Does Bilingualism in America Threaten the English Language?

English is in no danger of disappearing any time soon; it is firmly established both in America and in countries throughout the world. In fact, no language has ever held as strong a position in the world as English does today. Some people worry when they see Spanish showing up on billboards and pay phones, but in a neighborhood with a high Spanish- speaking population, it makes perfectly good sense for public information and instructions to be printed in both English and Spanish. This doesn’t mean that the English language is in danger.

The truth is that there will probably always be immigrants in the U.S., coming from a wide variety of countries, who cannot speak English but whose grandchildren and great-grandchildren will end up being native English speakers. The reason for this is, again, the fact that it is much easier for children to learn another language than it is for adults. Adults who immigrate to the U.S., especially later in life, may never really become fluent in English. It’s not that they don’t want to speak English; it’s simply much more difficult for them to learn it well. Their children, however, will be able to pick up English easily from their friends and the society around them.
Continue reading