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U.S. Senate Moves to Give English Official Status
Thread poster: Richard Creech

Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:56
French to English
+ ...
May 19, 2006

Many people are surprised to learn that the United States does not have an official language. Now in the midst of a highly divisive debate on immigration, the Senate has passed two measures which would give English some form of official status. While these measures have the backing of President Bush, their ultimate fate is uncertain, both because they are part of a controversial immigration bill that may or may not be passed and because a number of legal challenges are likely. Read on:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12866975/


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:56
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Other languages May 19, 2006

Richard Creech wrote:

Many people are surprised to learn that the United States does not have an official language. Now in the midst of a highly divisive debate on immigration, the Senate has passed two measures which would give English some form of official status. While these measures have the backing of President Bush, their ultimate fate is uncertain, both because they are part of a controversial immigration bill that may or may not be passed and because a number of legal challenges are likely. Read on:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12866975/


Are they trying to stop the use of the Spanish/Chinese/Creolé language ?


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:56
That's the point May 19, 2006

Yaotl Altan wrote:

Are they trying to stop the use of the Spanish/Chinese/Creolé language ?


It is fine when a country establishes its official language.
Things get bad if other languages get banned.
I think it is difficult to know where things will end in this case, and I think it would have been better if this piece of legislation was not linked to the immigration issue.

[Edited at 2006-05-19 16:53]


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 21:56
English to Russian
+ ...
No, they are not May 19, 2006

But they are trying to make sure that when Mexican-American comes into a bank with a Vietnamese-American loan officer in a window and a Russian-American manager in the back and a Chinese-American businessman next in line and an African-American security officer guarding safety of all of them - all understand each other. Nobody is about to shut down any cultures, but the respect should be mutual. I think it's fair. My Russian soul is not offended:-). American Constitution is written in English.

I don't want to go to 7-11 with the interpreter:-) - Whoopi Goldberg.

I guess it will be banned - politics:-)


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Sol  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
are they trying to... May 19, 2006

Yaotl Altan wrote:

Are they trying to stop the use of the Spanish/Chinese/Creolé language ?


Maybe... but they're going to get a big fight from the Native American tribes!!! And what about the Pen. Dutch? May born U.S. citizens grow up in non-English speaking homes and communities, including most Puerto Ricans, and Hawaiians!!


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Lothar Kneifel  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:56
German to English
yawn May 19, 2006

While they're at it, they can also designate an official insect.

It means absolutely nothing.


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Sol  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
I wish it didn't! May 19, 2006

Lothar Kneifel wrote:

While they're at it, they can also designate an official insect.

It means absolutely nothing.


Unfortunately, it could have consequences like budget cuts for bilingual programs, and determine whether or not you can take a driver's test in your mother tongue, for example... it could even do away with court interpreters for those who can't afford them... it could get quite ugly!

[Edited at 2006-05-19 20:08]


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Claudia Aguero  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 20:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
Use of other languages in state entities May 20, 2006

In one of the many TV debates about this issue, a participant said that by making English the official language, they would no longer have to translate state documents into another language. According to him, currently such documents must be in any another language other than English.

He said that by making English the official language, it was immigrants' problem how to uinderstand documents, since they would only be written in English and that if people wanted to live in the US, they would first understand English.

I was really surprised by his ideas on not making communication easier to people.


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:56
Member (2011)
Multiplelanguages
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national vs official language May 20, 2006

Richard Creech wrote:

Many people are surprised to learn that the United States does not have an official language. Now in the midst of a highly divisive debate on immigration, the Senate has passed two measures which would give English some form of official status. ..... Read on:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12866975/


Also see:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/19/washington/19immig.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

There was also a thread on this topic a few months ago. 4 pages of posts starting at:

English on the decline...
http://www.proz.com/post/309484#309484

I've just read the few replies already made in this thread. It is important to note that the new bill is to vote it in not as an official language, but as a national language or common unifying language.
Richard has stated it well above that in the absence of an official language, the US is voting on measures to provide English with some form of official status.

The difference between national language status and official language status is more of a known and debated issue in many countries where there are 20, 50, 100, 500, 700 languages.

One question to consider discussing in this thread is what the difference the impact could be if English were to become a National language in the US vs becoming the official language. It is important to read the links to the articles to see the exact definition of what is meant by national language in this case.

Jeff

=====
Jeff Allen, PhD
http://www.geocities.com/jeffallenpubs/


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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 04:56
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
Most countries have an official language/official languages May 20, 2006

In Europe at least, one can live in a country for many years, acquire the nationality and remain a 'foreigner'. In the US, as soon as a generation grows up speaking English, they are accepted as American, not just because of their passport but because they 'sound' American. Imho, the English language is what holds the 'melting pot' together. People from all over the world joined together by a single language. Don't see why having an official language should have anything to do with 'banning' any others. Canada has two official languages and very active language communities with languages from around the world. I don't see anything wrong with the US making it clear that the official language is English. It always has been an English-speaking country. Now it's just official.

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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 04:56
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
The PA Dutch all speak English May 20, 2006

Sol wrote:

Yaotl Altan wrote:

Are they trying to stop the use of the Spanish/Chinese/Creolé language ?


Maybe... but they're going to get a big fight from the Native American tribes!!! And what about the Pen. Dutch? May born U.S. citizens grow up in non-English speaking homes and communities, including most Puerto Ricans, and Hawaiians!!


They keep their German dialect (they are not Dutch-they are Deutsch) going in their homes and communities and speak English elsewhere. No languages are being attacked or stopped at all. For once, there doesn't seem to be any 'threat' implied or otherwise. The country has simply decided to declare English as its official language-which it is anyway.


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 19:56
English to French
+ ...
Hmmm... May 20, 2006

Sol wrote:

determine whether or not you can take a driver's test in your mother tongue, for example...


Well, I took the driver license test in English myself, it was only offered in Spanish and a couple Asian languages if I remember it well. I was actually surprised the test was offered in all those languages as I expect people who move to another country to learn the language, adjust to the culture, so forth.

I don't think having an official language will mean less work for court interpreters. I started my career as a conference interpreter in Paris and I was busy on a full-time basis, so were my friends working in the courts system. France has an official language, and you have to take the driver license test in French, but there's no shortage of jobs for interpreters. Relax, you won't be out of business any time soon.

[Edited at 2006-05-20 16:55]


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patriciat
Local time: 19:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
It is not a ban of other languages May 26, 2006



Are they trying to stop the use of the Spanish/Chinese/Creolé language ? [/quote]

No there is no ban of other languages it is just a decalration that English would be the official language since the US does not have an official language and some activist groups opose this because it might hurt the feelings of immigrants.

I am an immigrant and I am not hurt


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patriciat
Local time: 19:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not really May 26, 2006

Sol wrote:

Yaotl Altan wrote:

Are they trying to stop the use of the Spanish/Chinese/Creolé language ?


Maybe... but they're going to get a big fight from the Native American tribes!!! And what about the Pen. Dutch? May born U.S. citizens grow up in non-English speaking homes and communities, including most Puerto Ricans, and Hawaiians!!


There is nothing in the text of this proposed legislation that even gets close to that. The unfrienliest part of it is that The US government would not be obligated to write every pamphlet and information in every possible language


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patriciat
Local time: 19:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
They will not be forced, but they would choose to May 26, 2006

Claudia Aguero wrote:

In one of the many TV debates about this issue, a participant said that by making English the official language, they would no longer have to translate state documents into another language. According to him, currently such documents must be in any another language other than English.

He said that by making English the official language, it was immigrants' problem how to uinderstand documents, since they would only be written in English and that if people wanted to live in the US, they would first understand English.

I was really surprised by his ideas on not making communication easier to people.


what happens now is that the US has the obligation to translate to evrybody's language. Here in LA somebody sued the Los Angeles School District because their child was not being taught everithing in their native language and THEY WONN!!!! so that is why now the district is forced to have Spanish Language classrooms in certain areas also Hire Spanish Speaking teachers and assistants and translate every book they use and every sign in the hallways and everithing. with this legislation it would be harder to sue. I am originally from Chile and there if your child did not speak Spanish, they just had to learn because they did not get classes in English or any parent notifications in English.

Thais law although allow for the different agencies to decide in what languages they will comunicate I guess that they will send communications on 3 or 4 languages


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