The Senate version of the immigration bill includes a clause proclaiming English the national language and calling on the federal government to preserve and enhance the role of English. Our linguist, Geoff Nunberg, isn't sure this is a good idea.
Alien, illegal, undocumentated, immigrant — the debate over immigration policy is also about the words used by the various sides. Linguist Geoff Nunberg says the language of immigration has been controversial for as long as immigration has been an issue in American life.
Political analysts have been dividing the country into red states and blue states for several elections now, but it's only in the last year or two that the distinction has really caught on with the media and the public. As our linguist Geoff Nunberg points out, the odd thing is that the new usage seems to reverse the traditional political meanings of red and blue.