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Debate: Should we really be emphasizing English as the only main language in the US?

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Debate: Should we really be emphasizing English as the only main language in the US?


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Round 1

Side 1: I’m of the belief that the American society should be more open to multiple official languages. Aside from having multiple accepted languages just making sense for a nation of many cultures, the American society and citizens as a whole can only gain from having more languages. I think the more languages we are exposed to, especially as young children, the more likely we are to not only be able to communicate with their respective cultures, but appreciate them. The main arguments against having more than just English in our vocabulary are mostly based on tradition rather than modern ideals. The current cultural climate in the nation is divided and tense, if we were able to incorporate the language of more cultures into our society I believe this would help ease this tension. Imagine living in a place that not only has no recognition of your home tongue, but in many cases actively denounces the idea of including it. It seems like it would have little effect, but little things lead to big changes.

Side 2: While I don’t think that we, as a nation, need an official language, there is a lot to be said for maintaining the status quo when it comes to language usage. As it stands now, English is the primary language for instructions and teachings, media communications and business transactions. This means that anyone who knows that they will be dealing with a situation that would require a more common language will also know which language they will be dealing with. This allows them to be better prepared. Can there be exceptions to this standard? Always. Should we abandon the multitude of languages spoken in conversation by the people who live here? Never. It takes a strange balance to maintain unity and diversity, but having one language for business and all the others for everything else is certainly a way to do it.

Round 2

Side 1: While it is a valid point to say adding new languages into the business lexicon could make things more complex, I think there is plenty of room for multiple languages in the world stage. For example, China has become a major manufacturing powerhouse, as well as a consumer of western entertainment. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think butting heads with one of the largest economic competitors in the world is necessarily a good idea. English can still be a major method of communication, but the reality is you need to give a little to gain a lot sometimes. This isn’t even a hypothetical discussion, it is a reality that Mandarin to English translators are in hot demand for this very reason. While we are talking about the world stage, it is not uncommon for other countries to teach more than one language to the point of fluency, especially in Europe. I’m not saying we need to switch to everyone needing to speak Spanish at the grocery store, but introducing more in-depth foreign language classes in public schools early on could help prepare future generations for a globalized world.

Side 2: Another thing to consider when discussing this topic is how a change from one main language to several would affect our businesses and other organizations on a global level. Currently, whether we like it or not, English is used on a global scale. It’s especially prevalent in the STEM fields. And considering our technology-driven society, a shift in language might cause a shift in how our culture grows and thrives. Is it possible that it would grow for the better? We can’t rule it out. Would multiple main languages make it easier to bridge gaps between countries? It’s possible. But as I mentioned before, communication is easier when there’s a common tongue. Since English is well on its way to being that common tongue, why should we change it?

Side 1 argued by David Disney

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Debate: Should we really be emphasizing English as the only main language in the US?