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| Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Cindy A. Rose |


As Long as We Remember...

June 23, 2015

The Language is American!

Harry M. Covert

Whether popular or not, the official language of Frederick County, the State of Maryland and the rest of the states of our national union is American.

Of course it is. Why not? It is rather obvious that amid the daily travels around these environs there are no signs extolling “American spoken here.” Nor are there symbols asking about other tongues.

A recent move has come up from some elected types on the Frederick County Council to undo the fact that American (nee English) is the official county language.

Aren’t’ there more important things needing discussion? There is no doubt about this; big issues – and not solely “get even” politics and similar bird-brain measures.

It is easy to be somewhat smart-alecky and even a bit impertinent watching the goings-on. Just can’t help it.

Attempts have been serious in years past to learn how to speak Español and German, all to no avail and frustration. Other family members knocked themselves out becoming fluent in Arabic and Kurdish.

Traveling throughout worldly climes, communications through smiles and handshakes opened many conversations. Usually those of other patois had learned “American” at early ages, so acquiring words like “bon,” “amigo,” “si,” “in shallah,” aided in dealing with other peoples.

So, “good,” “friend” and “if God wills” became easy usable words.

In my days as a youthful and happy days reporter, the Elks Club left downtown. Locals who enjoyed lunches and other fun experiences were devastated. But, the wise people established a good “literary society” that became popular when the workday was completed. The “readings” were fun and educational. No secrets were leaked, of course.

One evening during a “reading” of local history and state affairs a wizened member suggested that “American” should be established as the official language of the nation. Deliberations began amid a seafood buffet of crab claws, soft shell crabs, shrimp cocktails and other morsels out of the Chesapeake Bay.

As ministrations continued, it was decided that the biggest issue wasn’t the battle of the Monitor and Merrimac in Hampton Roads. It was that “American” should officially be declared the national verbal and written word.

A distinguished member of the bar was nominated to prepare the documents. Within a few days an official organization was created, certified, incorporated as non-profit and a news story appeared. A wire service helped tell the story.

Certainly, English then, as now, is the predominant tongue world-wide. But, why not just call ours “American?” There are plenty of purists out there who will think this is silly or inane. Not so.

All documents, public and private, are today disseminated in “American.” In these days and times it is easy to find translations everywhere – on computers, on iPhones, in tiny books.

People unfamiliar with “American” who may be arrested, those hospitalized, those getting driver’s licenses, or those who need other public credentials, it is easy to communicate. Public institutions have contracts with translators of all types. Telephones have facilities for the hearing impaired.

No matter what words are spoken or read or written, there is no lack of ability in official business. No local businesses or churches or schools suffer from the fact “American” English is the official word.

There are words truly familiar in almost every language: yes, no and thanks.

Another word is menu. There is no dearth of dining pleasures around the county and every “American” speaker hereabout converses in numerous pleasant words from many grand cuisines. I say gracious, bon, danke. You get the point.


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