Douglas A. Kibbee: Language and the Law: Linguistic Inequality in America
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With the current, rancorous debate about immigration showing no sign of abating, the question of immigrant languages and the status of English has become a focus of public debate. Despite consistent evidence that nonanglophones coming to the US in the post-1965 wave of immigration adopted English at a rate equal to, or in some cases faster than, those who came before 1924, when a “reform” effectively shut down immigration for 40 years, a new generation of American nativists warns loudly that English is under attack from newcomers and in need of legal protection. But English is in no danger. In contrast, it is the minority languages, and the minority dialects of English, that are under attack.
Enter Kibbee, a linguist whose publications have focused on various aspects of French language and literature, including the history of official regulation of the language. Kibbee has turned his talent to an examination of the treatment of minority languages in the United States, focusing on...