James Crawford, in his article “The Official English Question,” evaluates whether it is proper to declare English as America’s official language. Historically, there has not been much success in trying to declare English as the official language. In 1923, there was a bill designating the national language to be “American,” designed to offend the British Empire but the bill was never passed. In 1780, John Adams faced opposition when he tried to set up a Language Academy to set standards for English. His idea was seen as a threat to individual liberty.
In fact, there was no English proficiency requirement to become a U. S. citizen until 1906; Continental Congress printed its Journals in German and French and bilingual education was common in many areas. However, the onset of greater language diversity and immigrants preferring their native language to learning English, validate the necessity to declaring an official language. On the other hand, social changes due to industrialization, migration, mass media etc Anglicize minority groups. They act as assimilative forces and help immigrants lose their native tongue and English quicker than before.
Crawford concludes with the opinion that in a country like America, where minority language are already secondary to English, it is not enough to declare a single official language; America needs a more extensive plan to manage all its languages. Making English the official language would surely change a lot of things for better or for worse. The benefits of it would be that the whole government system and all official systems would not have to resort to any other language but English to conduct any business or official matters such as legislation, official documents, contracts, public meetings, events and more.
In terms of budget this is a good thing, and it also promotes a sense of unity to the people regardless of their cultural background. It encourages their personal development when it comes to English. Now, the negatives to having English as an official language are few at best. The only negative I see is that it makes adjusting to life in the United States a little more difficult for new immigrants. At the same time, I would still like to say that a diversity in language can be a very good thing and something that one can be proud of. As I understand from this article, English has always been the official language anyway even. ) “Native-language accommodations discourage immigrants from learning English. ” b) “Americans have gotten by without declaring English our official language. This raises and obvious question: Why should we do so now? ” a) Declaring English as an official language would encourage immigrants more to become proficient in this language and in a country such as America they would be able to greatly benefit from it. I agree with what the English Only advocates have to say here. b) It is true that English being the main language has always been unquestioned and accepted.
But in my opinion, I agree with making it official at this point. Making it official won’t have a big impact outside of the government and official matters. People will still have the liberty to speak their native languages outside or at home. But an Official English language will put all people in America on the same page. The general importance of this article is to understand this dilemma this country faces. The time is now to consider both options and come to a conclusion whether to declare the Official Language or not. We have to take the history behind this into consideration and come to a final conclusion.