These days when I hear people say; “I love your accent, where is it from?” I wonder if I should say “thank you” or run for my passport just in case ICE will be in pursuit soon.
My English is as good as my genetics will allow (you see both of my parents come from deep inside the shithole) and with my crooked front teeth, I have no chance of perfecting my American accent! My English is average. My mother speaks very good English! It is odd however for me to speak English with my mother, the preferential language being Twi our native tongue.
A few days ago my mother and I went to a restaurant. I ordered my food in English. My mother ordered her food same, but when my mother and I wanted to communicate we used sign language! The waiter found it odd and wanted to ask why? We explained we were fearful of speaking our mother tongue lest any of the patrons in the restaurant question our patriotism and subject us to verbal abuse for speaking any language other than the preferred English!
Hmmm, how times have changed! It was not quite long ago when people used to compliment me for speaking extra languages! Today in Trumps America such practice is frowned upon! Some actually would want to make it a requirement that any immigrant that comes to America must speak English! And it need not be so! Take a look at the examples I am about to cite as evidence to the contrary!
Levi Strauss came from Bavaria to San Francisco without knowing a word of English and yet was able to produce Levi jeans, an American icon known all over the world.
Jerry Yang founder of Yahoo came to America knowing only one English word “shoe.” Not a day goes by millions of Americans going to yahoo news and information.
Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer who had a successful show on TV on how to train dogs had a tutor here in America to learn the English language!
Other famous immigrants such as Carlos Santana, Gloria Estefan, and Arnold Schwarzenegger all came to this county with limited command of the English language! My point is it will not take any immigrant long to realise that learning English is a sine qua non to achieving the American Dream
And the irony of the situation is that American’s command of the English language is also questionable! Let’s begin with the Chief crusader of the Immigrant population, His Holy Emperor, the God appointee he who knows all. In spite of his rich background and boast of Ivy League education, his gross misuse of the English vocabulary is “unpresidented.” I will advise him to seek “council” anytime he tries to tweet “covfefe” for public attention!
The one pet peeve I have with everyday Americans I encounter is when they fail to conjugate their words after “could” or “would.” It is not uncommon to hear Americans say “I could have came” or “you should have did this.” This misuse is so pervasive just last week I heard a College athlete from Florida say on ESPN say “maybe on hindsight I should have did this.” Yes from the lips of a college student!
The first time I had an anxiety attack was when a female patient of mine asked me a direct question “how were my testes?” I was taken aback momentarily thinking I had the wrong patient or had failed to recognise that she was a hermaphrodite till she promptly remedied the situation by saying “you know my blood work” to which I said “so you mean your tests” to which she said, “yes my testes.”
The immigration proposal did not say if there was going to be a cut off age for which it will be okay for immigrants to come over without knowing English! My four-year-old nephew called me and said he saw “four mices” in his backyard! I was like “dude you are an American you are supposed to know better! I may gently remind you that no matter what the number, New York City has 15 million mice, not mices!
At this rate, by the time we embark on the 2020 census the analysis of the men population could potentially delve into menstrual cycle territory! We will say there is one man, 2 men, 3 mens, 4 or many menses in a particular neighbourhood!
Before we insist that everyone and anyone who comes here must know English let us learn to remove the log in our own eyes before we take out the specks in other people’s eyes!
Till then it’s adios!
By Dr. Yaw Berko an Internal Medicine Physician in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin