Language Immersion And The United States Essay

1067 Words Nov 17th, 2015 null Page
The United States, contrary to popular belief, does not have an official language. Although English is the de facto language of the United States, the Constitution makes "no reference to choice of a national language" (Heath, 1995, p.179). This tolerance of foreign languages, along with mass immigration, has enriched the linguistic diversity in the United States. Not surprisingly, this diversity has also made multilingual education an important component of American schooling—most American high schools and universities require students to learn a foreign language. Scholars and educators have promoted several methods for language instruction, two of which are immersion and bridging. John McWhorter and Donald Macedo both make compelling arguments, but I am inclined to support McWhorter 's assertion that immersion is the more effective pedagogical approach. Language immersion refers to a method of teaching in which a secondary language (target language) is used as the medium of instruction. McWhorter 's argument for how African American children should be taught Standard American English (SAE) supports immersion for several reasons. For example, McWhorter argues that because "speakers of standard and Black English easily understand one another… [African American children] can easily acquire standard dialects" via immersion (McWhorter, 1998, p. 212). The relatively small linguistic gap between Black English Vernacular (BEV) and SAE, in other hands, allows for easy dialect…

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