How can English be
“the official language”?

The Intellectually-Void Cynthia Davis is now promoting “English as the official language” of Missouri.

It is with the intent of preserving this unified culture that we hope this year to establish English as the official language of our state. The legislation we are considering would make English the language for all official proceedings in Missouri. This would mean that for the government to act officially, it would have to communicate in English. It would also mean the language of record is the English language, and that no one has a right to demand government services in any other language.

I have a handful of issues with the whole “English as the official language” political hot potato:

  1. This is another one of those issues like immigration*, gay marriage**, and late term abortions*** whose sole purpose is to get people fired up for no reason. Most people who immigrate the the US want to fit in, so they try very hard to learn the local language. Their children most certainly do. Don’t believe me? Go eat at one of the Italian restaurants on the Hill sometime. The older people working the kitchen, and Momma are all speaking Italian, but the younger generation speaks mostly english.
  2. English isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. Although it wouldn’t hurt you to learn a second language, if you stay in the U.S. you will be able to get through your life without having to learn Spanish, Arabic, or Chinese.
  3. English is a mish-mash language. There aren’t many (any?) pure English words. When we find a word in another language we like, we use it.
    • Anyone care for tacos or burritos for lunch? How about chicken lo mein?
    • Of course there can be no compromise or diplomacy on this issue; those being a French word don’t ‘cha know.
  4. If you were travelling to Mexico or France, and ran into an issue with the government, wouldn’t you hope that you could at least understand what was going on. I realize that there is a serious cost involved in having EVERYTHING in EVERY possible language, but having common documents in common languages seems reasonable.
  5. It reeks of nationalism. It’s another case of thumbing our noses (origin unknown) at the international community. Can’t we learn to play nice with our neighbors

On the plus side, if we make English the official language, we can no longer use the name Cynthia Davis in official state documents –

The girl’s name Cynthia \cy(n)-thia\ is pronounced SIN-thee-ah. It is of Greek origin, and its meaning is “from Mount Kynthos“. Mythology: Kynthia was one of the names of Artemis, the goddess of the moon, referring to her birthplace on Mount Kynthos. Cynthia was later used by the Roman poet Propertius in his love poetry.

* The immigration rates did not spike to enflame this issue – the Republicans just needed an issue to excite their base.
** Really, if you are straight, why do you care? How does it affect you? This is just a case of our base hates/fears (blacks/gays/muslims/athiests), lets exploit that
*** THEY DON’T HAPPEN except in the case of medical emergencies. Seriously, look at the statistics. It’s a non issue. Who would deal with 6 to 9 months of pregnancy and THEN decide on an abortion?

7 thoughts on “How can English be
“the official language”?

  1. Although…

    Not all immigrants try to learn the language and fit it. You probably don’t see it in Missouri, but in California there are people who have lived here for decades and know no English.

    There are cost issues. Should government documents be printed in Chinese? If so, which of the 500 dialects? How about Tagalog or Farsi? Filipinos and Persians might want to see driver’s ed handbooks in those languages. If you don’t then you’ve somehow got to protect yourself from law suites when you do publish in Spanish but not Japanese.

    There are other cost issues. For legal documents you would have to hire bilingual people with law backgrounds or even legal degrees to do the translation and verification. Translation isn’t a simple word for word substitution. The cost to run the government would skyrocket.

    As much as I hate Cynthia Davis, there are practical reasons to limiting the number of languages the goverenment works in.

  2. “in California there are people who have lived here for decades and know no English.”

    1) So it’s not a new issue
    2) As an English speaker, has it caused you any harm to have them not speaking english?

    “There are cost issues … there are practical reasons to limiting the number of languages the goverenment works in.”

    1) I already conceded cost issues, BUT, if you need printed docs, you should pay for it directly – you don’t get printed docs for software anymore, unless you pay for it.
    2) The government is already using English as its working language, without wasting legislative time/money specifying it, or dealing with the complications of defining what constitutes English.

    Are they trying to stave off a lawsuit, or give someone a reason to bring one?

    I think this is all a game of political posturing.

  3. It actually causes them harm because they can only get the most menial jobs. They are a drain on all of us financially because they end up on welfare.

    It doesn’t matter where the translation takes place, harcopy or softcopy, it must happen if you start providing docs in other languages.

    I concede that in this case it’s probably political posturing. However, even a broken clock, yaada, yaada.

  4. This is a little off topic but…Someone has to do those menial jobs. They do not become a drain on us financially because they don’t speak English, but because those menial jobs don’t pay enough to keep “them” off welfare. There are plenty of English-speaking folk (who are native speakers) who are a drain on the system. It’s not a language issue.

  5. So if I decide to move to China or Mexico I should expect the same courtesy and they will convert everything to english for me so I don’t have to learn their language, right.

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