Why is English the main language of the U.S.?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by science man, May 2, 2010.

  1. My native tongue is English but I wonder why since it wasn't a British person who discovered America. It was an Italian therefore I believe the official language of the U.S. should've been and should be Italian.
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. skaught The field its covered in blood Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,100
    But it was the british who settled it...
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    22,875
    Well if Italians colonized the country, I suppose we would be all speaking Italian. But since it was the British/England that colonized the country...we speak English...not a difficult concept.
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,671
  8. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    18,629
    Wrong.
    Wiki.
    (Which happens to be taken from the OED...)
    English is the de facto official language of the USA.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_official_languages
     
  9. fedr808 1100101 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,706
    Most of us are to damn lazy to get off the couch and work off our fat. Do you really think we would rather make ourselves a new language, or watch tv and eat fried chicken while drinking beer?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  10. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,671
    De facto? De facto??? That means that officially it is NOT official. That's what de facto means.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Since you like Wiki:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_facto

    " In law, it is meant to mean "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but without being officially established". " In plain English it means practically, but not officially.

    So thank you very much for proving my point.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  11. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    18,629
    Er, maybe you don't actually read:
    De facto: in practice.
    Quite.

    Not only do you not read MY posts, you don't read (or maybe don't understand) your own links.
    English is the official language in practice, if not law, because that is the language used by the courts and administration. De facto.
     
  12. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,671
    So we agree. It is not the "official" official language.

    My very first sentence said: There is NO official language of the USA. Still stands correct....

    I hope you still like Wiki:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_the_United_States

    "English is the de facto national language of the United States, with 82% of the population claiming it as a mother tongue, and some 96% claiming to speak it "well" or "very well". However, no official language exists at the Federal level"
     
  13. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    18,629
    Wrong.
    Since it is the language of the courts and the administration...

    Yep.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_official_languages
     
  14. that's right I forgot about that. hmm Well it should've been the Italians.
     
  15. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    18,629
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    The first humans to establish permanent residence in the Western Hemisphere were Paleo-Indians. The native people who were living in the area that is now the United States when the European conquerors arrived spoke a variety of languages--dozens if not hundreds--which seem to fall into two language families. The Na-Dene family is spoken primarily west of the Rocky Mountans. In this century, linguists have discovered clues that appear to link it to a language in Siberia, spoken by a tribe whose DNA is most closely related to theirs.

    Italy was not yet a nation in Columbus's time; he was Genoese and his name in the Genoese language is Christoffa Corombo. It was latinized to Christophorus Columbus, and then we anglicized it to Christopher Columbus. But he sailed under the Spanish flag in the service of the King and Queen of Spain, so it was a Spanish expedition that landed on Hispaniola. In Spanish he's known as Cristóbal Colón.

    It was the Spanish who established the first colony in what is now the USA. Flórida--Spanish for "flowery" in honor of Easter--is the oldest place name in our country. However, when the the United States was established as a nation in 1776, the thirteen original states that comprised it were all British colonies where English was the vernacular language. Florida did not become a state until 1845.

    The Dutch had established some outposts, most notably New Amsterdam, after the English had landed at Plymouth Rock and founded Jamestown, but by the time of the American Revolution the Dutch presence was gone and New Amsterdam had become New York.

    So there is plenty of historical validity for English being the vernacular language of America.

    There is no "official" language in the United States: no Act of Congress has established one and it's not mentioned in the Constitution. The business of Congress and the White House is conducted in English and the Federal courts are all run in English. This is as close as English comes to being "official." Many government documents are distributed in multiple languages. Regardless of how one feels about immigrants, there are millions of foreign tourists, diplomats, businessfolk, scholars and contractors who, as a practical matter, need to know what's going on.

    The State of Hawaii has two official languages: English and Hawaiian. I wouldn't be surprised if other states have taken similar actions, especially now with the strong anti-immigrant sentiments from the Redneck Right. Louisiana was originally a French colony and the Cajun French dialect is still widely spoken there as a de facto quasi-official language. My home state of California is arguably the most cosmopolitan, and there are signs in more than a dozen languages, from Armenian to Vietnamese.

    More than 90% of our population speak English well enough to be called fluent. Spanish is a distant second, with only 10%, the vast majority of whom also speak English. Businesses, who have to care more about accommodating customers than placating political factions, often post signs in Spanish and/or Chinese, which in my very un-scholarly observation is probably America's third language. To be prepared for anything, I have studied both Spanish and Chinese.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Most of the people who don't speak English fluently are recent immigrants from all over the world. Certainly that includes Latin Americans, but we have a huge number from Southeast Asia, since Perestroika there has been a steady stream from the former Soviet Union, including the Ukraine and Georgia, and there is now a growing population of first-generation Africans.
     
  17. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    22,875
    Minor details, who needs them....especially a man of science.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  18. soullust Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,380
    English is spoken by us cool kids, and the British earned the right to have originated the international language, and North American language.
     
  19. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,671
    Come on now, are you trying to confuse Dyw in his missbeliefs? he is going to keep repeating his mantra, I bet....
     
  20. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,631
    Recognizing that that Mexico, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador are all part of North America, English is the Northern-North American language, and even then with an asterisk for the non-English speakers here.
     
  21. Omega133 Aus der Dunkelheit Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,281
    Wouldn't they be considered Central American?
     
  22. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,631
    Central America is part of the North American continent, not it's own thing. It's just a name, so it's a bit like "New England" has a name, but is still part of "America" (and "North America").

    In any event, Mexico is not part of Central America, as that term tends to be defined.
     

Share This Page