This book analyzes the language policies that result from the promulgation of linguistic rights in the constitutions and statutes of the United States and its territories. The United States is a nation in which speakers of minority languages were conquered or incorporated and the languages spoken by them were suppressed or neglected. Since the 1960’s, the United States and its territories have seen a resurgence of claims for language recognition by minority groups representing a considerable population (Spanish in Puerto Rico and the Southwestern states, Chamorro in Guam, Chamorro and Carolinian in the Northern Mariana Islands, and Samoan in American Samoa). Also, the book studies recent developments regarding the status and use of English in the United States and some of its territories. For example, studying the effects of legal, social, educational, and political contexts on the Spanish language in the Southwestern states, and Pacific languages (Chamorro, Carolinian, and Samoan) in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa, reveals that English continues to be used as the main language of communication in all these places despite continuous efforts to protect the rights of indigenous languages by their native populations. For these reasons, it is important to compare the linguistic laws promulgated in the constitutions and statutes of the United States and its territories, or the lack thereof, as a response to the demands for linguistic rights by sectors of the population who do not speak English as a first language or who may seek to maintain the use of one or more indigenous languages. The book offers insights to those in charge of drafting legislation in the area of language rights. It shows how the United States and its territories could recognize and accommodate linguistic diversity.
Eduardo D. Faingold is professor of Spanish and linguistics at the University of Tulsa.
Part 1. U.S. State, Territorial, and Freely Associate State Language Rights Legislation
1 Language Rights in the Fifty States of the United States
2 Language Rights in the Territories of the United States and the Freely Associated States
Part 2. U.S. Federal Language Rights Legislation
3 Language Rights in the U.S. Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1964
4 Language Rights in the Workplace in the United States
Part 3. Language Rights in the Southwest of the United States
5 Language Rights in the Southwest of the United States and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
6 Language Rights and Devolution in the Southwest of the United States
Part 4. Language Rights in the Pacific Island Territories of the United States
7 Language Rights in the United States Island Territory of Guam
8 Language Rights in the United States Island Territory of the Northern Mariana Islands
9 Summary, Conclusion, and Directions for Future Research
This is a well-researched book with balanced shifts between detached analyses and normative arguments. Its clear prose and fine-tuned policy aims make it an easy read and an important intervention, and one can only hope that Faingold has the ears of policy makers.
The title and back cover recommendations will certainly entice many who may be interested in this very important topic, and most readers new to this subject will not be disappointed. Overall, for new students, this is a gathering of facts and analyses available elsewhere into one very convenient volume.
Language Rights and the Law in the United States is a great publication on languages issues in the US about legal point of view. Dr. Faingold analyses scientifically and in a very exhaustive way the hands-off and the hands-on, the explicit and implicit, the official and non-official, the native and no-native different language legislations in the US. It is a remarkable publication written by a linguist who thinks like a lawyer.