WASHINGTON, DC, Apr 24 — Ask your neighbor what the official language of the U.S. is and he or she will likely respond, English, of course. But they’d be wrong.
Dr. Wayne Wright, a language professor at Purdue University, explains that the Founding Fathers didn’t see a need to mandate any one language be spoken in our newborn nation.
“English was pretty much the dominant language of the United States at the time so there really wasn’t a need to protect it. And they didn’t want to offend their fellow Americans who helped fight for independence.” That’s not surprising since the original 13 colonies were populated by Dutch, French, and German colonists.
Meanwhile, another professor of linguistics, Dr. David Baron, points out that 97% of U.S. residents speak English despite the fact that it is not America’s official language.
Notwithstanding the generous intent of America’s early colonists when they decided they didn’t need to make English our Official Language, there’s reason to make it “official” now. At the top of that list is the fact that the vast majority of citizens want it that way, as a new Rasmussen poll shows.
The Rasmussen survey found that the majority of today’s Americans would welcome the notion of making English our official language. “Official English retains majority approval across demographic and political categories. Eighty-nine percent (89%) of Republicans think English should be the official language of the United States, as do 64% of Democrats and 70% of those not affiliated with either major party.”
The survey also found that 74% of White Americans, 73% of African-Americans, and 71% of other minorities are in favor of making English our official national language.
On a state-by-state level, however, as many as 31 states already have laws making English their official language.
Part of the reason English dominates the languages that residents of the U.S. speak is that when foreign-speaking immigrants come to the U.S. they are generally overwhelmed into learning English to some degree or another. And, their children will readily pick up the language in school and when they watch TV or go to the movies. Eventually, for many of them, their native language gets lost, and they adopt English as their language of choice.
Mauro E. Mujica, Chairman and CEO of U.S. ENGLISH, says that “In the United States, our common language— and the language of success— is English… while linguistic diversity should be praised, it is to the benefit of an individual to speak English.”
Not only is American English the dominant language in the U.S., but it’s also gotten the “okay” worldwide — literally. The word “okay” is uniquely American. It became part of our lexicon in 1839 when some young jokers distorted the phrase “all correct” turning it into “oll korrect,” which in turn was shortened to OK. The use of OK to express agreement expanded throughout the U.S. and throughout the world in quick time. It is now “the most frequently spoken word, in any language, on the planet.” Oh, and by the way, the second most frequently spoken word is Coca-Cola.
We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...
As we look forward to expanding our work in support of America’s Seniors, we're asking you to consider a gift to help the AMAC Foundation continue to grow.
The AMAC Foundation, a 501(c)(3), plays a vital role in developing resources that enrich America's Seniors' lives. From Social Security to Medicare—with a lot in between—our services have helped thousands of Seniors by providing guidance at a time when they need it most.
Your support of our tax-exempt Foundation will enable us to continue delivering programs that meet a growing community's needs and that are vital to their well-being.
Thank you for putting your faith in AMAC!Donate Now