Sunday, March 29, 2009 | I enjoyed the Q&A with Ana Celia Zentella, “Keeping Languages Alive” as she describes the positive aspects each varied culture has brought to this country and the benefits of the United States being a true linguistic and cultural “melting pot.”
Our family came to San Diego, in part, because of its proximity to Mexico and two of our children were educated during high school in Mexico City to learn the Spanish language and use it in their profession.
What she failed to make apparent is the unifying nature of an “official language” to bond these cultures together in order to make us a single nation. What benefit is there in printing ballots in multiple languages when the voter is already protected by the ability to obtain an absentee ballot or take another individual to the voting booth if they are still improving their English skills, and why allow individuals to take drivers tests in multiple languages when the signage on the roads is in English? With Presidential Order 13166 established by President Clinton, anyone who receives Federal funding in the medical field, (as in Medicare or Medicaid), or for local library funding, needs to provide translations in over 200 languages free of charge or lose their funding.
Why can’t we maintain our rich and varied cultural heritage as Dr. Zentella suggests and still promote English as our official language? In this case, doesn’t everyone win?