All the essays unanimously agree that language in the United States is on a stead decline. This is occasioned by an apparent lack of interest in reading among young people. The readings further paint a gloomy picture for the language in future. The authors of these essays blame the declining interests in reading among the youth on the current technological revolutions taking place. These changes have radically altered in the manner in which people interact. Most young adults want to appear fancy with sophisticated communication gadgets. The decline in literacy reading also coincides with lack historical and political awareness among the younger generations among the United States. Young people have no interest in trying to understand how the society lived and interacted in the past. The United States is among a few countries in the world with a remarkable cosmopolitan population. Although most American cultures are richly founded on European cultures, Americans have profoundly prided in their culture and language. However, this deep pride in language is being threatened by lack of literacy reading culture among youngsters (Gioia, 87-76).
According to the readings, language and culture are inseparable things in the society. Language, as well as culture, distinguishes one community from the other. In summary, these essays describe language and culture as two things that entirely depend on each other. The failure of American people to adopt other languages is the main impediment to the growth of culture in the United States. Most Americans shy away from the idea of adopting a multilingual approach. Failure by Americans to adopt many languages has created a society that has no culture. It has created a xenophobic society where people embrace English as the only language of communication. This is not advisable for a society that is diverse and quite cosmopolitan like the American society. Language and culture rely on each other heavily. Promoting one language at the expense of other is an injustice an assault on culture.
The ideas reflected in these essays describe an in-depth situation of language and culture in the United States. The first article why literature matters by Dana Gioia is quite explicit on the issue of literacy reading in the United States. The author was frank in pointing out that language and culture in the United States is threatened by the apparent lack interest in literacy reading among young stars. Dana Gioia did not mince her words when she categorically pointed out, that most young people in America do not appreciate their history. The author stresses that in-depth understanding of history and appreciation of culture are crucial aspects on which the American society is founded. Failure to understand the past means that the society has lost direction. Dana Gioia believes that one cannot appreciate his roots without understanding culture and history. She believes that literature and culture are critical in the society. Dana further decried that the American society is faced with an eminent shortage of reading skills. There is an increased concern among corporate Americans that the country risks shortage of reading skills if remedial measures are not implemented. Urgent measures should be taken to encourage young people to read and appreciate culture.
The second essay if only we all spoke two languages by Ariel Dorfman criticizes the Americas monolingual policy. According to the author, failure of the American society to adopt a multilingual approach is to blame for poor reading habits among the youth. In a diverse society like the American society, all languages should be given a similar footing. No language should be promoted at the expense of others. Failure to, as it is portrayed here implies that people’s culture and heritage would diminish. It is a fact that language and culture are mutually exclusive. This means that if one elevates either he elevates both and vice versa. Promoting English as a sole language of communication in the United States is a massive assault on the rich American culture.
How would one expect Latinos or Spanish culture to survive in an environment that glorifies English as the only language of communication? Such a situation breeds xenophobia and alienates minority cultures. Suite for the ebony and phonics is not different either. Its author John Rickford notes that in as much as access to college education has increased two fold in the United States; interest in literature has dropped significantly. The younger generations have trouble connecting to their culture. The issues of cultural diversity are equally under threat. In summary, all essays concur on the issue of lack interest in literature and culture among younger generations in America. There is a need to promote multilingual approach and promote literature among young people (Rickford, 24-32).
The ideas propagated in some essays are controversial. For instance, in the essay if we all spoke two languages by Ariel Dorfman the idea of adoption of a multilingual approach is extremely controversial. Most Americans believe that English is the only authentic language that should be spoken on their land. An idea of having two languages in schools sounds ridiculous to most Americans. They may consider it as an attack to their sovereignty. Other essays may be controversial as well considering the pace at which things are changing. Authors of these essays are yawning for their past instead of embracing change. With the current changes, it is obvious that there will be changes in tastes and preferences among people. All people are constantly changing and not just the young generation alone as it is suggested in these essays.
Indeed there is glaring evidence to support the authors’ assertions. The current generation has no interest in culture or in learning about the past. They are just preoccupied with fancy and sophisticated lifestyle. It is also true that lack of interest in literature and culture among the youths is a serious threat to an American social fabric. The value that lies in culture and history gave rise to the American society. Young people currently only know things that are around themselves. This is a threat to the values that build a nation. People need to coexist as a family, however, diverse they might be in ethnicity (Troutt, 43).
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These articles relate to each other in various aspects. In relation to language and culture are concerned, all essays were unanimous on the fact that culture has significantly eroded among young people. The articles concur that young people are obsessed with the media and other things that seem sophisticated. To them things like literature and culture are not fascinating. They are out of fashion and not related to current lives. Language is extremely valuable in a person’s life. Language is the only channel through which human beings express their opinions and ideas. This aspect should be properly nurtured in young individuals. Language and culture are inseparable aspects in the lives of human beings. Every society needs to liberalize use of language in order to promote culture and diversity. People should be encouraged to speak their mother tongues. This means that, in a mixed society like that of the United States, people should learn to speak more than one language. No language should be given preference over the other, as this would be tantamount to killing peoples’ diversity (Gioia, 87-76).
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