Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 09:48:27 -0400 From: "M. Lynne Murphy" <104LYN[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MUSE.ARTS.WITS.AC.ZA> Subject: official english in case you haven't seen this... lynne ------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- From: daily[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Date sent: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 08:00:00 EDT To: daily[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Subject: 4/10/97 Daily Report from ACADEME TODAY Academe Today's DAILY REPORT for subscribers of The Chronicle of Higher Education _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ MAGAZINES & JOURNALS A glance at the April issue of "The Atlantic Monthly": Is "official English" a threat to U.S. unity? For centuries, countries around the world have been divided over the disparate languages spoken by their citizens. Language as a divisive social and political force is a concept alien to Americans, but is that changing? asks Robert D. King, a linguistics professor at the University of Texas at Austin. In spite of many state and local laws designating English as the "official language," and despite the conservative "English Only" movement, "America is not threatened by language," Dr. King writes. Language is a potentially explosive issue in countries like Canada and Belgium because it is the defining characteristic of nationality, he writes. But countries such as Switzerland, which has four official languages, and India, which recognizes 19, are not divided over language because they have strong national identities, Dr. King writes. In the United States, issues such as immigration, the rights of minority groups, and bilingual education fuel the English Only movement. "I suggest that we relax and luxuriate in our linguistic richness and our traditional tolerance of language differences," he writes. "Benign neglect is a good policy for any country when it comes to language, and it's a good policy for America." (The magazine may be found at your library or newsstand.) _________________________________________________________________