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  • Americans overwhelmingly speak English. But why?

  • Because the first thirteen colonies were founded by Great Britain!

  • Wait a second. That's not so obvious.

  • [Weird sounds]

  • First thing first, I won't speak today about native languages of North America, which are still spoken by around 350,000 people today.

  • Unfortunately, as those languages have been either ignored or actively attacked in the past centuries, they are in decline today.

  • The U.S. has no official language at the federal level.

  • Yohann: Sorry? Tamtam: "They don't?" Yohann: No, they don't.

  • Although the constitution was written in English, nothing in it mentions anything about an official language.

  • Alright so thisdone.

  • Article 6, 7… done.

  • Eight. Language...

  • I don't know, f**k it, let's call it a day.

  • It is also well documented that many founding fathers of the United States spoke multiple languages

  • German is a very interesting case, as hundreds of thousands of people who lived in the former colonies spoke German.

  • So you're saying German was an influential language? So how come almost nobody speaks it nowadays in the US?

  • Ah, that's because of Germanophobia.

  • Tamtam: "It's fashionable to hate the Germans, okay!"

  • During WW1, germanophobia was quite fashionable in the US. Books in German were burned, German wasn't taught in schools anymore, and cities with German names were renamed, along with many other things.

  • For example, sauerkraut was renamedliberty cabbage,” hamburgers became known asliberty sandwiches,” and those incredibly cute little dachshund dogs becameliberty pups.”

  • Before World War I, 25% of American high school students studied German.

  • By 1922, that figure had plummeted to 0.6%.

  • German lost most of its influence in the US. But what about Spanish?

  • It's an important language isn't it?

  • Of course it is. Since the 1970s, the US saw a rapid increase of the use of Spanish due to Latin-American immigration.

  • Starting in the 1980s, conservative politicians and organizations started to spread the vision of anEnglish-onlyUSA. Of course, some sociologists have been calling the English-Only Movement an example of modern day Hispanophobia, because people started caring very much about English when they began hearing other people speaking in Spanish.

  • Today, although the U.S. still has no official language at the federal level, 30 states out of 50 now have laws specifying the official nature of English.

  • Oh my, so it seems like languages are quite a controversial topic, and also a highly political one!

  • What a surprise, right?

  • So here you go, we've just briefly touched a topic that is way more complicated than it seems in the surface. If you'd like to know more about the topic, don't hesitate to check out some of the links we left in the description.

  • Make sure to like and subscribe for more! Bye!

Americans overwhelmingly speak English. But why?

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B1 US german language liberty official spanish topic

Why do Americans speak English?

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    nanako.kamiya posted on 2020/07/13
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