Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Learning To Talk Good

. Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form.

Karl Marx
There is a vigorous movement in this country to make English the truly official and only language of the United States. That seems like a reasonable request. After all, if people can't understand each other when they speak they would have to carry a translator around with them wherever they go. That can get very expensive.

So let's see. First I would suggest establishing a bureau to determine what proper American English should be, perhaps a cabinet post, Secretary of Language and Verbal Communication presiding over the Department of Language and Talk, (DOLT).
Soon a Dictionary of American English should be published and every American citizen and immigrant should be required to carry one at all times and to consult it immediately if there is any doubt about proper American expression. Incorrect use of our language and any lapsing into foreign terms will be a felony.

Then, under the benevolent guidance of DOLT we will begin eliminating all strange words from our vocabulary. No more saying "adios" to a Mexican or "bon jour" to a French Canadian. No longer saying "bravo" at a concert or "mazel tov" at a wedding. Such utterances will be illegal. If you aren't careful you may find yourself in the clink.

Americans will no longer live in "haciendas," ride "burros" or do anything
"pronto." A "Ford" is acceptable, but not a "Chevrolet."

Now let's talk about food. That thing you had with breakfast was a "crescent roll" not a "croissant." Get it? Don't go to a restaurant expecting or order "fillet mignon," chicken "cacciatore," pork "lo mien," "wiener schnitzel," "moussaka" or "pizza."

If you go to the bar you can have a Guinness or a Harp, I suppose, though you're better off with Budweiser or Miller. But don't try ordering Heineken or Lowenbrau. And for heaven sake, don't ask for a "martini." The cops will be there in a minute.

Now about wine (that's "wine" not "vino." See?). There's California wine, New York State wine and, I don't know, Florida wine, whatever. But we have to get rid of these alien French names: "Merlot, Chablis, Chardonnay, Beaujolais, Champagne." Stick with "wine" or "sparkling wine." That's the American way.

We will no longer have to go into "bistros" or "boutiques." There will be no more "yachting,," "snorkeling" or "apres"skiing.

Some states will have to change their names to conform to the true blue American language. States like "Vermont," "Illinois" and "Colorado." Those are much too foreign sounding.

Various publishers will, of course, be important in shaping our language. For one thing they will see to it the all foreign language references are removed from their books. The Greek, Latin and French quotes will be rendered in American English only.

Music publishers will do away with references such as "Presto," "Andante" and the very suspicious "Allegro Ma Non Troppo."

Along with the new American English Dictionary will come words that every true American should know, such as "biker," "dogged," "ho," "yo," "y'all," "red neck" and "yuppie." Plus the real American pronunciation of certain words like "lieberry," "Febyooary," "stoopit," "nucueler." "punkin" and "presperation."

And finally, we should have an all-American dialect. It's a shame that a man from New Hampshire and a man from Mississippi can't understand each other. And we certainly don't want to speak English in the strange way the English do. So, as a New Yorker, I suggest we conform our dialectic to the way they speak in Da Bronx. It seems to be the most articulate of them all.

I look forward to the day when every sign, every book, magazine and newspaper, and every word I hear spoken on radio, TV and on the street is the true, red, white and blue American language: Inglish.



Bonnie Bonsai said...

hahaha...sometimes you are just too impossible to comprehend DB.

I wish there is such thing as pure language. But if we really seriously investigate, what language indeed was created in the beginning?

If one uniform language indeed will make us all come together with understanding not just for the Americans, what do you think it should be?

My own country would you believe in such a small dot on the map can comprise about more than a thousand native dialects? Yet, when these three main islanders meet together, they understand through one main language adopted for uniformity and become our National Language.

Then again, by the strong influenced of the western world, my people even corrupted our beautiful language by cutting a word half and fused in part of the English word.

Globalization has brought much of multiculturalism with language included.

As to the Merlot and Chardonnay - in my view, they are actually the names of the grapes.

The Government of Australia has a ministry that deals with many translators which like you say is quite expensive. Australia per se is a country where all the countries live here.

Do come and join us. And you don't have to worry about what language you are going to speak.


Oh DB... what's next?

pacifica62 said...

db you just made my day. Hilarious. I would love to see this printed in the New York Times, or in Time or Newsweek so that a whole lot more people could read it. Your sense of humour is priceless. I am still laughing. I know you are trying to make a point and you have done it exceptionally well.

Valerie said...

Bravo! Loved this, DB =). Have a good day! Val xox

Arlene (AJ) said...

Loved it....still laughing, but they indeed say a lot DB, this should be published in our major newspapers around the country. You indeed have a way with words.

Big Mark 243 said...

This was a great look at a serious topic. You certainly found a way to make things light with out losing the depth of the matter, seious without speaking above anyone.

If not Time or Newsweek, maybe Reader's Digest would find space for this essay?? It is worth a shot.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...


Gerry said...

I must say I was quite startled here in Phoenix when gradually Spanish began to be regarded as a second language and everything, like voting materials, verbal communications on the bus and fast transit began to be spoken in Spanish as well as English which began to indicate how many illegals who did not speak English were accumulating here. Of course disquieting images of a whole army of illegals walking through the desert also accompanied these thoughts and so I did not know if this was good or bad or if the rest of the country realized that what seemed like half of Mexico had moved up here by silently crossing the border. A video I saw recently showed a whole line of illegals walking at a good pace up the trail to the US, and reported that in not even a month 700 illegals had been filmed crossing over on this trail alone. So when you know this is how Spanish became a second language everywhere in Arizona you don't know whether this is a good thing or not, people stealing into our country by night or by day. Until the point that this sense of unease became a loud drumbeat culminating in a new law trying to throw a little sand into the faces of the intruders. I started thinking what in the world is going on in Mexico that this exodus is happening year after year of people BORN there. So I don't think that this sudden alarm over the pervasiveness of a foreign language is anything but extreme unease over what has been happening to create the use of two languages now in our country instead of the official English. Seemed to be okay with Presidents and Congress up to now, but were they really experiencing what the change was like in Arizona. Oh dear. This not short!

Liz said...

The day that man has a common language throughout this planet is the day that he can no longer hide his common birth.