Essay on Should English Be Official?

556 Words 3 Pages
Should English Be Official?

United States is a nation accommodating multi-ethnic groups of almost 500000 Americans. Since 1960s, America has received an increasing number of newcomers and immigrants from all over the world. However, language communication has somehow become a latent problem, whether in economical, political, or social aspects. Although English has been the common language of America for over two hundred years, it has never become the official language. Therefore, question like "Does America need an official language?" has been raised and argued in recent decades. Both sides hold very strong arguments on this controversial issue. In the articles "English Should Be Official" by Bradley S. O' Leary and "Language Cements
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In Saunders' opinion, he believes that it is crucial to maintain the tie of common language for the unity and stability of the nation. He also adds, "Our common language unites us and promotes understanding through communication" (219).

Another major argument is that both affirmative and negative sides bring up the money issue. O'Leary insists English should be the official language otherwise the price of multilingualism will be very expensive (216). In other words, it will cost the government a great sum of money to translate numerous documents into many languages. However, contrary to O'Leary's viewpoint, Kamber, Rumbaut and Portes all consider that English as simply a common language but not an official language can foster the competition of economy. As Kamber says, "A failure to pass "English only" laws would benefit all, because multilingualism will help the U.S.A to comet in the new global economy" (217). Similarly, Rumbaut and Portes also regard that America will find itself more "enmeshed in global economic competition" if English has become the official language (218).

Besides the different attitude toward common language and economy, the communication between ethnic groups and Americans is also an argument. Saunders notes, "Democray, more than any other system of government, depends upon communication. Our democracy could not function if the people could not communicate with their elected…