The Importance of an Official Language in American Society. The United States of America has commonly been referred to as a great melting pot because we are a country comprised of many different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. The original idea of our melting pot was that one nation would be made out of immigrants from different nations around the world. That cultural influx has created the vibrant and diverse atmosphere of today’s American society. As a society, it is important to appreciate our cultural differences, but at the same time identify the universal factors that make us all American.
We can continue to encourage legal immigrants to become citizens, but it is important that immigrants embrace American values and the culture that binds us together. As a nation it is essential that we come together and form a relationship of common traits. Communication is vital for any people to successfully work together. In order to protect this bond universal language is essential. According to the 1990 census, 96% of U. S. residents speak English. The United States should adopt English as its official language because it is the language spoken by an overwhelming majority of Americans and is an important part of the American culture.
One argument against instituting English as the national language is that it takes away from a multicultural society by denying immigrants the practice of their heritage. It is important to celebrate diversity in our society but at the same time, set standards of our American customs. We should support any immigrant who wishes to assimilate into our culture and give them the tools necessary to learn our language. Immigrants are moving from their homelands for the promises of America. Mandating that immigrants adapt in some ways is necessary to preserve our way of life.
The United States has laws and requirements to obtain citizenship, asking that immigrants learn and practice the common language in society should also be a federally mandated requirement. A universal language practiced by all Americans will help to foster a national unity and creates a set means of communication in society. In his work, “Aria,” Richard Rodriguez describes his position on assimilation, “The bilingualists simplistically scorn the value of assimilation. They do not seem to realize that there are two ways a person is individualized.
So they do not realize that while one suffers a diminished sense of private individuality by becoming assimilated into public society, such assimilation makes possible the achievement of a public individuality. ” (144) Rodriguez, born from an immigrant family, emphasizes the public gain that learning to speak English unlocks. Immigrants benefit themselves and the American society more-so, if they are able to speak our common language. Immigrants can enrich our nation and for our civilization to succeed we must continue to maintain and enhance our civil culture.
We have a responsibility in helping these immigrants who wish to embrace our values and at the same time these immigrants should have the responsibility to assimilate into American society and communicate using the common language. According to the 2002 Kaiser Family Foundation Poll, 91% of Latino immigrants agree that English is essential to succeed in the U. S. Although most immigrants see the necessity of learning English, many immigrants move to America with no intention of learning the language.
These immigrants depend on other methods to communicate in society. Immigrants who do not speak English rely on other people who do speak English to interpret for them. Often times, they rarely communicate outside of their own group. English as the official language would put more pressure on immigrants to learn English because all legalities would be presented completely in English. Legal documents and court materials that can currently be reviewed in multiple languages would be printed primarily if not only in English.
As an official language, knowledge of English would become more important for immigrants. According to a 2009 Rasmussen Report Poll, 84% of Americans favor the establishment of English as the official Language of the U. S. There are 30 U. S. states that have made English their official language. Popular as the idea is, it’s hard to imagine why the federal government has yet to declare it official. If English was sanctioned as America’s official language, all government dealings would be conducted entirely in English.
Legislation, regulations, executive orders, treaties, federal court rulings, and all other official pronouncements would be published in English. Voting ballots would also be printed exclusively in English. Currently, any American citizen can vote, regardless of their competency of the English language. The question arises, if these immigrants are unable to process the English language on a ballot card, how then are they able to process the matters at hand, which are entirely campaigned in English?
There must be social responsibility to all citizens of any land. Language’s purpose is to enable communication and communication is essential to the operation of society. In general elections, it is the electorate’s civic duty to vote. Immigrants unable to speak English are unable to make informed political decisions unless they can somehow obtain political information in their language. As a nation, continuity is important. The voting process, if implemented exclusively in English, would create a more structured and concise method of election.
If the United States Government were to make English the official language of America, more immigrants would recognize the importance of learning English. The assimilation process is essential to the success of immigrants in America and America as a whole. Being able to speak English allows for an easier transition and can only benefit immigrants in society. Knowing the common language is not a requirement in the United States, however it is a widely supported argument.
Most people in America do speak English and English should be the official language of the United States so that our countries society can continue to operate on one defined frequency and all of our citizens can communicate in the same language. Works Cited Rodriguez, Richard. “Aria. ” The Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez. January 1983 “English as our Official Language”. ProEnglish. 10-22-2009. . “Summary Tables on Language Use and English Ability: 2000. ” Survey. U. S. Census Bureau. 7-08-2000. web. Retrieved10-22-09. “84% say English should be America’s official language”. Rasmussen Reports. 10-22-2009 .