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Today in my AP Human Geography class we had a debate. The subject was "Do you think that the United States, given the fact that it is a meltingpot for fultures, should have an official language?" It turned out to be a really good debate and I thought that it might also make a good debate here.
here is my opinion.
I believe that the United states should have an official language. When Immigrants first started coming to the USA, they came looking for a better life, better jobs, and some came because of political reasons.
Most of the early immigrants decided that when they came here, they would adapt to their new home because it was the expectation, and some people just hated their nationality so much that they vowed never to speak that language/eat that countries food ever again (this happened with my moms great grandparents). They would learn english, do things that were considered American (which "American" was still being defined at the time), and some would do things they never could do before because of things like oppressive governments.
Nowadays, it seems like a lot of immigrants are coming just to get a good job and send most of the money back to their families. They (most of them) have no intention of learning english and they expect that we adapt to their culture instead of them adapting to ours.
Also, with the addition of an official language, accidents in high-danger jobs will (hopefully) become less frequant. I recently heard about a Mexican family sueing a constuction company because the overseer yelled "Watch out!" instead of "reloj hacia fuera!" when something fell off the building and hit somebody who did not understand what "watch out" means If there was an official language, accidents like this will not happen.I believe that the United States should still be a "melting pot" for people of differant cultures, but they should still learn our language. Even when you add seperate ingrediants to a fondue pot, they all eventually mix together, the fondue does not stay in seperate pieces, they blend together.
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Last edited by Sammy the Squib; December 2nd, 2006 at 13:39.
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I....don't think America needs an official language, because there is no way you can get all 296,410,404 people to speak just one language. Its like trying to wipe out terrorism, can't be done either since someone will always hate you amongst other things.
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Also many immagrants didn't speak english. Thats why you get an area of the US that is mainly from one culture. They had to stick together to get anything done. You still get second generation Mexicans that don't speak english around here.
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It is a very good question if the US should have an official language as it makes a country more unified and you won't have as many problems with not being able to understand one another. I remember a little fact that I think before WWI there where many German speaking communites but when the Great War started and the US entered it many of them learned english quick (unforunately this seems to have happened quite a bit during many wars the US has been involved thus changing how people are seen and treated) and now we don't have many German speaking communites (except for the rare settlements of Mennonites).
Still I really don't like how the government is catering to a group that is unwilling to change or adapt to a new environment plus the plenty of illegal immagrants coming in. Though a good question is since they are not American citzens do they even deserve the same rights as a American such as court cases (though that is extreme to my knowledge to even have an attorney and such you need to be a citzen).
Either way most immagrants that came to America in the past learned English over time so I would expect that to happen over time as well though I could be wrong.
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Do you have some sort of evidence to support this claim?They (most of them) have no intention of learning english and they expect that we adapt to their culture instead of them adapting to ours.
Secondly are you talking about legal or illegal immigrants, or both?
The only issue i see as reasonable, is that informational signs, and US government prints be made in English first, and any other language if desired. But not adopt a national language. This if for safety concerns and standardization, road signs in Spanish would be quite annoying. Road signs in English and Spanish would allow more people to safety navigate roads. Thus English is currently the most spoken language in America, and should be used as standard - this is already how very part of the country does it, with a few small towns considering changing the sign-age to Spanish. So long as English is also where there, i have no problem with that.
Having a common tongue is important however, for safety and national unity, plus economic opportunity. Thus legal or not, children should, and are currently, required to learn English, this ensures that any imigrant population that moves to the united states, will be the last of their family to only speak there native language, and that there children will speak and read English.
As both of the above are already US law - or tradition, there is for me no issue on this issue, other then American shouldn't have a national language, but instead have a standardized language for signed, and teach the language in school, solving this problem fairly quickly.
So, what does this question propose? That someone must be able to speak fluent "American" to enter America?
If so, I disagree that there should be an 'official language'. It would completely eliminate tourism, and would be discriminating against some people.
While I do agree it would be a good idea if everyone could speak the same language, I also believe it would be a bad idea. I think America would be losing a lot of good culture if everyone was forced to speak the same.
How exactly would people be forced to speak American?
Tourism is obviously fine - asking someone to learn the native lingo for a two week holiday is unreasonable.
If people expect to spend an extended time in said country then they should:
a) be fluent in the target county's language for communication with natives
b) Be actively studying the target country's language.
Communication is the key thing here people. It's amazing how difficult it is to hate someone or a type of people once you get to know them and actually try to speak them. It'd do the World the world of good, so to speak.
My parents were immigrants, and they speak English within the top 1 percentile of the population here in the uk This has meant successful interaction within the country's infrastucture and also has meant better chances for us, their children.
Yet, speaking the language hasn't detracted from my 'identity' or whatever.
My only problem with America and Britain following such a policy is that it will unfortunately encourage 'stealth nazism'. Many americans/brits have a difficult time fathoming that the world outside their native land exists (war zones excluded). Giving them one 'correct' language will only enhance that image. By sanctioning one language as official in a place like America, this will lead to even less people learning foreign languagea therefore less understanding of respectively foreign cultures/people, therefore more death as america moves for 'regime change' of these foreign aliens and their crazy customs.
They should go like India and have 14 recognised languages and 3 official ones, or something
LO RulesOriginally Posted by AnonymousOriginally Posted by Cyric
A near-universal language is one of Americas economic strengths over the EU possibly accounts for some part of it's consistantly better economic performance. I know an English-French translator and although she finds alot of it easy, when it comes to business or engineering lingo she struggles despite having an Oxford degree in French.
I don't really see where the debate lies though. Do you want to ban Spanish speaking? that's likely unreasonable. Do you want to have Spanish roadsigns and ignore 'intergration' completely?
I've visited Wales a couple of times, the signs there are in Welsh and English. I cant say it bothered me too much, though it did seem to be pandering to the very low numbers (especialy in the south) of people who actualy spoke welsh (I met none). Was adding a Welsh bit to every sign worth it? possibly not especialy as, as a part of the UK english should be known by all, as it is (sometimes in a very debased form, innit) by most of the population.
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I cant say i really understand the arguement here- when you say an 'official' language for America do you mean create an entirely new language? because surely America already has an official language in American English- if its the language of government then surely its the official language?
I think the problem you might have in a country like the USA with such a vast population of many different origins is that if you started changing all signs etc to English/Spanish certain other groups may feel more alienated than if you stick with one- why not also print Urdu, Russian, German, Japanese, Korean, Polish etc etc translations on all signs? it just wouldnt be practical
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Basicaly it's better for everyone to learn one language, than for everyone to learn every language.
That unfortunatly just comes across as laziness when you happen to speak the logical choice for 'world language' namely English.
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