Our pissed customer shared his annoyance with some customer service:

“I recently received a telephone call from you regarding a purchase and was asked to press Spanish or English to continue. I live in AMERICA and refuse to press anything to specify my language! … I live in AMERICA! AMERICA, AMERICA, AMERICA......got it?”

Got it... Yes, sir, you do live in America. And no, sir, you don’t need to specify. They should communicate with you in English. Good customer service may offer you assistance in Swahili or Chemehuevi, but by no means should you confirm your English. Because English is the official language of United States. Right? Believe it or not, wrong. Because the US as a nation has never declared an official language.

For over two centuries people have tried it, but no success. The political debates are still running. Should English be enforced from Sea to Shining Sea? Or would it jeopardize one of the basic American values – the integrity in diversity?

Making English the official language would not force everyone in the US speak English. It would not stop other languages from making appearances here. And it would not remove those “Para español, marque ocho” from your telephones.

English was already declared as authoritative language by twenty-seven states, and it is de facto the certified vessel of speech in America. When you are in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, New Orleans’ French Quarter, Chicago’s Little India, Boston’s Little Italy, Miami’s Little Havana, Brooklyn’s Little Russia or any other ‘little’ dominion of outside world inside the US, you can still speak English and be understood. At the same time people of 14 million households in the United States can still exercise over 300 primary languages that are not Americanglish.

Why don’t we all use the same language? Biblically speaking, we’ve started as a unilingual crowd. And then we became too narrow-minded and self-satisfied. And then we built that Babylon tower to glorify our achievements and say ‘Hi there’ to the God. And the God didn’t like it.

So He decided to punish the people. He made them speak different languages and live in different regions so that they'd never be able to work together to dishonor God again.

And now we are stuck with learning foreign languages. Because we do want to work together. We even tried to construct a unified language to foster misunderstanding between Chinese scientists, Brazilian fashion models, and Jewish defense league.
Ludwig Zamenhof developed an unsophisticated and politically unbiased language Esperanto and tried to start everyone in the world on the ESL program (Esperanto as a second language). But not everyone in the world was ready.

For many people learning languages is painfully hard. Should it be? The God made people talk differently, but they think the same (generally). A language is just the way we dress our thoughts. So all languages are basically the same. Per Noam Chomsky, language surfaces from some ‘language organ’ that is uniform for all; and thus English, Tuyuca and Ojibwe are nothing more than minor variations on a theme. Like, in French you take a beer (prendre une bière), in English you just drink one, but the cultural attitudes toward drinking are the same.

So why is it sometimes so hard to learn another language? We have this idea that some languages are harder than others. In fact, they are all relatively equivalent tools for building and conveying the thoughts. No one blames his mother tongue for being hard. At least on conversational level. All babies pick it up fairly easy. ‘Me-Tarzan, you-Jane’ comes naturally in any language. Later, studying reading, grammar and all that lingua, our former baby can always find something not to like – obscure hieroglyphs, or omitted vowels, or a swarm of past tenses, or a horde of prefixes/suffixes/circumfixes and other ‘fixes’… Whatever it is, everyone finally masters at least one native language. Now this everyone can define a ‘difficult’ foreign language. If a language is similar to the one he knows (even with all these affixes) – no problem, if opposite (with hieroglyphs) – no mercy. Like, Spanish-to-Portuguese or Russian-to-Ukrainian – a cup of tea, Japanese-to-Greek or Hebrew-to-Zulu – a spoon of poison. That’s why the linguists assumed that the most difficult language to learn is

Basque, which is spoken in northwestern Spain and southwestern France. It is not related to any other language in the world and thus equally foreign for everyone.

Does size matter? Is it easier to learn a language with smaller vocabulary? It depends. First, what do we mean by vocabulary – roots, common words or all the possible variations? Second, what do we mean by ‘learn a language’ – to be able to write poetry or to buy a souvenir?

Some people are pretty much content with under a hundred words in their native language to express everything they wish. So a dozen of foreign expressions will do for them. Plus LOL, IMO, OMG and BFF already became international idioms. In this case English with 250000 distinct words cannot be considered more difficult than 340-words Taki-Taki.

Maybe, we should all learn the sign language? Not a solution either. There are even separate versions for British and American sign-English.
Body language? Lot of ambiguity here too. In Bulgaria they will take nodding for ‘no’ and head-shaking for ‘yes’. A simple thumbs up will be very rude in Australia and Iran, very offensive in Nigeria, say ‘five’ in Japan, mean ‘political rightist party’ in Turkey. And you just wanted to convey that everything is fine.

It is very tough to understand each other, sometimes even if we speak the same language.

At the same time all animals find a way to communicate. Birds sing, dolphins produce ultrasonic sound, monkeys mimicking other species, including humans.

Maybe one day we, the people, will find that unique language, lucid for all, and build another Tower of Babel to celebrate our accomplishments and to honor the God.