Monday, February 18, 2008

Arguing for English-Only Legislation

(Even though I don't agree with it--but I'll explain why tomorrow. This is also a partial-answer--tongue-in-cheek though it may be--to a comment from my last post).

Decir “Sí” por solomente Ingles

We are an English-speaking nation. As a nation, it is in our best interest to pass laws and promote legislation that will ensure our cohesiveness as a nation, culture, and society. If our government were to issue English-only legislation, then this would aid our nation-building and draw us closer together as an American society. For those that wish to be American citizens and participate in American democratic processes, speaking English should be a party of those activities.

This would not eliminate the ability of cultural groups to maintain their languages in their own homes and communities; instead, it would help new immigrants to acquire English, which would then open the door to their future success in American society. If the ability to communicate and read government documents to receive aid required one to learn English, then immigrants would have greater incentive to do so. Additionally, if English-only legislation were to be passed on the national level, then Congress would have to give greater funding accordingly to programs that teach English as a Second Language for both public schools and adult education programs. As it stands now, many government documents are in languages other than English, and so immigrants can scrape by without learning the language, thus they are unable to participate in American society and culture to the fullest degree and are unable to realize their fullest potential.

Finally, English-only legislation is equivalent to the practices of other countries world-wide. An American would not expect to immigrate to Spain or France and believe that he or she could function without learning the native language. While monolinguism is rampant in the United States, English-only legislation would not hinder that from changing, but perhaps encourage polylinguism as the necessity to teach immigrants English increases. We can still encourage knowing a diversity of cultures and languages while endorsing English-only legislation.

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