What’s all this garbage I read about Americans not being able to speak a foreign language?

Hogwash, I say. Balderdash and tommy-rot to that, I say!

Obviously the presidential pundits who came out with that phony commission report lead isolated lives.

Don’t they know that, right here in Minnesota, north of Grand Rapids, everyone speaks Rainch?

In the Twin Cities, they all speak Twang, and in the southern part of the state, they all speak through their noses, so you can’t understand them anyway.

In the Isle and Onamia area, most people speak Millelacsese, a dialect of English resulting in at least one double negative per sentence, two incorrect tenses and a salting of jarring contractions.

Ah, but you say, that’s not a foreign language, just bum grammar, lousy pronunciation, bad adenoids and creative spelling. Wrong, say I. They all at least qualify as obscure dialects of English; and Rainch, for example should be categorized in the same pile of dictionaries as Anglo-saxon and Pict!

There are actually people from the Mille Lacs area who have dialecticized their language to such a degree as to be totally incomprehensible to the residents of Milwaukee.

Furthermore, have you ever tried to understand someone from the South? Not only does the language drip out from the corners of their mouths, it is so laced with colloquialisms that even Southerners themselves have to break down everything below the Mason-Dixon Line into counties. Three miles the other side of the county line and they think you’re French.

This presents a particular communications problem here in our part of the state, especially in the spring. When residents return from spending the winter in Texas and Arizona, they come back speaking Goodoldboy. That dialect, mixed with Millelacsese, results in a foreign language only understood by certain retailers and resort operators.

It seems to me that suggesting that Americans are dumb because they don’t speak Swahili or Kurd is like saying they are stupid because they don’t understand Insurancese or Bureaucrat. Why, for heaven’s sake, we have enough trouble understanding ourselves, let alone the French, German, Spanish and Russians. You would think if television was the educational tool certain members of the industry would have us believe, we would all speak the same language and correctly. American Standard English is the accepted broadcast language, and every day millions of Americans suck it up through their auditory organs. But it doesn’t stick. So howya gonna learn I-tralian?

But if you think it’s bad here, I had a friend who spoke 17 languages and was a regular Henry Higgins in pinning down dialects and where the speakers hailed from. He moved to Australia nine years ago and is still having trouble being understood. And they speak English, too!

Sound Off!

Tell us what you think about anything. Call between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Thursday or drop us a line. No need to give your name. Select opinions will appear in this column each week.

Who is responsible for Isle’s sidewalks and alley entries?

Saw someone walking toward the clinic turn an ankle badly crossing the alley by the old Chevy garage.

Who would be sued?

Isn’t the speed supposed to be held down until one reaches the city limits?

Tried to go out of Elgren’s driveway going north of 47 the other day; just like battling the freeway or the race track to get through.

In our community, we have at least 50 young girls who would do a great job of representing us as Miss Isle.

Then why don’t we have those girls trying? Because then we would have 49 losers and almost everyone feels bad.

Perhaps the solution is to invite all the eligible girls to enter, have them pick out Miss Congeniality, then while the girls are all present, pick out of a hat the two runner ups and the queen. Everyone feels like they had an equal chance, no hanky-panky with the judges or bearing on family status.

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