What the heck is an "official" language?

Kephart, Ronald rkephart at unf.edu
Sat Jun 23 19:29:50 UTC 2007

On 6/23/07 1:49 PM, "Harold Schiffman" <hfsclpp at gmail.com> wrote:

> I don't understand what the issue is when people talk about making English the
> official language...
Hal, frankly, I don¹t either; I¹m glad to see I¹m not alone. I assume that
these folks are motivated primarily by zenophobia and/or ethnocentrism, but
it¹s hard to tell. Probably some are fascists: all power to the center,
protest at your peril. I also imagine that one thing they¹d all agree on is
the termination of any teaching in languages other than English. How many, I
wonder, are the same as the anti-immigrant people?

Anyway, here¹s my brilliant solution: make Iroquois the official language;
it (or some Native American language) should be, anyway, if we take the
Official English folks¹ argument seriously. This way everyone except the few
remaining speakers of Iroquois has to learn something. Phase it in so that
all official, internal US operations (educational, legislative, commercial,
etc.) are conducted in Iroquois by, say, 2050. I mean, how long does it take
to learn a language? Meanwhile, English would be relegated to one of a
number of languages we¹ll use for dealing with the rest of the world.

Too brilliant? Not brilliant enough? OK, here¹s another: make Ebonics
official. That would piss off most white people and not a small number of
African Americans as well. I¹m for any solution that pisses off the maximum
number of people, by the way; especially the maximum number of people who
think that ³English² is the only natural language.

(an ³English speaker²)

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