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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 03:53 PM
Original message
If you wonder why English is not our official language, check here
Edited on Fri May-19-06 04:00 PM by supernova
Look, we never were a monolingual country. Think of all the first nation languages there are. OK, got that?

Now see if this piece of paper looks familiar:



edit: Source: Pennsylvanischer Staatsbote in German and the full text was published either July 5 or 6 as a one page broadside by Steiner and Cist and appeared prior to the "Evening Post." (The Post was an evening paper).

Read all about it here: http://www.serve.com/shea/germusa/declartn.htm



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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 03:55 PM
Response to Original message
1. The Penn Founding fathers lost the vote for German! :-)
:-)
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #1
24. Actually that's not true. It's an urban legend
Early America was very much a multilingual society. The first Congress in 1790 voted to translate our new Law Code into German at the request of a German-speaking community in Virginia (note: not Pennsylvania). They referred the matter to a committee because money was kind of tight back then, and Congress adjourned before ever fully considering the matter.

From this odd incident, the American Nazi Party in the late 1930s concocted the lie that the Founders nearly voted to make German our official language in the 1770s. It was a Nazi propaganda lie and one that no one in 1939 believed. It still gets refreshed every now and then, but less than 10% of Americans in the Founding years spoken German, so such a proposal would have been laugh out of congress
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. That Urban legend was actually Taught in Illinois schools in the 40/50's
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE HEADS UP.

Appears I ran into a teacher that had either bad info or a bias.

Amazing that in my first 3 score years I never was corrected when I mentioned it.

Indeed I swear I have seen it in national mag's and coming from the mouths of political pundits on Cable over the past 20 years.

OK - Did RI really sign the Dec of Ind FIRST - 'cause their license plates may need changing!

:-)
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. Hancock signed first. Wow. Never heard about this RI thing
I know Deleware did approve the Constitution first 13 years later (beating Pennsylvania by about a week).
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #27
32. I rushed home to correct it to Delaware - and you beat me to it! - but
Edited on Fri May-19-06 06:04 PM by papau
was it the Constitution or the Declaration of Ind - the later was told to me by a DuPont type last weekend - but who knows how well educated he was! :-)
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shain from kane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 03:56 PM
Response to Original message
2. King George III was German. n/t
Edited on Fri May-19-06 03:59 PM by shain from kane
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. He was?
I know Charlotte was.
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Spider Jerusalem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 04:18 PM
Response to Reply #8
17. Both of his parents were, anyway.
George I had almost no English; George II spoke with a heavy German accent. George III was the first king of the House of Hanover who spoke English as a native language...but the British royal family through Victoria continued speaking mostly German at home (Victoria only spoke German until she was three, and Prince Albert was not very proficient in English).
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no name no slogan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #17
29. Albert wasn't English, though
Edited on Fri May-19-06 05:56 PM by no name no slogan
From http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/PRalbert.htm :


Albert, the younger son of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was born at Schloss Rosenau in 1819. He was educated in Brussels and Bonn and in 1839 visited his cousin, Queen Victoria in London. Victoria immediately fell in love with Albert and although he initially had doubts about the relationship, the couple were eventually married in February 1840. During the next eighteen years Queen Victoria gave birth to nine children.

Throughout their marriage Prince Albert acted as Victoria's private secretary. His German background, worried some of the government ministers and Albert was therefore rarely consulted about political issues.


All those royals are inbred, anyway
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Spider Jerusalem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 06:21 PM
Response to Reply #29
35. Yes, I know he wasn't English.
(Which is why German was still commonly spoken in the royal household. Or at least one of the reasons.)
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no name no slogan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #35
38. Yeah, but do you have Prince Albert in a can?
If so, shouldn't you let him out? :D
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 07:03 PM
Response to Reply #38
42. I just had to
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shain from kane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #8
18. Great Britain has been ruled by Germans, since before the United
States of America existed. The designation of the German House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was changed to the House of Windsor about the time of World War I, because it sounded too German.
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shain from kane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. I guess the English Channel was their version of the Rio Grande. n/t
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Ms. Clio Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #19
30. certainly the Irish Sea was n/t
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #8
25. His grandfather, George 2nd was. His father, Augustus, spoke English well
As did George 3rd. The first Hanover, George 1st, never spoke a lick of English, but George 2nd knew it well enough to address Paliament and lead an army in battle.
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rumpel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 03:56 PM
Response to Original message
3. Great find! Love it. n/t
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 03:58 PM
Response to Original message
4. Very cool
In most churches I've served, there have been at least some of the older folks who spoke German. In my home church, growing up, there were quite a few older folks who said the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed in German every week. My great grandmother used to scold me in German--but I was young enough that I didn't know it was another language. Just Great Granma's way of scolding.

Most people may not know that, for quite a while, the largest circulation Norwegian language newspaper was published in Decorah, Iowa.

We've always been a pretty polyglot bunch.
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Dr.Phool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 03:58 PM
Response to Original message
5. Make those people in West Virginia speak english!
"Gawddamed cricks fluddin gen."
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shain from kane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 04:01 PM
Response to Original message
6. There's more Polish in Chicago than Krakow. n/t
Edited on Fri May-19-06 04:03 PM by shain from kane
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. That's interesting.
I didn't realize that. WWII and 40 years of totalitarianism must have emptied the place.
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shain from kane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #7
22. According to my reference, Krakow as a city was relatively untouched
by the German and Russian war machines, and remains a great city. However, my comment was directed to the strength of the Polish people in Chicago, and the fact that many are immigrants, or sons and daughters of immigrants, or previous generations of immigrants. And it is a great city.

The saying used to be that there were more Polish people (or descendants of Polish people) in Chicago than Warsaw. I think that has been scaled back and compared to Krakow, since immigration from Poland and much of Eastern Europe has declined.

Remember, don't forget Poland.
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rumpel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 04:06 PM
Response to Original message
9. In which case, is there also a French version by chance?
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 04:07 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I believe there was
since it was the diplomatic and legal lingua franca of the day, but I'm having trouble finding it.
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rumpel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 04:12 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. Maybe it is in some private collection.
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Recursion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #10
21. Heh..
lingua franca

Funny, that...
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manic expression Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
11. When government workers
went to many rural communities as part of FDR's programs, they had to bring German translators because many of those communities didn't speak a great amount of English at all.

Oh, and don't forget about the Native Americans.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 04:10 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Up until WWI, German
In many parts of the country, up until WWI you could get all the way through High School in German (immersion, today).
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Chulanowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 03:08 AM
Response to Reply #11
48. It's still like that in a lot of places.
Edited on Sat May-20-06 03:08 AM by Chulanowa
The family that's "Adopted" me here in Alaska is Norweigan. Four generations away from Norway, and they still speak the language (the fifth generation speaks "Norwish" though :D ). My best friend in Wisconson lives next door to a couple that speaks Finnish and - of course - French. No English. I've met the last remaining speaker of the Eyak language. My Landlord in Atlanta spoke almost nothing but Korean. And then there's my aunt's extended Cajun family.

Whooee, thah bien ack-SCENT ah telyaboi!

Speaking of accents... the way I personally talk is terrifying. Start with a southern accent. Give it a gigantic vocabulary. Mix in four years of German, then mix in select patois elements from way too many languages. Now play it at double speed. This sentence would come out like:

"Speekina assents, th' way I persnally toksterrifyin. Star witha suthren assent. Givvida gigantic vocablarry. Mix in four yearza deutsch, then mix in slekt patoy ellemment from WAY tumany lengwiches. Now plaitat dubbul speed"

I can't type the inflection - I tend to "flatten" a lot of words like the local Natives do.

I ask you, ladies and gentlemen, am I speaking English? :D
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tonkatoy57 Donating Member (443 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 04:12 PM
Response to Original message
13. Good Catch
The English First or English Only movement is such a pant load. It's just (not too) thinly veiled Nativism.

People have no sense of historical memory in the U.S. I recall reading that at the beginning of WW1 the papers with the largest circulation in Cincinnati and St. Louis were .... German language papers.

By the way, there were people screaming from the rooftops about German, Italian, and Central European immigrants not speaking English then as well.

I'm sure some of the people screaming the loudest today had relatives speaking Croatian and German in 1914.

Idiots.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Yes, you're right
same argument, different century. :eyes:
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tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #15
23. yes!
that's what I was thinking yesterday, nova. Assmimilation, enculturation, generational changes do take place over time. And people can still be Americans and preserve those heritages.

Look at most immigrants to America, Irish, German, Polish, Italian, Eastern European then Chinese, Vietnamese, Haitian, now India, Mesico, Russia, Pacific Rim - all these folks adapt to the culture, change it and are changed by it, while preserving some aspects of language and culture.


Haven't any of those blasted legislators been to a folk festival, for God's sake? :banghead:
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AX10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 04:16 PM
Response to Original message
16. Interesting indeed.
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Karmageddon Donating Member (596 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 04:51 PM
Response to Original message
20. If English is the national language, do the freepers have to leave?
I'm series!!1! This could be teh hughest thing ever!!!!!
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 05:47 PM
Response to Reply #20
28. They should at least be able to pass High School English
:P
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Ms. Clio Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 06:00 PM
Response to Original message
31. This is great, thanks!
And people like Ben Franklin were concerned that the Germans weren't assimilating:


The Support of the Poor

To Peter Collinson

Sir Philadelphia May 9th. 1753

I am perfectly of your mind, that measures of great Temper are necessary with the Germans: and am not without Apprehensions, that thro' their indiscretion or Ours, or both, great disorders and inconveniences may one day arise among us; Those who come hither are generally of the most ignorant Stupid Sort of their own Nation, and as Ignorance is often attended with Credulity when Knavery would mislead it, and with Suspicion when Honesty would set it right; and as few of the English understand the German Language, and so cannot address them either from the Press or Pulpit, 'tis almost impossible to remove any prejudices they once entertain. Their own Clergy have very little influence over the people; who seem to take an uncommon pleasure in abusing and discharging the Minister on every trivial occasion. Not being used to Liberty, they know not how to make a modest use of it; and as Kolben says of the young Hottentots, that they are not esteemed men till they have shewn their manhood by beating their mothers, so these seem to think themselves not free, till they can feel their liberty in abusing and insulting their Teachers. Thus they are under no restraint of Ecclesiastical Government; They behave, however, submissively enough at present to the Civil Government which I wish they may continue to do: For I remember when they modestly declined intermeddling in our Elections, but now they come in droves, and carry all before them, except in one or two Counties; Few of their children in the Country learn English; they import many Books from Germany; and of the six printing houses in the Province, two are entirely German, two half German half English, and but two entirely English; They have one German News-paper, and one half German. Advertisements intended to be general are now printed in Dutch and English; the Signs in our Streets have inscriptions in both languages, and in some places only German: They begin of late to make all their Bonds nad other legal Writings in their own Language, which (though I think it ought not to be) are allowed good in our Courts, where the German Business so encreases that there is continual need of Interpreters; and I suppose in a few years they will be also necessary in the Assembly, to tell one half of our Legislators what the other half say; In short unless the stream of their importation could be turned from this to other colonies, as you very judiciously propose, they will soon so out number us, that all the advantages we have will not in My Opinion be able to preserve our language, and even our Government will become precarious.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. And his concern turns out to have been groundless
They assimilated eventually.

Others will too.
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Ms. Clio Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 06:16 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. exactamente n/t
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dalaigh lllama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 08:56 PM
Response to Reply #31
43. I remember reading this
Anyone who's ever studied our history or done any genealogical research should be familiar with the huge outcry against the immigrant group du jour. My German ancestors came here in the early 1700's and I know they were still speaking German a hundred years later. I don't think they spoke English exclusively until around the time of the Civil War.

Actually, studying genealogy is what has given me hope that the "melting pot" really works: I have family stories of then-scandalous marriages between German immigrant/"English" American; German/Irish; Catholic/Protestant in my background. They all seem like much ado about nothing in this day and age, but oh my the fur was flying back then. Twenty years ago it was very rare to see a black/white couple here in the midwest; now it's so much more common that people don't even blink, even tho there's a long way to go yet. That's why I've got hope for our future, I guess. It'd just be great if we could run out of groups to be prejudiced against...
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Ms. Clio Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 09:45 PM
Response to Reply #43
44. Thanks for your observations
I use a lot of genealogical resources in my work, and really appreciate them! It really is just nativism as usual -- I could find all kinds of xenophobic and bigoted quotes about other immigrant groups that would be virtually identical to some things I have seen posted here in the last couple of months.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 06:51 PM
Response to Original message
36. Kicking
because this English first crap is so unAmerican!
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 06:52 PM
Response to Original message
37. Hmm...what about Dutch? Remember, NYC was originally New Amsterdam.
(Man, I gotta finish reading "The Island at the Center of the World"!)
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 06:54 PM
Response to Reply #37
39. I'm sure that was true as well
But I thought it was important that people see the DoI in the original German.
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 06:58 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. Hard to read that old Black-Letter type, though. {grin} nt
Edited on Fri May-19-06 06:59 PM by eppur_se_muova
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 07:00 PM
Response to Reply #40
41. Fraktur is the typeface
It's a little unfamiliar now, but I have grade school primer from about 1920 in PA with it.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 10:01 PM
Response to Original message
45. OMFG, the Germans are comming!!!
:sarcasm:
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #45
46. Grab your Piiklhaube, we've been invaded!!
;-)

It's amazing we don't speak German today as a second language, as prevalent as it was.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 02:43 AM
Response to Reply #46
47. Thats because of World War I
Anti-German feeling fatally damaged German culture in many areas.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #47
49. Yes, exactly
It's kind of a shame in many ways, though I guess it was inevitable at the time.

I just wonder what people think who think the USA is some sort of England II? It never was and it never will be.
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