Iím in the Schwarzenegger state, California. A lot of people here speak Spanish. I myself speak Spanish, though. I donít speak it fluently, but I can hold a stilted conversation better than most gabachos.
In the bigger cities there are whole sections with businesses, etc, that are all en espaŮol.
Again, there are also sections of LA and San Francisco that are Chinese or Korean. I donít speak a word of either, except shay shay, which means thank you in Mandarin Chinese. Going into Chinatown or Koreatown or Japantown has sort of a feeling of being in a different country: I canít read any of the signs, and the food/products are very different. Once, in Chinatown in San Francisco, I saw an armadillo for sale.
By virtue of the dynamics of the dominant culture, everyone speaks English as well. And the roadsigns, parking signs, etc. are in English, so it isnít the same.
And, how do you feel when you are in another country and the locals are speaking English? Does it feel like an extension of the US to you, in that case?
There are usually aspects of the language that are different: different colloquilisms, different pronunciations, etc. Plus thereís ubiquitous evidence of the adoption of the metric systemÖ language is just one indicator. It just happens to be an important one for me.