Why didn’t someone think of this before? I guess it takes a politician! Pass an ammendment that makes English the official language of the U.S. and then everyone–citizens, naturalized citizens, legal immigrants, and illegal aliens alike–will all speak English. Let’s begin by teaching President Bush to speak English. I love the beauty and simplicity of this ammendment. As is well known, everyone who resides in the U.S. obeys and upholds all the laws of the land.
Of course, legislating any language into law will not force anyone to learn the language. Some people are destined to speak only one language, their first language, for the rest of their lives. Just think of Columbus and the Spaniards when they came to the New World under the aegis of Spain. Right from the beginning, the Spaniards attempted to get everyone to learn Spanish. The official language of New Spain, the name of the new Spanish colony, was Spanish. Spanish scholars wrote hundreds of books recording indigenous languages and customs. They even managed to get the Maya to write their Popol Vuh in Spanish. The goal was for everyone under the Spanish crown to speak one common language. Books published in languages other than Spanish were censored. In fact, the very first grammar book of a European vernacular language was published in 1492 by Antonio de Nebrija. He had the idea of using Spanish as the one common language that would unify the Spanish Empire. Under Ferdinand and Isabella, Spanish became the official language of Spain and the New World. Did everyone learn Spanish? Of course not! Even to this day, there are people in many Spanish-speaking countries of Hispanoamérica who do NOT speak Spanish. In Mexico alone, more than fifty different languages are spoken and not everyone speaks Spanish. Maybe Americans better stay close to the tourist resorts when visiting Puerto Vallarta and Cancún.
Well, if the U.S. makes English the official language of the land, will everyone learn English? Not necessarily. Just look at the president. One need only look at the immigrant groups that have come to our country throughout American history. The first generation learns just enough English to get by on. Only with the second generation does English become part of the immigrant family. If English becomes the official language, will bilingual government publications of all languages suddenly disappear? Will we still have interpreters of all languages in our court rooms? Will people only speak English then? The answers are obvious. Legislating English as the official language would be a waste of time, resources, and tax dollars.