English Language in the United States
Educational rights consist of two essential components: the right to access an education (helps people to be involved in social, economic and political issues) and the right to an education mediated in one’s mother tongue (Wiley). Nowadays, the latter point is a task performed by private educational establishments, rather than public ones. A vital issue to be considered is immigration process in the United States. The undercurrent that has an effect on language rights is discrimination.
There is no official language in the USA, though its language of instructions is English. Expediency-oriented policy (Wiley) is important in terms of understanding the language of, for instance, ballot information during the voting process. It is essential to speak the dominant language of the country. Tolerance-oriented policy (Wiley) is a neutral attitude of the government to organizations, such as Saturday or Sunday schools, that teach languages other than English, where a community, not the government, takes the initiative. Suppression-oriented policy (Wiley) consists in a legal prohibition of the usage and speaking of a language. Null policy (Wiley) is the absence of any language policy, though it is essential to have it.
Originally, English is the language that was brought to the USA and it is considered to be one of the main immigrant languages. There were many indigenous languages in the territory of the country. People spoke Spanish and French in the parts that later became the parts of the United States due to war conquers and annexations. The second spoken language in the USA during the 20th century was German (Wiley). The first US language policy was about prohibiting African slaves to become literate in English and to use their native language.
There existed a quota system which determined the amount of people from different parts of the world allowed to immigrate. The most preferable areas were Northern and Western Europe that influenced the linguistic situation in the US. Past immigrants were more willing to assimilate in the language system of the USA, rather than modern ones. English became a dominant language through such steps as tolerance towards speakers of most European languages, forced, voluntarily, and coercive assimilations.
The case Meyer v. Nebraska gave a ground to language schools. After WWII schools were obliged to help pupils understand the language of instructions. The word ‘bilingual’ is currently replaced by a euphemism ‘heritage language’ (Wiley). The modern US language policy is weak and the initiative to teach languages in addition to English comes from communities.
The presentation is interesting and important because language issues are crucial to the society due to high immigration levels in the USA. Language problems can lead to discrimination of people, whose native language is not English. The arguments of the Professor Terrence Wiley are convincing and contain substantial facts from the history of the United States and researches conducted by numerous scholars.
Wiley, Terrence. “Language, Immigration, and Human Rights in U.S. …