North Texas Daily

The United States should be legally multilingual

The United States should be legally multilingual

The United States should be legally multilingual
October 18
14:44 2016

The multicultural United States lends itself to multilingual communication. It should be noted, as of the 2015 United States census, while 77.1 percent of the U.S. population is white, the remaining 22.9 percent consists of African-Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Hawaiians, Hispanics and multiracial people. With any other multicultural society, there is typically a tendency towards multilingualism.

So contrary to the diversity that politicians seem to ignore, why should the U.S. only have one official language?

Time and again, congressional legislative bodies have attempted to make English the official national language. but interestingly enough, establishing a national language is only an issue when certain politicians feel threatened by minorities.

Since 1981, with efforts employed by Californian Republican Senator Samuel Hayakawa, many politicians have tried to amend the Constitution and the U.S. Code, proposing to Congress how English should be our sole legal language.

During the 107th Congress, the House of Representatives advanced H.J. Res. 16:

“The English language shall be the official language of the United States. As the official language, the English language shall be used for all public acts including every order, resolution, vote, or election, and for all records and judicial proceedings of the Government of the United States and the governments of the several States.”

Furthermore, the same session of congress saw H.R. 3333 include the following text:

“The Government of the United States shall preserve and enhance the role of English as the official language of the United States of America. Unless specifically stated in applicable law, no person has a right, entitlement, or claim to have the Government of the United States or any of its officials or representatives act, communicate, perform or provide services, or provide materials in any language other than English.”

In 2012, political columnist Molly K. Hooper wrote that “House GOP [was] closer to a vote on making English the official language” than ever before.

Politicians appear to have issues with English not being our the one and only speech process. They fail to recognize how the legislative bodies of other sovereign countries address the issue of establishing their main language(s).

There exists, at least from a globalist perspective, a precedent for multiple national languages. Countries inclusive of Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Kosovo, Malta, The  Netherlands, Serbia and Switzerland all have two or more official languages.

Canada, our neighbor to the north, has two national languages: English and French. In a similar vein, our Congress could consider making English and Spanish as both of our official languages.

Out of the 50 states, 32 have completely officiated the English language. Because of an inherent respect for Hawaiian heritage, the Pacific island group established two official languages, English and Hawaiian, rather than disrespect the native people by recognizing an imported language as the official tongue. The remaining states should take notice.

Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins

About Author

Shain E. Thomas

Shain E. Thomas

Born in Sacramento, University of North Texas graduate student Shain E. Thomas is an actor, social historian and a freelance entertainment journalist. Shain, a member of National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) and the UNT chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), is interested in studying Antebellum American history.

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