fbpx
Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

Let’s Require English

State of the Union: We could learn something from Ukraine.
English,Lesson,,School,,Learn,Foreign,Language.,Chalkboard.,Verb,Tenses,Grammar.
(By Undrey/Shutterstock)

Our September/October issue went to press yesterday. If you’re a member of TAC, you should see it in your mailbox next week, and you’ll be able to read the whole thing online Monday. If you’re not yet a member, you should be, and you can fix that here.

The issue features this fascinating report on the Hungarians of Transcarpathia in Ukraine, by Will Collins. Collins notes that the sizable ethnic and linguistic minorities in Ukraine are increasingly sources of tension as Ukraine sharpens its national identity in the wake of Russia’s invasion. In response, the Ukrainian government has taken steps to reinforce Ukrainian nationalism through legislation. Collins writes:

Advertisement

In January 2022, another law went into effect requiring all print media to offer parallel Ukrainian translations when publishing in another language. A further tightening of Ukraine’s media laws occurred in the summer of 2022.

Now, as someone who is as hesitant to commend the Zelensky government as he is ignorant of the ethnic dynamics of central Europe, I won’t pretend to comment on the wisdom of this particular Ukrainian law. But it does seem to me that an analogous provision would be entirely sensible, here at home, in America.

Seriously, what would be the argument against requiring all foreign language media to offer a parallel English translation? In a vast, multi-ethnic country like ours, English is increasingly one of the only national markers that binds the country together. The complete unwillingness of our elites to secure the border and reduce immigration makes preserving national unifiers like the English language all the more urgent. And this sort of law is not looking to curtail foreign language publication, it would simply provide a translation to help non-English speakers assimilate into the country.

We’re fortunate not to have experienced an armed invasion, like Ukraine. But we are experiencing a very real unarmed invasion on our southern border. It’s time to get serious about protecting our American way of life. Mandating English would be a start.