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snopes
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38 SENATORS VOTED TODAY AGAINST MAKING ENGLISH THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
OF AMERICA.


HERE THEY ARE.


Akaka (D-HI)
Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Clinton (D-NY)
Dayton (D-MN)
Dodd (D-CT)
Domenici (R-NM)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D -WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Obama (D-IL)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Wyden (D-OR)

REMEMBER THIS THE DAY YOU VOTE.

PLEASE PASS THIS ON

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Pseudo_Croat
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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And this important how?

- Pseudo_Croat

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God wants spiritual fruits, not religious nuts.

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Nick Theodorakis
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¿Qué?

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surfcitydogdad
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YOMANK, Nick.

Are you serious, Dave? Looks like another polarizing GOP election year gimmick, to go with the phony illegal immigrant problem. Anything to take the voter's mind off of Iraq.

No me importa. We don't need no stinkin' offical language. People learn English, just not always in the first generation. It's tough for adults. Everything's pretty much in English, anyway, so it's a de facto official language. This isn't Quebec, nor will it be.

However, we could save some money on all the documents printed in California in 26 different languages (pulled that number from my a**).

Like Archie Bunker said, them foreigners don't speak no good English.

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- Outer Limits (2001)

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Mr. Billion
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Looks like one of those nutty conservative "propaganda" e-mails. It's not exactly well-conceived or very convincing, though I suppose if you're already in the frame of mind "damn those Mexicans and their crazy foreign talk! We have to declare English is America's official language!" then this might help motivate you. Big problem: You probably won't recognize all the list's senators just from their last names, so you won't really know who you're supposed to hate. And, uh, you won't be able to vote against more than two of them.

Or maybe the point is just generally that Democrats hate English, and therefore hate America. You don't really need to know when the "today" referred to in the OP is, or any other key detail about the issue, to understand that you're supposed to hate Democrats.

I don't really know much about it either, but if only 38 Senators voted against the bill, then wouldn't the bill have passed? I haven't heard about any such bill passing.

Googling a bit, here's some interesting commentary.

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"For the U.S. to get involved militarily in determining the outcome of the struggle over who's going to govern Iraq strikes me as a classic definition of a quagmire." ~Dick Cheney.

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Nobody Important
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quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Billion:
Looks like one of those nutty conservative "propaganda" e-mails. It's not exactly well-conceived or very convincing, though I suppose if you're already in the frame of mind "damn those Mexicans and their crazy foreign talk! We have to declare English is America's official language!" then this might help motivate you. Big problem: You probably won't recognize all the list's senators just from their last names, so you won't really know who you're supposed to hate. And, uh, you won't be able to vote against more than two of them.

Or maybe the point is just generally that Democrats hate English, and therefore hate America. You don't really need to know when the "today" referred to in the OP is, or any other key detail about the issue, to understand that you're supposed to hate Democrats.

I don't really know much about it either, but if only 38 Senators voted against the bill, then wouldn't the bill have passed? I haven't heard about any such bill passing.

Googling a bit, here's some interesting commentary.

Are we going for some sort of record here for uses of the word "hate" in one post? Especially in light of the fact that it's not used in the OP?

A person can have an opinion about this issue, and can vote for or against the Senators listed, without "hating" anybody (even the one R and the one I who voted against it).

The last-name thingie is not a problem for anyone who knows what state they live in, and most people know that they can only vote for or against the Senate candidates in their own state.

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EthanMitchell
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"Are we going for some sort of record here for uses of the word "hate" in one post?"

Uh...he used it three times in four paragraphs. If he's going for the record, he's gonna lose.

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Mr. Billion
The First USA Noel


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Four times, actually.

Still, I am pretty worried about my chances for breaking the Hate record this season. I'm thinking next year I'll go in for the Kumquat tryouts. [Big Grin]

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"For the U.S. to get involved militarily in determining the outcome of the struggle over who's going to govern Iraq strikes me as a classic definition of a quagmire." ~Dick Cheney.

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Jason Threadslayer
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by surfcitydogdad:
However, we could save some money on all the documents printed in California in 26 different languages (pulled that number from my a**).

I count 14 languages for various medical forms:

  1. Arabic
  2. Armenian
  3. Cambodian
  4. Cantonese
  5. English
  6. Hmong
  7. Korean
  8. Mandarin
  9. Persian
  10. Punjabi
  11. Russian
  12. Spanish
  13. Tagalog
  14. Vietnamese


quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Billion:
I suppose if you're already in the frame of mind "damn those Mexicans and their crazy foreign talk! We have to declare English is America's official language!" then this might help motivate you. Big problem:

It's the Asians driving out the Mexicans?

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Turing test failures: 6

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surfcitydogdad
Jingle Bell Hock


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Thanks, Jason for taking the time to count. I recycle mail so fast I didn't have anything handy to do it myself. It's really something, isn't it? However, I suspect it's a big waste of time and money, almost all the time, and mostly an exercise in political correctness.

English will remain the predominant and unofficial "official" language in the US, as well the primary language of science and commerce around the world. However, it sends the wrong message to OFFICIALLY make it the "official" language.

Another thing we're not mentioning here, is that it was posted by Dave Mikkelson, and is likely an example of the above-mentioned conservative e-mail propaganda, rather than a real record of who voted any way on any real piece of legislation.

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Only when we remake ourselves can we remake the world.
- Outer Limits (2001)

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surfcitydogdad
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Well, sure enough; I just rec'd this, verbatim, from a friend who sends me right-wing propaganda and glurge! Now I can send him back the link refuting or clarifying it, as I always do. This one is at: http://www.snopes.com/politics/immigration/englishvote.asp

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Only when we remake ourselves can we remake the world.
- Outer Limits (2001)

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Ophiuchus
Deck the Malls


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Are we supposed to be angry that people voted against refusing to print government information in languages other than English?...

I mean, really? Your hatred of people who don't speak the same language runs that deep?...

If you got enough time to be offended that the DMV prints a booklet in Spanish, then you really need to find something more constructive to do with your life. Like painting or something.

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jimmy101
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
38 SENATORS VOTED TODAY AGAINST MAKING ENGLISH THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
OF AMERICA.

HERE THEY ARE.

Akaka (D-HI)
Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE)
...
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Wyden (D-OR)

REMEMBER THIS THE DAY YOU VOTE.

PLEASE PASS THIS ON

Yes, keep this list for the next time you vote. If your Senator is not on the list then don't vote for the pandering mental-midget.
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Winged Monkey
Jingle Bell Hock


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I'm so glad that the majority of our brave senators have stood up and finally spoken in favor of poor embattled, forgotten English! Except for those darn democRATs...
If it were up to them English would surely be a tounge as dead as sanskrit...

Seriously it's kinda sad that the Senate can't even find a nice useful divisive issue to get riled up about, I wasn't aware that: Flags, Hetrosexual Marriage and (now) English were in any danger.

-Winged Monkey

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Warlok
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by Ophiuchus:
Are we supposed to be angry that people voted against refusing to print government information in languages other than English?...

I mean, really? Your hatred of people who don't speak the same language runs that deep?...

If you got enough time to be offended that the DMV prints a booklet in Spanish, then you really need to find something more constructive to do with your life. Like painting or something.

Not agreeing or disagreeing with the OP (I swore of politice for the milenia), but in a purly pragmatic sense... those additional booklets do cost against my tax dollars, so why not just one in the most common language. Not saying it has to be official, but that does seem to be the only means of counteracting demands for a boolet easier to understand for those not fluent in English... WAIT Could this be the mythical proof of the slippery slope... either stick to one official language or print the books in (CA Count above) 14 and counting...

Warlok

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Inconceivable

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I think that there might be an equal protection clause issue which would require publication of official documents in other languages, so long as English is not the official language.

Speculation, of course, since I'm not a constitutional attorney.

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
However, we could save some money on all the documents printed in California in 26 different languages (pulled that number from my a**).
quote:
...those additional booklets do cost against my tax dollars, so why not just one in the most common language.
Yeah, because the most important thing to do when you're trying to communicate is to save money. [Roll Eyes]

What bothers me about all this talk is this is just another way for the government to asy "We don't have to care about these people." Making English official isn't going to increase the number of English speakers just as making illiteracy illegal isn't going to make anyone learn to read or write. In the case of the illiterate, the problem is difficult and expensive. In the case of residents who don't speak English quite well enough, the solution is simple and not unbearably expensive: translation. The other solutions are much more expensive: hire on-site interpreters, deal with each individual on a daily basis with hours of hand signals and misunderstandings, or create a whole new class of people who are not eligible for government services.

Or we can do the cheapest thing of all: get rid of pamphlets and forms entirely. I'm sure some libertarians would be happy with that solution. (But, then again, like me, I don't think most libertarians appreciate the government telling them what their "official language" is.)

The best solution -- and probably the cheapest solution -- (whether or not this "official language" crap legislation is passed) is to have most documents translated into several languages.

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Mr. Furious
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quote:
Originally posted by surfcitydogdad:
Like Archie Bunker said, them foreigners don't speak no good English.

Did Archie Bunker say that? Bad form, if so. There was a very similar line in 12 Angry Men:

Juror 10: "He's a common ignorant slob. He don't even speak good English."
Juror 11: "Doesn't even speak good English."

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Warlok
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by Ganzfeld:
Yeah, because the most important thing to do when you're trying to communicate is to save money. [Roll Eyes]

tru
Please see part about avoiding politics and speaking purely pragmatically. Trust me - I value cross cultural comm. I was just pointing out (maybe not sarcastic enough) one of the purely factual responses that ignores the culture involved with language and the over-arching idea of communication.

Warlok

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Inconceivable

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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I understand, Warlok. I didn't post the names on the quotes because I realized both you and surfcitydad were just mentioning the idea, not supporting them. I meant to refute the ideas, not saying that anyone here supports them.
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Warlok
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K - my bad for missing lack of names - and I fully agree with arguing ideas!!

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Inconceivable

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tuff_gong
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Do you people have ANY IDEA how much money we could save by only printing government publications in english?

Me neither. I've never seen an estimate, or any realistic guess for that matter. It's probably not a significant amount. I'm starting to suspect this argument is not usually advanced by crusading budget cutters - it's those people in the 10 items or less aisle who can't stand the fact that the hispanic family next in line is probably talking about them - and not in a nice way, either.

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educatedindian
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I've been looking for a breakdown, name by name, of the votes on the very FIRST time Congress considered an official language. English came in fourth place, Dutch third, German second, and no official language got the most votes (though not a majority.) If anyone can point me to a list like that, you'd have my thanks. It'd be interesting to see how individual Founding Fathers voted.

Many of my students go into shock when I discuss this in class, along with talking about the start of bilingual education (1840s, by German Americans in Texas) and the many German American units in the Union Army where only the officers and some sergeants spoke English. (Also the pro Union songs in German make for good discussion.)

My favorite reply to people who want English as the official language is to bring up the Navajo Code Talkers. Without them, the US would probably have lost the Battle of Iwo Jima. The war would've lasted maybe two to six months longer, probably giving Stalin a chance to occupy all of Korea, more of China (thus letting Mao win that much sooner) and part of Japan, leading to a North and South Japan partitioned much like East and West Germany.

Most of them start sputtering as soon as they hear the word Navajo. It's honestly never occurred to them that there are still several hundred thousand Navajo speakers, several hundred thousand Cherokee speakers, and sadly, much smaller numbers of other Native language speakers.

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BringTheNoise
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quote:
Originally posted by educatedindian:
I've been looking for a breakdown, name by name, of the votes on the very FIRST time Congress considered an official language. English came in fourth place, Dutch third, German second, and no official language got the most votes (though not a majority.) If anyone can point me to a list like that, you'd have my thanks. It'd be interesting to see how individual Founding Fathers voted.

The vote never happened: http://www.snopes.com/language/apocryph/german.htm

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educatedindian
I Saw Three Shipments


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Bringthenoise, that wasn't what I was referring to. Read what I said more carefully.

"English came in fourth place, Dutch third, German second, and no official language got the most votes (though not a majority.)"

I was referring to this vote below, and I'd still thank anyone who can help me track it down. So far all I've found have been fascinating little mentions of the vote.

http://etec.hawaii.edu/~burniske/utopia98/student/causal/johnson/final.html
"The language debate can perhaps be traced to John Adams' proposal to the Continental Congress in 1780. The nation at that time was very culturally diverse. "It was commonplace to hear as many as twenty languages spoken in daily life" (ACLU). Adams however, made a proposal to the Continental Congress that would significantly effect this diversity. His call to, "purify, develop, and dictate", usage of the English language would have placed stringent restriction on the employment of any other languages beside English.

Another of our Founding Father's myopic views on language and culture, discriminated against the German immigrants in the United States at the time. Benjamin Franklin, in the middle 1700's, feared the German influence could, "supersede Anglo supremacy, not only in language, but in terms of culture and political values" (NCBE). Thomas Jefferson espoused similar worries in 1803, in regard to the French in the Louisiana Territories. The prevailing view each of these Founding Fathers held was fear, propelled only by opinions that the immigrants would not be able to understand, and therefore not promote, "American values"....

One of the more popular movements, reminiscent of Adams' proposal to the Continental Congress, is taking place in California with Proposition 227. Proposition 227, or the, "English for the Children" initiative requires that all children in public schools be taught primarily in English. The children who do no speak English would be placed in "English immersion" classes and have only one school year to year to learn the language. 180 days....

The rhetoric of the time by the Founding Fathers was based on American pride, and nationality. In espousing these beliefs however, a great portion of society was cut off. The prohibition of the speaking of foreign languages, was an idea many of the Founding Fathers desired."

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pinqy
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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ummm I still don't see what vote you're talking about. The linked essay references an alleged proposal by John Adams...no mention of any vote actually taking place. John Adams was not present in the Americas at all during 1780, living in Paris from January to June and then moving to the Netherlands until 1781. Looking through the journals of the Continental Congress there wasn't any such vote in 1780 as far as I can tell.

pinqy

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Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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The essay cited took its information, in turn, from This ACLU aritcle, which is also widely quoted elsewhere.
quote:
Just as languages other than English have always been a part of our history and culture, debate over establishing a national language dates back to the country's beginnings. John Adams proposed to the Continental Congress in 1780 that an official academy be created to "purify, develop, and dictate usage of," English. His proposal was rejected as undemocratic and a threat to individual liberty.
The article has no mention of Adams proposinng any sort of restricitons, just an academy. The ACLU may have gotten the quote wrong. Adams variously says "correcting, improving, and fixing" and "refining, improving, and ascertaining the English language." From The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Volume 4, J. Adams to President of Congress. From "Amsterdam, September 5, 1780." (empahsis aded)
quote:
Most of the nations of Europe have thought it necessary to establish by public authority institutions for fixing and improving their proper languages. I need not mention the academies in France, Spain, and Italy, their learned labors, nor their great success. But it is very remarkable, that although many learned and ingenious men in England have from age to age projected similar institutions for correcting and improving the English tongue, yet the government have never found time to interpose in any manner; so that to this day there is no grammar or dictionary extant of the English language which has the least public authority, and it is only very lately that a tolerable dictionary has been published even by a private person, and there is not yet a passable grammar enterprised by any individual.
The honor of forming the first public institution for refining, correcting, improving, and ascertaining the English language I hope is reserved for Congress; they have every motive that can possibly influence a public assembly to undertake it.
[snip]
It is not necessary to enlarge further to show the motives which the people of America have to turn their thoughts early to this subject; they will naturally turn to Congress in a much greater detail than I have time to hint at. I would therefore submit to the consideration of Congress the expediency and policy of erecting by their authority a society under the name of "The American Academy for refining, improving, and ascertaining the English language." The authority of Congress is necessary to give such a society reputation, influence, and authority through all the States and with other nations. The number of members of which it shall consist, the manner of appointing those members, whether each State shall have a certain number of members, and the power of appointing them, or whether Congress shall appoint them, whether after the first appointment the society itself shall fill up vacancies--these and other questions will easily be determined by Congress.



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Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Here is a PBS discussion of that "English language vote that never happened." The Legendary English-Only Vote of 1795 It discusses in detail a lot of early efforts to promote (or not promote) English, but debunks the myth of that early vote.

US English, Inc. a "group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States," says such votes never happened.
quote:
Myth: At the Constitutional Convention, the Founding Fathers debated and decided against making English the official language.
Reality: The issue was never discussed at the Constitutional Convention. Because more than 90 percent of the non-slave population was of British ancestry, and even the former Dutch colonies had been under English rule for more than a century, the topic was not controversial enough to even be debated.



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The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

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Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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According ot several sources, the first "official language "proposal considered by Congress did not come until 1923, when Washington J. McCormick (R. Montana) proposed that "American" e adopted as the official language in the US. The bill died in committee. McCormick was quoted in The Nation on April 11, 1923:
quote:
I might say I would supplement the political emancipation of '76 by the mental emancipation of '23. America has lost much in literature by not thinking its own thoughts and speaking them boldly in a language unadorned with gold braid. It was only when Cooper, Irving, Mark Twain, Whitman, and O. Henry dropped the Order of the Garter and began to write American that their wings of immortality sprouted. Had Noah Webster, instead of styling his monumental work the "American Dictionary of the English Language," written a "Dictionary of the American Language," he would have become a founder instead of a compiler. Let our writers drop their top-coats, spats, and swagger-sticks, and assume occasionally their buckskin, moccasins, and tomahawks.
The idea was later adopted by the state of Illinois.

The first English official language bill put before COngress was S. J. R. 72 proposed by S. I. Hayakawa in 1981.

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The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

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Gydna
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Tricky area all round.

British Government is now required to make all documents available in Welsh to help preserve the language and as a recognition that it is native to the country. There are also publically funded Welsh TV channels. Nobody worries about the cost too much and accepts it as a cultural necessity. However this is purely cultural as there are no non-English speaking Welsh and hence isn't a threat to anyone.

However there are also worries that there are certain sections of the population who are 1st and 2nd generation immigrants who haven't learnt English yet. This may lead to "ghettos" in certain areas where large minorities can't speak English with any proficiency and become isolated from society. This has potential serious effects of these people being cut-off from the rest of society or possibly becoming embittered and violent.

Perhaps, as usual, a middle way is best of all. Education programmes to help everyone learn English coupled with help in original languages to help them cope until they are fluent.

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Churchill drank, smoked and was a successful amateur painter. Hitler was a teetotal, vegetarian, animal loving failed professional painter. Draw your own conclusions!

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geminilee
The First USA Noel


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But how often does it happen that the immigrants never assimilate? Judging by the pattern here, new immigrants may never speak the local language, but their kids do. From immigrant to American in one quick, easy generation. The only reasons behind this are money (possibly) and a sense that everyone who got here after I did should leave.

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"Accompanied by the ghosts of dolphins, the ghost of a ship sailed on..." Terry Pratchett

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jimmy101
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by geminilee:
But how often does it happen that the immigrants never assimilate? ...

Europeans never assimilated into native american culture. They brought their own cultures and languages. [Razz]
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Jason Threadslayer
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by jimmy101:
Europeans never assimilated into native american culture.

Actually, they did. There were quite a few "captivity narratives" published at the time.

And always the person went back to their adopted people.

James Loewen discusses this in his book Lies My Teacher Told Me.

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All posts foretold by Nostradamus.

Turing test failures: 6

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Steve
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Jason Threadslayer:
quote:
Originally posted by jimmy101:
Europeans never assimilated into native american culture.

Actually, they did. There were quite a few "captivity narratives" published at the time.

And always the person went back to their adopted people.

James Loewen discusses this in his book Lies My Teacher Told Me.

Does Loewen really say that the person always went back to their captors? Mary Rowlandson (who's mentioned in the wikipedia article you linked to) and quite a few others did not.
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Jason Threadslayer
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Steve:
Does Loewen really say that the person always went back to their captors? Mary Rowlandson (who's mentioned in the wikipedia article you linked to) and quite a few others did not.

Yes, he writes that the captives those that did go back to European society preferred American society and went back. Europeans had to post guards to keep people from leaving and enacted the death penalty for defectors.

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All posts foretold by Nostradamus.

Turing test failures: 6

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