U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Great Debates
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
 
Old 11-20-2008, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Land of Thought and Flow
8,323 posts, read 13,145,091 times
Reputation: 4865

Advertisements

Currently, there is no official language for the United States of America.

Some people feel that the "melting pot" of the world should follow suit of the United Nations and have multiple languages as the official ones. Some people feel that the founding fathers spoke English, and therefore that should be the singular official language. The rest feel that America should not have any official language.

Which of these, or others, do you feel would be most appropriate for the Nation? Why do you feel this way? Provide links as necessary to assist with your opinion.
Quick reply to this message

 
Old 11-20-2008, 11:56 AM
 
8,180 posts, read 11,033,451 times
Reputation: 2873
I believe that having a common language would serve to unite a country and its peoples. I certainly would never ban other languages, and it is wonderful to be bi/tri/ and more lingual...but nonetheless language is of singular importance when it comes to bringing people together and identifying them as 'one'.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-20-2008, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Boise
2,008 posts, read 2,908,409 times
Reputation: 729
Funny thing is that languages either change or go extinct. So what do we do when we make an official language and it changes or dies off?
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-20-2008, 12:26 PM
 
Location: West Texas
2,441 posts, read 5,245,515 times
Reputation: 3094
I would be all for English being the official language. It wouldn't "outlaw" other languages, but make definitely make it easier so I don't have to spin a box 3 or 4 times to find the English writing on it in America!!
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-20-2008, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Everybody is going to hurt you, you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for-B Marley
9,506 posts, read 17,310,607 times
Reputation: 9335
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathagos View Post
I would be all for English being the official language. It wouldn't "outlaw" other languages, but make definitely make it easier so I don't have to spin a box 3 or 4 times to find the English writing on it in America!!
That's it.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-20-2008, 12:50 PM
 
5,905 posts, read 5,080,473 times
Reputation: 4534
While I do believe in having an official, unifying language, I think we should understand that there has never been only one language present in America.

From the first Dutch and German settlers to the presence of hundreds of indigenous Native American languages, we have somehow found a way to communicate.

However, looking at the following map (View the Map) you will see that Spanish is clearly the 2nd most commonly spoken language in our country...but I certainly don't feel any obligation to learn it solely to communicate in my homeland. If I decided to live in France, I would be expected to learn French, period.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-20-2008, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
7,091 posts, read 10,487,344 times
Reputation: 4104
I would say there needs to be one language for commerce, you go anywhere and you can communicate in it and expect people to know it. You don't need a translator for every 20th customer who comes in the door. Not to say you don't have complex documents available in other languages to help people understand, I would like it in simple English too instead of running through 50 pages of legaleze to find some small print item in contracts.

I only say English because most people know it, if more people knew others damn right I would learn. I would never think of outlawing others, I love languages I have tons of MP3's to learn them, but everyone has to communicate in a similar fashion or things can really get bogged down.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-20-2008, 01:39 PM
 
Location: San Diego
2,518 posts, read 1,844,964 times
Reputation: 1298
Why can't we be like some of the more civilized nations (Switzerland, Belgium and Scandanavia) and have two or more national languages? Americans are so stupid/ignorant when it comes to language, speaking only one language hinders brain development and is probably one reason why this country is getting so dumb. In Switzerland, everyone can speak French, German, English and many can speak Italian. In Belgium, it's German, French, Dutch and English. In Scandanavia they have English and their native languages and EVERYONE there is 100% bilingual.

I am fluent in Spanish and English, can read and understand German, Portugese, French and Italian, and to a lesser extent, Hebrew, Russian and Greek. Being able to communicate with almost anyone from the Western world has served me quite well. We should make Chinese, Japanese, Spanish or Arabic (don't get all racist on me, if we spoke Arabic here in the US, we may not have nearly as many problems with the Arab world) an official second language and make kids learn it from kindergarten on. The earlier you learn, the more your language center of the brain develops. My sister has a 1 year old who already knows English, Spanish and Portugese words.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-20-2008, 02:05 PM
 
8,180 posts, read 11,033,451 times
Reputation: 2873
Quote:
Originally Posted by leftydan6 View Post
Why can't we be like some of the more civilized nations (Switzerland, Belgium and Scandanavia) and have two or more national languages? Americans are so stupid/ignorant when it comes to language, speaking only one language hinders brain development and is probably one reason why this country is getting so dumb. In Switzerland, everyone can speak French, German, English and many can speak Italian. In Belgium, it's German, French, Dutch and English. In Scandanavia they have English and their native languages and EVERYONE there is 100% bilingual.

I am fluent in Spanish and English, can read and understand German, Portugese, French and Italian, and to a lesser extent, Hebrew, Russian and Greek. Being able to communicate with almost anyone from the Western world has served me quite well. We should make Chinese, Japanese, Spanish or Arabic (don't get all racist on me, if we spoke Arabic here in the US, we may not have nearly as many problems with the Arab world) an official second language and make kids learn it from kindergarten on. The earlier you learn, the more your language center of the brain develops. My sister has a 1 year old who already knows English, Spanish and Portugese words.
I agree with you 100% that learning and using a foreign language ought to be encouraged much more in our society. But, there are two things that differentiate the US from European countries.
To begin with, unlike Switzerland or the The Netherlands or France or Germany the US is not an homogenous society with a unifying history. Granted, Europe is getting more and more immigrants, but certainly nothing like the US and certainly not as long as the US. In other words, they have in place an already unifying culture...they are Swiss, they are Dutch. In the US we have many cultures, many languages, many histories. There really is no comparison between our situation and theirs. We need a common language to glue our immigrant society together .... a common language is not a luxary needed by most of the European Union members.
Secondly, the reason many Europeans are able to learn and retain a second or even more languages is the ability to use them. In a long weekend of travel you could use French, German, Dutch and Czech if you wanted to. And many do. In the US, we just do not have the opportunity to use thus retain any foreign language we may have learnt in high school. Really, on a practical level the comparison is unfair.

(Please forgive any grammatical/spelling errors -- my dayquil has kicked in )
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-20-2008, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
24,717 posts, read 59,579,994 times
Reputation: 26822
Do we have an "official language"? Several years ago I went ot vote in Claifornia and they did nto have voter guide books in english, only spanish and Vietnamese. They said that they were given five booklets in English, but someone must have taken them.
Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:
Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Great Debates
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top