Statement on Linguistic Diversity

Center for International and Cultural Education

Linguistic diversity is just as important as any other aspect of diversity on our campus, and intersects with other aspects of identity, like race or nationality. 

There are multiple, valid Englishes all over the world. English is a national language (either officially or de facto) in over 80 countries, which means "native" speakers of English come from all over the globe. American English is just one of many Englishes. 

There are multiple, valid Englishes within the United States. There are many regional and social dialects of English in the United States, including African American English and North Central English, which you can hear in Minnesota. The idea that there is one "Standard" English that is inherently superior and easier to understand than other dialects is a myth. There are many ways to speak and write clearly in English, and the choices we make depend on our social contexts and specific purposes at any given moment.

The U.S. has always been multilingual. There is no federal official language of the United States, but some states have individually declared English their official language. Before this land was colonized, there were hundreds of indigenous languages, over 200 of which are still spoken in the U.S. According to the census bureau, these days over 11% of Minnesota households speak a language other than English. 

Students have a right to their own languages and Englishes. See statements by the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) and the Linguistic Society of America (LSA). Students also have a right to Writing Instruction that is responsive to second language writers.