In English or Espanol, It’s no Problemo

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No, I do not intend to start using Spanish in the titles of all my posts, but I wanted to make an additional comment in regards to my early post about English as our national language.

A blog called Right on the Right, quoted my passage about all the Spanish I see here in San Antonio as an example of the kind of linguistic incursion to which he’s opposed.

O.k. I can understand the concern. While many of us are comfortable with bilingualism, many others see such a system as creating cultural instability. But, to those who would prefer grocery stores carry products with English-only labels, I have to ask: what’s your remedy?

Spanish-language store signage and billboards and labeling and the like are the product of market-driven decisions. No government agency is mandating this form of bilingualism�it’s occurring because private business are making marketing decisions. Should we pass laws restricting what language American businesses can use on their products or in their advertising?

It’s one thing to say our government communications should use only English, it’s a much different thing to want all our commercial communication to also conform to one language.

As with so many other issues, we have to separate what government can do and what it cannot do. If private companies decide that their business will improve by going bilingual, there is nothing we can reasonably expect our government to do to halt the trend. Sure, private citizens could boycott bilingual-friendly companies, but this is simply not an area in which the government should be involved.

Personally, I am unbothered by the bilingualism I see in my city. I do not think San Antonio is culturally unstable because of it and I do not think English is even remotely in danger of being supplanted. What I see is a vibrant commingling of culture and language�the kind of fusions that have long spurred America to greatness and innovation.

I don’t support Spanish-only classrooms in public schools or anything so over-the-top, but bilingualism in the public square is not something that bothers me. Those who wish it to go away really need to ask themselves how far they are willing to go to stop the trend.

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