Thursday, June 28, 2007

Why in America they haven't spoken it for years!

Inspired by this rather amusing piece over at the Washington Post.

English -- the national language or the common language of the United States? Apparently the Senate added amendments with both terms into the current version of the immigration reform bill. Anyone else with me and just not give a flying rat's behind? I mean, come on, languages change. Ask any high school kid trying to read Shakespeare. (Granted, I was the kid getting malicious pleasure out of explaining to the boys what they had just read aloud and watching them blush.) And let's not be too vain, I mean English has its good points (I guess, you know, beyond the insanely unsystematic grammar), but honestly, it's a bastard child of the linguistic family, birthed from the unblessed coupling of Old French and Old Germanic languages. I suspect that American English is going to continue morphing and mixing with Spanish and in a couple of hundred years will have produced another little baby language. Nothing wrong with that, folks. Languages must to adapt to the changing needs of the population as a whole. Not to the needs of the elite segments of the population. (Anyone wonder why we're not speaking Latin?)

But really, why are the politicians so bleeding concerned with protecting and affirming English? Aren't there more important language matters to worry about? Like the fact that due to the abject failure of the public school system in America, a sizable percentage of the American population can not read any languages at all. Isn't that more of a threat to English than Spanish is? But we're not actually going to fix that. (Face it, no child left behind was a joke, is a joke, and will be a joke.) Or even really pay attention to it. After all, the people making the laws and donating money to the people making the laws can either send their kids to a posh private school or at the very least to a posh suburban public school. And, oh yeah, it'll take more than just educational reform. Doing something to fix the system so the parents of these kids can make enough to feed, clothe, shelter, and generally take care of their families might help out a bit too. Parental involvement in education is all well and good, but it's difficult to expect that if parents have to work two jobs at once just to have any hope of making the rent.

But, no, no, pay no attention to the suffering and exploitation behind the curtain. Look over here, look, look quick -- someone is speaking Spanish. How dare they! Это кошмар! Говорите по-англиски! I move we make Russian the official language of the US. Because the Cyrillic alphabet is much pretty than the Roman alphabet. Or, if we really must be English, I want some bloody British slang. Add some colour to the language.

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