Not “English Only”

“English-Only” is an inaccurate term for any piece of official English legislation. U.S. English, Inc. has never and will never advocate for any piece of legislation that bans the use of languages other than English within the United States. All references to the legislative efforts of U.S. English should accurately reflect our work to pass official English, not “English-Only.”

Our opponents have a first Amendment right to use this phrase, but it is not an appropriately neutral term to use in news coverage. For example, consider the outcry if news sources used “pro-abortion” as its neutral label for self-described “pro-choice” organizations.

When he introduced official English legislation in front of Congress in 1982, Sen. S.I. Hayakawa told his colleagues, “Nothing I say in this amendment encouraging the use of an official language in the United States is intended to discourage the study of all languages around the world so we, in business and diplomacy, will be better represented around the world.”

As evidenced in our legislation, official English would not affect the diversity of languages spoken in the home, foreign languages learned in classrooms, mottoes, Native American languages and the like. Making English the official language of the United States refers solely to the language of the government, not of the people, private business, classrooms, etc. Passage of official English legislation would not make the United States “English-Only,” just as Nigeria is not “English-Only” and Mexico is not “Spanish-Only.”