A Linguistically Pluralistic America
Historically, the United States of America has always been a polyglot society, one that embraces diverse languages. German and Spanish are some of the languages that have become dominant in America in separate times. A century ago, the German language was more dominant in the U.S just as Spanish today. Many non-English immigrants constituted a good number of the population in the country, and areas such as Pennsylvania had two-fifth German-speaking populace (Cenoz et al. 33). In the current American society, many people from diverse cultures and language have made a home in America, and the society has become multilingual than ever. The aspect of language pluralism in the American society has become routine and currently, U.S is one of the countries that constitutes broader language diversity. Propelled by massive growth in various sectors of the economy, many people from all regions of the world come in the nation. Aspects such as immigration, trade, education, etc. have ensured that language diversity remains in the American society (Hollinger 65). Nonetheless, multilingual society has not been smooth in every aspect. Language pluralism may impact areas of politics, education, religion, business, as well as daily lives of individuals.
In a more structured manner, consider a scenario where all ethnic groups in America are authorized and encouraged to use their native languages. Precisely, they are inspired to use these vernacular languages in the learning institution, business, workplace, religion, and even politics (Hollinger 60). The society would be different, and this essay seeks to understand how this kind of language pluralistic scenario may impact various area of politics, education, business, and day-day lives of Americans.
Impacts on education
Education is an essential aspect of the society, and many people understand its value. With all respect, education should not be perturbed by any external factor. Threatening to rip to shreds education is like threatening the lives of many people who require it. However, the situation is different from what most people expect. In the contemporary American society, one of the utmost concerns in the educational sector is the continued rise in a linguistically pluralistic society that has been largely fueled by the cultural fragmentation established by socialization since the advent of the late modernity (Dicker 30). A language is a powerful tool that can be used to influence others. In a school set-up, allowing multilingual situation would be detrimental in many ways.
Firstly, issues regarding misunderstanding would be the prevailing norm in the education sector. Various ethnic groups speak a different language and thus allowing such dialects to thrive in the school systems would be a significant barrier. In America society that is composed of various ethnic groups, the education system would be under threat since accepting the usage of diverse language means learning or the entire school system would challenge and difficult to interpret. For instance, a century ago, the German language was prominent, and many publications were made in this language. This inferred that others might be forced to learn another language in order to consume such products written in a different language (Hollinger 66).
Secondly, such a linguistic pluralism scenario may also impact educator sector in a negative way. Divisions along the ethnic line would be common in the institutions of learning. Students shall tend to align themselves along their ethnic groups, and this shall not allow full participation in school set up. Also, teaching would be a challenging task since there are many languages used in the class and every student expect that their dialect are used during such period. This creates a conflict of interest, and the situation may be detrimental to the education system. In American society, English is a primary language used in the school system, and this creates a sense of unity and harmonization among the materials of learning and the classroom at large. The society is crowded with international students that from diverse ethnicity. Thus, accepting such students to use their native languages would be a challenge to the education system. The culture of sharing with one another and cultural exchange would diminish since the students shall be divided along the ethnic languages.
In the current society, it seems purposely and diffusely challenging to handle diversity especially at school or other places since unitary cultural contexts have vanished, thereby setting a stage for language pluralism to thrive (Cenoz et al. 30). Various types of pluralism are at stake and in the education setting alone, linguistic and religious diversities are increasingly becoming routine across American classrooms.
Impact on politics
Politics is another critical area that can be impacted by the language pluralistic scenario stated above. The politics of the day is an area that has become vulnerable to the language identity. Precisely, the United States of America is not exempted. America is made up of diverse ethnic groups and politics of the day have to some extent pegged on the language diversity exhibited in the ethnic groups (Dicker 22). Thus, the idea of the linguistic pluralism and its role in the political cleavage is common in the society. Individual’s linguistic attitudes are swayed both by the communicative practice and by identification with the individual language. In America, language identity affects politics just as seen in the recently presidential election. However, this is considered to a smaller extent. Ethnic groups can give their support based on the language they identify themselves (Hollinger 66). An analysis shows that language is a robust predictor of individual’s attitudes and politics regarding socially divisive matters. Language plurality in the American society has increased since the period of the slave trade, immigration, and even refugees that have currently been a serious issue in the world. Languages have a role in politics.
Impact on business/commerce
Business is another area impacted by language pluralism. Consider American society where all the ethnic groups are allowed and encouraged to use language that conforms to their ethnicity. The situation may be challenging to the business contexts. Firstly, the aspect of corporate communication would be in jeopardy since the language diversity would create a state of language barrier among the customers and companies. The impact on language diversity on commerce has far-reaching consequences (Cenoz et al. 36). Many huge corporations, as well as small business, would register reduced sales since business depends on communication as a key aspect to reaching their customers. In addition, languages are also incredibly impacted by the exceptional world thoughts regarding native cultures. Thus, expressions and words can have huge different meanings and implications for the individuals from contexts. In such a scenario, employees in the current workstations should be cautious and ensure that every aspect of their messages are passed and well understood by the intended recipients (Dicker 25). Thus, it is clear that language pluralism is a serious issue that would affect business and many elements of trade if the above scenario were encouraged in the American society.
Impact on daily life
The scenario described above would also have huge impacts on the day-day life of the people. America is a free society where people interact freely. A situation where language pluralism is accepted from all the ethnic groups would result in a society where communication becomes a challenge. Primarily, language plays a huge role in communication. Thus, increased adoption of ethnic languages would hamper this essential process and interaction among the American citizens (Cenoz et al. 35). Language diversity would also have a sound effect on day-day communication with an organization context. Problems would start to arise because people of diverse languages would start to feel that theirs is the best way to handle an issue. In addition, workplace language pluralism shall result in miscommunication as well as misunderstandings among people. Consequently, inaccuracies, slowness, inefficiencies, and misunderstandings are some of the norms in language diverse community (Dicker 20).
Balance linguistic pluralism
In a bid to embrace linguistic diversity in America, more efforts can be made by the government to embrace diversity among all ethnic languages. Unitary language is key to balancing the multilingual society. The populace nationally uses English so that all ethnic groups adopt a common language that can alleviate misunderstanding, communication barriers, and other inefficiencies resulting in a multilingual society (Cenoz et al. 30).
In conclusion, language pluralism as depicted in the above scenario would tremendously impact politics, education, business, and daily life of the people. The paper highlights the severity of the matter and demonstrates that if the scenario depicted is not controlled, the society can plunge in massive jeopardy. Language in a medium of communication and when its diversity from ethnic groups threatens education, commerce, politics of the day, and individuals at large, then close examination must be considered.
Cenoz, Jasone, Britta Hufeisen, and Ulrike Jessner, eds. Cross-linguistic influence in third language acquisition: Psycholinguistic perspectives. Vol. 31. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters, 2001.
Dicker, Susan J. Languages in America: A pluralist view. New York: Multilingual Matters, 2003. Print.
Hollinger, David A. Postethnic America: beyond multiculturalism. New York: Basic Books, 2006. Print.