The usage of American language Essay

The usage of american language

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This paper aims to discuss various points pertaining to language, such as who decides what language Americans speak and read in public, the role represented by the mass media in the American language, the cultural institutions that serve a decisive role in an individual’s life which dictates how a person should learn utilizing language. It also aims to determine who are included and excluded in speaking the American language alongside how the students may make use of language and style given that the author depicts on voice, tone, audience, or purpose.

            The English language is the language spoken by Americans, which gives a distinction of the kind of race and nationality this group of people possess. It is hard to trace down the origin of the American language, and one would certainly take time to track down its historical and evolutionary roots. However, this is not the matter which this paper intends to address, leaving us to rest this issue at hand.

            Who decides what language Americans speak and read in public?

This question requires a thorough scrutiny of facts in the social-dimensional realm of language. No one urges another to choose a particular language that they are supposed to speak but the reality of the command of the Mother Tongue in which they accustomed.[1] In the interactionist view, this reality is well-acceptable in which the speaker – the American – speaks the vernacular to which he is very much used to. It allows him the understanding of concepts within the construct of his culture.[2]

However, deciding to use a certain language both for speaking and reading is not always pushed by the very essence of the Mother tongue as a direct and overt reason.[3] Rather, there may be circumstances in which a speaker would opt to use another language rather than his own, such as when one is blinded by language imperialism, or colonial mentality.[4] In the case of the American language, however, it is one which is being generally hailed and pursued by Americans, enriching it as their own, partaking in its vocabulary and phonetic nomenclatures because of its own character as the primary language used in global transactions.  Thus, who decides what language Americans speak and read in public? It’s the Americans themselves, who, in their own country’s rise to primacy, have taken pride of their own language, knowing that the American language itself is a cultural symbolism of power, dynamism, influence, and control.[5] It is able to control other languages to perform within the cultural boundaries that it established, especially those lacking in cultural identity.[6] It is this cultural identity that the American language is able to take command of other people to speak and live it. The American people who possess this language are embodied by this cultural identity in the very language that they speak. Thus, unlike other nationalities with their own native tongues that revert to the English language when they speak in public, the Americans feel no compulsion to use other languages but their own, the very language coveted, so to speak, by other nationalities and races.

How do the mass media represent American language?

 The mass media’s representation of the American language is through the use of ‘commodification,’ which is its primary duty.[7] This commodification or the enclosure of commercialism, which is the primary role of mass media, is seen in the constant usage of the English language in advertisements. The American language has adopted the concept of expansionism through mass media, which is seen in how extensive it has gone as far as the usage of the language, and even the influence of culture.[8] The geographical tenets of the United States are not the only ones using the English language in advertisements, movies, television shows, and radio programs. The concept of language expansionism is seen in how mass media represents the usage of the English language.

What cultural institutions in one’s individual life dictate how a person learns to utilize language?

This question addresses the influence of language through cultural institutions. The first of these is the family, where an individual experiences the initial socialization process. Certainly, if the American family begets children, what other language would they teach them but their own native tongue- in this case, the American language? Hence, language is initially utilized at home, in an unconscious intent of family members. Their pursuit for its usage is not in any way to advocate certain political ideology, but simply to use it as members of one nation and ethnicity.[9]

Another institution that dictates how a person learns to utilize language is the school, which teaches students of one defined language. In American schools, American students are trained to use the English language eloquently through teachings of reading, phonetics, and linguistic principles. Even non-linguistic subject matters such as science and math have to make use of the English language as well. Students of diverse backgrounds need to heed to the acquisition of the English language in the American school system. Hence, in much the same manner that individuals learn to speak and read the American language, they speak and read their culture as well, the embodiment of their tradition and norms, because all of these are interrelated in the concept of language.[10]

Who is included in the speaking of American language? Who is excluded?

 Those who embody the culture, identity, and nationalistic concepts of American society are included in the speaking of American language, and those who do not see themselves identified to these are excluded. This might be a strong point of contention as some people would argue that for as long as they know how to eloquently speak the English language, they are already included in the speaking of American language. The fact is that very language is an embodiment of identity and sense of oneness of the members of a cultural community.[11] In the case of the American language, it is the Americans who possess these embodiments. A Japanese migrant, amidst his stay in the United States, would need to have a prolonged period of time allowing him to internalize the norms, values, laws, processes, and trends of the American culture, apart from knowing its language. This would allow him to reconstruct himself within the realm of the American society to the point that his loyalty, identity, and sense of oneness are already for the United States. In this case, as he eloquently and confidently speaks the American language who adopts him and whom he adopts just the same, he becomes part of the exclusive members of the American language speakers.[12]

Does an enabling figure in someone’s life help learners to read and write?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes. The enabling figure in an individual’s life always enables him to look at the same direction, follow his examples, adopt his point of view, and speak his language. In the interactionist theory of communication, a point of reference serves as the role model of an individual whose ways and manner of thinking are adopted by him.[13]

How significant is education in acquiring language?

The answer to this is “very significant.” It is through education in which one enhances the usage of both the spoken and the written language through various teaching methods that pursue their purpose. The school, in order to challenge students to improve their skills in oral communication, design curricular and non-curricular activities that would address this concern. It is not only within the four tenets of the classroom that a student expresses himself through the use of language; rather, certain techniques for the improvement of the spoken language are adopted.[14] Some examples of this are debate and public speaking, oration, declamation, and poetry reading, all requiring eloquence of the spoken language. The written language is however enhanced through essay writing and the school publication.

How might students use one of the essays for language and style, looking at how the author decided on voice, tone, audience, or purpose?

Students may use one of the essays for language and style considering that the author has decided on voice, tone, audience, a or purpose through the incorporation of the essay’s content with the style utilized by the author, as well as the syntax and construction of language. The authors’ purpose in writing the essay shows how he deals with the flow of his discussion, which is incidentally linked to language and style.


Geertz, Clifford. The Interpretation of Culture. Basic Books, 1973.

Gustafson, Sandra M. Eloquence is Power: Performance and Oratory on Early America. The University of North Carolina Press, 2000.

Horton, Paul and Hunt, Chester L. Sociology. McGraw-Hill Books, 1983.

Kramsch, Claire and Widdowson, H. G. Language and Culture. Oxford University Press, 1998.

Kymlicka, Will. Liberalism, Community, and Culture. Oxford University Press, 1989

Lanr, Herbert. Language and Culture. Oxford University Press, 1966.

Leitner, Gerhard. Language and Mass Media. Mouton, 1983.

Mhlausler, Peter. Linguistic Ecology: Language change and linguistic imperialism in the Pacific region. Routledge, 1996.

Schmid, Carol. The Politics of Language: Conflict, Identity, and Cultural Pluralism in Comparative Perspective. Oxford University Press, 2001.

Schmidt, Ronald. Language Policy and Identity Politics in the United States. Temple University Press, 2000.

Shaul, David Leedom, Furbee, Louanna, and Furbee-Losee Louanna. Language and Culture. Waveland Press, 1998.

Tomasello, Michael. Constructing a Language. Harvard University Press, 2005.

[1] M. Tomasello. Constructing a Language (Harvard University Press, 2005), p. 25
[2] C. Kramsch and H. G. Widdowson. Language and Culture (Oxford University Press, 1998) p. 21

[3] Ibid
[4] P. Muhlausler. Linguistic Ecology: Language Change and Linguistic Imperialism in the Pacific Region (Routledge, 1996) p. 96

[5] S. Gustafso.  Eloquence is Power: Performance and Oratory on Early America( The University of North Carolina Press, 2000) p. 64
[6] C. Schmid. The Politics of Language: Conflict, Identity, and Cultural Pluralism in Comparative Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2001) p. 29

[7] G. Leitner. Language and Mass Media (Mouton, 1983) p. 76

[8] C. Kramsch and H. G. Widdowson. Language and Culture (Oxford University Press, 1998) p. 36
[9] W. Kymlicka. Liberalism, Community, and Culture (Oxford University Press, 1989) p. 175

[10] H. Landar. Language and Culture (Oxford University Press, 1966) p. 81

[11] D. Shaul, et al. Language and Culture (Waveland Press, 1998) p. 42

[12] R. Schmidt. Language Policy and Identity Politics in the United States (Temple University Press, 2000) p. 195

[13] C. Geertz. The Interpretation of Culture (Basic Books, 1973) p. 49

[14] P. Horton and C. Hunt. Sociology (McGraw-Hill Books, 1983) p. 187

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