I am not doing very well with one of my new year’s resolutions which is to avoid reading comments placed on news websites. This morning I see the sites are inundated with truculent posts over a cola commercial that has “America The Beautiful” in it, being sung not entirely in English. ** There is already a bellicose call for a boycott for Coca-Cola.

I wish people would be as passionate over real issues as they are other a television commercial.

“Speak English only” (and its ironical poor grammar structure) is a hot issue these days. Since I moved to Arizona in 2005 I’ve heard little else. At its heart is the conglomerate of anxiety, racism, and xenophobia; foreigners are moving in and taking over and we must resist lest we are annihilated. Language is the symbol.

I wish I could say this zeal for English based on the USA’s pride of ownership for its language, but I see little evidence of such. Hardly anyone is concerned with proper grammar and syntax, and less know or care about its basic concepts.
Mind, it is a difficult language, filled with oddities and exceptions; it has little rhyme or reason. But we were raised with it; we should know better.
Alas, English in the USA is like an elegant Swiss-army knife  used only as a crude instrument to bludgeon others when we don’t know how to properly use it ourselves.

Unlike other (most?) countries in which more than one language is spoken within their borders, The USA is a the exception: we have always tried to assimilate people with the “Speak English only” philosophy.  After all we are the best, why wouldn’t you want to become just like us?  It has a certain Borg like charm to it.

Alas for the howlers in the comment sections, language is a grass roots movement, the original Wikipedia. Its growth has no one to guide or stop it. As more non-English speaking people arrive or don’t learn English, the English language will ingest (edacious as it is for new words! ) other tongues into its ever changing and growing state of being.

There is some irony here. The ability to assimilate is one of the chief reasons the English language is so successful in endurance and popularity. Certainly it is not due to its ‘ease’.  Languages which try to keep themselves  ‘pure’ from foreign words – and foreign devils- usually end up in language extinction.

The USA could take a lesson here, not only for the English language but for the country.