The official language of the United States?
Thread poster: Aniello Scognamiglio

Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:54
English to German
+ ...
Feb 1, 2006

The official language of the United States and its impact on translations
by Susana C. Schultz

The U.S. has never declared an official language as such. This article depicts the implications for translation requirements

http://strictlyspanish.com/whitepaper2.htm

Did you know that?
Have a good read!

Aniello from Germany
www.italengger.com


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 15:54
... Feb 1, 2006

How interesting definitely food for thought!

Orla


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Mwananchi
Kenya
Local time: 17:54
Member (2006)
English to Swahili
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Kudoz to the Continental Congress! Feb 1, 2006

As we say in Swahili "Kizuri kinajiuza kibaya kinajipendeza", that is to say a good product sells itself and a bad product has to be sold or hyped.

Restrictions fetter innovations, stifle competition and lead to complacency. I wonder whether the American media and entertainment industry would do so well abroad if they had an 'official' way of speaking and writing.

[Edited at 2006-02-02 11:01]


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Kevin Kelly  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:54
Member (2005)
Russian to English
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*** Feb 1, 2006

I daresay the majority of Americans are completely unaware that there is no official language of the United States. Many of these people are indignant when they travel abroad and discover that not everyone can speak English to them.

It reminds me of a line from Thornton Wilder's play "Our Town," where a character is describing his experiences in Europe during World War I. It goes something like: "Why, there are millions of folks in France who don't speak English -- and don't even want to!"

That being said, I believe that everyone who lives and works in a given country should strive to become proficient in the official or dominant language of that country. I just don't see the need to legislate it.


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Henk Peelen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:54
Member (2002)
German to Dutch
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good wine needs no bush Feb 1, 2006

Probably it shows the strength of the English language and of being cautious to implement a too big government intervention.

By the way, did you know that the name of the Dutch city where the Pilgrim Fathers (among them the Bush ancestors) circa 1610-1620 stayed, "Leiden" in the Dutch language the same is like the verb "lead" or "guide"? For some people a reason to believe Isaiah 42:16 being a hidden prophecy for the later state of "The States", especially because the west part of The Netherlands actually consists mainly of polders, made out of dried delta, so islands without the typical feature of mountains and hills, i.e. height (they are even below sea level). Considering verse 17, and the grain of mustard saying of being able to move a mountain into the sea, and Peter not being able to walk on the water, you'll understand we have a lot of fun reading the "Statenvertaling" (= states translation or states transcription) bible, and understand why some authorities were / are so afraid people read "the book", though they said / say to consider it holy themselves.

Many, many more intersting things to say, but I don't yet.

The Pilgrim Fathers in the Mayflower took a lot of Dutch "features" with them which became interesting later, among them the celebration of Thanksgiving Day, and a copy of the 1568 Dutch Declaration of Independance (towards Spain) which is said to be becoming highly exemplary for the US one.
Lot of names look like a hint. The Netherlands was that days called The United Netherlands, with the government The Staten Generaal (= General States = federal states) giving birth to the idea the "fathers" took something of everything without understanding the meaning(??). Well, maybe the US is still an (accidently English speaking) Dutch colony??
Staten Island and Isla de los Estados are called after the Staten Generaal.

The Nieuw Amsterdam / New York era brought the dollar (Dutch daalder, was 2.5 guilder) and Wall Street. Don't know which era or who brought Santa Claus, the most present present present.

Making English everything but the official language is a way to show you're not able to beat the Dutch!

[Edited at 2006-02-01 15:22]


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Abdellatif Bouhid  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:54
English to French
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Charlie Chaplan knew this Feb 1, 2006

and made his movies silent thus understood by everyone.

[Edited at 2006-02-01 16:01]


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Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:54
French to English
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English has official status in several states Feb 1, 2006

It is true there is no national official language, and it is not even completely clear that there could constitutionally be one, but several states, notably Florida and California, have made English their official languages. The California constitution describes English as "the common language of the people of the United States." (Art. 3(6)).

Spanish may be co-official in New Mexico; there is some legal uncertainty regarding this matter.


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 09:54
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
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Co-official language Feb 1, 2006

Richard Creech wrote:

It is true there is no national official language, and it is not even completely clear that there could constitutionally be one, but several states, notably Florida and California, have made English their official languages. The California constitution describes English as "the common language of the people of the United States." (Art. 3(6)).

Spanish may be co-official in New Mexico; there is some legal uncertainty regarding this matter.


By "co-official" shall I understand it's a second language in New Mexico?

I wonder why Spanish is not co-official in states such as Florida, Texas and California.


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:54
I wonder too... Feb 1, 2006

Yaotl Altan wrote:
I wonder why Spanish is not co-official in states such as Florida, Texas and California.


... and DC, and Maryland, and Virginia, and Illinois...

I guess it would mean opening a huge can of worms, since the Chinese would then want co-official recognition for their language, and the Japanese, Italian, Polish and the rest would follow suit.

I'd vote for unofficially recognizig the languages spoken in any region by actually providing services in such languages.

Take British Columbia (BC), Canada, for example. Even though English and French are the two official Canadian languages, Chinese is the second most spoken language in BC. I know there were some initiatives to make Chinese an official language in the province, but I do notknow if they succeeded. What is true, though, is that thousands of people use it in their everyday life there.


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Pablo Roufogalis
Colombia
Local time: 09:54
English to Spanish
Cost Feb 6, 2006

Yaotl Altan wrote:
I wonder why Spanish is not co-official in states such as Florida, Texas and California.


I really don't know but it is likely that making a language official would force many institutions, both public and private, to produce many documents in both languages. Also, it is likely that several other things such as lettering and signs could be affected.


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 09:54
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Canada and Mexico. Feb 8, 2006

Pablo Roufogalis wrote:

I really don't know but it is likely that making a language official would force many institutions, both public and private, to produce many documents in both languages. Also, it is likely that several other things such as lettering and signs could be affected.


Right. Like in Canada but I don't know if English and French applies to all Canada or just Quebec. What about the nunavut language?

I think Mexico should apply it in states with a high rate of indian populations as a way to recognise their historical rights.


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