Alvina Saieqa Chowdhury
December 1, 2010
One Tongue, Brotherhood and Equality Language plays a vital role in shaping and constructing any society, community and also country. Not every country around the world has the same language, but English is considered as the most used international language. That is why in countries where English is not their national language, it is taught as a second language. English is so diverse and developed that, even within English speaking countries, there are sometimes more than a few hundred ways the same English is spoken: different states in the United States use different vocabulary to describe the same things, they have their own different accents and their own phrases and idioms. This is where the various conflicts start taking place: This having diversity within the same language within a country creates a big gap between people from different regions. How can the residents of a country stand united in better or worse if within the same country the residents cannot even agree upon speaking one language in one particular dialect? Having one official language is like a bridge way between people from different nations, colors, ethnicities, and it tells that in spite of all the difference that there is among these people one thing is really common among them: The way they speak. It creates an invisible bond between these people and binds them in the tie of brotherhood. This is exactly what Kawame Appiah talks about in his essay “The Primacy of Practice”, when he mentions “cosmopolitanism.” Accepting different nations from around the world and within one’s own country with their variations and differences is what true cosmopolitanism is all about. English is a very diverse and lucid language which has derived numerous words from Sanskrit, Arabic, Spanish, French, German and many others. Leslie Savan in her essay “What’s Black, Then White and Said All Over” points out how “Black English” plays a major role in forming English. But even though Black English is so influential in forming the modern English that we speak today, it is not above criticism. Black English is mostly considered “ghetto” and an unsophisticated way of regular English. This division between languages creates gaps between communities of people within the same country which leads to one group of people feeling inferior to the others. This division and difference can only be solved if there was an official language that everybody speaks in. This will not only solve the problems that arise because of differences between various groups of people but will also create a tighter bond between everyone. And since United States is such a big country with a high population, it is necessary for this country to have a declared official language. Known as “the country of opportunities” and “the center of melting pot” United States is the home to millions of immigrants. Some of these immigrants do not speak English, but are still leading their lives here. Not knowing English proves to be a barrier for them and they face the difficulty of leading life without knowing it almost everyday. Since English is the de facto language of the United States, it is English that is mostly used as the most common way of conversation. Besides, all the official documentation, legal paper, bills and important papers are all written in English. This comes off as a great barrier for people who do not speak English or are not fluent in it. They always need an interpreter to explain things to them. This interpreter is often their neighbor, or a relative who knows English, or their school going children who know English. It not only makes things more problematic than they have to be, but also wastes time and energy on both sides. Even though translation in Spanish and Creole are usually given with a lot of official...
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