Essay - Designating English as the official language of the United States Preface: This was written for my English Composition II class and submitted October 22, 2010. Designating English as the official language of the United States Currently, and surprisingly, there is no official language designated for the United States of America. Should English be that official language for our nation? The United States is usually thought of an English speaking country and the Official Language needs to be representative of the same for many reasons. The voting public is extremely divided; with some stating that the United States should remain language-less, others claim it should be Spanish, while another viewpoint is to choose multilingualism, and even some claim an unrecognized language of “American” should become the new official language. There are many views on this topic, heated debates, and political upheavals by both citizens and illegal immigrants of various backgrounds, not only the English and non-English speaking. This topic is extremely controversial among many groups; both political and non-political. The underlying ramifications of a decision; or lack thereof, many may not realize but will be presented thoroughly in addition to the mere implications of a decision finally being made on the topic on a nationwide basis and statewide level, will be weighed against each other. The results of the research efforts shall present several aspects concerning English as the official language of the United States including, but not limited to; language choices aside from English that are being presented as the official language, the financial ramifications between having and not having an official language, a brief history on the nature of English as the official language of the nation, a brief overview of the legal actions related to the same; and any incidental information that is deemed relevant pursuant to the nature of the research intentions. In the advocacy against the proponents of having English as the official language of the United States, some have suggested bilingualism (two official languages), remaining without an unofficial language, and even an unrecognized language called ‘American’ as evidenced when “in 1923, Illinois officially declared that English would no longer be the official language of Illinois - but American would be. Many of Illinois' statutes refer to "the American language," (example: 225 ILCS 705/27. 01) though the official language of the state is now English (5 ILCS 460/20). ” (USConstitution.net, 2001a, para. 10). The proposition of bilingualism will not work because it still requires the financial strain and government accommodations regarding printed materials and translation services that failing to have a designated language is causing now; albeit on a smaller scale, but still an unnecessary scale. Remaining without an official language entirely is completely ludicrous simply for the reason that the people should be able and need to come to a common ground on the topic. Failure to agree only kills the fiscal state of economy more and more each day and creates unnecessary work and requirements that need to be complied with. Accepting an entirely new language, “American,” is not practical because of all the legislation this would result in both immediately and in the long-term. Details of the language would seemingly need to be clarified, enacted and made “official” in many ways before simply becoming the Nation’s language.
“The number of persons in the United States over the age of five who speak English less than very well soared from 14 million in 1992 to 24.5 million in 2007,' a whopping 175 percent increase. Although Spanish is the non-English language spoken most frequently at home, there are more than 300 single languages or "language families" used in the United States,” as stated by Steven M Kahaner (2009, para 1). As a result, everything including, but not limited to, “the costs of...
References: Constitutional Topic: Official Language (2001a). USConstitution.net. Retrieved on October 4, 2010 from http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_lang.html
Georgia Voters Indicate Strong Support for Official English Amendment. (2007, 15 August). Business Wire. Retrieved October 21, 2010, from ProQuest Newsstand. (Document ID: 1320847301).
How Much Does America Spend On Multilingual Programs? (2009a). English First. Retrieved on October 4, 2010 from http://englishfirst.org/congressc/how-much-does-america-spend-on-mulitlingual-programs.html
Legislation. (2010b). U.S. English, Inc. Retrieved on October 4, 2010 from http://www.us-english.org/view/310
Legislative History (2010f)
News & Media, Support for English as official language grows three percent in one year. (2010d). U.S. English, Inc. Retrieved on October 4, 2010 from http://www.us-english.org/view/774
Official English States
Salter, Jim. (2008, October 5). Amendment would require English. St. Louis Post - Dispatch,p. E.2. Retrieved October 21, 2010, from ProQuest Newsstand. (Document ID: 1567755781).
Sanford-Haar, Cathleen. (2007, March 19). English the official language? Not in America :[Third Edition]. St. Louis Post - Dispatch, p. B.7. Retrieved October 21, 2010, from ProQuest Newsstand. (Document ID: 1237740991).
State Legislation – California. (2010c). U.S. English, Inc. Retrieved on October 4, 2010 from http://www.us-english.org/view/364?state=CA
What is Official English? (2010a)
Why is Official English Necessary? (2010e). U.S. English, Inc. Retrieved on October 4, 2010 from http://www.us-english.org/view/10
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