Should English Be the Official Language of the United States: Essay
Have you ever wondered where the English language came from? How it was developed and how it became what we know today? It is common to suggest that there are three main categories concerning the evolution and history of the English language. First, we have Old English. It started from 450 to 1066 and it begins with the coming of Germanic tribes settling in England. Then, we have Middle English which started from 1066 to 1500. It begins with the conquest of England by Normans after their success at the battle of Hasting. The Battle of Hasting, as we learned from our teacher Mrs. Baptiste in British Civilization, brought an end to the Anglo-Saxon adventure. Finally, we have Early Modern English from 1500 onwards. It reflects many centuries of development.
But what we shall focus on is, how did the English language arrive in the United States of America? Based on the Open University YouTube video that will be listed below, from the moment Britain landed in America, they needed names for all the plants and animals they would have encountered. So, Over the years, many words were borrowed from the Native Americans, as well as other immigrants from France, Germany, Spain, and other countries. They borrowed words like “raccoon”,” squash”, “moose”, and “pecan” from the Native Americans as well as most of their territory. The Dutch came sharing words such as “cookies”, “bluff”, “boss”, and “waffles”. “Pretzels” from the Germans, “pasta”,” pizza”, and “mafia” from the Italians. If you look closely, you will see that Spanish also gave many words such as “canyon”, “coyote”, “mesa”, and “tornado”. What many people don’t realize is how much the French language has influenced English. In French, we have words such as “prairie” and “bureau”. Later immigrant groups brought still more words. From that particular video about the history of the American language, we could see that they are still using old forgotten English words that lived on in the United States of America like ‘fall’, ‘faucets’, ‘diapers’, and ‘candy’, while Britain moved to other words such as ‘autumn’, ‘taps’, ‘nappies’ and NHS dental care. NHS means the National Health Service.
Now, if you pay attention to the beginning of the 20th century, you will remark that the English that was used in England, spoken with the accent recognized, and having the correct pronunciation, was the most appreciated. But today, all is changing. The largest concentration of English speakers is in the United States, and the influence of American English can be heard around the world. In the future, maybe, speaking English will mean speaking American English.
Now, you will probably ask, how come it is not the official language in the USA? We will get there. For now, you have to understand that there are different types of English according to country. This will be a brief summary of those. First, we have American English is the English language native to the United States and widely adopted in Canada. Australian English is used throughout Australia. It diverges from British English and was recognized as different from it by 1820. The term Canadian English was first used in a speech by the Reverend A. Constable Geikie in an address in 1857 to the Canadian institute. This language is believed to have derived from northern American English. Indian English began in the 1830s when it replaced Persian. Its c continues to be the official language of India. Philippine English has been taught in schools and is one of the two official languages of the country. And many others such as Ugandan English and British English. British English is the English language spoken and written in the United Kingdom or, more broadly, throughout the British Isles. If you want to know more about the evolution of the English language, here are five books and an overview of each.
“John McWhorter’s Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue covers the origins of English as a lingua franca and how the influences of history, such as Viking raids and Germanic invasions, have shaped it. The book focuses on English grammar and how English evolved when speakers of different languages came together. McWhorter is a professor at Columbia University, political commentator, and linguist.”
“Melvyn Bragg’s The Adventure of English covers the journey of English from its beginnings in Sanskrit to its role today as a language spoken by more than one billion people worldwide. He traces its journey during British imperialism to America, Australia, India, the West Indies, and beyond, and also chronicles how words from Lewis and Clark’s journeys across America and African dialects of slaves were integrated into English vocabulary. Bragg writes this linguistic tale in a lively manner that is accessible to many.”
“Who determines what’s right in the English language? Jack Lynch’s The Lexicographer’s Dilemma details the debate over what proper English is and who gets to say so by reviewing its history and the people who have shaped it, including Noah Webster, George Carlin, Quentin Tarantino, the South Park creators, and other modern contributors.”
“Now in a reprint edition, The Stories of English by David Crystal, the British linguist, academic, and author, gives focus to the regional dialects that shape modern usage of the English language. He uses a central chronological tale throughout the book and demonstrates that English is always evolving, thanks to its multiform varieties.”
“If you want a dictionary of etymologies, this is your book. John Ayto’s Dictionary of Word Origins shows where words come from and reveals the links between some of the most common words. It’s not about the evolution of the language overall; rather, it describes the evolution of words from their original meanings to the user familiar to us today.”
You don’t need to be a linguist to enjoy learning about the history of the English language. These five books are accessible online.
What maybe you didn’t t know is that there has been an attempt to make English the official language of the United States in 1780. It was a proposal presented by John Adams to the continental Congress but it was deemed (consider to be)) a threat to individual liberty. There also has been talking to make Spanish an official language alongside English.
Also, In 1981, US senator Sen. I Hayakawa of California introduced an amendment to ensure that English is used above all other languages and it failed.
In 2006, the Senate tried again by passing an amendment to a comprehensive immigration bill that would make English the official language but the bill never passed the house. While it has failed Nationally, they have been some success at state levels. Yes, 30 states and some US islands such as Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, US virgin islands already have established English as their official language.
Based on the Opinion of Juravin, English is not the official language of the United States. English is only the de facto (in fact, whether by right or not) primary language in the country. The top five languages spoken are English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Despite the many languages spoken there, the country in itself does not have an official language at the federal level but those states have established English as their official language. Even though the language of legislation, regulation, and court rulings are in English. The law requires that documents such as ballots be printed in multiple languages for those who don’t speak English.
So why doesn’t it have an official language as a whole? Based on Juravin, Neither the constitution nor the federal government gave a reason why. The country is diverse and has a large population speaking different languages. Declaring one language is not practical and ignores the historical and current linguistic diversity of the US. He continues by saying “The absence of an official language is considered a natural way of promoting and preserving the native languages and cultures. Forcing people into one common language, especially in a diverse country such as the US may be perceived as telling the people to forget their heritage and tradition”
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