April Issue: Bilingualism in the US

This post first appeared on my personal blog:

Multilingual Attention Sign

Image by beer

I think our generation’s been fortunate to witness the rise of the Internet and cell phone technology. The 7-year gap between my long-term US stays enabled me to witness an equally fascinating development in a different realm: the rise of bilingualism in the US.

When I was in Pennsylvania in 2002-2003, I didn’t see signs in any language but English. Granted, Pennsylvania is a predominantly white state, far from areas of high immigration.

However, here I am in 2011, in the equally Northeastern state of Ohio, and – lo and behold! – virtually every public sign has a subscript in Spanish.

It only makes sense for a country that has no official language to move toward bilingualism and reflect its current population makeup, but I wonder what other Americans have to say on the matter?

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