Thursday, December 9, 2010

Learning To Talk Good

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

Karl Marx
In my research I came across this Vagabond Journey from last Spring and it is just too much fun not to reprint it. So here once again is "Learning To Talk Good"

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 pronto. Excuse me, I mean in a minute.

Now about wine (that's "wine" not "vin" or "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," red, pink, white or sparkling. 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," "red neck" and "yuppi,." plus the real American pronunciation of certain words like "lieberry," "Febyooary," "stoopit," "noocyooler." "punkin" and "presperation."

And finally, we should have an all-American dialect. It's a shame that a man from Maine 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 talk 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: Inlish.


(This is not a contest.)

At what event of the past do you wish you could be present? Why?

Only 9 responses so far.

Thank you.


Valerie said...

This was a hoot! I broke out in wonderful, belly-laughter when I read this: plus the real American pronunciation of certain words like "lieberry," "Febyooary," "stoopit," "noocyooler." "punkin" and "presperation."

Ah, thanks, Dana! Still laughing... Val =) xox

Liz said...

Well, well what good post!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I agree with Val, this was a good read and I surly did chuckle there more than once. We are a melting pot of all nationalities here and I wonder how some people can justify being so prejudiced about others...Unless we were related to the original American Indians who did not speak English, we all came from different nations. Great post! Glad you reprinted it today!

Anonymous said...

Big Smile. ~Mary

Gerry said...

When I saw your headline I thought that can't be Dana saying something like Learning to Talk Good. I came over to see if you had turned redneck and found out you almost did. I came from an area where the English language is butchered on a regular basis. When I went to school in the city I was mortified because city teens made fun of me for saying bare for bear and harses for horses. When would come home from school my little sister Linda was very suspicious of how I talked and accused me of putting on airs. I tried to explain to her that in the University you learned to talk as they did, it was like learning French, I had to talk the talk. She still didn't like it and complained about my high falutin' language every time I came home.