Congressman: Official English Would Save Millions

World Net Daily, August 2, 2012

A special interest organization called The American Dream contends “the quickest way to divide people is to have them speak different languages.”

The group notes there are 325 different languages spoken at home in the United States today.

“In the past, it was always understood that if you wanted to thrive in the ‘land of opportunity’ that you had better learn English and learn it well. Unfortunately, times have changed,” the group says. “Today, many radical activist groups are actually referring to the English language as a ‘tool of oppression’ and are demanding that special accommodations be made for those that do not wish to learn the English language.

“So which of those languages should receive special treatment? How far are we really going to take all of this? Someday, instead of your telephone telling you to ‘press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish,’ it may tell you to ‘press 323 for Italian, 324 for Arabic or 325 for English,” the organization suggests.

U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, has developed a logistical plan that would solve those issues. He says it also would generate unity among Americans and, as a side effect, save millions of dollars.

H.R. 997, the English Language Unity Act, was the focus of a House hearing today, but there was no action taken immediately.

King said the bill establishes English as the official language of the United States.

{snip}

“President Clinton issued an executive order, 13166, back in the 90s that compels the government agencies to essentially promote multilingualism by providing interpreters and services—in whatever language might be requested, by whoever shows up, at whatever government office. We are spending billions on interpreters and on multiple printings. We need to have one common form of communications currency, and that is English in this country. And we are very fortunate that it is English,” King said.

{snip}

The bill has been referred to the House subcommittee on the Constitution, and it has 122 cosponsors.

Its goal is to “declare English as the official language of the United States, to establish a uniform English language rule for naturalization, and to avoid misconstructions of the English language texts of the laws of the United States, pursuant to Congress’ powers to provide for the general welfare of the United States and to establish a uniform rule of naturalization under article I, section 8, of the Constitution.”

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  • Enar_Larsson

    One of the bill’s goals is “to avoid misconstructions of the English language texts of the laws of the United States”. If the bill passes, does that mean that “penalty” cannot be construed as “tax”?

  • David Ashton

    Absolutely essential.  Do it now before things get ridiculous.  A national petition?
    Road signs, Congressional reports, mainstream news broadcasts, Mr President’s prattle – all in 325 community languages? Or only Spanish?

    •  With road signs, the tactic will be replacing signs written in English or any language with supposedly universal symbols.

  • Enar_Larsson

    —“In the past, it was always understood that if you wanted to thrive in
    the ‘land of opportunity’ that you had better learn English and learn it
    well. Unfortunately, times have changed,” the group says.—

    While this statement is true, it is also incomplete. European immigrants found out that they needed to do much more than learn English in order to thrive in the U.S. Culture includes at least common language, common symbols, common heroes, common villains, common god(s), common goals, common morals, common foods, and common holidays. There is always room for subcultures which share additional language, heroes, symbols, dishes,etc., but they cannot thrive unless they are a part of the larger culture. Pre-1965 immigrants adopted not just the language, but the whole package. My ancestors, like scores of other immigrants, changed their first and last names to sound more English. And my grandmother still refuses to bring any dishes to church potlucks that are too “Scandinavian”, because, as she puts its, “we’re not in Sweden, boy”.

    • Enar_Larsson

       

      There is another respect in which this proposed law does not
      go far enough: it fails to protect the English language from the bastardization
      that inevitably follows from interaction with other cultures. I kept thinking
      of the preface to Samuel Johnson’s dictionary (1755) when I read this article,
      so I went back and re-read that preface. Johnson argues that a dictionary of
      the English language is absolutely necessary not only in order to preserve the
      language as much as is possible, not only to systematize spelling and
      pronunciation, but also to preserve the power and beauty of English itself, and
      to stave off the influence of cultural relativism. Here are some pertinent
      excerpts, taken from the first full-text website that comes up after a Google
      search:

       

      On Johnson’s desire to preserve the permanence of language
      because words signify permanent existents: “This recommendation of steadiness
      and uniformity does not proceed from an opinion, that particular combinations
      of letters have much influence on human happiness; or that truth may not be
      successfully taught by modes of spelling fanciful and erroneous: I am not yet
      so lost in lexicography, as to forget that words are the daughters of
      earth, and that things are the sons of heaven. Language is only the
      instrument of science, and words are but the signs of ideas: I wish, however,
      that the instrument might be less apt to decay, and that signs might be
      permanent, like the things which they denote.”

       

      Johnson on the folly of allowing foreign words to infiltrate
      English: “The words which our authours have introduced by their knowledge of
      foreign languages, or ignorance of their own, by vanity or wantonness, by
      compliance with fashion, or lust of innovation, I have registred as they
      occurred, though commonly only to censure them, and warn others against the
      folly of naturalizing useless foreigners to the injury of the natives.”

       

      Johnson on the deleterious effects of the global economy on
      the English language: “Total and sudden transformations of a language seldom
      happen; conquests and migrations are now very rare: but there are other causes
      of change, which, though slow in their operation, and invisible in their
      progress, are perhaps as much superiour to human resistance, as the revolutions
      of the sky, or intumescence of the tide. Commerce, however necessary, however
      lucrative, as it depraves the manners, corrupts the language; they that have
      frequent intercourse with strangers, to whom they endeavour to accommodate
      themselves, must in time learn a mingled dialect, like the jargon which serves
      the traffickers on the Mediterranean and Indian coasts. This
      will not always be confined to the exchange, the warehouse, or the port, but
      will be communicated by degrees to other ranks of the people, and be at last
      incorporated with the current speech.”

      • GM (Australia)

        Johnson also tended to be quite nationalistic in some of his definitions, for example; “Oats”  A grain eaten by horses in England but also eaten by the native inhabitants of Scotland!

        I also understand that when Webster compiled the first dictionary of the American language, he introduced small spelling changes in order to promote an American identity. Common example are color and labor, we spell them colour and labour.

        The study of languages is fascinating. The politics of language can be bitter and divisive. Our wonderful English language is part of our heritage and identity, something to be cherished for all time.

  • T Soprano1

    You know that after the Spartacus revolt. The Romans would not house slaves together that spoke a the same language. This prevented any sort of unity among the slaves which might result in another revolt. I guess that is why politicians say Diversity is our strength. The more diverse the population the more powerful politicians become.

    • But wouldn’t these slaves know enough Latin to communicate?

    • It might’ve prevented a revolt – if completely accurate – but would’ve have been very costly for a number of reasons.

  • This is just a GOP trick.  The GOP elites know this bill will not get anywhere in the Senate so they all vote for it.  Once the GOP gets power in the Senate these kinds of Bills will never get passed. 

    • The__Bobster

      A lot of Democrats support the bill, too, except for the usual suspects, who thrive on discord.

      http://www.vdare.com/posts/official-english-bill-gets-a-hearing

      Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), ranking member of the subcommittee, said King’s bill will “place at risk” people in the United States who need language help from “their government.”

      Another sign of incivility was rude Congressman John Conyers responding to King in lame Spanish. Conyers represents Detroit and yes, his wife is still in prison for corruption.

  • Xchrisedwardsx

    Asserting the primacy of one language is of the utmost importance.

    I have seen the example of Canada, where they’ve tried to have just two languages coexist equally.   Billions of dollars have been wasted by government and private industry on translation services and signage.

    Translation services companies zealously guard their market shares, translating government business, conventions, and courtroom proceedings.  It is a nightmare of waste and inefficiency, but this isn’t the policy’s greatest impact.

    French speakers do not mingle with the rest of the English population.   Effectively, the French have a geographic area (the Quebec motherland) where most hope to live and work their whole lives.  Even the Canadian military is divided along language lines in and out of Quebec.

    If bilingualism or multilingualism were to be adopted in the U.S., in due time the regional majority would dictate the dominant language, i.e. the official language of California for commerce, education, and government would be Spanish.

    English would become a ‘minority language’.

    • The__Bobster

      Ah, but these “French Speakers” are being spread throughout Canada for government jobs that require fluency in French, even though none of the locals speak it.

      http://www.vdare.com/articles/canadian-bilingualism-multiculturalism-as-it-relates-to-america-yawn

      As a result of the 1967 Official Languages Act, the Federal Government, right across the country, now functions in both languages. And that means, as a practical matter, that it is substantially staffed by Francophones from Quebec. Institutional bilingualism has made a huge difference on the Federal Government’s hiring practices.
      In certain areas of the county, for example, in Newfoundland where my first wife was born, or in the rural West, the Prairie provinces, a major thing that kids did in those areas was to go into the RCMP—the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. But that’s very difficult to do now, because of these bilingual requirements. As a practical matter, people do not learn two languages unless they’re in an environment where they hear both languages spoken. And most Canadians are not.
      But the demographic realities in Canada are that only about 17% of the population speaks both languages. And over half of those are “Francophones”—Canspeak for people who speak French in their home. One out of every three Francophones is bilingual. But only one out of 15 of Canadian “Anglophones” are bilingual. So it’s a highly asymmetrical situation. Institutional bilingualism puts the majority language community at a serious disadvantage.

  • Church_of_Jed

    If failing to openly advocate for Gay Marriage is now defined as HATE, what will they do to anyone who is so hateful as to suggest that the White English Language become the official language of the Global Diversity Melting Pot USA?

    I guess the final blow will be when all the cosponsors are accused of closet Klu Kluxism.

  • crystal evans

    I always thought that when you immigrated to another country, you learned their language. If you moved to Japan, you learned Japanese. If you moved to Germany, you learned to speak German. Since when does the country accomodate you. What is going to happen in the future is when you call somewhere, you would press 1 for English, press 2 for Spanish press 3 for Chinese 4 for Vietnamese etc.

  • The__Verdict__of__History

    Well I believe that the inhabitants of every region or country which I and my people visit ought to adhere to our customs, LEARN OUR LANGUAGE, pay homage to OUR heritage and cater to OUR peculiar expectations as cultural aliens…. no matter how much we have to inconvenience those people on a constant basis, and in total disregard for their OWN institutional and social equilibrium, heritage and customs…

    We don’t care. We expect them to gradually submit themselves to our self-contradictory PC-terror regime, despite our clear status as aliens and intruders… … and If anyone is brave enough to point out that our expectations are unreasonable, presumptuous and downright offensive. We are fully and happily prepared to accuse them of being RAYYCISSS and are eager to destroy the reputations of those who dare question our intentions.

    • GM (Australia)

      A good start to getting them to appreciate their adopted country would be to print Social Welfare application forms in English only.

  • IstvanIN

    Save money?  It is just good, common sense!

  • The__Bobster

    No, newly arrived Chinese are demanding that town meetings be held in Chinese now that they’ve learned ethnic identity politics.

    http://www.vdare.com/posts/in-walnut-california-speaking-english-at-city-council-meetings-is-controversial

  • The__Bobster

     “For English, press 1. If you can’t speak English, learn it, then press 1.”

    I always refuse to press a number. Half the time, the system hangs up on me rather than defaulting to English. WTF??!!

  • loyalwhitebriton

    A really good site on classical English Literature: http://www.luminarium.org

    No Hispanic, Black, Arab, has anything like our literature!

  • You are dead on correct about bilingualism in Canada.  It costs billions per year and is basically a means to a covert from of ethnic promotion of Francophones because a minority language is promoted over English.

    Business are now promoting services in Mandarin too—just cant sell out fast enough.  Banks are  well known for this especially RBC, TDBANK.

    ONE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE-ENGLISH

  • Sloppo

    It tends to be very advantageous for an individual to be bilingual or trilingual.  The same thing tends to be a disaster for a nation.

  • Like the Air Force billboards that show a latino in uniform with the words “Mí País” written above him. That hurt, reminds me of Rome during its final years which increasingly used foreign mercenaries to fight their wars.

  • Oh great, how are they going to claim Whitey oppressed them? Are we going to take the heat for England’s opium wars? Are they traumatized by the Chinese we killed in the Korean War? Maybe they’ll just stick with the classic “racist” line.

  • fuzzypook

    Well, should we all learn proper Casillian Spanish or the gutteer Spanish that mexican peasants speak?

  • Church_of_Jed

    That’s already making the rounds in “policy papers” published by academics who are supported with our taxdollars.