Fyi: english isn't the official language of the united states

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It might be news to lớn him that nothing in the Constitution or any federal law supports his phản hồi that “they should be speaking English” because “this is America.”

A man berated employees and customers for speaking Spanish in a thủ đô new york restaurant, describing them as undocumented & threatening to hotline immigration officials in a rant captured on video.
From Edward Suazo/Facebook
Opinion: Hey 'Speak English' guy, you forgot something

A lot of multilingual countries promote an official language, but the United States has never done so with English. In fact, the US has no official language.

“The Founding Fathers didn’t see a need khổng lồ declare one,” Dr. Wayne Wright, a professor of language and literacy at Purdue University, told

“English was pretty much the dominant language of the United States at the time so there really wasn’t a need khổng lồ protect it. & they didn’t want lớn offend their fellow Americans who helped fight for independence.”

People in this country have been speaking languages other than English since before the founding of the republic.

In fact, common languages spoken throughout the 13 colonies included Dutch, French và German, not to mention the many languages spoken by Native Americans.

Still, trying khổng lồ force people in the US to speak English is not new.

Enslaved Africans were forbidden from using their native languages (and at the same time forbidden from learning how to read & write English) because slaveowners feared they would incite rebellions.

Native American children were forced to lớn attend boarding schools where they were punished for speaking their own languages. & many Japanese schools started by immigrants in Hawaii were forced to lớn shut down during World War II.

“The sad thing about debates about language is that they’re rarely about language itself, but the people who happen to lớn speak those languages,” said Wright.

That’s also evident in the case of the new york lawyer who threatened to điện thoại tư vấn US Immigration và Customs Enforcement (ICE) on the restaurant workers.

“My guess is they’re not documented,” Schlossberg said of the employees. “So my next điện thoại tư vấn is khổng lồ ICE to have each one of them kicked out of my country.”

By threatening to điện thoại tư vấn ICE, he equated speaking Spanish with illegal immigration, said Wright.

‘English is not under threat’

There’s no question that English is the de facto language of the United States.

It’s the language of government documents, court proceedings and business contracts. Immigrants feel an immense pressure to lớn learn it. Most people in the US only speak English. But that hasn’t stopped some lawmakers from trying lớn ensure English is used above all other languages.

In 1981, US Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California introduced an amendment to vì just that. It failed.

Since then, other lawmakers have introduced similar versions of that amendment, but to no avail.

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The Senate tried again in 2006, passing an amendment to lớn a comprehensive immigration bill that would have made English the official language. The bill never passed the House.

“There are enough representatives on both sides of the aisle that recognize that it’s kind of futile,” said Wright. “Number one, English is not under threat in the United States. And number two, it’s divisive.”

But while efforts to elevate English over other languages have failed nationally, they’ve seen some success at state levels.

California, Massachusetts and Arizona have, at some point in the last đôi mươi years, implemented laws eliminating bilingual education programs & replacing them with English-only immersion programs.

The laws mandated that most public schools teach students with language barriers exclusively in English, instead of allowing them to teach students in their native languages, as many schools had done for decades.

California’s law was in effect for nearly đôi mươi years before it was repealed in 2016. In Massachusetts, it was on the books for about 15 years until a new law effectively repealed it in 2017. In Arizona, the law still applies.

Dr. Beatriz Arias, a senior research scientist at the Center for Applied Linguistics, said Arizona’s law is discriminating against people based on the language they speak – and what language people speak is often an indicator of their race.

“There is a political equation of Americanness with speaking English,” said Arias. “People who don’t speak English are just as American as those who do.”

và although the US is increasingly becoming more multilingual, English probably isn’t going anywhere any time soon. In fact, it’s the languages of immigrants that are more likely lớn die out. As immigrants pick up English in their efforts khổng lồ assimilate, the next generations are much less likely khổng lồ speak the native tongues of their parents or grandparents.

While Dr. Arias says that California và Massachusetts’ moves lớn bring back bilingual education programs indicates that the English-only movement may be becoming less prevalent, people are still telling immigrants to lớn “speak English.”

“The national temperament has gotten so isolationist that people feel empowered now khổng lồ say things lượt thích that lawyer said,” said Arias, alluding khổng lồ recent comments about immigrants made by President Donald Trump.

“When there’s permission from the highest position in the country khổng lồ talk lượt thích that, then the understanding of a variety of languages và how that enriches our community is lost.”