Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to speak on the subject of our English language and how it unites us as a people. It is not to promote nationalism or advocate political policy, but rather to bring together the people in a commonality. It is to promote the idea that we are all neighbors. Yet it is not out of patriotism or partisanship that I make the argument that all immigrants should be encouraged to learn the English language; it is simple pragmatism. English is the language of science and technology. To know the English language is to hold the key to a wealth of information not available without it.
There are over a billion web pages available in English. It is not elitism that makes me say this, but while it may be convenient for you to refuse to learn English you are ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’ and doing a disservice to your children. However you wish to measure the growth of scientific discovery, whether by the number of journals, the amount of new articles published or the number of new patents issued, they are overwhelmingly in English. Do you want your child to learn computers? Teach him English (Science Tribune 1997).
And then consider this, a Stanford MBA enters the work force commanding $165,500 per annum. Stanford teaches their MBA candidates only in English. The United States has the best universities in the world. They all speak English. For well over two centuries new arrivals have come to our land, not speaking a word of English. They did not ask that we change our language to accommodate them; they understood that to be American meant to speak the language of America, and that language, for obvious reasons, is English. Children were not ever schooled in their native tongue.
They had to learn to speak English and they did it quickly and well. They did not feel that their civil rights were violated. They did not feel put-upon. They were proud to speak the language of a free people. They understood that when in Rome, one is expected to ‘do as the Romans. ’ According to a 1985 study by the Rand Corporation, 95% of the children of Mexican immigrants can speak English (Bryson 1990 p 241), which illustrates that children are resilient enough to rapidly absorb English from total immersion in the language. Since 1906 new citizens have had to show “the ability to read, write and speak ordinary English.
Irish and German, Swedish and Mexican they came, proud of their old homeland and wanting to keep their customs alive. This is not only acceptable, it is vital to keep the rich cultural heritage of diverse ethnicities alive; but still they must embrace new customs in this land, and the first custom is to speak our language. Rudy Giuliani’s website, according to CNN reports, says that he proposes that all “immigrants who want to become citizens must truly read, write, and speak English and learn American civics “ (Mooney 2007).
This preference for assimilation is still overwhelmingly popular (WSJ. com 2007). A new Rasmussen poll finds that 87% of voters think it “very important” that people speak English in the U. S. , with four out of five Hispanics agreeing. And 77% support the right of employers to have English-only policies (Bryson 1990 p 241). At the market recently I picked up a jar of mayonnaise. Printed below the word, mayonnaise, the word, mayonesa was printed.
Does Kraft think that Hispanics cannot figure out that the white stuff in a jar labeled mayonnaise is actually mayonesa? This is silly political correctness… not only wrong, but costly. The price of bilingual education and bilingual government offices and dual printing of all government documents is an unnecessary expense that comes right out of the tax payers’ pockets. It is simply less expensive to conduct all of the government’s business in one language. Immigrants who understand this but don’t care are selfish.
They know full well that the country from whence they came would not do this, but in this country the people make the laws and they quickly learn that if they squeal loudly enough their grievance will be addressed. It is a lack of simple courtesy. We are one nation, under God, one people, united by a common language. We open our shores and we open our hearts, giving of charity and compassion to those in need. Still there are those here who take pride in refusing to learn our language, while availing themselves of our bounty and entitlements.
The expense of dealing with them is an added burden on the taxpayer who foots the bills. We do not ask their religion; we do not care about the color of their skin, so it seems but a small request then to ask them to learn a common language so they can speak with us, read our laws and our ballots and become one of us. They came here for something better: to what advantage is it that they would now mold America into some fanciful dream they have of their old country? They want to be American citizens; that means speaking our language.