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"Press One" to continue in English

May 8, 2008
By Vincent Gioia

America is a “Melting Pot” (if it still is) because until now English has been the de facto national language. Efforts to make English the official national language have failed in congress due to federal legislators acting on the misguided notion that to make English our official national language would be offensive to some. This is the natural extension of the worst form of political correctness.

Although God considered it desirable to scramble the language of all peoples by destroying the “Tower of Babel” to avoid complacency, there is no similar justification for extending the practice to this country.

In the United States we have seen a plethora of languages used for many public activities.

Voting ballots around the country are printed in too many different languages to mention despite the requirement that those seeking citizenship learn the English language. What good does it do to print ballots in other languages when information useful to voters is principally available only in English? Are we intentionally creating a class of uninformed voters; and if so, how does that help the country?

Requiring employees in business establishments to speak English seems now to be taboo. In many places it would be appropriate to have a sign “English is spoken here” to accommodate English speaking minorities in those areas. We have to press a number on a telephone to “continue in English”. We are unable to speak with many service providers because they are immigrants who don’t speak English. There is nothing wrong with knowing more than one language; indeed it is desirable, but mere courtesy to those here before them should be sufficient in itself to motivate non-English speakers to join their fellow countrymen in a common language.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) introduced legislation that declares English to be the official language of the United States government. This legislation, the "National Language Act of 2008," codifies the principle that no one is entitled to receive federal documents or federal services in languages other than English. The bill specifically states that no person has a right, entitlement or claim to have the Government of the United States or any of its officials or representatives act, communicate, perform or provide services or materials in any language other than English. Representative Paul Broun (R-GA) has introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House. Does this legislation have a chance of passage when similar efforts have failed before?

America's greatness as a melting-pot nation has always been advanced by assimilation to a common language. Large-scale illegal immigration threatens national cohesion and the country’s shared values because new arrivals are unwilling to learn English and our national policy is to excuse this deficiency. In addition to the obvious benefits, the "National Language Act of 2008" will reduce costs to our federal government and will encourage new, legal immigrants to quickly adopt America's native tongue.

Learning English has always been and will continue to be a key step in achieving the American dream historically desired by legal immigrants to the United States for centuries; why should it not be so now?.

Vincent Gioia is a retired patent attorney living in Palm Desert, California. His articles may be read at www.vincentgioia.com and he may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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