english, the official national language

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Wed May 24 00:28:48 UTC 2006

And Bush did not sing the national anthem in Spanish on the campaign trail.
The song they sang in Spanish was "America the Beautiful." It was mistakenly
reported as the "Star-Spangled Banner" by some news sources.

--Dave Wilton
  dave at wilton.net

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Benjamin Zimmer
Sent: Tuesday, May 23, 2006 11:14 AM
Subject: Re: english, the official national language

On 5/23/06, Dennis Baron <debaron at uiuc.edu> wrote:
> Last week the U.S. Senate passed an amendment to the Immigration Law
> that would make English the official language of the United States.
> Later the same day it passed another amendment making English our
> national language. Since then, political analysts and lexicographers
> have been trying to figure out the difference between official and
> national, not to mention what exactly the Senate had in mind passing
> two different laws on the same subject.

I fear this column will only confuse people further. The Senate never
passed an amendment making English the "official" language. The first
amendment they passed recognized English as the "national" language,
and the second one recognized it as the "common and unifying"
language. See my Language Log posts:


And the Senate did not "pass two different laws" -- they voted to
approve two separate amendments to a bill that has yet to be approved
by the House.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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