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Currently, the United States has no designated official language. Although it is perceived as an English speaking nation, there has been a ranging debate among the voting public as to whether English should be the official language. Whereas the most people speak English or Spanish, there have been calls for multilingualism. This debate has generated controversy and political upheavals among both English and non-English speaking communities. While English-speaking communities have been in a support of a unified means of communication, the non-English speaking communities have taunted this proposition as a means of segregating minority groups. This later group feels that in a land termed as free and fair and where all dreams come true, no particular language should be adopted at the expense of other languages. In this paper, I will argue out that English should be the official language of the United States.
First, the adoption of English as the official language of the United States creates an ‘all American’ attitude among first, second and subsequent generations. The United States has always been viewed as a nation of immigrants. The need for a common and official language has been further necessitated by the increasing number of Hispanic immigrants. Since independence, the Congress, and in particular, our forefathers have always been in support of the assimilation of immigrants. As these immigrants settle in America, they should adopt a distinctly American identity. However, this does limit diversity or exclude other languages, traditions or cultures. It seeks to establish English as the first, rather than the only, language of the United States. This will necessitate that all immigrants learn English so as to communicate in the workplace and other major social areas, thus creating a united front. This should not be viewed as a way of punishing others; rather, it is a means that will facilitate their relationships with fellow Americans. In addition, adopting English is the first step towards assimilation, which is in spirit with our constitution.
Secondly, the chaos and disunity associated with lack of an official language is similar to the resultant chaos if the central government was to collapse. The United States has always been an English-speaking nation ever since the pilgrims immigrated to the New World. Thus, it is the logical language of choice. Americans need to adopt English as their official language in laws, regulations, signs, policies, publications, orders and public proceedings. This will encourage people to learn the language in addition to safeguarding each person’s right to the access of information. For instance, if all company regulations are printed in English, both English and Non-English speakers will be able to read and understand the document. It will also rule out the need to have publications interpreted in different languages yet they are intended for the same audience: The American. It will not only lower commercial costs but also lead to a host of political and social benefits.
Thirdly, adopting English as the official language does not outlaw all other languages. Contrary to popular belief, an official language does not imply that no other language should be spoken within the United State’s borders. Rather, it attempts to create a common means of communication among diverse communities. It eliminates the need for translation that would otherwise lead to misinterpretation or failure to impact on the audience as intended. Each and every community shall retain its sovereign right to communicate in its desired language or medium, and to practice their beliefs and heritage. However, workplaces and other social dens will be far more interactive as there will be free flow of information.
Finally, there has been a major misconception that English, as the official language, will lead to the loss of diversity in both language and culture. Opponents of this proposition argue that it is culturally insensitive to introduce English as the official language. Language remains one of the salient aspects of any ethnic group. It is a means of passing their heritage and culture from one generation to another. In addition, it ensures cohesion and the long-term survival of any ethnic group. However, this argument is eroded by the fact that English will be the official, rather than only, language of the United States. The misconception that ethnic minorities will be left out in the quest of the American dream is not entirely true. Second and subsequent generations ought to adopt the American lifestyle. However, English does not impede them from learning about their culture and heritage. Nonetheless, caution needs to be taken when considering whether English should be the official language. Several factors ought to be considered. For instance, other language choices apart form English, the financial ramifications associated with having English as the official language, an overview as to the history and legal actions related to English as the official language and all other incidental information deemed relevant for the pursuance of such intentions.
The controversies surrounding this debate are unlikely to come to a conclusion any time soon. With a growing number of immigrants, opposition is likely to increase. However, second and subsequent generations have been observed to be fluent in the language and have adopted it as their language of choice in workplaces and on the social platform. I strongly believe that English should be the official language. Clearly, the United States stands to gains benefits which outweigh what is at stake. The need to adopt English as the official language has never been greater, more so in the face of high immigration rates and the need for assimilation. Let us all unite and champion for this cause.