Never a Monolingual Country Essay

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“This is America. When ordering please speak in English”, owner Joey Vento of Geno’s Steaks puts up a sign in the window of his restaurant. The proclamation reminds people of a well-known discussion on making English the federal official language of the U.S. The debate of whether making English the federal official language has last for over 100 years in the history. There have been many powerful supporters from the government. Early in the 1870s, California became the first state that approved English as the official language in the state, followed by Wisconsin and Illinois. Moreover, in 1907, president Theodore Roosevelt wrote, “We have room for but one language in this country, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house.”(James Crawford, U.S Language Policy, 1997) Even though over about twenty states have recognized English the official language autonomously (Language Freedom and Restriction: A Historical Approach to the Official Language Controversy, James Crawford, 1990) and amounts of authorities and politicians advocate the policy, however, from my perspective, it is better to not set English the official language for three main reasons: it contradicts basic American value of freedom, equality and multiculturalism; it will cause talents drain on every field and it will lead to a more severe discrimination problem.
Why did not the founding fathers of the United States set up an official language in the constitution for the country, for the people? This is a question which first came up to my mind instantaneously I got involved in the discussion. I think many ask the same question at the same time as I did. The founding fathers were undoubtedly intelligent enough to have considered this issue but what was the reason they did not mention it in the constitution? My answer is that the concept of official language departs from the founders’ believes or make it larger, the country’s original belief. The believes are also the fundamental American values: freedom, equality and multiculturalism.
Creating an official language violates the idea of freedom. If English becomes the official language of the U.S, all dwellers in the nation should speak proper English. How will it work for those who already settled but could not communicate well with others, for example, some old people? It will be an inefficient process to teach the olds English since it takes long time and great effort for them to learn but comparatively short time and range for them to utilize English. My friend’s grandfather, Chu, who is now eighty-two years old, lives in Los Angeles just for accompanying with his grandson and enjoying his rest life in such a beautiful place. He seldom needs to go out and talk with folks in English. Forcing him to speak good English benefits nobody. Moreover, due to a national survey, ninety-eight percent of...

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