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Thu, 7 Nov 2013
Why the USA Has No Official Language
It has been said that only about 7,000 languages remain on earth today. In the United States alone, approximately 340 languages are being spoken by its inhabitants. However, most people would be surprised to discover that USA has no official language.
Being one of the principal centers of trade and commerce, most people would assume that English is the official language of the USA. However, an official language has not been yet amended in the Constitution of the United States. Only in selected states including Alaska, Alabama, California, Arkansas, Colorado, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Hawaii and Wyoming have current official language decrees.
USA Has No Official Language Because...
English is just considered to be a universal language because it is one of the most widely spoken languages around the world. USA has no official language because it has a diverse variety of the English language, known as American English, is commonly used. Almost 80% of the inhabitants claims it as their mother tongue and about 95% claims to speak if fluently. However, it is still the principal language used for lawmaking, regulations, policymaking orders, agreements, federal court judgments, and other official statements and documents.
Another reason why USA has no official language because Native American languages are also being spoken in the indigenous parts of the US. However, these populations have been deteriorating. Almost 52 languages in the US are known to be extinct. These Native languages are mostly learned through legacy and are being passed on from one generation to another. Others also learn it through education.
Most Commonly Used Language in the USA
The country is considered to be the leading multilingual country around the globe that's why USA has no official language. In the country, numerous languages are spoken by locals. Hence, English isn't yet considered as official language. Spanish is the 2nd commonly used language in the US with almost 40 million speakers and Chinese languages comes next. More Asian languages like Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean are also spoken by almost a million inhabitants. According to a study, German is the fifth mostly spoken language and it is the German lineage that makes up the largest ethnic group in the country.
A probable explanation to this is because a huge chunk of the population of the USA is composed of immigrants. Hence, the immigrants carry over the language, culture and norms with them when they stay in the country. Another impediment on why USA has no official language is the legislation on immigrants. A lot of settlers are not proficient in English. Conversely, more and more settlers learn the language as generation increases. It was shown in 1980 that there was a huge deviation between Mexican settlers and other Asian, Latino and European settlers. However, the gap has subsequently closed in 2000. Most Mexican settlers still have lower rates of aptitude in English relative to the others, but by the next generation, that discrepancyvanishes.
Some argues that USA has no official language because the country accepts anyone and lets them choose whatever language they want to speak. The freedom of choosing language makes the country unique. However, some movements aims to adapt English as the official language of USA. One of their arguments is that the government is using a lot of money on translating and rendering official documents into the other languages used around the country.
Moreover, hiring interpreters for legal proceedings can be costly. More importantly, they also argue that English has been a part of their cultural heritage, national identity, and overall system of government. An example would be the proposed H.J. Resolution number 16 under the 107th Congress which propagates English as the official language of USA.
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