Young Voices English the official language?
Arizona Daily Star
May 26, 2006 

 Tucson, Arizona | Published: http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/130777

Question: Should English be the official language of the United States?

 
English has always been the most widely spoken language in the United States, and I doubt this will change any time soon. Unofficially or otherwise, English is the language of America. However, this does not mean citizens should only learn English. We are one of few countries that does not have a widely spoken second language, and I think that a second language (most likely Spanish) should also be used.  
Cody Gaffney, 16
Ironwood Ridge High School

 

There should be no official language for the United States. This country was created with the ideas of freedom and equality in mind. Giving our country an official language would favor those familiar with the language, putting those new to the official language at a disadvantage. Giving the United States an official language would also hinder a person's freedom of speech. If a person can make any statement he pleases, why shouldn't he be able to choose the language in which he makes the statement?
Dara Allen, 18
Presidio High School

 

I fail to see what is wrong with making English our national language. It is not racist or ignorant but a matter-of-fact sort of thing. The majority of people in America speak English, English is primarily taught in our schools and all major government documents are in English. Let's face it, in most of America not knowing at least some English puts one at a grave disadvantage. Is this an inopportune time to talk about this? Yes, of course it is. But it doesn't change the fact that English is the primary language spoken in modern America. Does Congress need to waste its time telling us that?
Teri Karobonik, 18
University of Arizona

 

Most countries have an official language that is spoken by all of the residents. Upon entering another country we learn enough of that language so that we can communicate properly. Based upon my personal experience, in America, people from other countries expect us to understand their native language. Why is this even an issue? People from other countries choosing to live in America need to adapt to our language.
Cassandra Scheib, 17
Presidio High School

 

I think it would be beneficial if the United States made English its designated national language as long as other languages and cultures are practiced and kept alive. It is important that the United States respects other cultures and does not inhibit the expression of heritage; however, having a designated language would be useful when it comes to commerce and would, in a way, serve to unify United States citizens through a common language. It would encourage more people to learn English if they don't speak it already. Because English is the language most commonly spoken in the United States, it would make sense that if we had an official national language, it would be English.
Shaylin Swensen, 18
University of Arizona

 

The United States of America counts among its iconography "The Great Melting Pot," representing the variety of cultures found within the borders of the United States. It would be an insult to the idea of the melting pot to assign an official language that would be the only language allowed in public schools and government buildings.
The entire idea of the freedom of America would be insulted by the introduction of an official language. Persecution and penalization for using one's own language one's culture defeats the purpose of American society and must never be done lest we forget the reason our forefathers came to this country.
Furthermore, the establishment of an official language would widen the gap between the new generations and their culture. Is this really the direction we want America going in the future?
Adriana Loustaunau, 17
Presidio High School

 

If we changed to any other language, it would create confusion, being that most people in America speak English. We need to stay with just one language, not to say that it is forbidden for other languages to be used, but that we need a general language that most people are familiar with. We already use English for most everything today. Why change it?
Nathan Wind, 15
Presidio High School

 

I honestly do not believe there should be an official language. Our country is built on diversity, and making an official language is a kind of slap in the face to immigrants who expect to come here and live a happy life. If someone wants to move to Russia, they have to conform to their ways and learn the language, which is an uncomfortable feeling for most people. Why should an immigrant have to change who they are to live here? That is not the way it is supposed to work here in the United States.
Alex Alers, 19
Presidio High School

 

If they do not learn it in their own countries, they learn English here in the United States. Now, the problem is, in Arizona, immigration is a major issue because people from other countries are coming to the United States to live, shop, and/or work, yet do not know how to speak English to communicate. Based upon my personal experiences, most immigrants expect a translator to be available to assist in the communication process. This is unfair to those of us who learned and studied English throughout our academic years. This country was founded on English. In order to change what language we speak, we would have to change the entire fabric of the country. So why is it that some immigrants have an unwillingness to learn English when visiting or living in America?
Michelle Jager, 16
Presidio High School