The Importance Of Multilingualism In America

The Importance Of Multilingualism In America

Dedicated to everyone a part of the "English-only" movement.

Having grown up in a Puerto Rican household, the Spanish language was frequently spoken between my family members. I understood all that I heard, but my ability to communicate fluently in Spanish was minimal. Once I entered high school, I decided that I wanted to further my education and knowledge of the language I was accustomed to hearing by taking Spanish courses. After four years of having studied Spanish, my appreciation for not only the Spanish language but all languages grew immensely, making me feel privileged to be able to call myself bilingual. I knew that by being able to communicate in another language, I was immersing myself in a world of culture like none other. I, myself, was opposing the bigoted English-Only movement in America

Early English-Only Movements

Since the early 1750s, there have been disputes of whether or not the American people should communicate in English only. Beginning in Pennsylvania when British settlers began to resent the speaking of the German language in their colony, American nativists sought to discourage multilingualism in America. During the time period, this unpopular notion of an English-Only America was later emphasized in 1780 by future president, John Adams. After the United States acquired French-speaking populations as a result of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the dominance of the French language in Louisiana caused concerns in Washington. Up until the Civil War, Louisiana continued to operate bilingually - English and French - and the publication of documents in French was deemed as a practical necessity. Following the Mexican-American War in 1848, the United States acquired roughly 75,000 Spanish speakers, expanding the diversity of languages spoken in the United States. The eradication of minority languages expanded even more in 1907 when President Theodore Roosevelt claimed that "[w]e have room for but one language in this country, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house." Since then, many English-Only groups and organizations have formed in the United States. These groups advocate English as a similarity that unites us, compared to multilingualism that differentiates and divides us.

Modern English-Only Movements

While English-Only campaigns across the nation have targeted various non-English-speaking groups, Spanish-speaking immigrants are the most targeted this day in age.

A common misconception is that immigrants, particularly Hispanic immigrants, do not want to learn English. That is false. The truth is that immigrants know they should learn English in order to succeed. In 2015, 33.2 million Hispanics in the United States were proficient in the English language. Although English proficiency continues to rise, one-third of Hispanics still do not English very well.

Most recently in the English-Only movement, President Donald Trump removed all Spanish-language content from the White House website in order to make it an "English only" site.

Since the 1980s, 31 states have declared English as their official language. If English were to ever be declared as the official language of our nation, the rights of individuals with limited English proficiency would be abridged.

Multilingualism is extremely beneficial for a society. Research has proven that the ability to speak two or more languages improves mental performance. Multilingualism also helps to create job opportunities in today's society. Besides becoming more intellectually and socially advantaged, multilingualism allows citizens to become more globally competent. A multilingual mind is one that will allow you to succeed in any environment.

It is time for us Americans to change the way immigrants are perceived in our country. Our great nation that we live in today was not solely founded on the language of English, but Spanish, French and German. It is of utter importance to keep the languages of Colonial America and Modern America alive. The United States has no official language. The English language in America is not threatened. The unity of Americans has never been determined by the language we do or do not share, but by our political and social ideals. The importance of multilingualism in America lies in the value of seeing different perspectives and moving us toward becoming a better society.

Cover Image Credit: BT

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?


Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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