United States of America is one of the rare countries worldwide without an official language. This situation is deeply connected to the country’s founding philosophy and its multicultural structure. While approximately 180 countries worldwide have an official language, the USA has chosen a different path. Official languages usually serve as a universal tool of communication in governance, defining laws and rights, maintaining national unity, and preserving cultural identity. However, when the USA was founded in the 18th century, the ideals of individual freedom and equality were prominent.

Proposal to Make English the Official Language Found Undemocratic

Why Is There No Official Language in the US? History and Multiculturalism

English, despite being the dominant language in the American colonies throughout the 1700s, saw a significant portion of the population continue speaking languages brought from their homelands. John Adams’ proposal in 1780 for English to be made the official language was found undemocratic and was rejected. This underscores the importance given to the USA’s multicultural structure. An urban legend claims that Congress almost adopted German, but the proposal was defeated by a single vote from Frederick Muhlenberg. Although not true, this story highlights the sensitivity around the language issue.

Why Is There No Official Language in the US? History and Multiculturalism

Today, the USA does not recognize any language at the federal level, but 32 states and five territories have adopted English as the official language at the local level. This reflects America’s effort to preserve its multilingual and multicultural structure.

Source: Tomedes, IFLSCIENCE

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