Lost and Found in Translation: Contemporary Ethnic American Writing and the Politics of Language Diversity

By Martha J. Cutter | Go to book overview

6
Cultural Translation
and Multilingualism in and out
of Textual Worlds

English has been the most important unifier of our country for the
last 200 years — it's a symbol of being American, right up there with
the flag, “The Star Spangled Banner,” the Pledge of Allegiance. …
You're free to come here and you're free to make a life for yourself.
… You're coming here to be an American. Being an American
means you're going to have to speak English. — Valerie Rheinstein,
spokeswoman for U.S. English, in Jodi Wilgoren,
“Divided by a Call for a Common Language”

We are people of the gaps. Only we know the gaps are where
life really is. — Alfredo Véa, La Maravilla

ON 18 JULY 2002, the Brown County Board of Supervisors in Green Bay, Wisconsin, passed an “English Only” resolution making English the official language of county government. It joined eleven other Wisconsin counties and twenty-seven states in adopting En-

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