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Should The Language Barrier Be Torn Down?

734 words - 3 pages

The United States of America has always been known as a country of many cultures. These cultures have wide variances in the languages that are spoken within them. For many years, there has been an ongoing debate as to whether or not America should declare English the national language. I do not think that the government should pass a law declaring English as our national language because it would not stop discrimination, it would place limitations on cultures, and people are still able to make their point whether speaking the same language or not.
A point can be made that when people are unable to speak English in a very English oriented society, they might fall prey to discrimination. However, would declaring English a national language really put this to an end? In Angela’s Ashes, written by Frank McCourt, even though Malachy McCourt Sr. spoke Irish, it was “hard enough for him to get a job with his northern accent” (McCourt 10). Despite the fact that he was raised in the same country, the people of Limerick discriminated against him simply because of the way he sounded when he spoke. The fact that he spoke the same language meant nothing. Before he even opened his mouth, he was judged for having “the look of the Presbyterian” (McCourt 236). Language was not something that could unite society if they discriminated before he even spoke. Declaring English as a national language would not benefit anyone that would like to avoid discrimination.

It is rarely considered that language not only affects how people speak, but it also plays a role in how people think. If the United States were to influence what language its citizens spoke, it would in turn be influencing how they thought. Many people consider this an unconstitutional limitation of freedom. Amy Tan elaborates on how language really impacted her thoughts in her essay “Mother Tongue”. She claims that language “helped the way [she] saw things, expressed things, made sense of the world” (Tan 404). The language that she grew up with impacted her personal development and thought process. Tan explains that the way her mother spoke conveyed “her intent, her passion, her imagery, the...

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