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Debate: English as US official language

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(Yes - Attempt to add a little balance to the "yes" side)
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*[http://www.strictlyspanish.com/whitepaper2.htm "The Official Language of the United States and its Impact on the Translation Industry", published by Strictly Spanish] *[http://www.strictlyspanish.com/whitepaper2.htm "The Official Language of the United States and its Impact on the Translation Industry", published by Strictly Spanish]
*[http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BUE/is_4_139/ai_n17215363/ Should English be declared America's national language? A nation of immigrants considers the pros and cons of giving English official status] *[http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BUE/is_4_139/ai_n17215363/ Should English be declared America's national language? A nation of immigrants considers the pros and cons of giving English official status]
 +* [http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/137779 Answerbag: "What effects would making English the official language of the United States have? What changes would we have to make?"]
 +* [http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/1587495 Answerbag: "Should English be the official language of the United States?"]
 +* [http://www.idahofallstoday.com/2007/01/25/should-english-be-americas-official-language/ "Should English be America’s Official Language?"] by JeremyPlo on January 25, 2007, with many comments.
|} |}

Revision as of 23:38, 22 March 2010

Should English be the national language of the United States?

Contents

Background and Context of Debate:

The United States of America, contrary to a large majority of all countries (92%), does not not have any official language at federal level, with English holding this place de facto (but not de iure). Is it time for the U.S. to catch up? Should English be the US national language? Should the US even have a national language?

Write Subquestion here...

Yes

  • English has been used as an official language in the US historically. The U.S. was founded by 13 British colonies. Both the US declaration of independence and US constitution are written in English.
  • English is the most widely spoken language in the US. Overwhelming majority of the US citizens already speaks English, for a major part of them English is a mother tongue, so if there is to be one official language, English is clearly the most natural and logical choice. In addition, 30 U.S. states have already enacted laws making English their official language.
  • English as official language is widely supported by US general public. Numerous polls, via Rasmussen, Harvard, etc, have shown that the majority of American citizens, both American born and Naturalized citizens, agree that English should be instated as an official language.
  • Bilingual initiatives are costly. Being bi-lingual is not a bad thing, it is a great asset to Americans and people of other countries alike, but maintaining bilingual education is costly.
  • This isn't about race. People from every race come to the US and learn to understand our American dialect of English. On the contrary, suggesting that learning English is easy for some races and difficult for other races is, itself, racist.

No

  • Melting pot. America is a very diverse country that has been culturally enriched by immigrants from around the world. As a sign of respect to all these people it should not limit its citizens by introducing English as the only official language.
  • There should be no official national language. One of the great strengths of the United States is that we can experiment on a state-by-state basis. When one state does things one way, and a neighboring state does things the other way, it is much easier to see the advantages of doing things one way or the other. This allows each state to chose one way or the other based on objective evidence, which generally gives better results than choosing one way or the other without objective evidence.
  • Why change? The US and 20 of its constituent states (Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia) seem to have muddled along so far without any official national language. Many people today believe that the US is the "#1" country in the world in several important ways; perhaps being *different* from countries with an official national language is one of our advantages.
  • Several of the US's constituent states have more than one official language
  • In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt ordered the federal government to adopt simplified spelling in its official publications.
  • Which method of making this official are you going to choose?
    • Make English the official language, but don't actually change anything -- kind of like English is the official langauge of California, but the California Department of Motor Vehicles still prints the Driver License Handbook in at least 8 other languages. OK, that's a nice symbolic guesture, but why bother if nothing is going to change?
    • Make English the official language, and save taxpayer dollars by printing driver's education manuals, etc. only in English. While saving money sounds like a good idea, is it worth killing off US citizens on our highways by deliberately using less-effective drivers training methods?
  • hypocritical. Doesn't it seem a little bit hypocritical for English-speaking people to immigrate to America and refuse to learn any of the native languages of America, and then turn around and insist that the next batch of immigrants absolutely must learn English?


Write Subquestion here...

Yes

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No

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Pro/Con sources

Yes

No

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See also

External links and resources

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