US needs an official language?

Do you support this legislation?

  • Yes

    Votes: 20 47.6%
  • No

    Votes: 15 35.7%
  • Indifferent

    Votes: 6 14.3%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 1 2.4%

  • Total voters
    42
  • #76
loseyourname
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hitssquad said:
Nothing in the United States Constitution grants any citizen the right to vote.

"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

"It may be surprising that in the US citizens technically lack a constitutional right to vote."
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suffrage#Suffrage_today
The wonderful thing about the English language is that it is so rich with implications. Ask yourself this question: How can a government make a law abridging or denying a right that its citizens do not have? Consider the tenth amendment in concert with the fifteenth and nineteenth. The tenth establishes that those powers not granted to the federal government, such as holding elections, are given to the states. Then the others say that the states cannot deny anyone their right to vote on the basis of the reasons enumerated. Remember also the ninth amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Just because a right isn't expressly given in the constitution doesn't mean that the citizenry doesn't have it. Taking all of this together in context, we can see that the constitution is more than just the sum of its parts. In fact, in dealing with constitutional law, we must also remember that US Supreme Court precedent sets this law in addition to the constitution as written. Whenever any law was passed that abridged any group its right to vote (aside from minors and felons), that law was stricken by the Court. Chances are, they would do the same if ballots were to only be printed in English and no translation service provided for those who could not read or speak the language.
 
  • #77
loseyourname
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Ivan Seeking said:
I think this becomes a matter of national security and survival. We must have a common language. We have all but lost control of the borders - the situation is barely short of a shifting US/Mexican border. A nation cannot survive under these circumstances.

Maybe we should all learn spanish. That would work as well.
It seems to me that we should really just make both languages mandatory in public schools. It would take maybe an extra hour a day for the first couple years of school to teach children to speak Spanish fluently. Do they really need to go home before 2 o'clock anyway?
 
  • #78
iansmith said:
Terrorists and extremist activity is usually due the Quebec Sovereignty movement and the acts are usually done by the FLQ
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_independence_movement
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Front_de_libération_du_Québec
So, you don't see the government of Quebec creating their own language laws over the federal laws a problem ... It's all the FLQ then, right?

iansmith said:
I was within his right to ask to be trialled in french. Maybe the man felt that he would not get fair trial in english.
And maybe he had a perfect command of English but used his language rights to screw the government out of $1,900,000 out of some form of revenge?

iansmith said:
You do not need 10 years to learn another language. Somebody that is fully immersed will required 3 to 6 months to be able functional in that language.
Most Quebecois I know went to ontario for 1 or 2 summer to work and learn english. You might be right on one part, several other people go to english college or university to learn english rather than going out of province. I did both. I went to ontario for two years and went to CEGEP and university in english.

Night school does not help either. I have seen a fair share of people coming out had difficult carrying a conversation.

As far the French not respecting my language, I think you are wrong. they may make humour it at times but they are fully capable of understanding Quebec french. I have meet several french exchange student and they were fully capable of understanding us. However, they felt we had some unusual expressions but vice et versa.
The point I was making was that it isn't the skill of the speaker, it is the interpretation of the interviewer which carries.

I am saying that if I spend 10 years living in backwoods rural Quebec, I won't even get called to the interview.

My mother is bilingual and ran the Canada Manpower Center in Cambridge, Ontario of 25 years (She was forced to BECOME bilingual to KEEP her job).

My sister speaks 5 languages having attended York (Mad Frogs and English Men) University in Toronto and had some nasty experiences in Quebec.

My brother in law speaks 7 (He's a Dutch dental surgeon).

We have all had nasty experiences because we do not speak Quebecoise.

Nice story about your French friends. Now look at the official view of Quebecoise in France.
 
  • #79
loseyourname said:
It seems to me that we should really just make both languages mandatory in public schools. It would take maybe an extra hour a day for the first couple years of school to teach children to speak Spanish fluently. Do they really need to go home before 2 o'clock anyway?
LOL

This is the nation that had to come up with hooked on Phonics to combat illiteracy.

Now you propose literacy in two languages is going to be simple?

This is the way Canada got messed up. They brought in manditory French when I was in Grade 6. Then they told us that the Quebecers had refused to implement the second half of this plan ... that the French would have manditory English classes.

We were a tad p!ssed and my French sucks to this day because we all rebelled.

(Or did you really mean to put in a smiley here and couldn't bring yourself to do it?)
 
  • #80
iansmith
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The Smoking Man said:
This is the way Canada got messed up. They brought in manditory French when I was in Grade 6. Then they told us that the Quebecers had refused to implement the second half of this plan ... that the French would have manditory English classes.

In Quebec, English as a second language is mandatory from grade 4 and they thinking about starting mandatory english from kindergarden or grade 1.
 
  • #81
iansmith said:
In Quebec, English as a second language is mandatory from grade 4 and they thinking about starting mandatory english from kindergarden or grade 1.
So you 'went to University and moved to an English speaking community' why again?

Yes, you have manditory education NOW. When it originally happened, back in the early 70's, it didn't happen.

I lived through it.

You do see what is happening here ... you're again helping to prove the point that there ARE problems with language in Canada.
 
  • #82
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Why must there be legislation? And who will benefit? Is it for a greater good? And will it hinder anyone? What will the affects be? How will life be different after legislation? I'm taking a few days off of PF.
 
  • #83
SOS2008
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loseyourname said:
It seems to me that we should really just make both languages mandatory in public schools. It would take maybe an extra hour a day for the first couple years of school to teach children to speak Spanish fluently. Do they really need to go home before 2 o'clock anyway?
If you look at what has made the U.S. a successful "melting pot" versus other countries with great diversity of religions, ethnic groups, etc. is that citizens see themselves as Americans first, and what ever else second. You can display a state flag, but you must display the U.S. flag as well. You can speak how ever many languages you choose, but English should be the common language everyone should know at a minimum (two national languages defeats the idea of a common language).

And personally I don't care for historical excuses. Using California as an example -- The Mexican population was sparse and the government/military presence was minimal. The territory was annexed with hardly a shot fired. The Mexican people were welcome to stay, to keep their land, and receive automatic U.S. citizenship. They accepted with a great celebration. Now they live in the wealthiest country in the world. Had the area remained Mexican territory, they would live in a third-world country. President Fox is just using this as propaganda to bolster himself and detract from failure of the Mexican government to do right by it's own people.

For those of you who do not live in a border state, I don't think you really realize the impact illegals are having--aside from what has already been discussed in other threads (education, crime, medical care/disease, etc.). Businesses of every kind must provide services in Spanish--It's not just the neighborhood shops catering to their local patrons. It used to be a courtesy, but now it's demanded--big difference IMO. I've lived in the Southwest all my life, and have had, and still have many Hispanic relationships. But now there is an underlying hostility I don't feel is good for this country.

NOTE: I highlighted illegal above, because immigrants from other countries are entering the U.S. legally, and are more likely to speak/learn English and advance within society as "Americans."
 
  • #84
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SOS2008 said:
The territory was annexed with hardly a shot fired. The Mexican people were welcome to stay, to keep their land, and receive automatic U.S. citizenship. They accepted with a great celebration. Now they live in the wealthiest country in the world. Had the area remained Mexican territory, they would live in a third-world country.
Now that's just silly. California has the GDP of a small, wealthy, country and is one of the most populous states. You don't know what would've happened if it had remained mexican.
 
  • #86
Informal Logic
Smurf said:
Now that's just silly. California has the GDP of a small, wealthy, country and is one of the most populous states. You don't know what would've happened if it had remained mexican.
The reasons the US is a first world country versus the reason Mexico is a third world country would still be the case regardless of amount of territory. With one exception... The loss of the California coast would mean more to the US than to Mexico, which has extensive Pacific coast without it. ??

The point is this is being used by Fox to increase his popularity, but it has caused hostility in the US.
 
  • #87
vanesch
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Art said:
I'm not sure why they want to convert the population of America to a new language. Why not use one of the languages already in use? :biggrin: Like that funny one that has an affinity for 'z's and words like center, nite, color, favorite, honor etc. :rofl:

Apart from that seeing as how America is composed of immigrants from practically every nation of the world I do not see why there should be one official language unless the idea is to relegate others to some kind of second class, not really american, status.
Being myself of Belgian origin, I can tell you, talking about official and other languages will get them in one hell of a mess they'll never recover from ! :biggrin:
 
  • #88
Astronuc
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I wonder if improper grammar will become a 'federal offense'.

I think for one, the first use of "like you know" in any sentence, either spoken or written, should be a misdemeanor. Multiple use should constitute a felony - but what punishment? Detention? :biggrin:

I would settle for people actually being able to write or speak with proper English. :biggrin:
 
  • #89
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It would serve those politicians right if plain English was declared the official language.
 
  • #90
loseyourname
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SOS2008 said:
If you look at what has made the U.S. a successful "melting pot" versus other countries with great diversity of religions, ethnic groups, etc. is that citizens see themselves as Americans first, and what ever else second. You can display a state flag, but you must display the U.S. flag as well. You can speak how ever many languages you choose, but English should be the common language everyone should know at a minimum (two national languages defeats the idea of a common language).
I guess I just don't really see why speaking two languages makes a person less American. I can speak three fairly well and am learning two others and I seem to have managed not to disrupt American unity. Given that Spanish and English are far and away the two most common world languages, it would seem to be to everyone's benefit to speak both.

About the border state thing, I did grow up in Los Angeles, which now has a Hispanic majority. My sister's boyfriend, the father of my only niece, is here illegally. It's not like I have no experience with this thing. But people like him, who speak both languages and are more American than Mexican at this point, are not the problem. It's the people who refuse to learn English or Americanize in any way that present a problem. Two national languages would not present a problem so long as everyone learns both languages.

Heck, even countries that have had multiple languages in the past weren't necessarily unsuccessful because of it. If you look just at the progenitors of the two languages in question here, the UK and Spain, they've had multiple native languages in their countries for a thousand years (English, Irish Gaelic, Scots Gaelic, and Welsh; Spanish and Catalan, respectively), yet they've still managed to exist and prosper.

By the way, I never meant to imply that California had been stolen or that it in any meaningful way still belongs to Mexico or Mexicans. But come on. The names of the state and all of the major cities are Spanish. The names of the old roads and land formations are Spanish. The bulk of the historical artifacts are Spanish. It is my belief that the experience of any Californian of himself as a Californian will be much richer if he understands and can speak the historically dominant language of his land.
 
  • #91
loseyourname
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Astronuc said:
I wonder if improper grammar will become a 'federal offense'.

I think for one, the first use of "like you know" in any sentence, either spoken or written, should be a misdemeanor. Multiple use should constitute a felony - but what punishment? Detention? :biggrin:

I would settle for people actually being able to write or speak with proper English. :biggrin:
A little bit of dialectical prejudice there, Astro? Everything said today by any speaker of English would be almost entirely incorrect in Middle or Old English, especially given the complete loss of inflection. Language evolves and the rules change. You may not like the sound of some valley girl saying "like, you know," but there is no objective rule stating that this exclamation is a less valid way of expressing a conjunctive relationship between direct objects than "such as."
 
  • #92
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loseyourname said:
Spanish and English are far and away the two most common world languages
1 Chinese (Mandarin) 1,000,000,000 +
2 English 508,000,000
3 Hindustani (Hindi and Urdu) 497,000,000
4 Spanish 392,000,000
5 Russian 277,000,000
6 Arabic 246,000,000
7 Bengali 211,000,000
8 Portuguese 191,000,000
9 Malay-Indonesian 159,000,000
10 French 129,000,000

Source: University of Washington

www.aneki.com/languages.html
 
  • #93
loseyourname
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Yes, I was going to mention Chinese as well, but didn't because of all the different dialects. The same with Hindustani, which isn't really only one language.* I find it impossible to believe that only 500 million people speak English worldwide, too. The population of the US, UK, and Canada alone is a little over 400 million. That may be an accurate reflection of how many speak English as their primary language, but there is no way it reflects the number capable of holding a conversation in the language.

*I admit ignorance of these languages, by the way. For all I know, the differences between dialects are no more than the differences between American English and English English, or Mexican Spanish and Spanish Spanish.
 
  • #94
loseyourname
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From the same page, here is the list of all the countries that are English-speaking:

• Antigua and Barbuda
• Australia
• Bahamas,The
• Bangladesh
• Barbados
• Belize
• Bermuda
• Botswana
• Brunei
• Cameroon
• Canada
• Cayman Islands
• Dominica
• Fiji
• Gambia,The
• Ghana
• Gibraltar
• India
• Ireland
• Jamaica
• Kenya
• Lesotho
• Liberia
• Malawi
• Malta
• Mauritius
• New Zealand
• Nigeria
• Pakistan
• Papua New Guinea
• Philippines
• Seychelles
• Sierra Leone
• South Africa
• Sri Lanka
• Swaziland
• Tanzania
• Trinidad and Tobago
• Uganda
• United Kingdom
• United States
• Zambia
• Zimbabwe

Their populations add up to much more than 500 million. India and the US alone account for about three times that much.
 
  • #95
selfAdjoint
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jimmysnyder said:
1 Chinese (Mandarin) 1,000,000,000 +
2 English 508,000,000
3 Hindustani (Hindi and Urdu) 497,000,000
4 Spanish 392,000,000
5 Russian 277,000,000
6 Arabic 246,000,000
7 Bengali 211,000,000
8 Portuguese 191,000,000
9 Malay-Indonesian 159,000,000
10 French 129,000,000

Source: University of Washington

www.aneki.com/languages.html
The source didn't say if that was native speakers only. Half a billion English speakers just looks like the total population of the English-speaking countries (USA by itself is almost a third of a billion), but there are many people in other countries who speak some English.
 
  • #96
selfAdjoint said:
The source didn't say if that was native speakers only. Half a billion English speakers just looks like the total population of the English-speaking countries (USA by itself is almost a third of a billion), but there are many people in other countries who speak some English.
The funniest statistic I ever read is that there are more English speakers in China than there are in the USA.

It's been part of the national curriculum for over a decade and a half.
 
  • #97
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The Smoking Man said:
The funniest statistic I ever read is that there are more English speakers in China than there are in the USA.

It's been part of the national curriculum for over a decade and a half.
If that's true it makes jimmysnyder's data even less seemingly plausible. We need more sources.
 
  • #98
Astronuc
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loseyourname said:
A little bit of dialectical prejudice there, Astro? Everything said today by any speaker of English would be almost entirely incorrect in Middle or Old English, especially given the complete loss of inflection. Language evolves and the rules change. You may not like the sound of some valley girl saying "like, you know," but there is no objective rule stating that this exclamation is a less valid way of expressing a conjunctive relationship between direct objects than "such as."
I did use :biggrin: !

It just irks me to hear people converse with filler phrases.

It also irks me when government entities harp on education matters when the legislative and executive officials would most likely fail high school proficiency/competency tests, which politicians would like to impose on teachers. I would imagine the President Bush would fail any competency test in English, History, Geography, and Mathematics, and so would many legislators at the federal, state and local level.

I heard the state senator from my area brag one time that he was totally helpless when it came to using a PC - he relied on his assistants. :rolleyes:

And I was informed today that several schools in Texas, which used to be top schools, have declined precipitously in quality.

I have seen little or no progress (and perhaps even some regression) in general education since I left high school 30+ years ago.
 
Last edited:
  • #99
selfAdjoint
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I've had that opinion many times, then I get a chance to talk to a teenager, and I'm awed by what they know.
 
  • #100
Astronuc
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selfAdjoint said:
I've had that opinion many times, then I get a chance to talk to a teenager, and I'm awed by what they know.
Once in a while I have had that experience. I hired the valedictorian of the local high school - his resume would put most college baccalaureate graduates to shame. He is brilliant at math (he went on to Harvard) and an excellent programmer. I was truly impressed with his initiative and quality of his work.

On the other hand, a group of engineers and I attended a career day at the same high school. All of us were thoroughly unimpressed and even discouraged at the end of the day. Of several hundred students, only a handful displayed a sufficient level of education. The vast majority had trouble making coherent or intelligent statments, and this is supposed to be one of the better schools in the state (?).

I felt like the majority of students were barely qualified for Walmart or McDonalds. It was that bad!
 

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