Should Spanish be the official language of United States
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If we consider the most basic purpose of language to be communication, does an official language serve to bring about greater unity or understanding? Or does it create dissension and division? What would the ramifications of such a bill be: would laws and legal documents have to be written in Spanish (and would there be English translations), would courts conduct business only in Spanish (would English translators be available), would we vote in Spanish? How much would this cost and how much are we currently spending on various services for non-English speakers?
I am a proponent of multilingualism and still remember some of my high school French, Spanish and Latin but I have to wonder about Cruz's purpose. I suspect he may just be grandstanding and trying to appeal to Hispanic voters.
The real question is: why should the U.S. have any official language?
argue that English *is* the official language of the US.
At the end of the day, it's probably not very big of an issue if one language is defined as the official language or not. It matters more how the laws for the usage of that language are written and applied, and how any minority languages are treated.
Official multilingualism is a good thing if you're in a situation where the speakers of some languages have previously been treated worse than others, or feel themselves under threat from the majority (Belgium, Canada); it can also be a way of protecting an important cultural tradition that might otherwise have been at the risk of dying out (Wales). But it's very expensive, it easily leads to absurdity (the Cardiff roadsign where the Welsh text is said to have read "I'm out of my office and will reply to your email shortly"), it creates an extra barrier for access to government jobs, and it absorbs language-learning time in school that could otherwise be devoted to learning foreign languages. A necessary evil in some situations, but something to be used with caution.
Official monolingualism seems to be primarily a gesture of arrogance. If the sole official language is a minority language (in the country as a whole or in that region) then it's a tool for maintaining the dominance of the minority associated with that language (Europeans in colonial times, for instance); if it's a majority language, then it's a way of excluding minorities from full civil rights unless they accommodate themselves to the majority culture.
Anyway, if the US were to decide on an official language, surely it ought to take an American language, not a colonial one. What about Navajo?
While English is probably an official language of US in practice, it is interesting that it is not it in letter...so I guess that would make it possible that some piece of official communication would not be available in English if the person doing the communicating would so choose. Running, say, registration for voting only in Spanish or Navajo...
In letter, perhaps?, but in practice, no. And if the English-speaking population were large enough in that jurisdiction, doing so would violate the Voting Rights Act.
Here in Houston I can vote in English, Spanish, or Vietnamese. I've used the Spanish ballot (mostly just to see if the translation was crappy ... it wasn't) but have never braved the Vietnamese one, haha.
Perhaps the Black Speech.
Obama u bagronk sha pushdug McCain-glob búbhosh skai!
>8 anthonywillard: And, I wouldn't have to go back to high school Latin at this stage of my life...
Fa'amolemole, ia fa'atelegese lau tautala
E te iloa fa'aSamoa? And if yes, how (and why) did you learn it?
P.S. No, I don't know any Samoan.
I had just read an article that I had squirreled away about the vulnerability of Samoa due to rising ocean levels. Depressing... That and the posting of Mr.Durick's link tipped the scales for me on Samoan. It's hard to imagine your country essentially disappearing. The language should live on at the least!
Ha! I cheated with Omniglot for my reply to you. It's a fun site.
Rising seas put so many places in jeopardy. I have seen maps that predict half the state of Florida will soon be underwater. Language extinction is even sadder. Have you read Spoken Here: Travels Among Threatened Languages by Mark Abley? Full of interesting details of various endangered and extinct tongues. Perhaps the strangest is that the last speaker of the Atures language of South America was not a person but Humbolt's parrot. No one could understand what the bird said.
Regarding the last couple of sentences... The parrot really doesn't understand either, other than perhaps the Atures equal for "food." And, even at that, it is pushing the word "understand." But here is the perfect official language; no one understands it.