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Why do so many people spend so much time trying to speak as if they come from nowhere?
For myself, I'm proud to speak as if I come from somewhere. I come from Pennsylvania Dutch country, and I enjoy the way we speak around here.
Since How to Speak Dutch-ified English, Wolume Vun was published, many people have become a little more proud and a little less ashamed of the way they speak. And many people who have migrated to this area, or who have just passed through, have picked up some of our flavorful words, expressions, and pronunciations.
The effect of How to Speak Dutch-ified English, Wolume Vun has been profound. People who once dreaded the subject of English now enjoy it! It has been said that to truly understand one's native tongue, one should learn a foreign language, one should understand at least one, even several, regional Englishes.
There are people who say that regional Englishes ought to be overcome, that they are bad English. I believe that English is powerful precisely because of all its variety. Just imagine going to Ireland and not hearing an Irish brogue. Or going to Scotland and not hearing a brrrrr of the tongue. Or being in the South and not hearing any good ol' boys bantering in Southern. Just imagine if everyone everywhere spoke like Tom Brokaw. How dull.
In France there is an institute to protect the purity of the French language. They try to prevent foreign words and expressions from corrupting French. Fine. Let the French isolate their language from the complex and changing world and all its many cultural impacts. They will likely stultify their language and kill it off, going the way of Latin.
English is alive. It grows and changes every day. It takes in words from this ethnic group and that ethnic group. Not only do many cultural groups learn English, they also contribute to English and change it for the better. Every strand and fiber borrowed from other tongues make the majestic fabric of English stronger, more beautiful, more intricately laden with design and meaning.
Native Americans, Yiddish-speaking Jews, Hispanics, African-Americans, Europeans, Southerners, Valley Girls, Bostonians, jargon-users, jive cats, technocrats, and most of the ethnic groups of the word have all helped make American English the most inclusive language on the face of the earth.
Dutch-ified English has made, and is more and more making, its own unique impact on the English language. It is one of the most humorous and delightful varieties of English. It is full of humor, insight, and the power to make common and dull matters take on a hilarious dimension.
A lawyer friend of mine has been buying multiple copies of How to Speak Dutch-ified English, Wolume Vun for his clients to read while they wait, because they keep stealing every copy he puts out. One day a couple came into his office who were mad at each other and intent on obtaining a divorce. While they fumed in the waiting room, the husband picked up a copy of How to Speak Dutch-ified English, Wolume Vun. He started to chuckle. His wife came over to see what was so funny. Soon they were laughing together. When they finished reading the book, they left hand in hand, laughing, their divorce forgotten.
Many other strange and wonderful things have happened. Choirs have started singing in Dutch-ified English, much to the delight of congregations everywhere. Hospitals sell copies to patients, and, through the laughter the book generates, recovery rates have improved markedly. The ill have been healed, the depressed lifted, the gloomy enlightened, the divorced brought back together, all by the power of Dutch-ified English.
This has led to a movement to make Dutch-ified English the language into which the United Nations will translate all their speeches. Imagine it. No matter what anyone would say, no matter how belligerent they would become, when their speech was rendered in Dutch-ified English, all members would crack up laughing. There would be no more war, no more strife between the nations. Peace would finally come to our planet.
English is not a subject to be approached with serious dread. It is the medium, best expressed through Dutch-ified English, that can cheerfully change your life. So save your marriage, heal yourself, cut down on the strife and disharmony in your life.
If you're already happy, practice and talk this variety of English wherever you go. People will stop in their tracks and look at you in amazement. They will talk and murmur among themselves, "What is this strange and wonderful thing? Is it French?" Then you can tell them and teach them about Dutch-ified English, all in an effort to help make the world a more fun and enjoyable place.
Then we will all talk like we come from somewhere wunst. Somewhere wonderful good.