us_policy_english

us_policy_english - US Language Policy INDV101 Language...

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US Language Policy INDV101 – Language Winter 09-10 Slides adapted from Dr. Amy Fountain
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Official Languages Most countries of the world have one or more official languages Examples: Hindi and English in India, Dutch and Frisian in the Netherlands The U.S. has no official language specified in the constitution or elsewhere. Why not? Cf. Warner, 2005 – with thanks!
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Why English wasn’t made official at the founding of the U.S. There were lots of English-speakers among the colonists, but also lots of speakers of other languages (~9% German, Dutch) (That 9% is very close to the percentage of Spanish speakers in 1990) The founders of the U.S. were concerned about getting enough immigrants to come here, and weren’t so worried about what they spoke. (They did want to displace the Native peoples, of course).
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Why not? The founders weren’t feeling very friendly toward England, and English was the language of England. There were discussions about adopting a different language as the national language of the US - (German, French, Hebrew, Greek, etc.), decided against it. The US Declaration of Independence and Constitution were immediately translated into French and German upon ratification.
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The Louisiana Purchase Arguably the first attempt at ‘Official English’ in US history When President Jefferson succeeded in 1803 with his Louisiana Purchase, he added to the US a large swath of land on which most residents did not speak English (many spoke French) Jefferson vested authority in a Colonial Governor who spoke only English, and who declared that English would be the official language for all governmental functions.
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Achat de Louisiane
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The Louisiana Purchase Oops. Only 15% of residents spoke any English at all. Louisiana entered the union in 1812, and Congress
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This note was uploaded on 01/30/2010 for the course INDV 101 taught by Professor Walker during the Winter '07 term at Arizona.

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us_policy_english - US Language Policy INDV101 Language...

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