Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentImmigration · 1 decade ago

Should English be the National Language?

What is wrong with having english as a national language? How would this country function if you couldn't communicate with one another. I immigrated here from Montreal, where schools were taught in French. So when i came over here, I barely knew any English. I took ESL, and was fluent within the year.

I'm looking for reasonable arguments against setting english as the national language.


its not the official national language.

24 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    English is by far the most widely spoken language in the United States - although there is no "Official" Language - at least at a Federal level. Many states, counties and cities have declared English as their official languages ( ). One wonders about the Constitutionality of the creation of an official language and while the United States Constitution has evolved dramatically in the last 200 years, a strict interpretation of the text of this document would beg the question as to the power of the Federal Government to impose a language upon the states. It is unlikely that a federally mandated official language would be struck down, however, probably finding judicial refuge in the Commerce Clause.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to creating an official language. There are about 337 languages spoken in the United States - some, like Spanish, by a lot of people, and others, like some Native American dialects, by literally a handful. In many cases, participation within civic arenas in this country has been classified as a right and a language barrier deemed a disenfranchisement of that right. Each year, the government spends billions of dollars producing materials like program pamphlets and manuals and election ballots in a wide variety of different languages to help facilitate the right to civic participation. English as an official language would likely provide legal justification for the restriction of this practice - which then becomes one of the reasons it is so strongly opposed.

    In May, 2006 the Senate adopted an amendment to the Immigration Bill of 2006 which would make English the official language of the United States. This bill was then passed by the Senate. It was still a very long way from becoming a law - needing to be passed by the House and then to survive the Conference between chambers and be signed by the President. Ultimately, the bill died in the 109th Congress and would have to be re-passed in the 110th Congress - which is very unlikely. As mentioned above, the amendment spoke directly to the high cost of printing materials in multiple languages and would have restricted such printings to English (as well as some other already-guaranteed languages like Spanish).

    But to answer your question directly, the question of whether or not English should be an Official language is a tricky one. Certainly, there is utility - functionally and financially - to a single shared language. It helps business, improves public services and even promotes national solidarity (the division of languages in Europe is sometimes cited as a reason for the history of war in Europe). Proficiency in English is crucial to successful cultural assimilation in the United States.

    On the other hand, the United States has always been a melting pot of different cultures, and part of the freedom that we are proud of is the individual choice to speak whatever language you desire. As a strict Constitutionalist, I may believe that immigrants should learn English, but I am hesitant for the government to usurp the individual choice to do so. If there are advantages to speaking English, let the free market be the incentive to do so. It's worked for the last 200 years.

    English is often called the de-facto language of America. It has not been codified in federal law, but everyone knows that we speak English in the United States. I don't know if changing that would achieve any benefits, or be worth the political turmoil that it would certainly cause as a symbolic action.

    Source(s): (I know, it's wikipedia, but take it with a grain of salt, and consider the views above to me by own).
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes it should be officially made the national language. The only reason it hasn't yet is because it has met resistance from people who fear they may offend some foreign language speaking persons. Which is ludicrous because they shouldn't be speaking a foreign language here unless it is their second language. Learning English is a prerequisite to citizenship so why do we offer goods and services in anything other than English in the first place? I shouldn't have to "Press 1" for English or ask for an English menu at restaurants.

    While I'm on the subject, to prove my point about how far it's gone, look at the bottom of this page. Two American flags. One for English and one for Spanish. Sad.

  • caprio
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

    I believe it must, to not the level that folks lose their cultures through assimilating such a lot, however simply in order that each person can proportion a typical language, some way wherein to speak. Also, sociologically speakme, there's a famous thought that the language you talk, is in a colossal aspect liable for the way you believe. Anyone whose studied a language greatly distinct from English is aware of this. Therefore it might even be useful if each person had a typical factor of reference and an information of the way different folks believe. In phrases of a industry viewpoint, English is the country wide industry language and that i believe because the U.S financial system is suffering it might behoove us, economically speakme if each person would talk English.

  • john c
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    English is our national language, a significant hallmark of our culture. Our U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence (a very hard to find document) were written in English. Our founding father's primary language was English. Imagine asking the Chinese if Chinese should be their national language! HOWEVER, as the caucasions are rapidily replaced by the invasion of illegal aliens, it is only a matter of time until SPANISH will displace ENGLISH as the predominant language. Then, you can ask if SPANISH should be the national language? When that tragic event happens, you'll probably want to return to Quebec.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I feel since it was never set, many years ago. Since we officially do not have a national language. basically it should stay as it is. But if they decide to make a National Language, then we can use Spanish and English. Everyone some how or another migrated to the US sometime in History, Yes we have always spoke English here. But in the US history books a Spanish person (Cristobal Colon) Christopher Columbus found the US. So Since he discovered it I gues he shoud get some credit. Maybe??

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It is the national language. There is no way that will change. Everyone with half a brain knows that you can not go anywhere in the country if you do not understand English. On the record it is not offical but in reality it is. You read any book about the US or read anything about the US it will tell you that everyone speaks English. I really do not see a point in making it a law or putting it in the constitution considering everyting is in English.

  • 1 decade ago

    Teddy Roosevelt said it better than anyone else so I will continue to quote him.

    "In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

    Theodore Roosevelt 1919, right before he died.

    Basically, if you want to be an American, you have to do more than say it. Being American, is not a right to work, or use social security, or any other single benefit. It is more than a permission slip, it requires sacrifice on the individuals part. If you are not willing to become an American in the whole sense, then you don't want to be an American at all and we don't want you. Learning a language is hard, but my family did it, and if you aren't even willing to try you don't deserve to be here in the first place.

  • 1 decade ago

    English should be made into the National Language, What if we allow the Latinos to have their way and have Spanish thrown into our faces; then those with French roots. or those with roots in foreign nations, can also have the right to demand for French, Chinese, Russian, Danish, Indonesian, Middle Eastern languages be the serving language by `corporations' customer service areas, restaurants, etc. and in all government forms. Every cultural grouos are now waiting to see how the white House and Congress pander to the Latinos before they start shovelling their cultural language demands.

  • 1 decade ago

    I don't think there are many arguments, unless it is from spanish people.

    Everyone needs to come together on this because we can't have two standard languages. All legal papers, historic records, etc are in english. Everything in english can't always be translated correctly into other languages, even spanish. We have words and phrases that they do not have and would be translated incorrectly, then the meaning would change.

    The spanish need to conform because they are the ones coming here. Not the other way around. If someone who speaks english goes to one of their countries, everyone is not going to start learning english.

  • 1 decade ago

    I can't think of a single reason why English should not be the national language. The people who organized the country spoke English. It's not because I think everyone should be forced to learn English just because, but because hundreds of thousands of immigrants came here with their language and their culture and kept these while still learning to be part of the greater whole and by learning English. It is one of the bonds that holds all the people...We the people...together.

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