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Official English & English Plus 1981: CA Senator S.I. Hayakawa introduces a constitutional amendment to make English the official language of the US; 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Official English & English Plus 1981: CA Senator S.I. Hayakawa introduces a constitutional amendment to make English the official language of the US; 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Official English & English Plus 1981: CA Senator S.I. Hayakawa introduces a constitutional amendment to make English the official language of the US; 1 983: US English is founded in response to English- only efforts; 1987: The English Plus Information Clearing House (EPIC) if formed to centralize information on language rights and language policy, respond to efforts restricting the use of languages other than English, and promote an alternative to Official English.

2 Official English “In a pluralistic nation such as [the United States] government should foster the similarities that unite us, rather than the differences that separate us” Goals: to encourage ratification of a national amendment making English the official language of the US; repeal bilingual voting rights; reduce funding for bilingual education; enforce the requirement of English for naturalization; and foster opportunities for learning English.

3 Official English Bills that support Official English: 1995: a bill introducing English as the official language of the Government of the United States is presented at the 104th Congress; maintaining a language common prevents linguistic division; English has historically been the common language of the US; English is the language of opportunities; immigrants will be empowered by learning English; Adoption of English as the official language by the Federal Government will promote efficiency and fairness to all

4 English Plus “Why throw away a valuable knowledge? Why not promote English plus other languages?” All US residents should have the opportunity to become proficient in English PLUS one or more other languages; Cultural diversity is a national strength; Support for bilingual services is an opportunity to help enhance literacy in English; Proficiency in English is necessary and opportunities for proficiency in English must be provided to all US residents.

5 English Plus Rationale for the English Plus movement: English is the language of the United States and all members recognize the importance of its language; Many residents of the country speak native languages other than English; The country is committed to democratic principles and to strengthen diversity;

6 English Plus Multilingualism is a resource to the country’s global competitiveness, promotes greater understanding, essential element of national security; There is no threat to the status of English in the United States (94% of US residents speak English);

7 English Plus English-only measures, or proposals to designate English as the official language of the United States, would violate traditions of cultural pluralism, divide ethnic communities, jeopardize law regulations and services to speakers of other languages, and hinder the development of language skills.

8 Position with respect to Bilingual Education

9 Official English/English Plus at the State level (data from James Crawford, 2003)

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12 Senate Passes Measure to make English the National Language New!!!

13 May 19, 2006 Senate votes for official English The US Senate achieved a linguistic nadir today in approving an amendment by Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe to S. 2611, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, that makes English the official language of the United States. The main part reads: The Government of the United States shall preserve and enhance the role of English as the national language of the United States of America. Unless specifically stated in applicable law, no person has a right, entitlement, or claim to have the Government of the United States or any of its officials or representatives act, communicate, perform or provide services, or provide materials in any language other than English. If exceptions are made, that does not create a legal entitlement to additional services in that language or any language other than English. If any forms are issued by the Federal Government in a language other than English (or such forms are completed in a language other than English), the English language version of the form is the sole authority for all legal purposes.

14 Unless and until passed by the House of Representatives, this is not the law, but as the House is also dominated by Republicans, it may well. The vote was not strictly partisan - 13 Democrats voted for it - but the opposition consisted entirely of Democrats with the exception of New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici. One justification for this is that eliminating services in languages other than English will save $1 to $2 billion. That's at most 0.7% of the cost thus far of the invasion of Iraq. In both cases, the dollar figures don't include the human cost. A second is that it will encourage immigrants to learn English, as if they needed encouragement. The myth that immigrants are unwilling to learn English was debunked so long ago you'd think that people would be embarassed to mention it. The third argument, believe it or not, is that making English official will have a unifying effect! That's rich. Depriving Spanish- speakers in the Southwest and Puerto Rico and American Indians and Eskimos of services in their own languages is obviously a great way to make them feel wanted.cost thus far of the invasion of Iraq


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