The debates about illegal immigrants and immigration reform have raised several interesting questions over the last few years, some of which have nothing to do with jobs, health care, social security or the other common areas of conflict. Instead, immigration debates are causing some people to ask Should the United States make Spanish its official second language?
While English has been the de facto language of the United States for over 200 years, many people are surprised to discover that the US doesn t even have an official language. That has a certain poetic justice to it, considering the nation is made up of immigrants or descendents of immigrants over the last 200 years.
Many people are advocating making English the country s official language and requiring immigrants to learn the language. The problem is that many areas of the country are quickly becoming dominated by people whose primary language is Spanish. Texas and California are two of the biggest examples. Some projections say that Spanish will actually be more common than English in these areas of the country soon. Add to that the fact that an increasing number of jobs require knowledge of Spanis, and it becomes clear why there s an argument to make Spanish and official second language.
The opinions on the matter vary greatly. Some argue against having any official language, English included, while others point out that most children of immigrants speak English well by the time they reach adulthood (even though only 23% of their parents will do so) so an official secondary language is unnecessary.
Advocates of Spanish as a second language point to the advantages of children learning another language at an early age. Children who learn a second language often have a wider knowledge of other cultures and find it easier to meet language requirements in higher education. Having children learn Spanish as an official second language could benefit them greatly, these advocates say.
While the call for bilingual speakers continues to grow, there are no immediate plans to make Spanish an official second language of the US. But as immigrants continue to enter the country, the issue will continue to grow in importance.
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