Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bonjour, Shalom, and Adios

I always like it when people make gestures and proclamations that are grandiose on the surface and meaningless underneath.

For example, any Kardashian wedding or John Boehner pronouncement.

And then comes largely rural Carroll County MD, a farm and bedroom community on the western edge of central Maryland.

Last week, the County Commissioners, four men and one woman, voted to designate English the official language of Carroll County Government.   Of course, as a reason for this, they couldn't come out and say anything as impolitic as "We don't want any foreigners around here," so they couched the decision in terms dear to anyone looking to save the County a few dollars.  They are claiming a savings to be realized by not having to pay translators to tell the sign shop how to write "NO SMOKING" in Spanish, or hiring bilingual judges for the annual County Fair bakeoff.

The reason I scoff at all this grandstanding is that the commissioners realized the folly of their big show by admitting the need to allow people to speak languages other than English, for example (according to the TIMES article,"including to teach or encourage the learning of languages other than English; to protect the public health, sanitation and public safety; and to protect the rights of criminal defendants and victims of crime."

If a person shows up at a public health clinic and is unable to speak English, the county darned sure has an obligation to treat him or her.  A person in need of EMS services must be communicated with in order to find out the problem and offer assistance.  There are dozens of reasons why people in Carroll County will need to speak languages other than English.

As an aficionado of good English, I worry about the derecho-type storm of Spanish words becoming part of our language! I am glad that the Carroll County Commissioners are vigilantes in this fight against these peccadilloes as well! So just before I take my morning siesta, let me remind the good folks in CarCo that if they are so adamant about English, they should use good English and not have boo-boos like this on their official web page:

Directory of Government Agencies & Services
To find a particular agency you may view the alphabetical list below or enter text in the box below and click search. Click on the Agency Name to view that agencies' web page.

That would be "that agency's web page" in English.  Dudes and lady, if you're going to insist on English only, I'm going to insist on good English only.  ¿Entienden ustedes?

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