The Instigator
pcmbrown
Con (against)
Winning
64 Points
The Contender
PervRat
Pro (for)
Losing
8 Points

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 12 votes the winner is...
pcmbrown
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/15/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,627 times Debate No: 7854
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (12)

 

pcmbrown

Con

Resolved: The government should be required to publish all material in both English and Spanish.

I'm of the opinion that Proposition should always take the first round. If you disagree, please do not take this debate.
PervRat

Pro

I accept Con's proposition to allow the challenger (Pro) side to make the first round.

My arguments in support of the subject (The government should be required to publish all material in both English and Spanish) are as follows

== REASON #1 - A LARGE NUMBER OF SPANISHSPEAKING AMERICAN CITIZENS ==
Due to a combination of the United States' proximity to Mexico, and much of the United States' current territory (from Texas west to California, north to Oregon) was originally part of the New Spain colonies, colonized, developed and inhabited by native Spanish speakers before being taken over through conquest (or in the case of Gadsen, purchased). A large number -- in the millions nationwide -- of the United States' population speaks Spanish as a first tongue, and a significant portion of those are not fluent in English as a second language.

One of the most vital and important amendments in the Bill of Rights is the freedom of speech, guaranteed in the very first amendment to the Constitution. While even this has limitations (shouting Fire in a crowded theater was an example), there is no reason to consider language among those restrictions, and a person's preference for a recognized and legitimate language (such as Spanish) should be respected, especially for a nation "of immigrants."

I argue that English-supremacist monolingualists are fighting with at least a twinge of racism, believing that Spanish speaking citizens (native born or legal immigrants) are not as intelligent or deserving of access to government as the current (dwindling) English-speaking majority. In some entire states, notably the mega-populated California, the "white majority" is expected to, based on statistical trends, end in just a few decades; hispanic people will then have a racial majority over whites after that.

If in the future, Spanish speakers outnumber English speakers, should people like pcmbrown be required to learn Spanish to access government or suffer as an unequal?
Debate Round No. 1
pcmbrown

Con

English is the primary language of the United States, and the language in which nearly all U.S. legal documents were originally published. Thus, the United States is required to print documents in this language. This legal requirement extends to no other specific language, nor should it, for several reasons.
Most widely available government documents are only published in English and Spanish. Many United States immigrants speak different languages than these. Therefore, the selection of Spanish is discriminatory.

Publishing documents in Spanish discourages immigrants from learning English. When these documents are made available in Spanish, immigrants will be less inclined to seek English language instruction. As a result, Hispanic immigrants naturalize at a far slower rate, and ultimately have less success in America.

Publishing documents in Spanish is costly. Each document requires accurate translation, and translators are therefore required. To spend money on a program that has a negative impact upon immigrants is illogical.

Pro:

1. I don't propose that we ban any sort of expression in Spanish. This is entirely non-resolutional. The First Amendment does not guarantee citizens government documents in a language of their choice.

2. It will be centuries before Spanish speaker outnumber English speakers. This is because the population of Mexico and Central America is less than half of the United States, and those Spanish speakers and their children who move to the United States eventually naturalize. Therefore, English will remain the dominant United States language for many more centuries.

3. English is the official language of most states. Consequently, documents will always be published in English.

Your argument seems to be that, Spanish, as a legitimate language, should be present on all government documents. This fails to justify funding for translation, and means that documents must be available in all legitimate languages.
PervRat

Pro

There is no portion of the Constitution nor law that I am aware of that declares English to be the only language to be respected in the United States. Given that, every language spoken here should be equally respected. The notion that providing documents in a language spoken by tens of millions of Americans is somehow discriminatory is backward.

Publishing documents in English discourages citizens from learning Spanish. I do not see English supremacism as anything needing to be enforced, I do not see the benefit of English over Spanish, and Spanish is such a significant minority that it is senseless to me to deny access to services for those who are more fluent and comfortable in Spanish than English.

Publishing documents in Spanish is no more costly than English. Tens of millions of people in the U.S. have Spanish as a primary (if not only) language. The cost of translation spread out over those who would benefit is actually much smaller than the original English drafts that required lawyers to craft the original legalese!
Debate Round No. 2
pcmbrown

Con

English is not the official language of the United States. However, it is the official language of 39 states, and the exclusive de facto language of 17 more. These states publish legal documents, which are government documents, given that the state is a component of government. There is no legal requirement to publish these documents in Spanish.

"Given that, every language spoken here should be equally respected." Over three hundred languages are spoken in the United States (http://www.mla.org...). My opponent is stating that United States should recognize all these languages equally, which would force them to publish documents in 300+ languages, this being of nightmarish cost and logistical impossibility. To print them in only English is in keeping with precedent and state law. To print them exclusively in English and Spanish would be discriminatory.

English is the official language of much of the United States, and the de facto language of our federal government. Almost all texts are published primarily in English within the bounds of the United States. The vast majority of America speaks English as their native tongue. Thus, success in America depends upon English fluency. As I have said, publishing documents in Spanish discourages immigrants to seek English instruction, limiting their degree of success.

The cost of printing documents in Spanish is greater than in English, due to translation costs. However, my main point is that the cost doubles by publishing in two languages, and with your equal respect for all languages, the cost would be 300 times greater.

Only 0.8% of the population speaks only Spanish. 96% speaks English with a high degree of fluency. (http://en.wikipedia.org...)

My opponent dropped his own first and second contentions, so my responses stand.

The resolution is discriminatory and limits immigrant success. Therefore, I strongly urge a vote in the Contradiction of this resolution.
PervRat

Pro

There is no legal prohibitions against publishing documents in a language that is the natural language of tens of millions of American citizens either.

There is no precedent nor valid state law that restricts private or public affairs and business be conducted exclusively in English, and there never should be.

English is not the official language of the United States, it has no official language. Its the language, in fact, of our tyrannical motherland we shed a lot of blood to fight for our independence from. There are towns and even counties in our nation where the majority of the population ARE Spanish-speaking. Should they be exempted from having to support the English-monolingual minority? You failed to respond to my earlier hypothetical question on that.

Publishing documents in English only discourages immigrants and prevents them from succeeding.

The cost of translating English legalese to Spanish is far lower than the lawyers who drafted the original legalese. A lot of English-Spanish translation jobs pay $12/hour or less.

Denying someone access to services merely because they are more fluent in a language you are ignorant of is blatant discrimination.

My opponent is backward in his arguments that providing communication to reach out to beyond English monolinguists is somehow discriminating against them, and that we should cut them off and leave them out in the cold and that would somehow better serve them. This is backward thinking in my book. There are sovereign nations of Native Americans throughout the U.S. in which the native tongue is most definitely not English. By my opponents' logic, we should eradicate what remains of Native American languages and force everyone in the U.S. to adopt the majority language. That is as much an infringement on the right to speech as forcing everyone to adopt the majority religion would be an infringement on the freedom of religion. Thank you for reading.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by PervRat 7 years ago
PervRat
Likewise, I look forward to future debates with you.
Posted by pcmbrown 7 years ago
pcmbrown
PervRat, thanks for the debate. And thanks to everyone for reading.
Posted by pcmbrown 7 years ago
pcmbrown
On the off-chance that wasn't a poorly made sexual joke....No, I don't speak spanish.
Posted by Maikuru 7 years ago
Maikuru
Ha!
Posted by brian_eggleston 7 years ago
brian_eggleston
A friend of mine (Dirty Sanchez, do you know him) would like to debate this but doesn't speak very good English - perhaps Con could agree to debate in Spanish instead?
12 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Volkov 7 years ago
Volkov
pcmbrownPervRatTied
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Vote Placed by Lazy 7 years ago
Lazy
pcmbrownPervRatTied
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Vote Placed by LuxEtVeritas 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by philosphical 7 years ago
philosphical
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Vote Placed by trendem 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by brycef 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by alto2osu 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Loki 7 years ago
Loki
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Vote Placed by The_Booner 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Marvel 7 years ago
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