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User voted Yes.
0 votes
Aug 10, 2015

As the English language takes up 80% of the spoken languages in the USA, could anyone explain to me why it would not make English the national language? I'm actually surprised at this percentage compared to Spanish and Asian[1].

Is it because the United States is fundamentally/potentially a multi-cultural place founded and shaped by settlers, irregardless from where they hail? Or do you expect the ratio between the English language and other languages to change?

Disclaimer:
I feel stupid to ask such things, but the subject interests me and I guess it's the purpose of this website to base our opinions on arguments.

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100
User voted Yes.
main reply
4 votes,
Oct 13, 2015

I think there has never been a major push for English to become the official language b/c historically we have done a much better job at assimilating immigrants. While the first generation of immigrants rarely gained mastery of English, their children did by attending mandatory government run schools that forced them to use only English. This system broke down in the 1960's and 1970's as the multicultural movement got underway. The whole idea of requiring new residents to learn English was seen as imperialistic and dismissive of cultural diversity.

So today we have 3rd generation immigrants (grandchildren of immigrants) in some sections of this country who have zero English language skills and b/c they live in ethnic ghettos they get along fine - as long as they have no hope of being more than extremely low wage servants. :-(

Where we go from here is hard to predict - we have a growing Spanish speaking minority that may - over the coming generations - turn us into a truly multi-lingual society or we may continue a divide we see in other historic multi-ethnic states where the ruling elites and their supporters use one language while the peasant classes use another. I would hope that we go back to what has worked for well over 100 years, i.e. mandatory English immersion classes for non-English speaking student, but I'm historian, not a fortune teller - I only say what we have done in the past and make semi-educated guesses about how we will handle the future.

BTW - the only stupid question is one that goes unasked. :-)

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User voted No.
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0 votes,
Oct 13, 2015

Although English takes up 80% of the spoken languages in the USA, the USA was built upon the standards of integration and freedom. To pass legislature to make English the national language would open up possible semi-discriminatory legislature against immigrants and ESL speakers.

P.S. "Asian" is not a language.

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User voted Yes.
0 votes,
Oct 13, 2015

You're right; "Asian" is not a language, rather an umbrella term for multiple languages that originate in/from Asia (i.e. Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean). The source I cited formulated it this way, and since I got the full percentage of my information there, I stuck to its terminology. It only increases my amazement towards English not being a national language, but I didn't want to emphasize that this much.

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0
User voted No.
0 votes,
Oct 13, 2015

Technically, your source formulates it as "Asian and Pacific Islander Languages". Also, try finding some non - wikipedia source. I don't doubt your statistics, but wikipedia is generally not accepted as a source in formal debate.

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100
User voted No.
1 vote,
Oct 14, 2015
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