An official language is a language that is legally accepted in a particular country and holds the status of being used in conducting all the government affairs. Such status can be given to every language even if it is not widely spoken. At present United States does not have their own official language. But most of its citizens speak English since it is their native language. The type of English spoken also varies from one group to another. Some speak American English while others speak Canadian English but all these dialects have mixed up to produce a single English language which is mostly known as the North American English. Almost 96% of all the American citizens speak English very fluently and there have been several attempts to make English an official language. This was to be done by amending the immigration reform bill, but this move has never been successful and has received a lot of opposition especially from English non-speaking groups. Apart from English, Spanish is the second most spoken language in the U.S and in some States like the New Mexico; laws have been written in English as well as Spanish (Burnaby and Ricento:85). There are also established and emerging Spanish speaking citizens in the South Western part of the U.S most of them being recent Spanish immigrants. Currently, the United States houses the fifth largest Spanish speaking communities.
Lack of official language in the United States has been a major problem affecting the whole nation. Infact in recent times, the country had become divided mainly due to issues concerning languages. There are signs which are indicating that, incase English is not going to be made an official language, many communities especially the immigrants will not consider themselves as being citizens of the United States. The immigrants would in turn continue retaining their languages, culture and traditions and will always consider themselves as belonging to their original homeland. Currently, large number of immigrants prefers retaining their original languages and this has led to an increase in the emergence of bilingual communities in most states of the U.S. For example, more than 10% of California Citizens speaks little or no English at all (Osborn: 31).
U.S government and business companies have been blamed for propagating the emergence of bilingual communities. Most U.S companies and business websites are currently developed using both English and Spanish languages. Ballot papers that are used during the elections are also printed using these two languages. Infact some states such as Los Angeles do not only print their ballot papers in English and Spanish but they have gone ahead to print the ballots in other languages such as Chinese, Japanese and even Korean (Mencken: 397). These states argue that, most citizens do not understand English and therefore they cannot cast the ballots that are printed in English. Although American citizens are required to understand English, thousands of them continue voting using different kinds of languages. Questions are therefore being asked on how such immigrants qualified to being American Citizens in the first place.
Theodore Roosevelt once lamented that,” The ultimate way to bring this nation to ruin, or preventing all possibility of it continuing to be a nation at all, would be permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities. We have but one flag, we must also learn one language and that language is English. “(http://www.kajawrote.wordpress.com /2008/01/31/why-english-should-be-the-official-language-of-the-united-states).
For sure English should be made America’s official language. This is because English will actually unite and bring together all the American citizens. It will also be of much help to the immigrants since it will enable them connect with the rest of the communities and live a successful easy life.
Yearly, it has been a routine for the U.S to bring in immigrants from different regions all over the world. All these immigrants come to U.S to live and to work making it their home. However, as these people settle in the U.S, they come with their own cultures including their own languages. In order to promote English speaking in the U.S and to ensure that it becomes an official language, it should be made a requirement that all immigrants entering the U.S to be proficient in English language both in oral and writing. Former U.S senator James, Inhofe once lamented about this issue in his speech on August 3rd 2006. He stated that,” A nation certain of its language and culture can continue to be a welcoming nation to legal immigrants. A nation with uncontrolled borders and no convictions about what it expects immigrants to do once they arrive will soon become a nation in name only.” (http://kajawrote.wordpress.com/2008/01/31/why-english-should-be-the-official-language-of-the-united-states).
English is spoken by a large percentage of the U.S citizens therefore making it official language will enable immigrants perfect it and assist them to become successful in their respective fields. English have and will always be the language of success as it is widely used in various fields such as Education, socialization groups and in running businesses. English has also been regarded as a language for business, furthering education, internet, global science, music and entertainment (Mujica: 1). All these shows that English is being accepted as the formal language all over the world.
America is a land of opportunities and a very nice place to live in. Therefore, if at all immigrants would like to work and settle in the U.S, they must be willing to learn the native language of the U.S. Senator Hayakawa once stated in his writings that,” English unites us as American-Immigrants and native born alike. Communicating with each other in a single, common tongue encourages trust, while reducing racial hostility and bigotry.” (Hayakawa: 129). Since the writer was an immigrant himself, he understood the benefits and importance of learning and speaking English in the U.S. Making English an official language will thus enable the foreigners to learn and speak in English hence connecting them with the rest of the communities. This will in turn open more opportunities for them and enable them succeed in their foreign land.
America over the years has been the most successful and the most united country all over the world. This has been due to the existence of its central government which has been the central hub for uniting all the American states and bringing together all the American citizens. Likewise declaring English official will act as a central language whereby citizens and foreigners from different states of the country will get to communicate and unite through it. Declaring English an official language will make each and every American citizen whether native or an immigrant to learn it. This is because all the laws, writings, public affairs and programs will all be written in English. With time citizens will be able to learn and communicate more effectively using this language. At the end, manufacturing, commercial and printing costs will all go down since there will be no need to publish and to print a document using more than one language.
Making English an official language will not prohibit anybody from speaking their mother tongue in their homes. It will only ensure that the laws, public affairs and other government proceedings are written and conducted using English. Therefore each and every citizen will still have the right to speak and communicate through their own languages so as to enrich and to maintain their cultural beliefs.
English is the most spoken language in the U.S and therefore making it official will be of much benefit to most American citizens. The U.S government should also move forward to pass the immigration reform bill because this will ensure the introduction of an official language which will in turn unite most Americans. All public schools should also be mandated to help teach English to those students who are from English non-speaking communities. English should also be included in the student’s curriculum and each American citizen should be tested for English proficiency before they are allowed to take part in an electoral process. All the public ceremonies including the oath of citizenship should also be carried out using English language. On the other hand, apart from the U.S, a high percentage of people from different countries all over the world speak English. In most cases, most of them use it as their first language if not their second. English has been regarded as formal and a language of international relation and there will be no harm in making it United States official language.