official English

Frank Abate abatefr at EARTHLINK.NET
Mon Jun 4 17:42:07 UTC 2001

Ron B said:

Anybody who doesn't know that English and Spanish are the two most common
widely used languages in the USA today is probably too dull to benefit from
being informed of this fact. Why does the government need to state the
obvious? Some people think the government already meddles too much in
peoples' business: why is it that social conservatives think THIS is a good
place to meddle?

It is also the case that "the most common or most widely used" languages
tends to change. In addition to stating the obvious, must the government
monitor the obvious as well?

The point is not that the obvious needs to be stated, but that it is useful
to state **as public policy** what the de facto most-used language is.  In
the US, that is by far and away English.  Sure, Spanish is second, but even
then the percentage of citizens who have Spanish as their native language is
a small (not tiny) minority, and the percentage of households who use it as
their main language is even a smaller percentage.

In any case, there is value in having public policy declarations of the
status quo.  Language may be one such case.  This is not meddling.  It is in
the best interest of every citizen and resident of the US to be proficient
in English, and in the country's best interest.

I think I'll leave this thread alone and let others hash it out.

Frank Abate

More information about the Ads-l mailing list