Official Language

AP US Government and Politics

How many official languages are there in the U.S.?

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this map?

  3. If the average American was asked to name the official language of the U.S. of A, how do you think they would answer?

  4. Why do you think the U.S. doesn't have an official language?

  5. What is one consequence of the U.S. not having an official language?

  6. What do you think are the three most commonly spoken languages in the U.S.?*

  7. What does the map of non-English usage in the United states (below*) indicate is the most and the least all-English region of the United States?

  8. Explain your opinion on the fact that the US has no official language?

  9. Let's say that the U.S. wanted to declare an official language. How would we go about doing that?

  10. What part of the government is responsible for declaring national languages?

  11. List one cost of the U.S. not having an official language and list one benefit of the U.S. not having an official language:

  12. Let's zoom out now to the entire world. What is the big story this map tells?

  13. Relative to the rest of the world, how normal is it that the U.S. has no official language?

  14. If you had to choose between having 0 official languages like Australia, or having 10 or more official languages like India, which do you think would lead to more stability?

  15. Although, English is not the official language of the U.S., there are obviously costs to not speaking English in the U.S. What would you say is the biggest cost of being a non-English speaker in the U.S.?

  16. Describe the liberal and conservative position on English being the official language of the US:

  17. How do you think this issue of language impacted the 2016 election?

  18. If you were King (POTUS, Congress, and SCOTUS) for a day Explain whether you would make English the official language of the US.

  19. If we did make English the official language of the U.S., what concrete changes would occur to our daily lives?

  20. If Pig Latin became the official language of the U.S. I would not be happy. I wouldn't be thrilled if any of the following languages became our official language either: Swampy Cree, Crimean Tartar, or Scottish Gaelic. Here is a list of some of the world's languages. List the worst possible official language of the U.S. in the comments section below.

Learning Extension

Read this ACLU backgrounder on English as the official language of the US.

Action Extension

Share your position on America having an official language on social media. Be sure to inform your followers about the (lack of an) official language of the U.S.

Visual Extension*

14295626899_a5a3585648_k.jpg

Our World In Data Extension 

Our Animals in clothes Extension