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Linguistic nationalism is the one, or more languages a country speaks. In the United States of America many languages are spoken, but English has the highest percent of people speaking it. All other languages spoken appear to us as minority languages within our borders. With so many different languages it’s hard to say if the United States of America should have an official language. If it does, though, decide on an official language that just so happens to be English, it won’t be a bad idea.
Within the United States of America, as of now, a majority of people speak English, about 82.1%, followed by Spanish at 10.7 %, then Indo-European at 3.8%, pacific island languages at 2.7% and all other languages fall in the remaining .7%. The people who speak Spanish, or French for example probably also speak English as a second language. They use universal tongue, English, at work, or school, but may still use their native tongue at home. Those born in a foreign country and moving the US would be more likely to learn their native tongue first.
Where as those born in the states might learn your native tongue and English at the same time.
Going far enough back in time English was not the majority language in fact it didn’t even exist in America. The people who lived in America were the Native Americans and they spoke a variety of languages, speculated to be over 1,800 different languages. Then after the Native Americans it was the Spanish arrived and decimated them out with unfamiliar diseases in the 1500’s.
Finally, it wasn’t until the sixteenth century that English even came to America when rebels from Great Britain left their homeland.
In the present in the U.S. thirty of the fifty states, have declared English as their official language. In other twenty states there is either no official language, and multiple de facto languages may be spoken. The states and territories with multiple de facto languages are Louisiana, New Mexico, and Hawaii. In states with multiple de facto languages they tend to have been culturally influenced background by other countries at the time of their states formation, as a state. For example the people of New Mexico were colonized by the Spanish in the early 1500’s and later became part of the U.S in the 1800’s. The influence of Spanish through all this time continues to today and is the cause for its bilingualism.
Even states with no official language or English as an official language states can have segments of their population speaking in different tongues. The United States of America the population is greater the 300 million; of those 300 million only 65.6% are white, the rest are of a different race. The 34.4% non-white population is spread out across the country. Most states have communities, or even cities with a foreign influence on them.
Texas and California are good examples of where about 34% of those states populations speak Spanish and have places with high language barriers in single cities. One good example of this is Los Angeles, California. This city alone has 224 different languages spoken. This massive language diversity causes one to think what if the whole nation was like this; it would be total chaos, unless somehow unified. In the case of Los Angeles it is loosely unified with the common language of English, and the majority of the people have some fluency in it.
Even though they’re about twenty percent of the states in the U.S. with populations of Spanish speaking people over 10% the majority of English speakers is still overwhelming. Even with 10% Spanish speaking people, Spanish is not considered as a minority language. If all the states were to be able to decide on English as its official language they could add other languages to its list. This should include Spanish, for sure, even if it’s considered a minority language. Also perhaps certain states could add additional language to their official list as needed to reflect certain regions of the state. For example in northern Maine and parts of Louisiana, which have considerable amount French speakers. Within these states they could add French to their official languages along with English and Spanish.
Interestingly many other countries have multiple languages spoken even if they are not considered minority languages, or official languages. In these countries languages can be seen as regional, national, or sometimes as a statewide phenomenon. The United States of America could set up some type of a system to identify the key languages of a region, or state it and make them somewhat official.
Even if a language isn’t officially recognized. It still should be encouraged. If minority languages are encouraged perhaps in the future more people will be interested in them. As more people become potentially either bi, or maybe tri lingual more communication can be understood. As communication increases it can only benefit the nation and eventually the world as a whole. By the year 2050, the United States of America’s the total population is expected to be about 420 million. The Hispanic population (those who in majority speak Spanish) during this timeframe is expected to grow as much as 188%, from the 2004 population of 36.6 million to the 2050 population of102.6 million. If such a high percent of growth this true the United States really should consider at least one official language.
The language they choose is in the end entirely up to fate, but to be honest it probably will end up being English. This should be a good idea in the sense that most people now and in the near future will speak English and they will still be in the majority. If English does become the official language it shouldn’t terribly effect everyone else speaking in different languages. In fact they could benefit in various ways from being better able to blend into society.
Also English would be more emphasized in school to learn, and if they completely didn’t know the language they could take ESL (English as a second language) courses. Bilingual people are of great benefit to society. Bilingual people are more likely to get jobs because they can communicate to others in their foreign tongue, if needed. Using two languages will also allow them to not forget their native tongue, but also allow for a common language that most people will understand.
Even Today not speaking English in the U.S. affects social class, making it harder to function in society. Non-English speakers have a harder time advancing in employment. It affects show and where they are able to shop, and will lead to some difficult situations. On the other hand the exact opposite is also true because speaking more than one language can benefit you at work, making you more valuable to the company you work for. For example, in the modern day world as of Sept.11, people who speak English and Farci (spoken in Iran and part of Afghanistan) are needed by the U.S. government. They need them so they can communicate more with the Middle East where we are currently conducting two wars.
In conclusion the English language now and in the near future will still be spoken by a the majority of people in the U.S. Since this is true English should be our official language, for it will allow more people to communicate and understand one another. To understand one another should be an important societal goal.
Common language enables us to increase societal bonds, constitutes authority and legislative power, and helps construct an environment to better suit our needs. Societal bonds increase with better communication. Having documents and signs everyone can read, make for far greater efficiency. Finally being able to construct a user friendly environment helps us by getting more diverse culture integrated into our society. Also if English does become the official language the United States, could still add other minority languages. These minority languages should be encouraged to continue for who knows when they might become needed in the everyday world.
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