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5 Reasons English Should Be Our Official Language
Jeff Prouse / CCL
A nation’s language, just like its borders, is a symbol of unity. It’s one of the basic criteria for a coherent, well-functioning society.
With that in mind, here are five reasons English should be the official language of the United States.
Did we miss any?
1. Bilingualism is expensive
Bilingual programs cost Canada $2.4 billion a year, most of which goes toward teaching French to Anglophones and English to Francophones. All this, considering bilingualism has been official government policy for 40 years!
So there’s little reason to be optimistic when we’re told that a policy of bilingualism will save taxpayers the exorbitant cost of teaching English to adult immigrants (let alone children). Even after four decades, Canadian parents aren’t teaching their children a second language. It’s still burdening the education system.
2. Why stop at two?
Keeping to the Canada point, our neighbors to the North are running into another sticky situation: there’s a growing population of immigrants who speak neither English nor French.
As long ago as 2011, 1 in 5 Canadians’ first language was neither of the country’s two official tongues. For instance:
In [British Columbia], where just 55,000 people say French is their mother tongue compared with 1,100,000 who say their first language is a non-official one, languages such as Punjabi and Mandarin are increasingly taught in schools.
Who wants to open that Pandora’s Box?
Compare to the roughly 10 million Americans who speak neither English nor Spanish at home, vis a vis the approximately 40 million who speak Spanish at home. That proportion will grow as Asians prepare to overtake Hispanics as the largest American immigrant group.
Will we then have to become trilingual?
That, too, would prove disastrous. South Africa – which recognizes a total of 11 languages, plus several more “heritage languages” – employs thousands of full-time translators for their court system.
And, because all doctors can’t be fluent in a dozen different tongues, patients who don’t have a friend or relative nearby to translate may not be able to communicate with their healthcare providers.
Can anyone really wish that kind of discord on this country?
3. It’s happening anyway
America’s de facto monolingualism is working exactly the way it should be: most immigrants do learn English, even if they prefer to speak their native tongue.
According to The Hill‘s Raoul Lowery Contreras, Spanish-only speakers are a dwindling minority among Hispanics:
Its recent study of U.S. Census Bureau data shows that a record 33.2 million Hispanics speak English “proficiently” or “well,” which is 68 percent, in contrast to the 59 percent that did so in 2000.
Conversely, the percentage of Hispanics who speak Spanish at home is growing smaller by the day.
In fact, the passage of time will clear most of this up:
A third of Hispanics say they do not speak English at all or not “very well.” The key is age. Pew reports that 21 percent of those that do not speak English at all or “well” are over 65 years of age…
The percentage of Hispanics over 65 years of age that don’t speak English at all or “not well” is high. Seniors simply have more difficulty in learning new languages. They depend on their children and grandchildren, who speak both languages.
An official policy of English-only monolingualism will only help expedite the process.
4. Assimilation matters
Not to pick on Canada, but check out this report:
The politics of language made an incursion into the sports pages when, after the recent world junior hockey tournament, player Julien Gauthier said he and other Quebecers on Team Canada were forbidden from speaking French, even among themselves.
Team coach Dominique Ducharme, himself a French-speaking Quebecer, said the players were allowed to speak French, but team activities were conducted in English, the language of the majority of its members.
This drew criticism of Hockey Canada, the federally funded governing body that oversees the team, from Quebec Liberal minister Jean-Marc Fournier for not respecting the country’s English-French duality.
Balancing obedience to the bilingual ideology and achieving even a basic level of coherence is a serious challenge in that country. Even in a fast-paced environment like team sports, requiring all participants to speak the same language can earn censure from ranking government officials.
Can our economy afford that burden? Can we reasonably expect employers to run their businesses – heck, even individual offices – in two different languages?
What’s more: even 40 years after its institution, the minority Francophone population still assume that all English-only environments are a major infringement on their rights – an effort to undermine bilingualism itself.
Only monolingualism will ensure immigrants are fully assimilated. Any other policy runs the risk of enhancing their paranoia and undermining the cultural pluralism Americans already enjoy.
5. It’s an international language.
You might not know this, but it’s true: English is the official language of 51 different nations worldwide! Not only that, but 92% of the world’s countries have an official language; the U.S. is one of only 15 countries to not have one.
It seems like when it comes to healthcare, taxes, military spending, and almost everything else, the left’s favorite argument is to point out how different the United States is from the rest of the world, and to shame us for being different. Well, here’s our chance to be just like one of the cool countries!
Of course, this comes with actual benefits beyond making globalist lefties feel warm and fuzzy. U.S. citizens have a huge leg up if they know English, the unofficial global language of commerce and travel.
Let’s make it official
Americans originate from hundreds of different countries. Part of what makes ours great is that we embrace the different cultures and traditions that immigrants bring with them.
But the only way that works is if we can share a single set of values, social mores, a border, and a means of communicating – in other words, a common tongue.
Let’s make it official and declare English the official language of the United States.
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