Tuesday, May 12, 2009

ap english language

English Language Debate?

Below is a debate that just chaps my hide - (that means ticks me off) - Press 1 For English Ticks me off too

Anyway - its Oklahoma , so umm, uhh, ummm, yeah, umm, yeah........

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The Oklahoma House gave final passage Wednesday to legislation that asks voters if they want English to be the state’s official language, ending weeks of dialogue over the divisive issue that opponents said is aimed at Hispanic immigrants. “The biggest class of citizens who do not speak English as their first language are Indians, Native Americans.’’

Without debate, House members passed the Senate-passed measure 89-8. It now goes to a statewide ballot where voters will decide the issue in 2010.

A recent poll conducted by SoonerPoll.com for the Tulsa World found that 86 percent of Oklahomans support making English the official language of state government. Thirty other states have already adopted official English laws, as have more than 50 nations around the globe.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe on Wednesday introduced the National Language Act of 2009, legislation similar to Oklahoma’s proposal that would make English the national language of the U.S. government.

It says no one is entitled to receive federal documents and services in languages other than English unless required by law.

“By establishing that there is no entitlement to receive documents or services in languages other than English, we set the precedent that English is common to us all in the public forum of government,’’ said Inhofe, R-Okla.

The author of Oklahoma’s official English bill, Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, said it recognizes English as Oklahoma’s common and unifying language and declares that all official actions of the state must be conducted in English. It also bars individuals from suing the state to have services provided in languages other than English.

“As our common language, English and the ‘melting pot’ process it makes possible has made the United States the most successful multiethnic nation in history,’’ said Terrill, author of the 2007 measure that targeted illegal immigrants, House Bill 1804.

“Our government should encourage immigrants to assimilate so they can pursue the American dream, and this legislation encourages that process,’’ said Rep. George Faught, R-Muskogee, co-author of the bill. “We need to encourage legal immigrants to join mainstream American society and not live in linguistic isolation.’’

Under the legislation, private individuals and businesses will still be allowed to use whatever language they choose. Only official government business would be affected.

The bill also contains provisions to protect the “use, study, development, or encouragement’’ of any American Indian language, including the languages of Oklahoma’s 39 federally recognized tribes.

But tribal leaders have been among the measure’s most outspoken opponents as the bill and similar measures have been considered by Oklahoma lawmakers.

Chiefs of the five Civilized Tribes have gone on record opposing Terrill’s legislation. Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith called it “intolerant, close-minded and mean-spirited.’’

Smith said he thinks Terrill’s bill is aimed at Hispanics, but “the biggest class of citizens who do not speak English as their first language are Indians, Native Americans.’’

Several groups that support official English measures, including ProEnglish, English First and U.S. English, endorsed Terrill’s bill.

“When approved by voters in 2010 and added to the state constitution, this measure will be one of the very best official English laws in the nation,’’ U.S. English Chairman Mauro E. Mujica said.

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