The English-Only Movement and its Social and Cultural Influence

Jamie Watson Illinois College
Faculty Sponsor(s): Diana Grullón García Illinois College
It is almost universally known that people in the United States do not value foreign language learning in the way that other countries do. Americans do not take advantage of the plasticity of the brain at a younger age in regards to learning and retaining a second language, instead expecting others to assimilate to every aspect of their culture which includes speaking English, and have a strong nationalism that becomes exclusionary to those who do not speak English, even though the United States does not have an official language. My paper will address the issue of not learning a second language, especially Spanish—a language that has become increasingly important to learn as the U.S. Hispanic population grows—while learning English elsewhere is highly encouraged to be studied because of its global domination. Specifically in this project, I will use existing research on societal and cultural aspects of the United States in regards to language learning and do more research as to why the United States has not widely adopted and encouraged learning a second language such as Spanish. I argue that the factors in play aren’t simple, but are cultural norms that have shaped the way Americans look at foreign language compared to English. In conclusion, this paper examines a wide variety of cultural reasons that contribute to the lack of Americans knowing a second language.
Modern Languages, Cultures, & Literatures
Oral Presentation

When & Where

02:00 PM
Jordan Hall 242