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ERIC Number: ED354767
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Jun
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Language Freedom and Restriction: A Historical Approach to the Official Language Controversy.
Crawford, James
The major threat to Native languages embodied in the "English Only" movement is discussed and ways that the United States historically has allowed language freedom is documented. The following points are made: (1) contrary to myth, the United States has never been a monolingual country; (2) for most of U.S. history, the dominant federal policy on languages has been one of tolerance and accommodation; (3) recognition of minority language rights was reflected in the bilingual and non-English-language schooling that was commonplace in many localities until the World War I era; (4) U.S. liberation policy on language has not always been upheld, especially toward indigenous and conquered peoples, colonized groups, and racial minorities; and (5) it was in the first two decades of the 20th century, the "Americanization" era, that an ideological link was forged between English-speaking ability and American patriotism, and conversely, between speaking other languages and disloyalty to the United States. It is concluded that the country has always been marked by considerable language diversity, that language laws have been rejected as a threat to individual liberties, that language restrictions have trampled basic constitutional rights and produced ethnic strife, and that language conflicts have never been fundamentally about language per se. These arguments rebut the claim that English has been a great unifying force in American history. Contains 35 references. (LB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A