Molt Be Blog

Monday, May 15, 2006

Bush's speech

Looks like the folks over at USEnglish have Bush's ear:
From his speech this evening on immigration:

Americans are bound together by our shared ideals, an appreciation of our history, respect for the flag we fly, and an ability to speak and write the English language. English is also the key to unlocking the opportunity of America. English allows newcomers to go from picking crops to opening a grocery from cleaning offices to running offices from a life of low-paying jobs to a diploma, a career, and a home of their own. When immigrants assimilate and advance in our society, they realize their dreams, they renew our spirit and they add to the unity of America.
[Speech Text]

I'm still not sure where I stand on the English-as-an-official-language debate. I like that a famous linguist, S.I. Hayakawa, founded US English, but I don't like the idea of trying to force a "common"language on America as being official. There are plenty of arguments for and against the idea.
Doesn't having foreign languages around make our culture more diverse and interesting?
Where does the "official" version of English being and end? Do we start with the way "normal" people talk? Who is normal?
What about black English? That's it's own dialect entirely and is spoken by a significant percentage of Americans. Should that dialect and its various colloquialisms be considered part of the "official" version of English?
Will the government provide classes in English for those that don't speak it?
President Bush specifically mentioned writing and reading in his speech. Is he proposing programs to rid this country of illiteracy? Remember, Cuba has a better literacy rate than the US.

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