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Jennifer Anderson
Eng 2010
Prof. Courtney
October 7, 2014
Linguistically Segregated Or Integrated?
There is a storm brewing today over how we define ourselves as Americans.
Some try to explain who we are as a melting pot of multi-cultural ingenuity and
immigration. Others refer to their heritage because they have ancestry that immigrated to
America before George Washington and the Revolutionary War. Can any of these
descriptions be true if we do not value competent international communication in all
aspects of our lives?
Politicians like to remind us how our nation is becoming a global economy. How
communication between continents, countries, and people are becoming essential norms.
Some leaders even tell us how crucial
qualified translators are to a thriving
community while masses of children are
allowed to become educationally
ignorant of the current basic and
necessary communication between their peers. It seems to me that if census.gov claimed
in 2007 that over 80% of Americans spoke only English at home, there may continue to
be some sort of disconnect going on.
Somewhere along the way, our verbal education has lost its way in this critical
issue. No longer is there cooperation and friendly debate in many conversations but
controversy and defense. If you dont communicate in a certain way you are seen as the

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opposition and publicly scrutinized for your lack of refinement. Since when has our
language become black or white, right or left, wrong or right?
There is no better way to improve the future unless we can break through these
language barriers that we have so stubbornly erected. Dick Hudson's paper on "Linguistic
Equality" says, "It is well known that many communities divide communicative needs
among a number of different languages". When we hear how children in school are
failing or how there are minorities that are holding other children back, think about this.
If your child only speaks one
language, that child could be
our future minority.
I recently visited several
different cultural food markets
to experience this diversity
phenomena first hand. At first it
felt like I had suddenly become
the minority, everything was strange and difficult to socialize normally in. I didnt want
to sound stupid or offensive so I just listened and observed.
I quickly came to realize that, larger businesses were more capable of making an
effort to provide an assorted range of non-cultural products to a more diverse customer
base. While this provided a measure of relief at some of these businesses, knowing that at
least I wouldnt starve if I was forced to shop there, I had to leave other businesses
wondering.

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The use of multiple languages has been an essential part of our world since the
earliest records of civilization. Almost every nation in the world has a different language
not to mention the preceding eras. Isnt that why the "Rosetta Stone" was such an
important archeological find? The implication of being able to decipher multiple
languages frees us from the bondage that a single language ultimately restricts.
As we Americans limit our ability to speak other languages we limit our ability to
communicate effectively. There is no pride lost in embracing another cultures language.
In Mark Sebba's article, "The Visual Construction of Language Hierarchy", he shows that
pride comes from the ability to adapt and problem solve without causing offense. Our
nation of many colors, ethnicities and heritages must become multi-linguists if we are to
remain global leaders. Knowing this I must
question if there any basis for the continued
presumption that children need to be taught
only one language, or is it time for a revolution
in linguistics?
Dialogue is the key to solving the
problems of the future and making our lives better. So, why are we not encouraging a
broader verbal range of expression instead of calling for official means of expression
and learning? Many nations across the globe have already embraced multiple languages
in their culture and it defines them. Not as having lost their cultural identities but of being
better prepared for cultural encounters that require embracing diversity.

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Works Cited:
Sebba, Mark. "The visual construction of language hierarchy." Journal of Language &
Politics 12, no. 1 (April 2013): 101-125. Communications & Mass Media
Complete, EBSCOhost. accessed October 8, 2014.
Dick Hudson. Linguistic Equality. (1983) University of London. October 8, 2014.
Hurst, K. Kris. "Rosetta Stone". About Education. About.com. copyright 2014. Weblink.
October 21, 2014.
Language Use. United States Census Bureau. 14 Oct 2014.
http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/language/