Value of English Language over Native American Languages in America

In the 2016 election, voters in California officially passed the Proposition 58, ending the English-only school education policy. Bilingual education has always been an issue in America. Even when the Europeans first came to America, they valued the language of English over the languages of Native American's. Knowing the language of English has been a priority in America.

In the book, "Portraits of the white man, Keith H. Basso talks about the time when the U.S government took over the territories of Arizona and designed a program to rapidly "develop" the Western Apaches' into Anglo-Americans.

Part of the program was to teach western Apache's children reading, writing and "proper etiquette" in all English schools. The fact that many were forced to learn English shows ignorance and indifferences that are created by our society since the very beginning.

The language of English is more likely to be treated with respect rather the languages spoken by Native Americans, Mexicans, Hawaiians, or other Hispanic regions and other languages from around the world.

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Though U.S seems to be a unified country, the country itself doesn't show any appreciation towards other cultures and languages and has set its main priorities around the language of English. This has become an issue as it surrogates for racist and religious prejudices throughout the country.

In an article called, “ Bilingual Education in the United States: Historical Development and Current Issues," the author states " Educators, politicians, and policy makers need to understand how notions of pedagogical effectiveness, symbolic racism or nationalism, instrumental efforts at social control, struggles for minority self- determination and equal rights, and interethnic competition have determined US policies for educating language minorities”(Ovando).

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Bilingualism is not just some feature a person has, but also one's society. Many countries around the world are bilingual or multilingual, meaning one or more languages are used officially in those countries. Citizens of Canada are monolingual English speakers, but the country itself has two official languages; that are English and French. Another bilingual society is Saudi Arabia, in Saudi Arabia citizens speak both Arabic and English, though english doesn't have any officially status. This goes for many other countries, like South Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, or Indonesia, all these countries teach English in schools, but don't have an official status for English being prominent language in those regions. Bilingualism has become a norm for a lot of language speakers, especially in countries with economic power and politics.

For example the Spanish speakers in the United States. Though many may not agree, but United States is a country where citizens believe in the norm of monolingualism. Meaning, that people will have low expectations from those that don't have their first language as english. English is known to be a 'language of wider communication,' or from an American a language of an economy that is highly influential.

Though America has taken a step further with the Proposition 58 getting passed in California. In and Huffington Post article called “Save CA Residents from a Language Drought: Vote 'Yes' This Fall," the author states "The California state Senator who introduced the bill, Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, argued that it would prepare all students "for a future in which their success depends not only on an ability to understand diverse perspectives and cultures, but also on an ability to communicate in different languages." States all over the country should start passing this proposition, and school administrator and teachers need to understate that providing Bilingual education to students and English speakers can also help clarify misunderstandings in society's and teach students better understanding of other cultures.

Updated: May 03, 2023
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Value of English Language over Native American Languages in America. (2023, Mar 27). Retrieved from

Value of English Language over Native American Languages in America essay
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