The Official Language of the United States

Back in February I made a blog post called, "The Power of Language." The post talked about how, instead of being a one language nation we should become multilingual. The instigator of this has been people's recent issue of the pledge of allegiance being translated into spanish. Why is that an issue? Because in this country we speak English.

Over at washingtonpost.com there is an article about a mother who found out the school was translating the pledge of allegiance into spanish and went into action. Yes, it is an old article but it has a great quote that I'd like to share:

"This is a SACRED oath," Tepper wrote. "It is written in English. Our language is English. I am offended to hear it any other way. I am angry that my child is having to hear this in another language."

There you have it. Our language is English. Except that it isn't. Let me take you on my journey to finding out what the official language really is. ...

I find the US Constitution fascinating. So many of the ideas within the constitution have stood the test of time. After reading the translated version of George Washington's Farewell Address letter to the United States I went looking for something similar for the US Constitution. Then I came across the US Constitution online. It isn't translated, but for many of the parts of the Constitution it has notes you can read that explain it in modern english. It was there that I came across this note about the official language of the United States of America. One of the first paragraphs on the page says:

Many people are surprised to learn that the United States has no official language. As one of the major centers of commerce and trade, and a major English-speaking country, many assume that English is the country's official language. But despite efforts over the years, the United States has no official language.

There you have it. We don't have an official language. We have just naturally settled on English. However, it now seems that we are naturally choosing to add Spanish to our vocabulary. Childrens' programming like Dora the Explorer or Plaza Sesamo and many others show that many people see the future of the United States as a multi lingual one. In fact, I'm sure a generation or two from now, the translation of the pledge of allegiance will only bother a very small percentage of the population.

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