November 21, 2018
The English Language
Research Question: How differently are non-English speakers valued in America compared to English speakers?
Perspective #1 :Examination of Pro-English/One Sided Perspective
According to this perspective, the English language is seen as the primary language for people living in America. Although some members on these camps don’t necessarily approve of the debate regarding English vs bilingual or non-English speakers, they elaborate on the concern made by people who are pro English. In the Us, many people feel they have entitlement over another purely based on their knowledge of one language. To address these issues, the camp gives different
Crawford, James. “A Nation Divided by One Language.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 8 March 2001.
Crawford explains the power of English is America. Many Americans believe that learning another language is useless, that English should be the main language spoken and learned. In order for immigrants to become successful or live comfortably, they must have common knowledge of English. Crawford, although his views differ the perspective, he in under, writes about the ways English speakers attack those who are bilingual or want to become bilingual. In the start of his article, Crawford gives the perspective of those who are pro-English and how there has been countless efforts to reduce the knowledge of other languages being taught or publicly spoken. He goes on to state, “Any use of children's mother tongue for instruction, the assumption goes, is a diversion from English acquisition. Thus assigning English learners to bilingual classrooms would seem to delay their education” (para 10). He later debunks the theory, in that those who are bilingual surpass those who aren't.
Gingrich, Newt and Michael Ciamarra. “Make English our Official Language.” Mobile- Press Register, American Enterprise Institute. 11 March, 2007.
In Gingrich and Ciamarra’s view, the examine the need to promote both the language and culture of America. They have stated that “American civilization is the most successful in all of human history…” to contribute to their argument based around the lack of appreciation immigrants have in the US (para 14). It’s as if they want those who are entering the nation to diminish who they are and conform to the ways of America. A large amount of conforming steams from language. They also include the want to “replace bilingual education with intensive English instruction, to help new Americans assimilate to our culture…”(para 19). For the authors, the ways of America in language and culture should be preserved and protected as long as it can follow the guidelines of English speaker and American citizens.
Perspective #2: Examination of Pro-Diversity Perspective
According to this perspective, languages and culture, whether the same or different should be respected. Language is a way a of expressing who we are and what we value, whether it’s done from one language or multiple. Language should have and been seen with positivity, as it contributes to many parts of our identity. The authors of this perspective have suffered greatly due the misconceptions society has on those who are different. Of course, their individual experiences with language and culture differ, but the overall message and understanding of the situation are similar. The camp’s view on the topic allows for freedom of an individual, whether that is through language or other aspects of one’s identity.
Maalouf, Amin. In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong. New York: Arcade, 2001. Print
In Maalouf’s story he addresses the difference identities he has within himself. Even though he has different qualities of himself, one doesn’t define more than the other. He values each part of his identity whether it’s seen negatively or positively in the public's eyes. This ties back into the question because although it is true that he has multiple parts of himself but he respects each one and gratitude to everything that makes up his identity. It doesn’t allow one part of what makes him control how he treated or how he values others. He allows the many parts of himself to show through rather trying to condense one.
Tan, Amy. “Mother Tongue.” In The College Edition, edited by Robert Atwan. 1990/2008, 160-167.
Amy Tan discusses the struggles she grew up with and still faces because of her broken English from which she learned through her mom. However, she didn’t allow the hardships she encountered to destroy her love for writing or her identity. She talks about how when she was young, she was ashamed of her mother's English, “I believed that her English reflected the quality of what she had to say.” In many ways, living in America can cause others to feel less valued when it comes to educated or lack thereof. In Tan’s case, she was believed to think her and her family where less than others because of their basic knowledge of language. However, she resisted the same life many immigrants fall under due to limited understand of English and became a writer.
Anzaldúa, Gloria. “How to Tame a Wild Tongue.” 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology. Fourth Edition. 2012, 33-45.
In her story, Gloria Anzaldua communicates the importance of language and identity. She gives examples and goes back to her own personal life on how she struggled with finding herself due to the draw back she received as being a Chicano. She talks about her experience in learning how to be proud of her background’s roots despite the bitterness from others. “We needed a language with which we could communicate with ourselves, a secret language. For some of us, language is a homeland closer than the Southwest for many Chicanos today live in the Midwest and the East.” For Anzaldúa, her languages, both growing up trying to speak English and her native language posed difficulties for her. However, rather than try and demise on over the other, she embraces what makes her different from the people around her.