To the natives of this land, we know that yours was the first language spoken on this, turtle island. Even with the diverse dialects from the multiple tribes, an understanding in language was present.
Alas, along came a group of people from across the sea and established in this land what is known as ‘proper’ English from the land of England. And even though some Irish were brought over to settle here for a time, listed as criminals to the crown for their desire to maintain a united country known as Ireland, English was the predominate language spoken leading to the language our Constitution was penned in.
Over the centuries, with the importation of slaves bought from a southern continent, Africa, came yet another language, that language too, was overshadowed by the language of the land. Same for French, although it is still spoken as a second language, mainly in the area of New Orleans and the bayou.
The United States, the great melting pot of America, has seen its many immigrants from across the globe – Chinese who helped build the railroads, Japanese and Polynesians who helped shape Hawaii, Africans who were bought as slave labour, San Salvadorians who were granted political asylum as refugees, and Cubans and Mexicans who, for the most part, climbed or swam across our shores and borders to escape their own troubled homelands in search for a better life.
With all these diverse languages popping up in our cities across America, English was still the national language, even though the ‘proper’ English had been watered down a bit. As a child I remember having to spell ‘color’ with a ‘u’. Today, my own children are being taught to spell differently. The letter ‘u’, so widely used in old English is no longer prevalent.
But just how watered down do we intend to make the national language? What used to be ‘that’ is now ‘dat’. Not being taught in school, but being wide spread via texting and simplistic titles to groups. I can remember a show on television in the early 90’s where the misspelling of our common words became the norm. Instead of saying “What’s up?”, our children viewing the show began seeing “Wazup” as the new norm.
Once upon a time all things in this great land were written in the one national language. Today, it is near impossible to walk into our grocery stores without seeing all foods, and even some isle instructions, written in both English and Spanish.
What was done to the natives of this land is reprehensible. Of that no one can argue. There is no taking it back, although honoring some treaties would at least be a step in the right direction. But for well over 200 years in this young nation, there has been a national language, a language that promoted unity amongst the many and diverse peoples of this land.
What shall we have but further division if the stake is driven in any further to separate Americans from their nationality as outlined in the Constitution?
The language barrier is not a uniting, but more of a curse upon the descendents of those that yes, conquered this land, as well as those that united it. It is a dismantling of the pride nationals take in their homeland others congregate to either legally or illegally.
Instead of a common and useful language, we now have a language where ‘omg’ and ‘lol’ are, but should not be, actual words incorporated into a dictionary. No longer a language that encompasses our national heritage as free people in a land known as America.
English in America should, no, must be the requisite language for all who wish to be citizens. Our children should be corrected when misstating ‘that’ as ‘dat’, and teachers grading papers that read ‘witch’ in the place for asking ‘which’ should go back to grading with a red pen mark stating “wrong”.
Being multilingual is no sin, and in a world of technology that has built bridges across vast oceans, it is a plus. But in a land that has a national language and a standard of speaking, there should be no language barriers lest there be no more ‘United’ States of America.