Scientists have not yet thoroughly explained how the soft drink dissolves bezoars, but it likely has something to do with its high acidity. Coca-Cola, due to its carbonic and phosphoric acid, has a pH of 2.6 and resembles the natural gastric acid that’s thought to be important for fiber digestion, the researchers said. In addition, the sodium bicarbonate and carbon dioxide bubbles in the beverage might enhance the dissolving effect.

“Coca-Cola ingestion should be the treatment of choice considering that less endoscopies and accessories are needed and patients stay less at the hospital,” the researchers wrote. “Moreover, availability, low cost, rapid way of action, simplicity in administration and safety renders Coca-Cola a cost-effective therapy for gastric phytobezoars.”

And for diabetics or those worried about their calorie-intake, the researchers noted that diet soda or Coca-Cola Zero could be used to the same effect.

The review of the studies was detailed online last month in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.