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Thou shalt speak English: English in California elections

Thompson, Bozena Henisz (1987) Thou shalt speak English: English in California elections. Humanities Working Paper, 133. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA.

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In this paper I present the results of a study of attitudes towards an issue of language policy in California. A proposition was put on the November 4, 1986 general election ballot to make English the official state language of California (called Proposition 63). As the preelection polls indicated, the proposition passed, thus becoming law, by a vote of three-fourths of those voting. This issue is particularly sensitive in California, where the predictions are that by the year 2000 two-thirds of the population will be people whose native language is Spanish. In the weeks preceding the elections I distributed about twelve hundred questionnaires, to a community whose native language is predominantly English, which asked "Are you for or against the proposition to make English California's official language, and why?" Three hundred and one forms, or one-fourth, were returned, indicating a high interest in the issue. The results are two-thirds in favor, one-third opposed and only a handful undecided. The results are also analyzed with respect to the answers to "why," which were given by 80 percent of the respondents, and which could be grouped into some fairly clear categories. The main result is that which was hoped for: people feel very strongly about language.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Group:Humanities Working Papers
Series Name:Humanities Working Paper
Issue or Number:133
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20111110-093154584
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Official Citation:Thompson, Bozena Henisz. Thou shalt speak English: English in California elections. Pasadena, CA: California Institute of Technology, 1987. Humanities Working Paper, No. 133.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:27729
Deposited By: Lindsay Cleary
Deposited On:06 Sep 2013 18:21
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 03:25

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