sociolinguistics presentation - apl623-f12-macedo


Sima Khoury APLING 623 Fall 2012


The English-Only Movement: Myths, Reality, and Implications for Psychology

Padilla, A. et al.

The article mainly discusses the English-only movement and the issues that are affected by the English-only policy. Throughout the article, the authors presented two points of view, first, he English-only movement supporters’ point of view, which is in favor of making the English language the official language of the United States in all government institutions including schools, pointing out that bilingual education is an “ineffective method” in teaching. The other point of view, which was the authors’, argued against the English-only movement and viewed bilingual education as indeed “effective.”

The article was informative and presented four main points that were affected by the English-only policy: Social psychological issues, educational issues, testing of cognitive abilities, and health services. I think that the arguments were well presented and supported by literature, research and examples.

Perhaps one of the important social issues that are affected by the English-only policy as was discussed in the article is the connection between losing the language and losing ethnic identity. Personally, I agree with this point of view as I see a strong connection between language and identity. As a language minority myself, I do think that my identity and culture are indeed part of my language and that my language is part of who I am, thus losing my language would mean losing my identity. Denying self-identity from language minorities and immigrants is unfair and can only bring negative consequences not only to those individuals but also to the whole society as


Sima Khoury APLING 623 Fall 2012 well.

One important issue that was presented in the article that was not explored enough in my opinion is the importance of bilingual education to the academic success of the students. Bilingual education as presented in the article is indeed affected negatively by the English-only policy; many minority students are misplaced in the special educational program when all they needed is to be in a bilingual classroom,

Furthermore, it is argued that lack of English academic language of the linguistic minority and immigrant students can affect their academic achievement when compared to native English speakers. The misplacement of the students and the lack of academic language are key factors when discussing the importance of bilingual education and thus I feel that the authors should have further explored this aspect.

Lastly, this article raised some questions in my head that I would like to share with the class:

1. Can we have both worlds? In other words, can we have English as the official language in the United States while still supporting bilingual education to help the linguistic minorities and immigrants preserve their own language and culture through educational programs?

2. In a huge country such as the United States, why not have more than one official language as many countries do, such as Israel or Lebanon? Could this end the on going debate between the English-only policy and the bilingual education?