Lign 8 — Languages and Cultures of America Research Project: Minority Languages and The Official Language Question



Contrary to popular belief, the United States has never come to a conclusion of having an official language despite the many attempts of federal legislators in implementing laws to make English an official business language. Over the years, education has been playing an important role in influencing languages that should be taught in schools. As a result, different immigrants’ generations from diverse age groups have different perceptions regarding the issues. The interviews conducted in class indicate people’s perceptions of making English an official language from different generations of immigrants. This research majorly focuses on the attitudes of these generations towards making English an official language in the country. The hypothesis of this research is based on the interviews predicting whether or not a person is in favor of making English the official language of the United States.

There are four different generations of immigrants in this study. This first generation is individuals who immigrated to the country during their adulthood. They tend to still possess behavioral and cultural characteristics of from their home country. The 1.5 generation consists of those who immigrated to the country as children. Their identity is often a combination of their old and new cultures. There is also the second generation, which comprises of those who were born in the country, and their parents are immigrants in the United States. The third generation means those whose grandparents immigrated to the USA and their parents were born in the country. The second and third generations tend to learn the language of the country and also have some information about their home country from their parents and grandparents.

Qualitative observation

From the analysis, the second generation consisting of those whose parents immigrated to the USA, but were born in the country do not support making English an official language. The other generations which include those whose great grandparents, the 1.75, the 2.5, and others are much more in the middle, and they tend to be neutral or undecided. The generation that leads in favoring the debate of making English an official language in the US is the 1.5 generation, which includes those who immigrated to the country as children. With the percentages of those in favor and those against, it can be concluded that all the generations support making English an official language.

Quantitative Observation

From the first correlation, the second generation was most against making English an official language with an average of 37.6%. The average percentage of those against in the first generation was 30 %, the 1.5 generation was 25.1%, 3rd generation 28.9% and the other was 25.6%.In the second correlation, the 1.5 generation supported making English an official language most with an average of 57.2% while that of the second generation was 40.4%. The average percentage of the first generation for those in favor was 51 %, 57.2% for the third generation, and 51.4% for the other generation.

Making English an official language in the united states has brought different patterns in people’s opinions due to their own experiences in the country. Factors like implications of the law on native Americans and the educational system have further complicated the issue making it difficult to be implemented. However, other people still believe that the language should be designated by the law as an official language. The second generation comprising of those born in the country but their parents born in other countries have witnessed their parents go through many challenges as non-English speakers. Therefore, if English is not made an official language, they would suffer more. Most of them are worried about discrimination from their relatives. However, they have been taught their mother tongues, and most of them are against making English the official language. The first generation also has their challenges in the country, but they have their ways in which they can adjust to under those hard conditions. As such, they tend to be in favor of making English an official language because they need to learn it. For the 1.5 generation, most of them moved to the country as children, and they push there are pushed by their parents to learn English to avoid future challenges in life and school. They are also mostly encouraged to speak English more than the home countries’ languages. This generation supports making English the official language. There is also the 3rd generation, which is also in favor of making the language official language, and most of them speak English only. In this generation, children were born to believe English is the official language of the United States.





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