Contrary to the belief of most of the people, the USA had no official language in the country. Though federal legislators have proposed making English the official business language of the country, that legislation never sees the face of the approval. The first ‘English Language Amendment’ (ELA) was introduced by the senator of California, S. I. Hayakawa. However, that amendment was rejected by the Congress. Though this proposal of making English the official language of the USA appeared many a time, it never turned into a law (Brice 2013). There is a huge debate on this issue. This paper would argue that English should be declared as the official language of the USA, because English is already a de facto national language, with the majority of Americans speaking this language; it would encourage the non-English speaking people to learn English and make the communication easier.
The opponents of the English language argue that English cannot be made an official language in the USA, because there are many languages spoken in the country, other than English, and hence, if English is turned into an official language, it will be difficult for those who do not speak it Should English” 2014). However, though it is true that multiple languages are spoken in the USA, it needs to be taken into account that English is already a de facto national language of the country, with 80% of the population speaking this language alone, and 95% claiming to speak it either "well" or "very well" (Shin and Kominski 2010). Hence, not making English as the official language of the country for a minor 5% section who cannot speak the language is not fair.
According to the opponents, the USA is a country of immigrants where thousands of people immigrate every year. Learning a new language is a tedious process and making English as the official language would force the immigrants to learn the language and subject them to ridicule Should English” 2014). However, I believe that if English is turned into an official language, it would encourage the new migrants to learn and speak the language of the country they have embraced as their own. Besides, many second generation immigrants, unable to speak English, find their lives negatively impacted due to limited job opportunities (Brice 2013). If they learn English, they would be able to join the American mainstream people and climb up the socioeconomic ladder. This would also help in bringing the American people closer to each other.
According to the opponents, making English as the official language of the USA would hamper the cultural diversity of the USA ("Should English” 2014). However, this is not true. Making English as the official language would encourage the non-English speaking people to learn the language to make their own lives and those of others easier. It will not force them to change their cultural practices or prohibit them from speaking their mother tongues at home. Besides, not knowing English is an impediment that precludes them from mixing into the larger society of the USA. For instance, in Hartford, Connecticut, 40% of the population is Spanish, and half of them do not speak English. Due to the rapid growth of the Spanish population and the governmental facility of bilingual education, the non-English speaking Spanish community does not feel encouraged to learn English, because they are able to conduct all the necessary services using Spanish only (Brice 2013). However, these people are unable to mix up with the broader society, and also, due to the increasing use of Spanish among the employees in Hartford, those who cannot speak Spanish feel forced to learn Spanish to be able to communicate with them. Therefore, making English as the official language will make the communication process lot easier.
In conclusion, though there is a huge controversy over making English as the official language of the USA, I feel that English should be declared as the official language because the majority of the people in the USA speak this language; it will also encourage non-English speaking immigrants to learn English and will make the process of communication easier.
Shin, Hyon B. and Kominski, Robert A. “Language Use in the United States: 2007”. Census Report. Apr. 2010. Web. 8 Dec. 2014. <http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/language/data/acs/ACS-12.pdf>
Brice, Brandon. “Why English should be the official language of the United States”. The Washington Times. 13 Apr 2013. Web. 8 Dec. 2014. <http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/common-sense-conservative/2013/apr/13/why-english-should-be-official-language-united-sta/>
"Should English be the official language of the United States?". Debate Organization. 2014. Web. 8 Dec. 2014. <http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-english-be-the-official-language-of-the-united-states>