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English, Spanish, and U.S. Language Policy

English is almost spoken in developed and developing countries apart from other languages. In United States, although English is spoken it was not yet identified as official language in some parts of the country. This may be due to immigrants, ethnicity, culture and many other factors etc. This report gives brief description about the languages including English that are considered as official in various states of the country. Alabama has English as the official language. Although there are people representing different ancestry groups, the constitution of Alabama of 1901, amendment 509, has made English as the official language. This is also true with the other states where official English laws have passed bills or sections under which it was stated that English will be the official language. So, the states with English as official language are, Alaska,Arkansas,Arizona,California,Colorado,Florida,Georgia,Idaho,Indiana,Iowa,Illinois,Indiana,Kansas,

Kentucky,Lousiana,Massachusets, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming. The state of Hawaii has two official languages, English and Hawaiian. Hawaii belongs to the Polynesian branch of Austronesian family. The language came into existence when Polynesians from the Marquesas inhabited the Islands around 1000 AD.

The state of Louisiana has no official language yet declared. Because of early French colonization of Americas in the 16th century, the law has recognized both English and French languages. Other states with no official language are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota,Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin. However, it is essential to know that the language laws intended to promote English as official language are pending in the states. The states are Delaware, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

New Mexico, although no official language, it was considered that the state has both English and Spanish as official languages. As Spanish constitutes second popular language after English, it has especially dominated in New Mexico to that extent it was granted official language status. This could be attributed to Pre-American independence when the Spanish soldiers and colonists from Mexico invaded the country and settled. So, states with English as official language are thirty and without are twenty.

There are plethora of reasons behind selecting English as the only official manguage.Firstly, the citizens of US want to protect their common language and keep away themselves from all possible conflicts that could arise by ethnicity. US has two main minority groups.They are African American and Italian American. There is a possibility of language disparity in the states where these groups are dominant. For ex: New York. Hence there is a need to overcome this multi-ancestry problem.

There are several activists who want to protest against the civil rights of language- minority groups and contribute for official English language. Some traditionalists are looking forward to impose national unity and civic responsibility. As there is bilingual culture in few states (Hawaii, Louisiana and New Mexico) some liberal groups are worried that this trend would spread and discourage the spirit of integration among the citizens. For ex: education and voting, if adopted bilingual policy may show tremendous impact on national unity. Hence it can be inferred that in many states English was made official in rest of the states.

Many native citizens are striving to admire bitterness towards immigrants in order to get support for their allocation at all levels. Further, US have diverse ethnic communities of which Europeans constitute the maximum.

It was also believed that Europeans inhabited the country since the early 16th century. So, the other reason for official English language is that Euro-ethnics express unwillingness towards the unjust benefits enjoyed by citizens of other ethnic origin i.e., Hispanics and Asians in the recent period.

People from different countries feel isolated and susceptible to the fear of being attacked or tend to revolt anticipating a threat. In order to avoid this and due to steady increase in the number of outsiders. Politicians are struggling hard for official English as there are concerns about isolationism and xenophobia, by bringing national awareness.

Since there is multiculturalism and ethnic diversity, racists want to equate all by promoting single and common channel of communication which is nothing but English. Finally, as diversity increases the threat of inducing some uncertain changes, Americans want to promote English as official language in many states. For example, anti-immigration riots started during the early to mid nineteenth centuries when Irish Catholic immigrants arrived. The violence has also erupted against Chinese and Mexican immigrants.

In Rhode Island there was no official language. It may be because, during the early 1900, there was a severe insurgence against Irish and French-Canadian immigration.Riots were also common against Italians in New Orleans during the early 1900.Similarly, Chicago Race Riot of 1919 can be considered as another example of immigration initiated riot ,where Irish families and African Americans fought for jobs.

These examples may strengthen the approach of nativists as previously mentioned for their stand against immigrants with the objective of achieving the best share. Further some states, like Alaska, Maine and New Hampshire require English for driver’s license. This may be to promote better understanding and familiarity of the traffic documents or laws printed in English.

In view of the above, English language constitutes the most potential language in the US. In many parts of the country, this language had its roots deeply rooted. Yet, there remains a dilemma on whether to choose English as official language or not. With the arrival of early Europeans, Africans and Asians, the affect of English on the US culture has subsided. Immigration induced-race riots can be considered as the most influencing factors behind the decline of English language. Hostile feeling of ethnic groups and disparity in language and culture has added fuel to this burning issue.

The federal language authorities in individual states of the country have been striving hard to retain English as the official language by implementing legal policies. To this end, thirty states have been assigned English as the official language, whereas the remaining twenty states are without any official language. This may be due the dominance of or tough competition with minority languages.

The English language issue has become more prominent with some states waiting for clearance from the authorities for the grant of official status. However, some states are continuing to recognize other languages as official for ex., Hawaiian, Spanish, French, despite the concerns.

Many elite members of the society have struggled to bring official status to English language in US.

It seems that they have targeted ethnicity and its unfair advantages in the society, language minority groups and bilingual policies, as they appear to pose a fundamental threat to the problem of English language. Further emphasis was laid on uncertain consequences of isolationism.

English language is enjoying its official status drawing the attention of fields like education, employment, voting, driving, etc.

In conclusion, English language would be reaching the peak to get official status in US, despite all hurdles.