Skip to comments.U.S. ENGLISH Releases 'Official English: Myths and Realities, Part II' (RE H.R. 997)
Posted on 07/14/2003 9:47:15 AM PDT by chance33_98
U.S. ENGLISH Releases 'Official English: Myths and Realities, Part II'
7/14/03 9:52:00 AM
To: National Desk
Contact: Jim Lubinskas of U.S. ENGLISH, 202-833-0100; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, July 14 /U.S. Newswire/ -- In the coming months, Americans will be debating the merits of H.R. 997, the English Language Unity Act of 2003. This bill would make English the official language of the United States government. In an effort to improve the debate about this issue, U.S. ENGLISH, Inc. will expose some of the most common misconceptions about official English and show the realities behind them.
Myth No. 4
The Founding Fathers rejected making English the official language
English has been the language of our nation from its earliest days. In 1789, almost 90 percent of our nation's non-slave inhabitants were of English descent. Any notion that the Founders would have chosen another language or used precious resources on printing documents in multiple languages lacks common sense. The issue of an official language was never discussed at the Constitutional Convention as the topic was not controversial enough to be debated. Even the Dutch colonies had been under English rule for more than a century. Contrary to popular belief, Congress never voted on a proposal to make German the official language. This myth is probably based on a 1794 bill to translate some documents into German (it was defeated).
Myth No. 5
In a global culture, an official language is anachronistic
Ninety-two percent of the world's countries (178 of 193) have at least one official language. English is the sole official language in 31 nations and has an official status in 20 other nations, including, India, Singapore, the Philippines, Samoa and Nigeria. There has never been a language so widely spread in so short a time as English. It is the lingua franca of the modern world as much as Latin was the common tongue of the Roman Empire. English is the global language of business, communications, higher education, diplomacy, aviation, the Internet, science, popular music, entertainment and international travel. Immigrants who don't know English not only lose out in the American economy, but also in the global economy.
Myth No. 6
Official English is a minor issue
Historically, learning English has been the cornerstone of the American assimilation process. If newcomers wanted to vote, go to school, get a good job or become a citizen they needed to learn English. Today in America, you can vote, take your citizenship test, get a driver's license, apply for welfare benefits, and graduate from a public high school -- all without learning English! This has damaged the assimilation process and stranded too many immigrants in low wage jobs with little hope of advancement.
U.S.ENGLISH, Inc. is the nation's oldest and largest citizens' action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States (Web site: http://www.us-english.org). Founded in 1983 by the late Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California, U.S.ENGLISH, Inc. now has more than 1.7 million members nationwide.