When John F. Kennedy spoke from Boston Brahmin, and when Jimmy Carter spoke Southern, they weren't laughed at. They were men who were true to their regional heritage. Their speech added to the richness of our American tongue.
However, if I would become president, I would be somewhat afraid.
I am a Pennsylvania Dutchman. I speak a variety of English known as Dutchified English, a mode of expression typical of my native region and German-Dutch descendants throughout the United States and Canada. Although there is considerable variation in the subtleties of pronunciation and syntax, there are three main components to Dutchified English: 1) English words that are pronounced with a German accent, such as "clod" for cloud and "crotch" for garage; 2) Words derived directly from the German that are unique to English, such as rutch,/ meaning to squirm, and spritz,/ meaning to sprinkle with water; 3) A German syntax that allows for usage of English words in creative ways, such as "the food is all" and "outen the light."
All my life my fellow Dutchmen* and I have been put down for speaking this way. In high school, teachers who came from other parts of the country would criticize the way we spoke. The pressure to conform to conventional speech patterns continued in college and after college by people who believed they spoke in a superior manner. Too many people have tried to make us feel like dumb, uneducated bumpkins. Too many people have tried to make us feel ashamed. Constant pressure is exerted on us to speak like most people speak-- in a flattened-out, colorless, homogenized English.
Linguistically speaking, we are treated like second-class citizens.
Enough of this abuse!
Dutchmen, arise! Be proud of our distinctive speech! Our Dutchified English is a delightful, powerful, humorous version of English. Dutch power!
And to all of you non-Dutchmen, open these pages and enjoy a good laugh with us Dutchmen. Our Dutchified accent is an accent on humor. And we love to share good things. We hope that in reading this book you will not only gain an appreciation of the way we talk, but also learn to enjoy your own version of English, whatever it is.
As you read this book you will not only learn how to speak better, but when an American Dutchman becomes president, you will understand him when he addresses the nation in Dutchified English.
May you laugh along with all of us Dutchmen in our Renaissance.
*Being traditionalists, the speakers of Dutchified English understand "man" and its derivatives to be a "cheneric" term for "humankind."/