Language in the United States Final Draft

Language in the United States Final Draft - Language in the...

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Language in the United States 1 Running head: Language in the United States Language in the United States ********** Axia College COM 105 ************ August 21, 2009
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Language in the United States 2 Language in the United States America is historically considered a “melting pot” of cultures, beliefs, races, and religions. This country has also served as a melting pot of languages as well. Primarily due to its tradition of inviting immigrants from all over the world to share in the American Dream, numerous languages are spoken from coast to coast. Within those languages lies the true history of America. The acceptance of people regardless of what language they speak, what slang they use, or even what words that they consider to be appropriate within certain social circles is the standard that the United States has set for the rest of the world. Over its storied history, America has supported the use of various languages. In 1900, the “Americanization” movement began with the belief that “national unity depended upon cultural homogeneity and a common language.” (Citrin, Green, Reingold, and Walters, 1990) This attitude was prevalent until 1921, when legislation was passed that set up immigration quotas that favored northwestern Europeans. However, the resurgence of “ethnic solidarity and distinctiveness” in the black and Hispanic communities during the late 1960’s raised the issue of language rights in America again. (Citrin, et al, 1990)
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Language in the United States 3 In 1967, Hispanic activists gave support to the Bilingual Education Act (BEA). This provided equal educational opportunities for students whose first language was not English. In 1981, Senator Samuel Hayakawa of California proposed the English Language Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This would have mandated that “that official government business at all levels must be conducted solely in English. This includes all public documents, records, legislation and regulations, as well as hearings, official ceremonies and public meetings.” (Anonymous, 2009) After the failure of the English Language Amendment, supporters decided to focus on getting each state to pass its own Official English legislation. 30 states have adopted official English legislation on their own. However, the execution of the official English laws has been left up to local legislators and judges. So far, most of these laws have been merely symbolic (Gurwitt, 1988).
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Language in the United States 4 The United States of America has been supportive of efforts to develop a worldwide language. Esperanto, an artificial language developed by Dr. L.L. Zamenhof in 1887 to promote peace and understanding, has undergone a renaissance via the Internet. “Described as flexible and easy-to-learn, Esperanto sounds like a mix of Spanish and Hungarian with roots in Latin, Germanic and Slavic languages.” (Anonymous, 2008) J.R.R. Tolkien, noted author and philologist, was an Esperanto enthusiast. In 1932, he wrote an essay in which he stated “My
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Language in the United States Final Draft - Language in the...

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