IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/sae/intstu/v44y2007i3p235-252.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Politics over Official Language in the United States

Author

Listed:
  • Saumyajit Ray

    (Saumyajit Ray is Lecturer in Journalism and Mass Communication at Kasturi Ram College of Higher Education, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi. E-mail: ray.saumyajit@gmail.com. He is thankful to the anonymous referee for his/her helpful comments and suggestions on the previous version of the article.)

Abstract

The founding fathers did not designate English—or any other language—as the official language of the United States (US). It would be moot to ask if they considered it necessary to lay down in law what existed in fact, or whether they desisted from granting official language status to English out of their respect for ‘language minorities’ already in the new republic. Attempts were made from the early days of the republic to standardize their English language in the US for both practical and lexicographic purposes. But no movement aimed at making English the official language of the US emerged till 1981. The ‘Official English’ (deridingly called English Only) movement has till date got twenty-seven states to adopt it as their official language. Its first national success came when the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 123 in 1996 declaring English as the official language. This success, though, was short-lived as the bill lapsed due to the Senate inaction. The second national success came when the Senate passed the English Language Amendment to the latest Immigration Reform Bill, designating English as America's ‘national language’. However, the Democratic Party's opposition to Official English and the Republican Party's reluctance to officially associate with Official English means that the movement has a long way to traverse.

Suggested Citation

  • Saumyajit Ray, 2007. "Politics over Official Language in the United States," International Studies, , vol. 44(3), pages 235-252, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:intstu:v:44:y:2007:i:3:p:235-252
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://isq.sagepub.com/content/44/3/235.abstract
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:intstu:v:44:y:2007:i:3:p:235-252. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.