Other languages may be true official tongue


In reference to the arguments concerning the making of English as our "official" language, I have just one question: exactly what is the determining factor as to which language is "official?"

In the City of Tucson, there are thousands of people whose ancestors were living in this area for hundreds of years before most of our Anglo ancestors ever set foot here. I am referring to both the Native American citizens of the Tucson area as well as the descendants of the Spanish population of this area. This was Spanish territory for over 200 years before it ever became part of the United States and the "official" language at that time was, of course, Spanish. Before that, the "official" language was that of the various indigenous people from whom all of this land was stolen in the first place.

I tend to get very irate with those people who see their Indo-European ancestry as a license to dictate to all other cultures how to act, think and speak. I, personally, am of northern Indo-European ancestry, but I believe my Viking ancestors were neither better nor worse than any of the other various cultures which developed around the globe. Nor do I believe that all others must speak Norse just because my ancestors did so, even if they were the first to colonize (a nice word for "steal") a portion of this continent.

I believe that there is space for all cultures and all languages, and if it costs us a little more to publish official documents in both English and Spanish or any other language which would be appropriate for the area, then it is an expense well spent. It allows our country to retail its rich diversity, which is the foundation of our national strength and pride.

Karen K. Giovetti

Senior Office Specialist

Engineering Experiment Station

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