Viva Bilingualism by James Fallows - Review Paper Example

3 pages
818 words
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

In the article Viva Bilingualism James Fallows argues that learning Spanish should not be feared by the Americans, just because they have English. He tried to prove his claim by showing that its possible to learn two or more languages at the same time. Also, Fallows claimed that English is powerful enough to be dominant without necessarily having to be imposed in law. There are plenty of people who think that English will be ignored and will disappear. He tries to convince them that English will not be overlooked and show them how dominant the language already is, having its roots not just in America, but in several other countries across the world. Fallows concludes that English does not need to be declared as the official language of the United States. Fallows argument that the user doesnt need to make English an official language, and thus proceed to support a multilingual society is outstandingly persuasive, and that is ostensibly backed by the realist illustrations he gives about several other nations that had embraced multilingual, and are gaining far many benefits English-only people may not get.

Fallows Arguments

First, Fallows illustrates the dominance of English as a language in the United States. In every corner of the world, people know that they chances to travel, interact, get opportunities and do anything that supports their wellbeing is pegged on learning English. In Asian countries like Malaysia or even China, Fallows says the main problem English speaker encounter is the number of people who are interested in learning English. These countries, just like several others outside the United States, ship millions of students abroad to study various subjects. But before their admission all have to learn English, they dont need to suppress Spanish to support it. That, based on Fallows argument, which I also agree, is enough evidence the English is already a dominant language. Fallows also sees it as irrelevant if people are going to create another issue to cause division among people when he thinks the American society already has enough. The concept of making English an official language is an issue which can make America Quebec, a city divided based on the language they speak. It is unnecessary on the face of the several other ideological differences that exist in the country. However, given all those, Fallows supports not just the maintenance of Spanish, but any different language within America.

Fallows gives an example of how other countries are receptive to bilingualism or multilingualism. That is an exhibition that Spanish too can be accommodated in the United States without undermining English. For instance, Japan who have their language also uses English as a second language. Mostly, he opens his article by encouraging them not to fear English, even though they have to learn it. Japan makes more accommodation to English than America does to Spanish. The major train and subway in Japan have English written signs, most big hotels and restaurants across the country have English menu. All major business amenities in the country have English speaking staff. Other than that, students applying for university must pass a compulsory English test and more importantly, Tokyo is a home of multiple daily newspapers and magazines all printed in English. Even trains make their announcements in English. Another illustration Fallow gives is about Malaysia, a country inhabited by three large tribes, each speaking a different language. They have Malay for Malaysians, Cantonese for Chinese and Tamil for Indians. No one tribe knows the others language entirely, but given the country is a British colony, they all know English. They freely use those languages, but English is the most dominant that any two people from either language cant understand. The three languages are however restricted to their regions, and rarely does it travel outside the zone. It, therefore, becomes critical for Malaysian to learn an additional language. Follow argues that all these acceptance for diverse language either in Japan, or Malaysia or any such other country does not lower the incentive for their native language. To make it more convincing, he likens it to have two kids, whom even though you love both, you cannot say there is one who will lose the incentive of the love.


Leaving people to study Spanish, or any such other languages in America cannot lower the incentive of learning or speaking English. After all, it is a language that is not just dominant in America with no chance of losing its essence, but also in several other countries and regions, like Japan and East Asia countries. It is therefore worthy concluding that fallows argument against suppressing Spanish just to make English dominant is illogical and irrelevant. Just like he uses the example of Scandinavians and Swiss who talk multiple languages, and still able to interact friendly with anyone, he aspires to see the same in America, a position I think is quite logical.


Have the same topic and dont`t know what to write?
We can write a custom paper on any topic you need.

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the website, please click below to request its removal: