Give Us Liberty or Give Us…Language? Why the U.S. Doesn’t Have an Official Language

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Give Us Liberty or Give Us…Language? Why the U.S. Doesn’t Have an Official Language

From the First 4th of July to Now: Why the U.S. Never Made English Official.

America’s fourth. A just war for land, liberty, and… linguistic rights?

The U.S. has never had an official language.

You heard correctly.

Despite being one of the world’s greatest trade and business centers and half the world learning English via Hollywood classics like “Friends” and “How I Met Your Mother,” the U.S. has no official language.

Why is de facto English not official, and how does this effect the American government today?

Why the U.S. Did not Make English Official in 1776

The U.S. welcomed immigrants seeking religious freedom and property ownership before the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

The colonies spoke English before the American Revolutionary War. Why was not it in the country’s founding?
Philosophy, Not Language, for Independence
In an interview, Purdue University language professor Dwayne Wright hypothesized that the Founding Fathers “…didn’t see a need to declare one.”

The Founding Fathers did not worry about Dutch, French, German, and Native American languages competing with English in the 13 colonies.

Some believe they would have avoided offending their fellow compatriots who had heroically fought the English in the war for freedom.

The U.S. was founded on the principles that “all men are created equal” and that people are the source of a nation, which seemed radical at the time. “All men must follow these customs, this religion, and speak this language” did not suit the vision.

The late Germanic academic Willi Paul Adams summarizes the official U.S. English debate:

Colonial English speakers only sought political independence. They could not tolerate an anti-English linguistic and cultural revolution.”

American football was invented nearly 100 years later.
Why the U.S. Has No Official Language

English is their de facto language, meaning it is widely spoken but not official.

comprehend the purpose of an official language to comprehend why the U.S. only has a de facto language.
Official language?

Government (judiciary, administrative, legislative) uses official languages. It is not the only language in a country.

Singapore has five official languages, and India has 13.

However, having one official language means that government offices (courthouses, post offices, police stations, federal offices, DMVs, county offices, etc.) would only do business in English.

If a non-English speaker needed to update their driver’s license, they would likely need an interpreter. Spanish-speaking operators cannot answer government phone lines.

California, Texas, Florida, and Arizona, which have big Spanish and Haitian Creole-speaking populations, will be affected by this. U.S. Indian Reservation courts use English and tribal languages.
English-Only Law

English-Only advocates have failed to pass laws in Congress for centuries.

Anti-bilingual education regulations require public schools to educate in English. The Bilingual Education Act of 1968 authorized public monies to teach American kids in their home languages.

Many English-only laws have exceptions for public safety and health, and some proponents believe that one official language would save government printing and translation costs (in Canada, federal and provincial governments spend up to $2.4 billion per year on bilingualism).

They face fierce opposition.

ACLU counterattacks. They write against the unconstitutionality of officializing a single U.S. language, citing James Adam’s 1780 “undemocratic” attempt to found an English academy.

In a country whose national holiday commemorates a fierce war for freedom and independence for all, some feel it patriotic to remark “This is America, we speak English here,” while others find it fundamentally undemocratic.

Good news? Everyone can think anything they want.

Would you believe that the U.K. has no official language?

Leave your thought here

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