November 30th, 2011
11:14 AM ET

Poll: Should English be the United States' official language?

Former House Speaker and 2012 presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich recently shared what he called a “humane” immigration policy; some conservatives call it a step toward amnesty for undocumented immigrants. Gingrich recently laid out more details including stronger border control, a guest worker program, knowing American history as a requirement for citizenship, improving the legal visa system and making deportations easier.

And another thing: He wants to "establish English as the official language of government." What do you think?

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Filed under: Ethnicity • How we live • Immigration • Latino in America • Politics
soundoff (696 Responses)
  1. John Q. Public

    I want to learn a variety of languages, but I can't always go to a different country. And you want to ban foreign language classes?

    Thank you for robbing me of one of my interests and future. Kutabacchimae.

    Baszd meg.

    June 23, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John Q. Public

    1. Your name lies.
    2. If that's the case, everyone who isn't a Native American should get out because the settlers from Europe arrived here illegally and usurped the natives' land, resources, and jobs.
    3. One does not simply learn English. English is quite difficult to learn even for native speakers.

    June 23, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Annadog40

    We should make Navajo the official language 😀 forget English

    May 25, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. Portia

    Things have been working just fine without an official language, so why the push to change it? Most people think of English as the language of America (and the dominant business language of most of the world), and most people entering this country and growing up here endeavor to learn it. There is no reason to disenfranchise business owners and Americans who live and work in neighborhoods where English speakers are in the minority. Having a multilingual nation allows us to have a very rich diversity of culture that we can all benefit from. Besides, we're not English, we're American! The USA is a country built on diversity, and that is something we should all be proud of.

    February 28, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Margo Thompson

    Every country has an official language. My grandparents came from Europe. Most of them learned English, which everyone knew back then was the language here. My maternal grandpa didn't, but then he was crippled in many ways and dependent on others to translate for him because of it. Have we regressed or progressed? Why are we asking questions that are so obvious? It's like marriage. Of COURSE it's between a male & female!

    December 19, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. nutmegthetuba

    Because it's necessary for people in any professional field to be able to communicate, a national language is necessary no matter which country you're in, whether it's America, Russia, England, China, or anywhere else in the world. The most common language spoken in the United States is English, so why not make English our national language? If I want to move to a different country, I should realize that it's my responsibility to learn the language and customs of the country, and it's not anyone else's responsibility to accommodate my ignorance. My family, being from Mexico, realizes this just as well as anybody does. They did the work to become American; why should the system cater to those who aren't willing to work?

    December 17, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. WOW

    My grandfather immigrated here from Portugal when he was 14. He learned English,subsequently his children did and I speak it as well. Where does it say that that a person cant learn English and maintain love of their familial origins and language,....... why must we bend over for people too lazy to learn it?

    Apologists=The New Fascism

    December 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. common sense

    I am an American, educated and unemployed how do you think I feel when 1/2 the jobs I look at require you be bilingual. There is something wrong when you have to speak another language in your own country to get a job.

    I am a Mexican American by the way

    December 15, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • noillegaleverSCRAM

      Actually, you either an American or a Mexican. You may be both in your mind, but if you salute the mexican flag, then, obviously you're a mexican. If you salute the American flag, you're an American.

      December 23, 2011 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
      • Jess

        Wow, that is inaccurate. Mexican American is actually a well known and official term for Americans, who were mostly born in America, whose parents or other relatives were Mexican natives. So check your facts noillegaleverSCRAM and you know that someone down the line in your family is from another country, right? I mean, you know that we were all immigrants at one time, right? Common sense probably was born here and celebrates American holidays and is costumed to American culture more so than Mexican.

        January 17, 2013 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
      • ElijahX

        I agree with you 100%, but cannot reply to the one below you. So I will reply to Jess here – I believe part of what noillegaleverSCRAM is saying is we either identify with America and call ourself American, or we separate ourself. Why would people, epsecially minorities who want equality separate themself by labeling them other than American? Sure we are all, with the exception of Native Americans descended from peoples from other countries, but with the exception of small groups such as Irish and Italians, Whites are the only group that does not label themself anything other than American when in fact we are European-American. We can have race/ethnic/cultural pride without labels.

        March 16, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mrs J

        if you knew anything about america most of the mexicans are american mexicans just because we are mexican does not mean that we are not american i was born here but i am mexican

        April 8, 2013 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • John Q. Public

        I am a Russian/Polish/Lithuanian-American because my ancestors were from those places in Eastern Europe (look up Europe; you probably don't know where it is judging from your apparent apathy for other countries and continents) and I was born in America. He might have been born in Mexico or his forbears might have been from there or he probably was raised there. Ethnicity differs from nationality in that respect.

        June 22, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Keith B Rosenberg

    Think about how much it would cost to provide multi-lingual teachers and translators for ALL and I do mean ALL, of the many hundreds of languages immigrants speak in schools, government, businesses and anyhting else. Under the Rule of Law, if you provide it for one language group, you must provide it to ALL language groups. Official or not, this is an English speaking country and if you want to live here as successfully as possible, you need to learn English.

    December 15, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. DSBsky

    Really, people are asking this? How about should Latin be the "Official" language of cuba or puerto rico? Come on already with these ridiculous questions. Obviously YES it should be, IS and will continue to be for extremely obvious reasons..
    You'd have to be an idiot to even question this kind of thing.

    Should we have an entire country running around where no one can understand eacother? OBVIOUSLY not.. So this question isn't even a question, It's another attempt by someone who wants their language to be our new language, so they can basically take over America one word at a time. You want to speak another language.. Go back where you came from. America = English.. Deal with it..

    I'm getting pretty sick of this "not so hostile" takeover by foreign speaking individuals. It's like Miami, The city that now smells like feet and has more crimes commited than the rest of florida on a regular basis..
    Where all the billboards are in spanish and you have to press 2 to speak in english on automated phone service. This is America. English is #1. I'll cancel my service the second it becomes otherwise.

    December 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • sarahpalinisthedevil

      Latin??? You are funny my friend

      December 19, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sativ

      Welcome to reality! The chinese almost own the USA now and the minorities are who? Take a look around you! By the way, if you cancel your services, I am sure no one will notice.

      December 31, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Starrman69


    December 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. OVIDIO


    December 15, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  13. KanneM

    The fact that some racists promote the idea that everyone living in the US should speak English, and that it should be the official language for government and commerce, does not make the idea racist.

    All interaction involved in international air travel between pilots and air traffic controllers is conducted in English. Why? Because it reduces the possibility of miscommunication. That practice is not considered racist ( or Imperialistic ) but rather common sense. Likewise, people residing in the States who do not speak and read English proficiently are at GREATER risk of being taken advantage of by the unscrupulous and as a result of simple misunderstanding.

    I hope all legal immigrants to the US preserve and promote their cultural heritage here. It enriches us all. We get to experience differing styles, ideas and flavors. But I also hope they learn the language so that they can participate fully in the commercial, educational and cultural lives of their communities and new country.

    The only reason I can think of for anyone championing the idea that immigrants shouldn't learn English and be required to use it, is that they - and not those they would accuse of racism - wish to oppress and disenfranchise immigrants for their own selfish gain.

    This applies equally to elected officials. Be wary of ANYONE who says they will speak for you; they have a vested interest in ensuring that you never find your own voice !

    December 14, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh

    Ever wonder why the Founders refused to establish an official language? How about the obvious destruction of Freedom of Speech that would entail? They also knew first-hand, despite the mythology of our white-washed "social studies" texts, that English was not only the language of the enemy but also a minority language in the Continental Army, Navy, and Marines. That's right, most of the native English-speakers went Tory. Want proof? Look at the muster rolls, or at the list of American Martyrs tortured by the British during the Revolution. You can find that list at http://www.usmm.org/revdead.html . By the way, notice an abundance of Spanish-speakers on that list? So much for the myth that this was always an English-speaking country. If it were up to the English-speakers, we'd still be English.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Personally


    December 14, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Chicano 2.0


    December 14, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • noillegaleverSCRAM

      Exactly. Otherwise you end up speaking like the moron Chicano 2.0. Please do not breed. We have enough idiotic trash here as it is.

      December 23, 2011 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
  17. Roberto (El Salvador)

    Si, jawohl, mais oui, etc. You get the gist.

    I'm glad I learned English as a kid. I hate it when I walk into a store in Miani and people start talking to me in Spanish.
    I speak Spanish with my friends and family.

    December 14, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Steve Fix

    How about making Gold our official currency and not worry about fiddling while Rome Burns.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  19. JSIN

    Okay I have an idea! How about we vote on the next election on this issue! To all LEGAL AND REGISTERED VOTERS, vote whatever language should be the official langauge of the US and let's see what the undeniable majority outcome will be.

    December 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • ElijahX

      Not sure where you were going with this, so, It will be English because together Blacks and Whites are the majority, and yep, they both speak English.

      March 16, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  20. luke

    This isn't mean towards mexicans or any other ethnicity. I'm Italian and my ancestors learned a lot of the language of english.

    December 13, 2011 at 6:12 am | Report abuse |
  21. Thor's Pile Driver

    Speak English or go home. No exceptions.

    December 13, 2011 at 3:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Aron Martinez

      English should not be the official language at least not in the South West. It is obvious you don't know your history; Spanish has been spoken upon the land longer than English so do me a favor and go back to history class and then come talk to me.

      December 13, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • Beanfart

        yes, but Mexico couldn't hold on to the southwest even though at the time they were a much stronger nation than the US. Winners make the rules, that's a common theme in History.

        December 13, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • A

        Native American Indian languages have been spoken upon the same land for thousands of years, well before the Spanish even knew North America existed. What's your point?

        December 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • That one...

      Que dices? No habla stupidity!!!

      December 13, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chicano 2.0

      Pass a STEM test or go home. Oops, majority of Americans.

      What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual.
      What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual.
      What do you call someone who speaks one language? American.

      December 14, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • ltd

        What do you do when your stuck in a chair?
        Finding it hard to go up and down stairs
        What do you think of the one you call god?
        Isn't his absence slightly odd?

        December 15, 2011 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
      • ElijahX

        Obviously you aren't American because your statement doesn't says bilinguals are American. Maybe that's the reason for your resentment. Chicano? Hmmmm, maybe you were first taught Spanish and learned I'm guessing English as a second language and out of necessity. See most Americans have no reason to learn a second language. When would we use it? Oh yeah, I forgot about the massive invasion from the south by a people too lazy to learn our native tongue and thus be more efficient towards functioning and assimilating in our society. I learned German when stationed there but haven't met one single German since being home. That was a waste.

        March 19, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  22. mpls007

    I find it unfortunate that many think having an official language is offensive. As it has been stated several times, declaring an official language gives the us the right to print government forms in said language.
    I live in an area where there are many refugees from many areas of the world, and having seen first hand how many languages are being catered to on these forms, it's evident that we are in dire need of one official language. People who are not able to understand the forms simply would need to find their own interpreter, and not one paid by the taxpayers, why is this a problem?
    Why are people assuming that just because we declare an official language, someone would be punished for speaking another language? That is simply not true.
    While it's my belief that anyone residing in any country should speak the language of that country, even that is not what this is about.
    Perhaps before becoming enraged and crying out racism, people should simply think (I know that's a lot to ask). Would it make things more efficient and less costly for us to have an official language? Yes. Would it take away the right to speak something other than the official language? No.
    For the sake of our country people, step back and look at what the issue is, not how it can be skewed to the favor of the left or right.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
  23. Big Ron

    What morons are asking this stupid question?It's like asking Germany or France should German and French be their official langauage.Give me a break!!!!!!!

    December 13, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Aron Martinez

      i can see your point but there are millions of People who speak Spanish in the U.S especially in the South West and we have been speaking Spanish in our lands since the 1500's so that would be unfair.

      December 13, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Beanfart

        Aron, the folks who were in the southwest at that time have since assimilated....the people who don't speak english are coming from Mexico, Central America, and Asia.
        Your argument is very weak.

        December 13, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  24. LibsLie

    Those that are against it being the official language in addition to being a minority vast minority are either for illegal immigration or politicians that seek to divide us anyway.......

    December 13, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  25. LibsLie

    Where this comes into play is cost. As well as giving foreign immigrants the ability to be successful. Cost examples would be fifty different drivers license exams in fifty different languages or fifty different teachers for grade and high school........common sense says teach english and put exams in only ONE language, ballots in only ONE language.
    Sure offer language courses to those here legally and children but english should and from a cost standpoint must be the official language. Plus to be successful you have to learn it.......

    December 12, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Tim Cooper

    There is a distinction in what Gingrich is calling for and the implication of this poll. Gingrich is calling for English to be the official language of government. Government should communicate in English and people should be able to speak it in order to understand.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • LibsLie

      Where this comes into play is cost. As well as giving foreign immigrants the ability to be successful. Cost examples would be fifty different drivers license exams in fifty different languages or fifty different teachers for grade and high school........common sense says teach english and put exams in only ONE language, ballots in only ONE language.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  27. medusarantz

    My grandparents came to this country from Greece in the early 19th century. They worked hard. Saved. Played by the rules. And learned ENGLISH. At the time, around the 1930's my Uncle & Father were sent home FROM SCHOOL because they didn't know enough English to participate in class. MY grandparents taught them. Why? Because they loved this country, Ameriki! Ameriki! Ameriki! I'm sorry for saying this, but I live in California and you might as well call it little Mexico now. Why are the rules different for them?! The same rules my Grandparents observed should be observed by the Latino community and any other minority groups who have trouble speaking English. There are free classes offered to adults when they come in the front door to become legal citizens. As for our not so friendly neighbors to the south that are embroiled in a drug infused bloodbath, I'm with the Jews. Let's build a big wall. And have men with guns. That's how you answer their violence. With violence. This is war. You send American's head's home in suitcases to their wives, people are going to die until this wrong is righted.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Swanx

      I think you make a good point. I only disagree with you on the nature of how to achieve what you say—that people MUST be forced to learn English. It's true that English language has a unique status in the world. But forcing others to learn it because they are in a certain place doesn't sound that appealing. What will be more appealing is give reasons to learn the language, be it English or otherwise. With time, there is no doubt that one universal auxiliary language will result to be spoken by the majority of the peoples of, not only America, but the whole world. I know for certain that any parent living in the U.S. knows that for their children to prosper they will have to learn English and other important languages. There is no need to lecture them on this since it is a given. Today's coming of age culture involves, to a large extent, "pluralism" one of whose facet is multi-lingual. Whether people are forced or not, that is where we are headed and 50 years from now a large percentage of the American population, and the world, will be multi-lingual. Force is not the watch-word here, tolerance is.

      December 12, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Holly

    English needs to be established as the official language

    My family and I recently moved. When I was looking at enrolling my child in the new school, I was informed that she would not be placed in 2nd grade, but returned to 1st, "because she does not speak spanish, and as that is the primary language spoken by the district that is the language they teach in" Yes this school is in America.

    December 11, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ajotter

      You have got to be kidding. That is an absolute outrage. Where did this happen?

      December 14, 2011 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  29. Kendra T

    Get a grasp people! It's hilarious to me how many people are so adamant on English as the official and only language yet display such poor spelling, grammar, and punctuation in their posts. If you're such an advocate for the English language, perhaps you should first demonstrate that you are capable of speaking and writing the English language properly. I would be satisfied if American children were able to graduate from high school with a solid grasp on any language. Clearly, we are educating an entire generation that is barely literate in any language, English or otherwise.

    December 11, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • LibsLie

      Being an expert in English has nothing to do with it being the official language it has everything to do with cost and bringing those living here together enjoining us........something politicians and liberals are pretty much against.

      December 13, 2011 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  30. RipCity88

    I can't stand it when advocates of English Only laws try to make the point that if an English-speaking American were to travel to France or Italy, that they would be expected to speak French or Italian (thus outsiders in the US should be expected to speak English). These people have clearly never traveled outside the US. Most large cities in the world WILL cater to English and speak the English language to outsiders in their home country – where English is not even a majority language. Stop living in denial – our country and others are becoming more and more globalized. This is what makes our society vibrant! Making English the "official" language simply discourages diversity. Period.

    December 11, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Mara

      there's a BIG difference between not speaking the language of a country you are just visiting, not speaking the language of a country in which you intend to reside. There's also a BIG difference between a visitor asking for courtesy and an illegal alien insisting that WE need to change in order for THEM to better perpetrate their illegal residency and other criminal activities.

      December 11, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
      • Linda

        People who don't speak English aren't necessarily illegal aliens. They may not even be non citizens.

        December 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChrisP

      Now are we talking about traveling by living or traveling by visiting. If a foreigner comes to the US to visit then obviously no they would no need to know the language. But for the people thats been in the US for a couple years and have established afamily i think its time to grow up a little and learn english. I've lived in germany for a total of 3 years and not once did i expect anyone to talk to me in english. If they did i was thankful. But i always at least tried. Speaking german now that is not a problem but i see it with other americans who stay in germany for long periods of time. If your going to live somewhere stop trying to change it to home. Because then you should just go back to home. We are a melting pot for the diversities of people and ethnicities , not languages. I myself know 4 languages now and pursue a degree in linguistics and as much as i love foreign languages and different cultures its time for people to learn it or get out.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      And if I move to France or Italy, will they allow me to take a driving license test in English? If I gain the right to vote there, will they provide ballots in English? You are talking about countries that cater to English-speaking TOURISTS, not to their own residents. Only in America are we forced to spend tax dollars catering to legal residents who refuse to learn the common language.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ace

      Thank you! I lived in a foreign country for 9 years and have traveled all around the world... not once did anyone "expect" me to speak their language... they actually expected me not to speak their language. White Americans are seen as dumb by other countries because of our closed-mindedness towards other languages and cultures... why can't we try to change that?

      December 14, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Fred

    English is what our country was founded on? You mean, after the British imposed it on the inhabitants already living in America? Like on the natives Americans already living here centuries before? LIke on the French living in New Orleans or the Spanish in what is now Texas and the Southwest? Why do so many people seem to think that English is the holy language of America?

    December 11, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor's Pile Driver

      Because it IS. Simple as that. Stop making it complicated.

      December 13, 2011 at 3:34 am | Report abuse |
  32. Jashuwa

    The official language should be called American...we do not speak English...Residents of England Speak English....SMDH!!!!!

    December 11, 2011 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
    • TKS

      anyone who uses SMDh please get off the comment box... you have zero creditibily

      December 14, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Paul

    Many people who reply fail to realize this is The United States of America, Yes there were Languages before America was discovered but what country wasn't? Its a shame that We spend so much money because we want to accommodate all languages when we are an English speaking nation. They don't have the same problem in Mexico. English as the national language wouldnt deny anybody help but would help everybody understand each other, and cut costs too.

    December 10, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thor's Pile Driver

      They don't have the same problem in Mexico because there aren't as many self-hating liberals in Mexico.

      December 13, 2011 at 3:35 am | Report abuse |
  34. RonFromNM

    Your father was a hamster and your mother smells of elderberries!

    December 10, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  35. KBNJ

    I have to say I was very pleased to see the results of this poll! That said, I don't think anyone (at least anyone sane) is suggesting we force people to learn English. We just need a national language for all "official" business. Otherwise there's no end to the languages everything has to communicated in, our tax dollars are wasted, and commerce begins to get far more complex and expensive.

    December 10, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joey

      Well, we could illustrate this by requiring that ALL signage, menus, books, voting materials, traffic instructions, and so forth be translated into all languages of which there are speakers in the United States, and that all businesses, courts, etc. keep human translators standing by in case of non-English-speaking customers or clients. I assure you we would be overwhelmed in hours. In Los Angeles signage on buses is in English and often in Spanish, rarely in other languages, but Spanish is certainly as colonialist as English, even more so in this hemisphere.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Maoli

    Hypocrites. Hawaii was illegally overthrown by the USA in 1897 and the English language forced upon Hawaiians who had their own language. Same goes for Native Americans and Native Alaskans. Speak English in England.

    December 10, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      it is a sad thing, however when you loose a war for dominence, then you become the dominated. We (americans) won the wars on both counts, so we speak english, if the hawians and the native american want to try to reclaime there land, then by all means.

      December 10, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kendra

        It's hilarious to me how many people are so adamant on English as the official and only language yet display such poor spelling, grammar, and punctuation in their posts. If you're such an advocate for the English language, perhaps you should first demonstrate that you are capable of speaking and writing the English language properly. I would be satisfied if American children were able to graduate from high school with a solid grasp on any language. Clearly, we are educating an entire generation that is barely literate in any language, English or otherwise.

        December 11, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  37. CNNTom

    If you do not integrate into a society, you will always suffer. You may not want to hear that, but those are the facts. People who don't integrate and still wonder why they are poor are truly ignorant.

    I don't want wake up every morning, sit in traffic, deal with my boss, so someone immigrating from another country can create their own little enclave and not learn the language while we provide special classes and written material that teach them in their native language.

    December 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  38. todd

    really no one here should have an opinion on this unless they successfully assimilated into another culture once

    December 10, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt

      So i am an american veteran, and i should not have an opinion of my country's official language, eh?

      December 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • SciGuy

      This is nonsense. Does one have to have been raped to have an opinion about rape?

      December 10, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I have been to a few foreign countries and met local people. In each country, the people I met wanted me to learn their language even though I was only visiting. Imagine if I wanted to live there?

      December 10, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Dell Remington

    My ethnicity is German, Dutch, English. I am learning to speak Spanish, French and German. English is spoken by most countries around the world...it's almost a universal language. Why change now? All languages are welcome, but the official language should remain English!

    December 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Actually, the United States doesn't have an official language. English is just the de facto language.

      December 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill


      December 10, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  40. njp289

    The nativity of the language isn't my concern, it's the implications of making anything official like this. If English is the official language, and someone speaks another language, how do you force them to speak English? Is it moral to force someone to do anything? How can we consider ourselves a free society if people are being forced to speak anything? I think there is a natural trend to learn English in this country based on a need for survival. Whatever people speak in their own homes is their business. When my grandparents came to this country, they were forced to learn English, even while living in an Italian borough. I think things are fine the way they are, people will have to learn English to survive, and that's OK by me, we shouldn't have to get the government to force other people to behave like us, that's their prerogative.

    December 10, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      The govt. forces you to do all sorts of things. If someone can speak english but chooses to address you in a forgien language make a comment that you don't speak thier language and walk away if they continue. It will be thier loss.

      December 10, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trevor

      You are 100% correct. This Mark guy below doesn't understand the meaning of living in a free country. The use of force by the government against its citizens is rarely justified.

      December 10, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt

      "If English is the official language, and someone speaks another language, how do you force them to speak English?"

      ANSWERr: you give them an English test before granting citizenship.

      Is it moral to force someone to do anything?
      ANSWER: No one is forcing an immigrant to apply for US citizenship. He has over 150 countries to choose from.

      How can we consider ourselves a free society if people are being forced to speak anything?
      ANSWER: "free society" is a completely illogical concept. So if I cannot yell "fire" in a crowded movie theater, I am not living in a free society? In order for a nation to succeed it needs laws, and a very logical law is that all the nations people are able to communicate verbally with eachother. No one is saying that you need to speak English at your dinner table. The debate is if English should be the official language. And the answer is such a resounding "yes" that it is absurd that it is a serious debate.

      December 10, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      It is easy to force the issue. Make is illigal to have drivers liscence tests in non-english. Make it illigal to get a bank account with out a US ID. Make it so the parents of non-english speaking childeren have to PAY to have there kids taught something they should have already learned. If they kid cant speak english/comprehend it at there grade level FAIL THEM. If a student fails more then once, make the parents pay for the extra years of schooling. But more importantly fine ALL COMPANIES WHO HIRE ILLIGALS HUGE, like 100 time the profits they get from the illigal workers. Do all that and in 3 years our nation would be back on top again.

      December 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Your High School English Teacher

        Really? Do you not see the complete irony of everything you just said?
        It's spelled "illegal"... and it should be "THEIR grade level".
        America is strong because we allow such freedoms. The attraction and appeal of America is its freedom and prosperity which many immigrants of this country came to for. What Asian businessman wants to set up a company in America if it means removal from his own culture. What if you move to another country and they forced you to learn their native language? I honestly don't care if that's realistic or not, but look at it from others point of view instead of your own narrow minded ideology. And stop being a hypocrite because that's what America is all too prosperous with right now.

        December 10, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • mickey1313

        to highschool teacher. First my spelling, I am typeing in a closed window while working and answering phones, so im not to sad about my spelling. Second, I have no problem with someone speaking a different language, I have a problem that in my profesilnal carrier, stupid people think I should learn another language to make there lives easier. Im a 4th gen american, my parents speak english my grandparents speak (spoke) english, and my g. grandparents on both sides imigrated legally, and learned it.

        December 10, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • mickey1313

        more food for thought for my highschool english teacher is this; If i were to move out of the US, I WOULD LEARN MY NEW LANGUAGE LONG BEFORE I MOVED. To do otherwise is a huge disrespectful slap in the face of your new home. Just try to go live in mexico and act like an american and see if last. However mexicans want to come here, steal jobs, steal social benifits (wellfare food stamps ect. but still be mexican. It simplt doesnt work that way, you must choose, asimilate into the US, or STAY THE F IN YOUR HOMELAND.

        December 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • elle

        Your punctuation, spelling, grammar, and syntax are so poor that I would hesitate to say you actually speak, or at least write English. You are in a glass house when it comes to judging others.

        December 10, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • RonFromNM

      I just think it should be "official" as in official business. You do anything w/ govt it should be in English... get a driver's license, fill out forms, attend public school etc. We don't need the tax expense of having multi-language road signs, driver's manuals and so on. Beyond that, speak whatever you like, I think it's fun to hear other languages and learn to speak them.

      December 10, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Navneet Vishwanathan

    Well, we are living in America, so, why not support our ignorance and make "American," our national language.

    December 10, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  42. guardbear

    You were conquered. Get over it.

    December 10, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  43. softball80

    The American military requires its personnel to be able to speak and understand English before they are allowed to actively serve. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) requires you to speak in English. You could be disciplined if you don't. I feel angry and upset that 96% of this country (stat from Wikipedia) speaks English and you still have to ask me to press two for Spanish or to select my language when I use an ATM. Clearly the America people have chosen what language they want to speak. So lets legalize it people.

    December 10, 2011 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  44. LadyeCatte

    What part of the English language would Newt want made "official"? Buffet? Aardvark? Tsunami? Bravo? Feng shui? Behemoth? Adobe? Harem? Or how about good ol' 'American' catsup?

    American English is a polyglot. Even more so since the Internet. The morons who insist on taking the faux superiority of American lingua this far have obviously never visited Los Angeles, seen a coyote chase a chipmunk, took a bath, or viewed the majestic beauty of a sequoia.

    I guess that just makes Mr. Gingrich a schmuck.

    December 9, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      So your saying we should revert to the original latin, or germanic base? If I or you go to another country to live wouldn't it benefit us to learn thier language? Are they going to accomodate you in Iran, North Korea, China, or pakistan? Will they waste millions of dollars printing everything in 2 or 3 languages? Over-educated people tend to over think things, a big reason our country is going down the tubes.

      December 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  45. DMB, Atlanta, Ga

    English is not native to the Americas. Just because a bunch of english speeking people came over on a boat does not make English the offical language of this country and it should never be. Cause if you want to go there, Navajo, Hopi, Muskogee, Chippawa, Cherokee, Cree, Fox, Souix, Apache, Comanche, et al should be the offical languages of the USA.
    My scottish great grand mother hated the way americans spoke, she said that they butchered the "King's English". My Muskogee Great grand mother olnly spoke english when she had to. Unfornunately my africian american relatives had no choice but to speek their version of english. Go figure.

    December 9, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Spanish isnt native to mexico...english isnt even native to the UK Arabic isnt native to egypt, Iran, tunisia, or Lybia

      December 10, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Jonathan

    I guarantee that if you go to any other country in the world, and you want to do more than buy a t-shirt and find the bathroom, you better learn their language.

    I remember several years ago, I was in line at the grocery store, talking to the cashier. She was saying how she wanted to transfer to a different city to be with her family, but couldn't because she didn't speak Spanish, and the stores there required you to speak Spanish. This wasn't LA or Miami. She worked in Spokane, WA, and wanted to move to Kennewick, WA. She couldn't move to be with her family because some podunk little town had a large population of people who never bothered to learn the language of the country they were living in. That's just not right – unless you're an interpreter, or someone that deals in foreign countries, you should never have to learn a foreign language in order to work in your own country.

    December 9, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      Agreed, Im in the medical field, and you would not believe the number of ignorant f**ks in this field. I get calls from nurses all day long that cannot understand english, and when I ask to speak to there supervisor, they say "well maybe you should learn spanish"

      December 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • ABC

        Ignorant because they don't speak English? What you just said is extremely ethnocentric and racist.

        December 11, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
      • Gabby

        @ABC, well that's calling the kettle black. He could learn spanish, but the nurses could also learn English.

        December 12, 2011 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor's Pile Driver

      Hear hear! In San Fran, even the recorded announcements on the MUNI buses are now in 3 languages – English, Spanish, and Chinese. It's madness. Utter madness.

      December 13, 2011 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
      • White Guilt

        How insensitive. How could they leave out Ebonics? What if someone from the greater Bay Area needs to use the bus.

        December 15, 2011 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
  47. DMB, Atlanta, Ga

    English isn't native to this country, Cherokee, Chippawa, Navajo, Muskogee etc. these are the native languages to this country. English was forced upon the native people because white folks didn't want to learn native languages. In the 19th century after they storm trooped thier way across the country, THE GREAT WHITE FATHERS in Washington set up boarding schools and took children from their families and tribes (they didn't ask) and beat the langhuages and culture out of these children. Now do you want to repeat? Now one has no choice whether they want to speak english or not?

    December 9, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      You are correct as far as the native language however you seem to have missed the fact that settlement of our country was acomplished by predominately european settlers. The mistakes made by the first settlers are numerous and sad but there was no guidline and no fixing the mistakes. The fact is our country is European based and english speaking. Part of the american culture is the english language. Part of my faimily was native american, part was german and some were english, and irish. I remember my grandpa who learned english and taught his kids english. My grandpa was proud of his american citizenship papers and proud that he learned to speak english. I'm sure it was difficult as english is confusing to say the least but he did it on his own while working to build our country and his life.

      December 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  48. DMB, Atlanta, Ga

    English isn't a native tongue of this country. Cherokee, Chippawa,Navajo, Muskogee, Etc., these are the native languages of this country. Can you dig it? The children of native people were taken from thier parents and had their language and culture beaten out of them in government boarding schools. This is why so many languages are on the verge of going extint because white man knew better. This is what you want? Leave it alone you already did enough damage!

    December 9, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  49. James Smiley

    English has always been the de facto official language. Waves of immigrants - Italian, Swedish, German, Russian, you name it - have come here. The first generation has always learned enough English to get by and relied on their children - who always have learned English in school and on the streets - when they needed help. I have had a state legislator, in the same conversation, tell me how proud he was that his grandparents still spoke German at home but he wanted English declared the official language to deal with the current Hispanic immigrants. Go figure!

    his is a non-issue trumped up by bigots whose own parents or relatives likely would have been deported had this "law" been in place.

    We have more pressing problems. this one will take care of itself, as it always has. Ask the Hispanics attending school now.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Thomas

    I think we should make Gingrich America's Official Whipping Boy.

    December 9, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  51. Jim970

    My family is German. Does that mean that they should be able to go to a government office and expect to be served in German? Of course not. There is one simple answer. Make English the official language. Conduct official business in the official language. Trying to cater/pander to every possible language is not wise. (By the way, my family all learned English so they could get along and fit in.)

    December 8, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • pete

      I'm English, I would be happy to teach Americans to speak the Queen's English 🙂 So should it not say. Make American the offical language?

      December 9, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • moonwillow

        No. It should read: "Make American English the offical language"

        December 9, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • ABC

        So then, what is American English? Is that the dialect they speak in the Southern states? Is that the dialect spoken in many African American communities? Is that the dialect they speak in New England? How can there ever be one "official" language?

        December 11, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
      • Rick

        Well then if you really are English, then you should no that only a small minority of people in England actually speak "The Queen's English". So why would your being English mean that you necessarily speak "The Queen's English", let alone have sufficient knowledge of it to teach it? Just a point of historic interest for the langauge purist: much of what is classified as "American English" (regional differences not taken into account, of course), is more English than what is widely spoken in England today. Indeed, American English regularly uses certain tenses (conjuctive), turns of phrase, punctuations, and pronounciations of certain consonants and dipthongs that were the norm in most of England about 400 years ago. This 'fronzen-in-time' aspect of the American dialaect is what is known amongst linguists as "colonial lag". In the days before mass media, contact between the root-culture and the colonies was sproradic. As a result, colonial tounges tended to change at a slower rate than those of the root culture. Why this happens is not well understood.... I know this is a bit off topic, but I just wanted to put that out there. Indeed, we see that American English is a dialect in its own right and not just some vulgarization of some aethereal standard known as "The Queen's English". A good reference on this topic is:
        " A History of the English Langauge" (Albert C Baugh & Thomas Cable, 5th Edition, 2002).

        December 11, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  52. SnehGbe

    If we make English the "official language" today, what happens tomorrow, when we have the inevitable Hispanic Majority? Has Newt The Know It All Right Hope thought about that?

    December 8, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • moonwillow

      Maybe they will have learned English? PS. I hate Newt

      December 8, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • Raúl

        Do you know Newt well enough to "hate" him? Have you ever met him? Do you know him personally? What an ignorant comment. If you don't like his policies then say, "I don't like his policies or I don't agree with him." Grow up people. Same goes for GOP who "hate" Obama. You don't know these people personally, only what you hear in the media, half of which is slanted, twisted, or flat out lies. LMAO about how stupid we can be.

        December 10, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • eve

      Just people are hispanic doesn't mean that they don't speak English. Most hispanics in the US are US citizens and speak, read, and write the language.

      December 9, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Alicia

    Why should we cater to people who are too stupid/lazy to learn English?

    December 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alicia in Wonderland...

      It's shame your brain doesn't function properly...

      December 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • moonwillow

        Alicia "In Wonderland" your name says it all.

        December 9, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • You're clueless...

        Moonwillow... Yes, my name did say it all... too bad you don't have the mental capacity to understand it...

        December 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • moonwillow

        When you have nothing intelligent to add to a conversation, just come up with the insults. How is it out there in wonderland?

        December 9, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • moonwillow

        What's up with the ellipsis???

        December 9, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • You're (still) clueless...

        If added several intelligent points but, like I said before, you missed them... {sigh}

        December 9, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sweetpeae

      I agree and I don't understand why anyone would come to this country and expect us to speak to them in their language.


      December 9, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Foxpoet

      I knew an African immigrant that spoke only an African tongue and French. She was lucky enough to be able to afford private language tutoring - but still had great difficulties learning American English. I agree that all children should be taught English in school, but how is it appropriate to deny government services to adults while they learn to speak English? My African acquaintance paid taxes just like everyone else. Refusing to accommodate legal immigrants who aren't fluent in English is illegal discrimination, plain and simple.

      December 9, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • moonwillow

        No one advocates denial of government services to adults while they learn to speak English. At least, not I.

        December 9, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • Holly

        No one is say refuse services for those that do not speak english, but instead of the taxpayers paying for multi-language printings and/or translators. Non-english speaking need to bring their own translator.

        December 11, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Richard

    What purpose would it serve? People will speak Spanish, French, German, Polish etc. If they don't learn English are you going to send them to jail? All official business is in English any way. By the way we speak American not English.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • moonwillow

      Visit your local security office, welfare office, unemployment office and see how many interpreters are there.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • moonwillow

        "social security" office

        December 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • OC

        So we'll stop hiring interpreters just because English is our official language? English is the official language of the UK, but they still have court interpreters.

        I think people support this because they think people speaking foreign languages will just go away or learn English all of a sudden. I don't see any point in turning our de facto official language to a du jure official language.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt

      We don't speak American. We speak English

      December 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • CliffinTex

      You must live in a small town in Kansas. In many places the official "language" depends on what the native speaker's language is. To try and draw a distinction between English and American English is absurd...and redundant.

      December 14, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Mary

    and yet... aren't we brought up that AMERICA is a FREE country.....????

    i would jump ship and move to canada before i see people in office like you that hold any actual power.... personally i feel ashamed to call you an American but then again you probalby think the same as me. so i guess were "kepéla". It means standing on opposite sides of the river.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  56. moonwillow

    The word 'official' means it will be used officially; you know, like when you want to communicate with government offices, like when you want to vote, drive a car, etc. Stop being so disingenuous. You know what official means!

    December 8, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • tvmc

      Thanks. Then you've convinvced me to be against "official". I completely appreciate it when I visit other countries and they try to accomodate foreigners – government offices, parks, emergency services, etc. It makes me want to go back to visit. How are you able to determine "disengenuous" online?

      December 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Can't we all just learn to communicate?

    My grandmother is Puerto Rican, and did not speak one word of English prior to leaving Puerto Rico and moving here. If an elderly woman can learn, why can't everyone? She still speaks Spanish, but is able to conduct herself outside of our family and community because she made the effort to learn English, and made sure her kids spoke both languages fluently.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • tvmc

      I don't think you understand. Those who wish to make English the official language are not going to stop until your mother no longer speaks ANY other language besides English. Read the history books of this country. It wasn't too long ago that Spanish (and German in some locations) was against to law to use in public places (i.e., public schools, Texas history).

      December 8, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • moonwillow

        The German language was disallowed because of WWII. Names of towns and streets were changed. Germans changed their names and stopped speaking German for fear of being labelled Nazi. This has nothing to do with his subject. Why did you even bring that up?

        December 8, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • Colleen

        Actually, the use of German in public or private schools was banned in a couple of states as earlyas the 1890's. Folks felt threatened by the many German parochial schools started by the mass wave of German immigrants from the mid-1800's. As hostile and racist as we are now to Mexican immigrants, folks were just as bad to German immigrants back then. There were hundreds of "Germania's" [towns where the language, official and common, was German] up until World War I.

        December 8, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • tvmc

        Thanks Colleen. I am sooo glad you chimed in to give moonwillow this information. I think he fails to understands that sometimes laws/rules stem from irrational fears and may lead to mistreatment of groups. I'm aware that German Americans were treated poorly in certain communities, as were Chinese, African (various), Italians, Irish and so on. I think it's perfectly ok to admit and mourn our errors of the past. I don't like that we tell people "just get over it". It's rather insensitive.

        December 8, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  58. T

    it said that so many of you feel that English should be declare the official language. I contend with the fact that is 'American' would know their history none of these issues will be considered important. Who is an America anyway? Where do you come from? I can only think of one group that can be considered true Ameican and they are the people which the system has labelled 'Native Americans' and as far as i know their original language is not english. People know your history then you can talk from sense instead of personal emotions.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Restel

      Back in the 1900's when immigration from all over the world to this country was at its greatest; Germans, Poles, Chinese, Italians, French and may others who came to these shores, at first banded together in sections with people whose language they understood. This is how they got things done then. But as time went by they learned English because it happened to be the prevalent language and using one language made it easier for them all to communicate. Over the years English was always the prevalent language and eventually became the language of the land. Even the French who taught the Indians their language learned to speak English and so did the Indians. Just remember the story of the Tower of Babel and you can see why one language is always best.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • atheist biblical scholar

        Restel: "Just remember the story of the Tower of Babel and you can see why one language is always best." Actually, I'm pretty sure that God wasn't down with that whole "one language" thing. In fact, God seems to be pretty keen on a multiplicity of diverse languages, a veritable confusion of polysyllabic glory... check it out...

        Genesis 11:1-9: The Tower of Babel

        1 Now the whole Earth used the same language and
        the same words.
        2 And it came about as they journeyed east, that
        they found a plain in the land of Shinar and
        settled there.
        3 And they said to one another, "Come, let us make
        bricks and burn them thoroughly." And they used
        brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar.
        4 And they said, "Come, let us build for ourselves
        a city, and a tower whose top will reach into
        heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name; lest
        we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole
        5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the
        tower which the sons of men had built.
        6 And the LORD said, "Behold, they are one people,
        and they all have the same language. And this is
        what they began to do, and now nothing which they
        purpose to do will be impossible for them."
        7 "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their
        language, that they may not understand one
        another's speech."

        8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there
        over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped
        building the city.
        9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because
        there the LORD confused the language of the whole
        earth; and from there the LORD scattered them
        abroad over the face of the whole earth (Genesis
        11:1-9 NAS).

        December 12, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  59. World Traveller

    As far as making English an official language, I'm all for it. However, don't tell people if they can't learn the language to go home. How many of you have travelled overseas to live and couldn't speak the language? After a while it became a serious frustration for you and nothing you said was understood by the citizen of that country, did you understand them when they said, "Silly American go home if you can't speak our language." The majority of the world has designated a specific language for that country and most of those with an ounce of common sense try to learn a few choice words or phrases to get by when they choose to visit that particular country. We as Americans have this serious chip on our shoulders and really need to get off our high horse and understand what another person has to go through in order to live in our great nation. Because, I can guarantee that if the shoe was on the other foot, and we were in another country having to deal with the same animosity that we dish out, most of us would run to the nearest embassy to complain or talk down or about the hosting nation.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • moonwillow

      I have travelled to seven countries and before I left the US, I took conversational languages. (Six of them were German speaking and one Italian. 🙂

      December 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  60. CJ Topspin

    "This is America - English should be our official language. If you choose to be here, you need to learn the language"

    Is it wrong that I almost cried with happiness when I saw that 70% of people feel this way as well? It gives me hope...hope that this country will soon fight back.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • BenP

      I'm confused. What are we fighting back against? Don't get me wrong, as a principle, I'm all for 'fighting back'. 'Fighting Back' implies I've already been attacked by some aggressor, so why wouldn't I want to respond? It's just that I can't figure out what could possibly be attacking me that would be scared off by making English the official language of the USA. Does anybody really feel that English is seriously under attack? I don't mean this as a glib retort. It's an honest question. Is English under attack and I just don't know it? If so, I'd love some examples so that I can understand.

      As for declaring English the official language, I can't shake the feeling that the arguments for doing so haven't changed since Benjamin Franklin, who argued for it by saying (in reference to German immigrants):
      "Why should the Palatine Boors be suffered to swarm into our Settlements, and by herding together establish their Language and Manners to the exclusion of ours? Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion?"
      Sure, the language might be more PC now, but I can't help but think that the arguments are more similar than dissimilar.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • moonwillow

        So, you see how wrong Benjamin Franklin was!

        December 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • BenP

        No, not wrong. I merely find the barely concealed fear-mongering and demonization of 'otherness' contained within his argument repugnant. How is this a zero-sum issue? Where did the "it's either us or them" come from? And yet, those seem to be common themes in this debate, pervading Mr. Franklin's argument and many since then.

        If there is an argument for the ELA that is not based upon the notion of an on-going culture war or of some ill-defined aggressor coming after the American way of life, I really would like to hear it. While those types of arguments seem to me to be the most common, I'm sure there are others. I'm just not sure I've heard them yet.

        December 8, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Michelle

    There is nothing more irritating to me than being asked by a machine or phone if I want to speak English...this is AMERICA...of course I want to speak English!!! The fact that were catering to those who don't learn the language actually makes the problem worse. Either speak the language or go home. I've lived in several places also...when I was stationed in Germany I learned enough to get by. Yes the German's laughed at my attempts sometimes, but they appreciate the effort nonetheless. If you want to be an American, prove it.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anders

      Why even use a phone if it's irritating to say two syllables?

      I would assume that it would be a very simple task for you to speak in your native English language. Then again, plenty of Americans are just too plain lazy to say, "English" to a machine.

      December 11, 2011 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
      • LibsLie

        You are the example of political correctness gone insane, one could say the say for you being irritated the phone doesn't ask........

        December 12, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • LibsLie

        You are the example of political correctness gone insane, one could say the same back at you for you being irritated the phone doesn't ask........or us paying for fifteen different drivers license exams and paying more instructors that must speak four languages........

        December 12, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  62. f

    When past immigrants came to America, they worked hard to learn the language and ways of their new country. After decades of Spanish-speaking immigrants not learning English, we now have a load of Mid Eastern people who refuse to learn. When the Italians, Germans, Irish, Russians, Indians, Chinese, Koreans, etc. came they learned quickly. What is the problem with these "new" people? Many Spanish-speakers are on their 3rd generation of not speaking English. Don't believe me? Go to the Bronx.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Colleen

      The Germans took three to four generations to learn any English; and even longer to lose their native tongue. They started arriving in Colonial times and up until Word War I there were hundreds of whole towns where German was the official language, especially in the upper mid-West.

      December 8, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • moonwillow

        And the Amish still hold onto their German language, in those areas you cite.

        December 9, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
      • LibsLie

        And those whole towns were utterly self sufficient not relying on US taxpayers to fund multiplicity of languages or reliance on welfare, public schools........hmmmmmm yea maybe you're right we should let those that come here do it all themselves including not hiring any......if here illegally of course. We'd save a bundle, course the Germans also did not come here to fill our prisons.

        December 12, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • tvmc

      This is what happens when we politicize history courses and textbooks or simply ignore history altogether. You get people who make general statements without regard for good historical analysis. Once again, thanks Colleen. I, for one, thank you for enlightening us with accurate information.

      December 8, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • LibsLie

        Hardly good historical analysis and vs mass migration hardly relevant...........

        December 13, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  63. Michael

    This issue comes up every election cycle and ever election cycle it is another excuse to bash immigrants and try and frighten monolingual English speaking Americans into thinking that somehow their way of life is being threatened so that they'll vote for the conservative. English already is America's de facto offical language and I challenge any of these bigots promoting this to find me even one example of a person born and raised in America who doesn't speak English. Remaining monolingual only occurs with the first generation immigrant. So my question is, if we make English the official language, are we going to arrest non-English speakers? Is the government now going to foot the bill for mandatory English classes for all the non-English speakers?

    December 8, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  64. American Public

    The best way to make sure everyone is on the same page is that we all speak the same language, otherwise we're not as united as we think. If immigrants- legal or not- want to speak their own language in their homes that's fine, but learn English so we can communicate with each other. Let's try to be ONE nation instead of a collection of individual cultures living in the same country.

    December 7, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  65. DonJose

    Making English the officxial languiage of the USA is an insult to Native Americans. A decent thing to do would be to make English, and Spanish (New Mexico) and French (Luisiana), and Gulla and all Native american languages official languages of the United States.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • moonwillow

      You are a comedian or totally nutty

      December 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Al. S.

    I was born in Europe and at the age of ten when I Emigrated to the USA I spoke 5 Languages, English was not one of them. Within 2 years I spoke English as well or better than those born here. My Mother took about 5 years and my dad spoke limited English, but enough to be understood. While in the USAF I wrote home in German, which was not the Language of Croatia where I was born.

    After living in the USA for about 10 years I could hardly put together a Sentence in any European Languade. In HS I was not allowed to take German, but forced to take Spanish and Latin. When did I realize that I was a real american? It was when Instead of thinking in Gewrman all my thought processes changed to US English. While in the USAF I would pick up the local dialect within a month or two and the locals all thought I was actually from that area.

    The Government should conduct all Official business in English. As I did anyone can speak whatever Language they want in their Home or Community. It is extremely annoying when one calls any Business or uses an ATM, they must choose from a dozen languages.

    Even more annoying was the fact that I worked in a 911 Center and many callers could not speak a word of english, It took time to try to figure out what language they were using annd then call aTranslation Service on a three-way. Then try giving prearrival instruction to a translater who then passed it on. Lives were at stake and often we ware to late. Why? Because these people were here sometimes for years and did not take the time to even learn a few basic sentences.

    December 7, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Harry Macgreggor

    by all means ehglish should be the official language of the U.S. If you go to other countries they have their own official language, there is no reason not to have our own. So it is English. Ya don't like it, SEE YA!!! pepole come to this country to get away from their own countries attrocities and think living here is going to be easier and better? Don't force your language or culture on Americans. Keep it to yourself. Except American indians leave them alone. Don't go to another country and try to push your cultures on them, don't do it here.

    December 7, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      I believe we SHOULD enforce English, at the very least to our youth's generation. Immigrants and natives alike need to realize that no matter what the background, a common language is beneficial for everyone. It helps them integrate into society, and gives them and their children equal opportunities.

      PS: While I sympathize with most pro-English comments, I think it's pathetic when those who say "ENGLISH ONLY" have spelling/grammatical errors in their posts. It speaks a lot about us Americans... Looks like some people coasted 4th grade English...

      December 8, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  68. LJ

    Here's something for all of you "English Only" people – How about we all are made to learn Navajo? This land was stolen (taken by force, etc.) What do you tell Natives? That this is America and they have to learn English. Good luck w/ that. Most of you cats are of Irish, German, French, etc. decent. You say English should be the official language out of latent racism. Do you say to an Italian that they have to speak English? How about to a German, Frenchman, or Irishman? No one complains about someone speaking those languages because they're fair skinned. This country is full of racism and it's truly disgusting. I do believe that people should have to learn English, but to make the official language is wrong. This country has a myriad of cultures and ethnicities and was founded as a "safe haven of the world" for ANYONE to come to and be themselves....

    December 7, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • moonwillow

      No one told the Italians, Germans, Polish, etc., they had to speak English, because they did it voluntarily. The melded into socety while still holding to their ethnicity in their homes and neighborhoods. And speaking Navajo? How about Apache, Tlingit, Apache, Oneida, Mohawk–you are ridiculous

      December 7, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      French and German? The founding fathers of the US (and I don't just mean Washington, Jefferson, etc...) were Englishmen!

      December 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Rachel

    yes please vote for Newt or Paul..

    English should be the official language. I tutor ESL students in college. A good number of them will not be able to function in society. They have essentially "gotten by" in their high schools or college classes. They enter the workforce unable to type a legible email, write a paragraph, etc. Its sad. Businesses need people who are articulate. It doesn't mean that you have to drop your home language or not speak it. It just means that the US will have a standard. However, I think the government should help immigrants and those unable to speak English by offering them courses in it for a small fee, that is required in order to gain citizenship. there should be different levels and have it set up like any other school. If you don't pass you don't get your citizenship... period.

    People who live here and can't speak English end up getting discriminated against, and its sad, but without an ability to command the English language to a certain extent (you dont have to be perfect but at least speak it etc) they end up getting bad jobs and having a lower quality of life overall. My own relative came to this country and this happened to them. They decided to learn English so people wouldn't rip them off anymore. There really is no excuse for not learning it. While the US is a melting pot, or a tossed salad (whatever metaphor you prefer)...both dishes need salt in order to taste good.. In this case the salt is English..

    December 7, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      Will making English the official language also improve the English skills of native speakers? I read the drivel coming from college students all the time, and I promise you the skills of ESL students are the least of our worries.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Cullen

    Having an official language doesn't bar people from speaking whatever language they want in their private lives, but we need a single language to serve as our language of business.

    The United States has always been a melting pot, but in the past, immigrants came here and learned English so that they might better meld with American culture and eventually become part of the American culture. By not having an official language and enabling immigrants to exist without having to ever master the English language, we are creating a class of people who will never become "American" but will always be some hyphenated group with no loyalties to their new nation.

    December 7, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Fast Eddy

      But English has never been established as an official language, even though all immigrant groups have learned the language. I really don't see any compelling reasons that the official language status should change, nor any critical evidence (not just 'press 1 for english' and individual anecdotes) that current immigrants threaten our ability to communicate with each other

      December 10, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  71. TAM

    This is America and it prides itself I'm being the 'Land of the Free'. Free to be whomever we are – regardless of race, color, religion, etc. I would assume that this land of freedom would extend to being free to speak whatever language one can or chooses. I personally have lived in various countries throughout the world and I was never penalized for speaking English. I lived in a South American country for over 7 years and as hard as I tried, I never was able to master Spanish and speak it fluently. Call me stupid if you will but my inability to master another language was not due to my lack of trying. My own grandparents came from Europe in 1910 and neither one were able to master English. As laws require children to be educated, the children of immigrants would naturally learn the English language. Regarding the issue of perhaps becoming a juror someday – is, in my mind, totally irrelevant. Each member of the jury must have the ability to understand English 'perfectly' in order for him/her to ultimately make the 'perfect decision' and that cannot be guaranteed regardless of what language they speak. America is rich because of this diversity and not because of its limitations. Enough said!

    December 7, 2011 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Templar

      The freedom to speak the language of one's choice is not the issue. The issue is a common language for purposes of general and official communication necessary to the orderly conduct of government, public, and private business. In the United States of America that language is, and should be officially recognized as, English. What one chooses to speak in one's home, personal intercourse, and socially among friends and family, is and should remain a personal choice.

      December 7, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
      • Kevin

        I think that laws should be passed to address problems. I don't see the problem here. English is the de-facto common language. It's not going anywhere. I have never had a problem dealing with goverment agencies in English. To me, this seems like a non-issue. There is no problem, so there needs to be no "solution." I live in a bi-lingual household. My children speak Spanish at home and with other Spanish-speakers. They expect most everything else to be conducted in English. So again, what's the problem? This is similar to voter fraud... there was no problem there, yet there was a compulsion to create a laws. There is an ancient Roman saying that I'm paraphrasing – The more laws a society has, the less civilized it is.

        December 8, 2011 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • matt

      "This is America" means something firstly, the "and it prides itself" is secondary. America isn't some random piece of ground that has no culture. Its culture is English speaking, just like its national holidays are july 4th, thanksgiving, veteran's day, etc. Being a "land of the free" does not mean "you are not part of a culture" English is absolutely at the core of our culture; and thus, it should absolutely be the official language.

      December 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  72. snowing in michigan

    Establishing English as the official language is a good idea and I have an example of why it's needed:

    Last year I was summoned to jury duty and during jury selection, in the court room, 2 potential jurors asked that their children serve as their translators! When pressed about this, they admitted that they had their children fill out the questionnaire ahead of time. They also admitted that they gained citizenship over 20 years ago and took no effort to learn english. The judge chastised them for their laziness, told them to learn the language and dismissed them.

    Moral of the story? From my experience, all legal proceedings are done in English and unless a potential juror is blind or deaf, the court will make no special language accommodations for people who can't speak or read english. Living in the USA means becoming a potential juror someday, so the government is expecting that all immigrants learn to read, write and understand english by the time they take the citizenship test.

    If we're going to make English the official language, we need to have resources available to help people (especially the adults) learn the language.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
    • bob

      no way. we already spend too much money making labels, signs, etc bilingual.

      December 7, 2011 at 7:00 am | Report abuse |
    • LJ

      Actually, most legalese is in Latin. A "dead language" today. So in order to function effectively in law, gov't, etc. should everyone be made to learn Latin again?

      December 7, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  73. izy

    racist!!!! move to another country and try asking for rights, you will end up like those kids in Iran, Im latino and I was BORN IN NYC, I AM AMERICAN AND I HAVE EVERY FREAKIN RIGHT TO SPEAK SPANISH AND WATCH SPANISH TV AND LISTEN TO SALSA!!!!!

    December 6, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  74. moonwillow

    John, LOL

    December 6, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Cruddy

    By "official" does that mean their is a punishment for not speaking English? Also does that mean there is a requirement that all citizens are able to speak English? If so then I vote no. Now if he means that it will be the commonly agreeded upon language to communicate then thats fine. I dont think there needs to be a formal declaration of how "official" it is.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      No, "official" does not criminalize speaking a foreign language.

      December 6, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Thor

    Even as arrogant and invasive the Nordic invaders of Europe were, when they invaded France, they learned French... or a very close approximation of it. THEY even adopted the local customs. Rollo even became Catholic! So... over the mellenia, I have done likewise as my fathers, and my mothers before me. Why can't others?

    December 6, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • moonwillow


      December 6, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      "Knew" no bounds....!

      December 6, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • moonwillow

      No. Because the arrogance of the present group 'knows no bounds'

      December 6, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
      • moonwillow

        You said: "over the mellenia, I have done likewise as my fathers, and my mothers before me. Why can't others?"
        I said: "Because the arrogance of the present illegal immigrants knows now bounds" How much more clear can I get?

        December 6, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cinman

      Maybe they just liked it better? Food could have been a real improvement. Oh yes, the Normans were Viking descendants but spoke Norman not French.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • moonwillow

        I believe he said "Nordic" The Nordic countries make up a region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and their associated territories, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland. In English, Scandinavia is sometimes used as a synonym for most of the Nordic countries (but excluding Greenland), but that word refers only to Denmark, Norway and Sweden.[1]
        Not Normans

        December 6, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • moonwillow

        And Normans are from Normandy and speak FRENCH

        December 6, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      That's not entirely true. Languages develop and change based on all kinds of influences, including invaders. The Saxons (a region in Germany) invaded the British Isles and had a profound impact on the language spoken there.

      December 6, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • moonwillow

        Bill, you got it backwards. English is derived from German: http://www.rotary-muenchen.de/2005-2006/theo-vennemann.pdf

        December 6, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Trent Mike

    Just a quick point. In the UK it has the de facto official language which is English. However Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Lowland Scots, Cornish, Irish, British Sign Language are all official protected languages. If you go to Wales, signs, laws etc will be in Welsh as well as English.
    On top of this we have our numerous local dialects. Many of you could not understand a Geordie speaking their local version of English. We embrace it. Why not do the same in the states? Celebrate your diversity & history.
    By the way, the opposite is true of France which since Napoleonic times has sought to eradicate local dialects, insisting on an official single version of French. Only the Basque and Breton languages hold out.

    December 6, 2011 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • bongiojf

      Trent, the big difference is that Wales, Scotland, England, etc were at one time conquered. That comparison doesn't hold up. German , Lao, Tagalog, Canton, Italian, and Spanish are currently spoken by immigrants. They are not conquered. Even when considering Spanish, nearly all speakers of Spanish are one or two generations removed from migrants of one sort or another. So it was a choice coming to the states, an English speaking nation.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  78. Joe Bob


    December 6, 2011 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  79. Historian

    i think American should be our language. not English. I am teaching people Navajo so we can be true americans.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      And the First NATIONS are deceased now, so no verification that any nation beyond the great mountains actually resided in North America.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
      • Michael

        Um, are you suggesting that there's no proof that this land was full of native tribes before Europeans invaded?

        December 6, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
      • moonwillow

        Michael, Thor is weird

        December 6, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  80. nwi

    Why does government need to do anything at all to regulate language? Shouldn't the market decide which and how many languages are spoken?

    December 6, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • AGuest9

      Which means that whoever can breed like co.ckroaches gets to choose the language. I think that's what's trying to be avoided here.

      December 7, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  81. Roger

    I can only help but feel that English must be made the official language of the United States. If we do not have a common language, how can we ensure that everyone has access to important things such as emergency services, education, basic necessities, and be able to understand laws and regulations for themselves if they do not have a command of English? After all, either we make things available in only 1 language or we must make things available in every language. Also, how can people effectively communicate with one another if we have no common language? Part of the melting pot coming together is the sharing of a dream but that dream can only be shared if all have the same opportunities. We all can not have the same opportunities if we all can not communicate together.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • nwi

      Yes, is English even spoken here anymore? It is all so confusing............

      December 5, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • RdclCntrst

      "If we do not have a common language, how can we ensure that everyone has access to important things such as emergency services, education, basic necessities, and be able to understand laws and regulations for themselves if they do not have a command of English?"

      What if those services were provided in a language other than English? I live in suburban Maryland, and the local hospital offers service in Spanish, Chinese, and Korean in addition to English. In neighborhoods that are mostly or exclusively Latino, those services are offered primarily in Spanish. Your argument doesn't hold water.

      December 6, 2011 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
      • moonwillow

        And what if there were no translators available? And what is the cost to hire these translators? You say they already have positions other than translators? Then what if I want to apply for that position for which I am totally qualified and told I don't have the requirement, "bilingual"? It has happened to me many times. Just read the employment ads: "BILINGUAL PREFERRED". Don't tell me to get off my lazy duff and learn. Tell the immigrants to get off the lazy duffs and learn English.

        December 6, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
      • Roger

        It doesnt hold water? First of all, I am sure in this country a good lawyer could sue a place that is suppose to provide a public service paid for with taxpayer money and was deliberately catering to a select ethnic or cultural group without catering to all. See, if we want to be a fair country, we either need to cater to all people's or cater to none. Therefore, for a hospital or a school that is publicly funded, to offer services to only a select few groups is absolutely wrong.

        December 10, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  82. MeMelvin

    What is troublesome is the that a politician like Gingrich says we need this law and many of you immediately declare it to be a great idea that will cure all our ills.

    Grow up! Gingrich is manipulating your emotions with an imaginary cure. It is all typical political BS. And boy is Newt good at it! WOW!

    December 5, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • moonwillow


      December 5, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
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