Official Language Essay

1826 words - 7 pages

One of the many issues in the United States today is why isn't there an official language? With most every country you research you will find that an official language has been established. With the United States being what many would call a "melting pot" because of the many nationalities that inhabit it, how can a unanimous decision be made about which population's language is the official, most dominantly spoken one? 7As one of the major centers of commerce and trade, and a major English- speaking country, many assume that English is the country's official language. But despite efforts over the years, the United States has no 2official language (USConstitution). An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other territory. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a language a legal status, even if that language is not widely spoken. 2True official languages are those designated as such by a regulation or law. In spite of this, 2many languages are considered to be de facto official languages, meaning that although a language may have no official status in a particular country, it is the most commonly used language in that country and the one usually used in official settings. One example of this is the English language in the United States. The US has no official language, 2but because English is used for most official matters and the most commonly spoken language, it can be considered the official language in practice if not in law (Wikipedia). An official language is not to be confused with a national language, although the national language may be official if given legal recognition by the government. The practical effects of a language's 'official' designation vary, and often depend on how widely the language is spoken. In some cases only the official language(s) may be used in court, the education system or other settings, whereas in other cases official status merely allows for that language to be used. 9Official language status is often connected with wider political issues of sovereignty, cultural nationalism, and the rights of indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities. For example, the campaign to make English the official language of the United States is often seen as a way of marginalizing non English-speaking minorities, particularly Latinos. 2Various indigenous rights movements have sought greater recognition of their languages, often through official language status (Wikipedia). 7Almost every session of Congress, an amendment to the Constitution is proposed in Congress to adopt English as the official language of the United States (USConstitution.net). As stated in an article by 19the English Language Political Action Committee "English is the language of freedom, commerce and opportunity around the world. Declaring English the official language of...

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