Language is one of the most important determinants of cultural and political identity of a nation. The language of national majority is commonly associated with the language of the nation-state; it represents the idea of rights and the territorial concept of the modern nation-state. The English language does not have an official status in the USA. It is an official language of only 25 states that adopt it on the local level (Blot and Briggs 43). The English language should be granted an official status in the USA because this policy will help to strengthen national unity and improve education.
The advantage of official status of the English language is that it will help to manage ethnic, racial, and regional variations. Official language of a state reflects its national ideas and ideology. The rise of the official English within the United States is the evidence of a deep-seated tendency to deal with linguistic pluralism by privileging one language as the only legitimate language of governance. It is essentially an expression of goodwill and democratic intent, devoid of particular fiscal or regional development implications. “The policy of requiring everyone to learn a single dominant language is widely seen as a common-sense solution to the communication problems of multilingual societies” (Huntington 76). This tension is exacerbated by steady immigration into weak language areas, for it leads to language-related issues being publicly contested as each new domain is penetrated by the intrusive language group. Mujica underlines that “The need to speak and understand English has served as an important incentive for immigrants to learn the language and assimilate into the mainstream of American society” (36). The USA has to grant an official status to the English language because every official language reflects ideology of the nation and its cultural heritage. The state should enact legislation of either a favorable nature to support languages, vote them resources and enshrine certain rights for their speakers (Blot and Briggs 41).
The English language should be adopted as an official because this policy will help to increase level of national education and support bilingual education. The policy of official language is closely commented with bilingual education and economic development of the nation (Donegan 2). The current policies of education threaten the unity of the United States, and that declaring English as the sole “official language” is a necessary countermeasure. Also, critics suppose that the focus on training in official languages to immigrant adults to integrate them into the economy is now in straightened circumstances. As a consequence, the government is trying to find the means to withdraw from the financial implications of support and give back the matter to the provinces and the nongovernmental organizations (Macmillan and Tatalovich 239). Any disputes about the presence of immigrants are concentrated on issues such as employment and racism; the profile on language training is low and the language per se is not an issue. “It is the main purpose of the bill to bring millions of school children into the mainstream of American life and make them literate in the national language of the country in which they live: namely, English” (Crawford 50). Some researchers advocate that by making English only as an official language is the reasonable way to handle over 300 languages spoken in the U.S. Some studies disclose that immigrant learn English slower when they are sustained by their native language. As multilingual government services support the growth of linguistic enclaves, this enable the U.S to segregate into separate linguistic groups because of ethnical and racial conflicts (Macmillan and Tatalovich 239). Many also believes that official English can save money from the replication of government services in multiple languages. It is not to be expected from the U.S government to offer services in the 300 languages used in the country. Individual should take responsibility to develop the English knowledge proficiency if they do really want to mix with American culture (Blot and Briggs 52).
The English language should be adopted as an official because it is a language of the government institutions, courtrooms and voting. There are numerous examples of American citizens unable to vote because they could not read and write the English language. Further, the same logic is used by Latinos and other language minority activists to argue that access to other political and civil rights should not be denied simply because the client, citizen, or both spoke a language other than English (Huntington 74). Language policy conflict has reemerged in the United States in recent years with unexpected force and volatility, centering on the policy of voting and other civil and political rights. Bilingualism is often destabilizing, that it can lead to civil strife, chaos, and national disunity (Macmillan and Tatalovich 239).
The English language should be granted an official status because this strategy will help to strengthen national unity, improve education and gives minorities and immigrants access to courts, the civil services and voting. Current policies fail to do this creating problems and inconveniences for both American citizens and the government. If the government adopts English as an official language, it will benefit the state and the citizens. It will allow full access to public social services in one language, to a defendant’s full understanding of courtroom proceedings in cases against him or her, and to protection against public and private employment discrimination.
- Blot, R.K., Briggs, Ch. L. Language and Social Identity. Praeger, 2003.
- Crawford, J. Language Politics in the U.S.A.: The Paradox of Bilingual Education. Social Justice, 25 (1998), 50.
- Donegan, C. Debate over Bilingualism. The CQ Researcher. 1996, p. 2.
- Huntington, S. P. Who Are We: The Challenges to America’s National Identity. Simon & Schuster, 2004.
- Macmillan, M., Tatalovich, R. Judicial Activism vs. Restraint: The Role of the Highest Courts in Official Language Policy in Canada and the United States. American Review of Canadian Studies, 33 (2003), 239.
- Mujica, M.E. Why the U.S. Needs an Official Language. World and I, 2003, p. 36.