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  HOME > ESL Community > Free topics
  Pro and Con: Should the U.S. have an official language?
  Mori     Thu 18 Jun 2009 12:23 AM (GMT)      Read : 13011… (2065)

Expressing his view on immigration, Theodore Roosevelt once said, "We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality."

Yes, English, indeed, has been the most spoken language among the citizens of this country since English settlers landed in Virginia. We use English every day as our primary language, without giving it a second thought.

Media Credit: Brandon Selph


Although the U.S. Constitution doesn't set an official language, I have never doubted that speaking English is the main way to communicate here. Even as a non-native English speaker, I never felt challenged to accept English as the official language; I know that it is the most efficient way to acquire language skills, assimilate into American society and lead a better life. Supermarkets, restaurants, theaters, gas stations, hospitals: wherever I go, the language I use and hear is English.

It is also fundamental for college students to have a strong command the English language if they desire success. That is why we international students put so much effort into improving our English in the first place, taking ESL classes or going to an adult school even before enrolling in college.

With the increasing influx of immigrants from Europe, Asia and South America, it seems true that "multilingualism" has spread across the nation, and the government respects and supports ethnic diversity in the United States.

I really do think that one of the greatest characteristics of the United States is its ability to accept many people from all over the world, and give them an opportunity to succeed here.

Simultaneously, however, I think that it is the immigrants' responsibility to learn English, assimilate into the American society, communicate with other inhabitants and find a job. No matter how many kinds of languages exist here, none can replace English as the "common language."

Making English the official language doesn't mean creating a society where no other language exists. It will simply note that the governmental documents have to be written in English. So, basically, it doesn't have direct impact on our lives; immigrants can still maintain their own cultures and languages, just the way we see many foreign markets, restaurants and languages here in California.

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