A letter to the editor from Earl Harnden (“Give non-English speakers a deadline to learn language,” Dec. 31) expressed concerns about immigrants not learning how to speak English in a timely fashion.

I am an immigrant – a British immigrant who came here when I was 22 (I am 66 now). English is my native tongue, and I believe I speak it rather well.

However, not a day passes when someone doesn’t say to me: “What did you just say?” I respond to that by saying, “Oh, just speaking English! I used an Anglicism.” No offence intended; none (usually) taken. In fact, it often promotes a smile.

And if Mr. Harnden doesn’t think that particularly kids want to learn English, then he has just not been around kids playing together who are colour-blind and language-blind. The immigrant children can’t help but learn English, and I suspect many of the local kids now know some very interesting words in another language.

Could we try to be a little more welcoming?

Deborah F. Coward

South Portland