Custom «Language and Power» Essay Paper Sample

Language and Power

The power of language is beyond imagination, English language has grown and evolved over the last few years. It has become vital; this is why more and more people want to learn this beautiful language. Knowing English is a prerequisite these days, a candidate who does not speak English can never make the cut. People at workplace are expected to converse in English with each other, such is the importance of this beautiful language. Several important organizations in the world have English as their main language, each employee working there is expected to speak and write good English. Bilingual students studying in foreign universities find it very hard to acclimatize, the pronunciation of their professors and their peers make life very difficult for them.

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The academic instructions given to them are not in their native language and as result of which they fail to understand the instructions clearly. The linguistic minority needs attentions and a curriculum must be designed which would cater to their needs. Pedagogy is quite a complex procedure; it becomes all the more complex when the instructor deals with students who come from linguistic minorities. This paper will expansively present the importance of English language and how it impacts the people. Pedagogy and students belonging to linguistic minorities will also be discussed in the paper. An apt conclusion which would sum up all the findings will be arrived at in the end.

Linguistic Minority

Imagine a Russian student studying in Texas; the lecturers would want him to ensconce like a duck takes to water but in reality it is very difficult, initially the student would require time and the lecturers have to be patient with the student. Very often foreign students are criticized and made fun of for their poor grasp of the English language; this again goes to show how this language has become a part and parcel of our lives. If you can speak and write English flawlessly, you are well admired and respect, if you cannot then you are no good and often made fun of by the other people who are better than you. It has become a base for determining who is better and who is not, this is how powerful the language has become recently.

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“Growing up, I was often reprimanded for speaking Spanish in class and even in the lunch room, and also discriminated against because I spoke English with a Cuban accent. I was ridiculed not only by classmates, but also by my teachers who insisted that I had to speak English like Americans do. Because of the humiliation I went through growing up, I felt the need to prevent my own children from similar situations, and robbed them of the opportunity to learn my native language and, at the same time denied them their own culture." She later added: "I hated English and I hated learning it.” (Leyva, 1998)

One woman who was brave enough to share her experience, the language has become so powerful that even the lecturers expect nothing but the best from the students, students who cannot speak English are paid attention initially but the zeal in the lecturers fade away if the student fails to show promising signs, this signals further trouble for the student. He gets completely ignored by his peers and even by the professor, it becomes almost impossible to adapt to this harsh change for students belonging to linguistic minorities.

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English-Only Workplace Policies

In April 2001, the University of the Incarnate Word, a private university in San Antonio, Texas, settled an English-only workplace suit, paying $2.44 million (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC], 2003a). The university's director of housekeeping had forced Latino housekeepers to speak only English in the workplace at all times, even at lunch and during breaks. Employees who could not comply with the policy were harassed. In September 2000, St. Louis-based Watlow Electric Manufacturing Company settled a suit after it had required Latino workers to speak only English on their assembly line jobs. One worker had been fired for greeting a Spanish-speaking colleague with "buenos dias" (Anonymous, 2000).

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This again goes to show how important English has become at workplace; there are some very unfair policies at several workplaces. Break time is for relaxing and the employers can never have a say in what their employees do during their break time as long as it is not an illegal activity. Speaking their native language can in no way be illegal, this is nothing but tomfoolery, and this goes to show how the language is beginning to dominate our mindset and the lives of the people.

The rules are very strict and difficult to comply with, the above example shows how the language has started to dominate the employees and how employers have gotten carried away. There is clear cut discrimination going on in the society based on the language one speaks, this again goes to show how powerful the language has become in the recent past. Language has become a way to discriminate people and to sue them when they fail to comply with the policies set by a company. These facts are very difficult to digest and a change is the need of the hour, a healthy society has no room for discrimination.

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Speaking only English at the workplace can divide the employees; employees who are not native speakers will only empathize with other employees belonging to non-native countries. This can lead to a lot of unprecedented problems at the workplace, it can severely affect the potential and the work ethic of employees, and it can deter them from working hard for the organization. It can create a rift between the native speakers and the non-native speakers; it can cause a lot of other problems which would be no good for the organization. This is a very dangerous policy to implement and it can severely affect an organization.

Every coin is two sided, the non-native speakers will have several problems but the native speakers will find this a welcome change. They will no longer have to hear other languages which may annoy them at the work place, communication becomes so much easier when all the employees speak the same language, they will easily connect and establish a bond with their peers, and this will lead to growth of the organization and their employees.

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African Americans see English as oppressor’s language and again the mindset comes into play here, it becomes increasingly difficult for the non-native people to come over their mindset and to work in accord with the other peers at their workplace. The Africans have always been suppressed by the native Americans and slavery is very common in the dark continent, the Americans have always ruled over the mindsets of the Africans and the Africans have always considered English as a tool for oppression, this feeling is quite common in the minds of other people too and this can create a lot of problems when English is made compulsory at a workplace. 

English has been used to humiliate other not so fluent speakers and the native speakers have certainly made this tool very sharp, they have shaped it the way they have always wanted to and used it against several people with good effect. The language is without a doubt beautiful but the intentions of the native speakers is not as good as the language and this has been clearly understood by several non-native speakers across the globe. By not allowing the people to speak their native language, the native speakers are trying to dominate and establish a hierarchy in the society, this hierarchy will enable the native speakers to rule the society and with it the people living in the society. The intensions of the native speakers are crystal clear and nothing is an illusion now.

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English is without a doubt a very beautiful language which is spoken by countless people across the globe, making it compulsory at the workplace can have serious ramifications. It can directly affect the harmony of the people working in an organization, this in turn will affect their productivity, and these undesirable effects will last really long. It is good to have a common language at a workplace but it is also advisable to provide freedom to employees especially during their lunch and tea breaks.

Expecting them to speak only English at all times is tomfoolery and it can severely hamper the growth of an organization. Let the people not perceive the language as the oppressor’s language, this can only be possible when the employees are given complete freedom and space to decide what language they want to speak at their workplace. Language is a very powerful tool and this paper has proved it time and again, English was and still a very powerful weapon which can injure without injuring. Several people have been injured without actually being injured, it does not attack the body, it attacks and completely dominates the mind set of people, and this is why it is called the oppressor’s language. Several important lessons have been leaned during the course of drafting this paper. 

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