We hear constantly throughout life that “communication is key”. Those who believe that statement would be right. Business, politics, education, and basic societal practices in general require clear and concise communication.
This communication, however, can be completely inhibited by language barriers, making any conversation difficult.
It is well-known that the United States actually has no official national language. This is a strange and often overlooked predicament, considering that the United States has a whopping 232 million native-English speakers and millions of bi-lingual speakers.
Diversity and culture is celebrated by our country and we would not be who we are today without our large “melting pot” culture. The first amendment in our constitution even offers us the ability to speak, explore, and learn all new languages from around the world. When language begins to slow and distract business deals or educational institutions, however, that is when we as a country need to take a good, long look at a possibility for language reform.
According to the Harvard Business Review, English is the global language of business. This means that internationally our commerce and industrialization is taken care of via the English language. If we want to integrate our non-English speaking immigrants into our workforce and provide our citizens with jobs, we need to provide programs within our immigration system to teach English to our newest citizens. This of course does not disrespect native languages, but it does make interaction easier between international business partners and the heavy majority of English linguists in the United States.
Fiscally speaking, multilingualism costs the federal government up to $150 million dollars annually. This cost comes from having to print ballots, forms, public signs, and other documents in languages other than English.
This is not only agreed upon by English speakers either. According to a study by The Latino Coalition and information from the U.S. Department of Education, 29% of Hispanic immigrants consider learning English to be very important for success in the U.S. Furthermore, those who are not English proficient “are less likely to be employed, less likely to be employed continuously, tend to work in the least desirable sectors, and earn less than those who speak English.”
It is time to quit considering a “no official language policy” to be socially just and civil. If we want to protect our immigrants and provide the best possible life for them, we need to set English as our official language and embrace bilingual immigrants. We will continue creating cultural barriers if we all do not speak the same language in formal business environments.