Introduction The debate on whether to declare English as the official language of communication in the US has been going on for a long time, with no consensus being reached. As a result, the US continues to be one of the highly developed nations that do not have an official language…
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As a result, approximately 300 languages continue to exist, which are in correlation to the cultural diversity present in the country (Shmidt, 2000). This makes it difficult for people, especially immigrants, to have the urge to learn English. This paper is a critical evaluation of why English should be declared as the official language of communication in the United States. Declaring English as the Official Language English is a language, which is spoken by approximately 2 billion people worldwide. 98% of Americans understand and speak English, regardless of whether it is their first or second language of communication (Shmidt, 2000). It is therefore, ironic that the government continues to frustrate the calls to declare it as the official language of conducting business, especially in public institutions. By so doing, a lot of money, which could be used to enhance growth in other sectors of the economy, is spent on duplicating government services in order to accommodate the high number of languages spoken in the country. For example, services such as printing of public documents like court decisions, ballot papers, the constitution, road signs among others requires the reproduction of those materials in different languages, so as to deliver the desired messages to the audience. According to reports, the California state in 2002 spent approximately $2.2 million for the sole purpose of translation in the department of motor vehicles while St. Cloud spent more than $200000 for translation services in 2003 (US English Inc, 2012). If the English language is declared official, then every citizen would be obligated to acquire the necessary skills or else be ready to incur the expenses involved in translation. Having an official language is important in any given society as it facilitates the smooth running of businesses. This is due to the fact that business operators would not have to incur the expenditure of hiring interpreters to serve customers, who may be forced to buy in those shops that have people who speak the same language as they do. For example, it would be difficult for a person of Hispanic origin to go to a Chinese restaurant in which all the menus are printed in Chinese. In the same sense, a Chinese person may find it limiting to go to Japanese or an Italian restaurant under the same conditions without feeling uncomfortable, since they speak different languages. As a result, it may be found out that such customers would prefer going to their respective restaurants, which are operated in that language, which they understand. In this context, it becomes difficult for these people to socialize with people outside their cultural groupings, thereby resulting to a segregated society. America is one country and in order to promote unity, especially due to its history of racism, English should be made the official language of communication (Crawford, 2000). This would facilitate the unification of all races as it would make it possible for citizens to understand each other at the intellectual level and not on the basis of their origins. Countries, such as Japan and China, have created an identity and respect for themselves through their official languages, i.e. Japanese and Mandarin, to the extent that anyone wishing to do business in these countries must study the official language for him to be successful. It is therefore necessary and long overdue for the US to create its own identity so as to encourage Americanization and a sense of responsibility among the
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