Language: Social and Political Perspectives

  • David A. Gerber
  • Alan M. Kraut


An abiding issue in the experience of immigrants and of the societies that receive them is language difference, which probably more than any other marker sets off the immigrant from the native-born residents of the host society. At the present time, English is proliferating around the world as the principal global language of business, popular culture, and electronic journalism, and more and more people outside the United States aspire to learn English. As a result, it is probably the case that many more contemporary immigrants have some familiarity with at least some English than did immigrants in the past. Yet the vast majority of immigrants still arrive in the United States facing the need to obtain mastery of a language with which they are largely unfamiliar.


Immigrant Group Public Language Generation White Border Patrol Language Shift 
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Suggestions for Further Reading

  1. Nancy Faires Conklin and Margaret A. Lourie, A Host of Tongues: Language Communities in the United States (New York: The Free Press, 1983).Google Scholar
  2. James Crawford, Hold Your Tongue: Bilingualism and the Politics of English Only (Reading: Addison-Wesley, 1992).Google Scholar
  3. James Crawford, editor, Language Loyalties: A Source Book on the Official English Controversy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992).Google Scholar
  4. Joshua Fishman, Language Loyalty in the United States (New York: Arno Press, 1978).Google Scholar
  5. Joshua Fishman et al., The Rise and Fall of the Ethnic Revival: Perspectives on Language and Ethnicity (NewYork: Mouton, 1985).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Calvin J. Veltman, Language Shift in the United States (New York: Mouton, 1983).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© David A. Gerber and Alan M. Kraut 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. Gerber
  • Alan M. Kraut

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