Quote of the Day: our national language
In today's Opinion Journal, Peggy Noonan delves into the debate over naming English as our country's official language:
...there's something odd about the English question. It feels old-fashioned. Because we all know America has an official language, and a national language, and that it is English. In France they speak French, and in China they speak Chinese. In Canada they have two national languages, but that's one reason Canada often seems silly. They don't even know what language they dream in.
We speak English here. It's a great language, luckily, a rich one. It's how we do government and business. It's the language of the official life, the outer life, in America. As for the inner life of America, the language of the family, it would be just as odd to change longtime tradition there, which has always been: Anything goes. You speak what you came over speaking, and you learn the new language. Italian immigrants knew two languages, English and Italian. They enriched the first with the second--this was a great gift to all of us--and wound up with greater opportunities for personal communication to boot. Talk about win-win. And so with every group, from every place.
But in a deeper sense, we should never consider devolving from one national language down into two, or three, because if we do we won't understand each other. And we're confused enough as it is.
Labels: America's official language