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English II (ETH 1200)




Karenn Lysel Palomo Nez No. 100467

English History and Its Importance:

How did English become the United States Language?

Well, here is an interesting fact: English is not the official language of the
United States. The United States does not have an official language. Wait, what?
But everybody speaks English!! Not true. Though a lot of people speak English,
there are other recognized languages in the US, for example, French, Spanish &
Hawaiian. But I am getting ahead of myself. Lets start with how English made its
way to what we now know as the United States.

Well, the most common answer is, of course, when England came to America
and settled in the colonies. Lets remember though, that they were not the only
ones playing the conquering game. There were also the French, German, and
Spanish. So it is safe to say a lot of people speak these languages, see pict 1 under
Attachments. On top of that, every one of these guys confronted friendly natives,
indigenes who already spoke their own languages, too many to count. Some of
them are Uto-Aztecan, Haida and Chonookan. (See pict 2 for a more detailed list).
However, though English is the official language and main system of
communication in the United Kingdom, it is also spoken in The United States,
Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other countries with British
influence. In Honduras, the Bay Islands used to be a British colony, which is why
the islanders speak English amongst themselves.

In 1774, there was a vote to be held by the Continental American Congress in

the colonies in North America, to choose which language to adopt administratively,
German or English. Tensions with Great Britain were high back then, remember the
independence? And choosing English would mean to side with the enemy. Voting
started, and there was a tie between the two languages. A German descendant
decided to change his vote to English to keep things moving. He broke all logic
with this, and this gesture did not go unnoticed. He was elected the first Speaker of
the United States House of Representatives (Once the United States was
recognized as such).
Now we know how come English is spoken in the United States. Wait, not
quite. Remember, it was voted as the administrative language. This means, USA
(before known as such) would draft documents and communications in English
interesting bit, we were short one vote for the Declaration of Independence to be
drafted in German! But moving on, it wasnt until 2006 that English was recognized
as the bureaucratic language of the United States. Other attempts to change the
language have occurred since then, as well as reaffirmations. Right after the
independence wars, people tried to establish Hebrew as the official language. It did
not work (As we all know, we are still speaking English!!). And in an effort to stop
the Spanish speaking people, Florida promoted English as the official language.
They went so ridiculously far as to eliminate all the Latin names for the animals in
the zoos. As we all know, that is the scientific names that truly identifies an animal.
Someone mentioned to me if I was to talk about crazy political stunts, think of
Florida first.

Anyway, everywhere you go in the United States you will find a wide diversity
of languages. The government even allows for you to take your citizenship exam in
the language you choose (See pict 3). All across continental US, all products are
required to have English and Spanish labels. In Canada, all labels are required to
be in French and English. So why is English so important, If I can speak my own
language? The importance of knowing English relies on globalization. Now a days,
where education is such an important asset, knowing more than one language
adds value to your worth. You can communicate with a great variety of people, just
because they have learned English too. You go visit other countries, and sure
enough, there is always someone who speaks a little English. Even though English
is not the most spoken language in the world, it is the most influential. The other
side of the coin is that living in such a world power as the US is, some people do
not see the need to learn or speak other languages. English has become the one
an only, most important language for the US. However, if somebody tells you You
are in the US, you have to speak English, you can always answer, FYI, English is
not the official language of the US, so I can speak any language I want!!

Pict 1 - Languages spoken in the US, no. 1 being English

Pict 2 Indigenes Languages that existed at one point in the US (28 out of
56 listed).
Pict 3 - Languages you can take the Citizenship test in the US