All disabled people experience disability as social restriction, whether those restrictions occur as a consequence of inaccessible built environments, questionable notions of intelligence and social competence, the inability of the general population to use sign language, the lack of reading material in Braille, or hostile public attitudes to people with non-visible disabilities.
In Neighbours, Lindqvist returns to the barren Scandinavia that her grandmother would have known: rural and sparsely populated, where signs of humanity are few, and the ones that do exist are in the process of being swallowed by the elements due to neglect.
“I started the series after I tried living for around six months in the small town where my mother grew up,” Lindvist tells me. “The area has seen a big outflux of people who have moved away to live in towns and cities over the years. Their homes are often left empty, because there’s no property demand in these areas."
The sign said, “Population 430,” so I expected a quiet little town, and it was. But there was also a big stage production at the local school the next morning. As it turned out the school is among the top rated in the state, and its choir and theater director has been been staging two completely original productions for the kids every year for the last 20 years. These two set and costume designers moved here with their families all the way from the Chicago area after driving through Mosier and falling in love with it. “It’s a great place to raise our own kids,” they said. “And what is the most satisfying part of your work?” “Helping cultivate the artistic tendencies in children. There are kids who might have otherwise gone through school thinking they’re not good at anything because they’re not good at school or sports. This is something they can do, and they can do it well in a supportive environment. The great thing about theater is that it’s not a competitive sport. Everyone works together.”
“Se Habla Español.” The sign meaning “Spanish is spoken here” is commonly seen in business storefronts and advertising and is a commentary on the changing times and America’s fast-growing Spanish-speaking population.
But try this sign on for size: “America – We Speak 350 Languages Here.”
A new U.S. Census Bureau report out Tuesday highlights the breathtaking diversity of language in the United States. According to the report, the most comprehensive data ever released on languages spoken less widely in the U.S., at least 350 languages are spoken in American homes.
Those languages include Pennsylvania Dutch, Ukrainian, Turkish, Romanian and many others, as well as 150 Native North American languages like Dakota, Apache and Cherokee. More than 350,000 people speak Native North American languages, according to the report, which is based on American Community Survey data collected from 2019 to 2013.
“While most of the U.S. population speaks only English at home or a handful of other languages like Spanish or Vietnamese, the (data) reveals the wide-ranging language diversity of the United States,” a Census Bureau spokesman said in a statement.
In the New York metro area alone, more than 1 in 3 people age 5 and over speak a language other than English at home, and at least 192 languages are spoken. If you speak Bengali at home, you have company. About 106,000 people in the New York metro area speak the language native to the region of Bengal.
Even smaller language groups were found in other major metro areas. In Chicago, where at least 153 languages are spoken at home, about 17,500 people speak Serbian. And in Los Angeles, at least 185 languages are spoken, and about 13,000 people speak Indonesian.
In the Riverside, Calif. Metro area, 2,425 people speak Dutch at home. And in the Atlanta metro area, it might not be unthinkable to spot a sign that says, “Swahili spoken here.” According to the census data, 4,195 Atlanta residents speak Swahili.
Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Amharic are just a few of the other less-widely spoken languages in the nation’s most populous metro areas.
Knowing the number of languages and how many people speak them in a particular area provides valuable information to policymakers, planners and researchers, the Census Bureau said.