Friday, May 19, 2006

Our national language

Oh, great! So now we have a “national language.” Something called “English,” whatever that is. The bill really didn’t define what “English” is so I’m not sure how they expect to enforce it.
What is “English” anyway? Is it the words I find in my Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language: Second College Edition (pulished in 1972)? Flipping through my dictionary I can find definitions for sombrero, adios, amigo, buenos dias, and pinata (which even uses a letter that is not in the English alphabet!)
Caramba! (Found that word in there, too.)
Heck, I even came across a bunch of German words and French words and Italian words. What a mess! Why someone could slip in every word of Spanish into our dictionary and then where would we be?!?

So I propose that we go back to the English language as it was when our Founding Fathers were writing the Constitution. Nevermind that they saw no need to enshrine the King’s English as the national language at the time. It is clearly a vitally pressing matter today or surely our Republican-controlled Congress would not be wasting time debating it. Right?

But then that may not be far enough back to ensure linguistic purity. Just to be safe, let’s go all the way back to our language’s beginnings, before it was polluted with all these other foreign dialects.

Here is a good example. The Lord’s Prayer presented in the standardised West Saxon literary dialect:

Fæder ure pu pe eart on heofonum,
Si pin nama gehalgod.
To becume pin rice,
gewurpe din willa, on eordan swa swa on heofonum.
urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg,
and forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfad urum gyltendum.
and ne gelæd pu us on costnunge, ac alys us of yfele. soplice.

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