English Only Debate Essay

2060 WordsDec 7, 20089 Pages
The English Only Debate Pamela Schrage CT226 Dr. Gordon Contents: 1. The English Only debate – why is it so intriguing? 2. Inside the Debate a. Legislation b. Reach for the stars c. The proof is in the pudding d. Let’s reconsider e. The Real Deal 3. The Future of English Only 1. The English Only debate – why is it so intriguing? The United States has been, since its creation, a country without an officially declared language. Within the past 30 years a national movement has sprung up whose goal is to make English the official language of America. I would like to know what benefits such a declaration would bring to this country, considering how well we have done as a nation without it. Likewise I would like to know what detriments such a declaration would bring. I am interested in finding out why this has become so popular, and with whom in particular. 2. Inside the debate a. Legislation The very first proposal of English Only legislation to Congress in 1982 by Senator S.I. Hayakawa was to make English the official and only language spoken by the US government and all subsidiaries, has since been proposed nearly every year thereafter. This would mean that any interactions within the government and any interactions between the government and its citizens must take place only in the English language. Hayakawa expressed the concern that “…bilingualism threatened the nation’s ability to maintain a public sphere shared by all citizens. Without a ‘common language’ the nation risked hopeless fragmentation” (Davis & Igler, 2002). This apprehension is one of the main arguments that the movement, now known as Official English, uses to propel their campaign to declare English as the official language of the United States. Although the movement has been gaining strength over the years,

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