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July 06, 2007

Comments

JimPortlandOR

Noonan: Because we all know America has an official language, and a national language, and that it is English.

Is this so? I didn't get the letter, I guess. When did the Congress pass this? Does this mean that I'd be a terrorist if I say 'Como se llama'?

Or is Peggy just dreaming of a white, protestant, english-only world, in English?

She is soooo bad. Her smarm is really sorta Sicko, it seems. (Whoops, excuse me: Sort of (if that is proper usage?).

Matt F

They actually don't speak "Chinese" in China. It's a language family, not a specific language. People there speak Mandarin, or Wu, or Cantonese, or any number of other dialects that are, for the most part, mutually unintelligible. There's a consistent writing system, but the spoken language varies considerably from region to region.

JimPortlandOR

Matt F is correct. It's somewhat like UK public school (meaning private) English vs Texan, when spoken.

But the problem is widespread. Consider what 'liberty' means in Portland OR vs. (say) Columbia SC.

Bloix

"in France they speak French."
That's because the government spent centuries doing its damnedest to wipe out Breton, Basque, Alsatian, Occitan, and many other languages.

BlueStater

Uh, sorry, JimPortlandOR, but Matt F is righter than you make him out to be. Mandarin and Cantonese, to take the two "dialects" of spoken Chinese that I know anything about, are mutually unintelligible. A Mandarin speaker can't comprehend what a Cantonese speaker is saying any more than a monolingual speaker of English can comprehend a monolingual speaker of Dutch and vice versa. Texan and British RP (public school/royalty) are much closer than Mandarin and Cantonese.

It's exactly the kind of condescension Peggy Nooner's article unintentionally reveals, along with denial of government services, arguments with bureaucrats over whether someone's heavily accented English means a citizen has or hasn't complied with a national language requirement, and so on, that are the best arguments *against* mandating English, or anything else, as the national language of this country. We have always done very well indeed with ad hoc, local arrangements. Arguments for English as the national language of the U.S. invariably turn out, if you inquire deeply enough into the motivation of their makers, to be arguments for xenophobia and anti-Latino prejudice.

Brian

Just so y'all know, my comment about Chinese was meant to be flip. Of COURSE it's absurd to say that Chinese people all speak Chinese. Hope that came across.

Maurice Lanselle

Bloix: It isn't finished, plenty of Alsatians speak the dialect at least as readily as they speak French (come with me to the supermarket and listen); their children start to learn French when they start school. The same may be true in the other fringes, I don't know. But this is peripheral.

That a "personality" claims to empathighs, and gives details like "in heavy jeans and a black sweatshirt with a hood. On top of that, literally, she's wearing a sandwich board-", is either reassuring or worrisome. Reassuring if she offers the woman a better job, air conditioned like hers; or at least offers her a cool drink. Worrisome if she spouts a superstitious mantra as she pirouettes and is so self-satisfied she tells the whole world.

Peter Schaeffer

Peggy Noonan is entirely right. A nation divided by language is no longer a nation. Back in 1919 Teddy Roosevelt wrote the words below. They may not be PC or appropriately "multicultural", but they are still true.

"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Eric Bloodaxe

In britain, you still have welsh, and gaelic speakers, and the last person speaking Cornish as a mother tongue died in the last century.

Penny
In Canada they have two national languages, but that's one reason Canada often seems silly. They don't even know what language they dream in./
What on earth is this ridiculous woman on about? Speaking more than one language confuses your dream life and makes you appear less than serious at a national level - what?
Donald Douglas

I think you need to live diversity on the ground to really appreciate the importance of a national language. Chinese? Spanish? Who knows what language will be our master in no time! Noonan's absolutely correct. Money doesn't matter. The fact that all walks of life in American, rich and poor, newcomers and oldtimers, young and old, thrive under a common tongue is simply intuitive. To say otherwise is to surrender to the vile, multicultural path of death to the nation. From what I've seen so far, this blog is furthering that agenda, and welcomes that bitter, evil outcome.

Brian

Ummm... touche?

crack.pipe

Hey, quit using those multi culti french terms.

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