Making English, the official language of America is an idea that has sparked off the interests of many people in the nation. However, the greatest question remains, should English be the law? The main proponents of this thought argue that English should be made the official language of the nation. On the other hand, the opponents claim that English should not be the official language of the nation. This argumentative discussion will tend to agree with the idea that English should be made the official language. The argument will be supported by a wealth of descriptive materials offering an insightful perspective on why it is necessary to make English the national language.
There have been many problems, especially in the past leadership of the U.S. Founding fathers of the nation saw a big challenge in governing the country without a common language. Having a common language was essential for political stability. From this point of view, in 1753 Benjamin Franklin complained about the Germans who refused to learn English as a common language. To him, the failure to adhere to a common language would consequently lead to a shaky government. There was an attempt by Theodore Roosevelt to make English the national language. He asserted that there was room for only one language in America (Judd, 1987). His intentions were based on the concept of unity among all Americans for easy governance.
John Adams in 1870 attempted to make English the national language when he established an English language government sponsored academy. The oppositionists claimed that this was undemocratic and posed a threat to individual liberty. The founding leaders of the nation, however, compromised their attempts as they held the use of the local languages as a right of the people (David). There was no need to have an official language, as there was no official religion. The House of Representatives attempted to solve the official language problem in August 1st, 1996. It approved a Bill that would make English the official language. Most voted in its favor.
Making English the official language would play the pivotal role of uniting the people. People will have a common thread in a nation characterized by multiple cultures. In addition, it will ensure that the immigrants coming to the U.S. for education or job opportunities are catered for. In this case, it will assist the nation to tap the external potential, which has a great role in improving the economy of the nation. It will also reduce the cost of using multiple languages by the government in serving the people. For instance, the state will use a common language to give services to people. There is also the need by companies or firms to make announcements to the public. This would be possible if there were a universal language among the American people.
On the other hand, the introduction of the English language in the nation would go a long way in undermining the existing diversity. From this point of view, language and culture in general are seen as a significant asset to a specific society and contributes greatly to their identity. If English is used as a common language of all people, then the rich cultural diversity, which is an asset, will be lost (Crawford). Another contentious issue around the common language is that people should have the freedom to choose the kind of language they want to use in their communication. America was founded on diversity and freedom and this spirit ought not to be abandoned at all costs (ibid.). The history of a nation is as important as its future. It would be lethal for the country’s history if the local languages were abandoned.
In his work, Bilingualism in America: English Should be the Official Language, Ishiwe Hayakawa illustrates how important it is for the state to encourage the immigrants to study and understand the English language (Hayakawa). Miriam Marquez, in her work, Why And When We Speak Spanish In Public, also expresses a lot of concern that an individual can speak the English language in a public setting, while at the same time being able to speak their native language, especially with the family or society (Marquez). America is a society characterized by many immigrants, diverse cultures, languages, races, and religions. This will call for the unification of the multifaceted aspects of the society to allow for harmony, which is a necessary factor for peace and stability. A common language will be required as one of the key facets that lead to national peace and stability. Hayakawa notes that with English as the common language the American society will be able to move forward in a world dominated by diverse cultures (Hayakawa). Robert D. King, in his work, Should English Be the Law?, also asserts the fact that if the immigrants did not learn the English language, then there would be difficulties in absorbing them in the mainstream American society (Robert). Their communication with American citizens would also be jeopardized.
Many problems face the nations that operate under multilinguistic commonality. America should learn from these negative impacts of allowing diverse languages to be used, especially in public settings. It is the role of the state to control the vices that are deemed harmful and destructive to the future of any given society (David). By introducing English as the official language of the nation, all people will be accommodated in the mainstream America. This will go a long way in ensuring that certain vices associated with diverse languages are avoided. There is also a very pertinent issue that any society that intends to preserve its culture should ask, “does the preservation of the local languages pose a threat to the survival and continuity of any nation?” Language has been taken as a precious asset to any society in the world. On the other hand, it has been known to be a great threat because it has worked to tear apart countries if the people are not able to understand one another. A common example is the genocides that have taken place in countries of the world, like Rwanda in Africa. There will be a great achievement towards uniting of people if English were made the national language.
If the issue regarding language is not addressed, there is the likelihood of different problems culminating into the fall of the American society. If individuals do not learn to speak a common language, for instance, English, there will be a possibility that there will be the development of cultural enclaves, as opposed to assimilation. This condition makes it worse since it is a smooth highway to ethnic and racial conflicts. In addition, because of the rate of change and growth experienced in America, there is the possibility that certain aspects required to maintain growth are compromised. The American society should be different and people should have the freedom of choice. This means that English should not be made a law.
The American society offers a unique plight of its development aspects, especially with reference to the language issue. From a ‘patriot defense’ point of view, the American society is founded on English language, especially at the time of the declaration of independence. This makes English preferable as the nation’s official language. On the other hand, there is a possibility that with inculcating English as the national language, those speaking other languages might feel rejected. Therefore, instead of assimilating them, such language policy will isolate them.
English should be made the official language of the nation. Firstly, it leads to national unity. Secondly, it will benefit the immigrants who would like to pursue their education or get more job opportunities. Thirdly, it will prevent ethnic, racial, or religious conflicts as it will offer a good basis for mutual understanding. In the political arena, a common language will ensure that there is stable governance. In addition, advertisement, government documents, and other printed services offered by the state or businesspeople will be understood by the general population if done with a common language.
Although the history of the debate relating to the common language has not born much fruit, it is worth noting that the advantages of having one language in the U.S. outweigh the disadvantages. As noted by Robert king, ‘language is not only a means of communication but also a means to a communion (Robert). Therefore, it is worth to make it a law. Development of a common language is likely to boost unity, peace, economic development, understanding, and the general harmony of the people.