Thursday, May 25, 2006


There are many language zealots out there that seem to think that the American English language is under attack and needs a law to protect it. There are also some who resent the way some minority groups use our language. Do not worry, the state of the American English language is sound and well.

English is a Germanic language an as a matter of fact the name of the language itself derives from “Englisc” which is the name of the language that the Angles tribes, originally from Engel, spoke during the fifth century.

Throughout the Norman Empire and up until 1362 the language of the British monarchy was French and Latin. At that time, the English underclass spoke four different English dialects. In 1399, King Henry IV became the first king of England whose mother tongue was English.

English has always been a bastard language and that is why the majority of modern English words come from foreign not old English roots. As a matter of fact only about 1/6 of known old English words have descendants surviving today and only about 5,000 or so words from this period have remained unchanged.

Languages that have contributed words to English include Latin, Greek, French, German, Arabic, Hindi (from India), Italian, Malay, Dutch, Farsi (from Iran and Afghanistan), Nahuatl (the Aztec language), Sanskrit (from ancient India), Portuguese, Spanish, Tupi, Quechua (from South America) and Ewe (from Africa). William Shakespeare himself coined over 1600 new words.

So, do not be alarmed if the Latinos or Blacks, for that matter, continue to enrich American English with their own creative use of the language.

That is what English is all about and why it has become the fastest growing and most widely published language in the world. There are at least eight main different regional standards of English and within each of these regional varieties a number of highly differentiated local English dialects.

More than 300 million people throughout the world speak English as a first language. One in five of the world’s population speak English with a good level of competence and within the next couple years the number of people speaking English as a second language will exceed the number of native speakers. In Latin America alone, English is a mandatory second language course in most schools throughout the region.

English is not under attack and certainly does not need to be protected by a law.

What you should be concerned though is with ignorance. Over 45% of Europeans can take part in a conversation in a language other than their mother tongue as can 77% of their students while less than 10% of our college students learn foreign languages.

If at all, we should be encouraging our people to learn foreign languages and certainly Spanish. In Brazil for example, both English and Spanish are now part of the elementary school curricula.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


While surfing the Internet I found this interesting website with a running counter of the taxpayer cost of the Iraq war based on Congressional appropriations.

Let me tell you something; this is not for the faint of heart. Do not click on the link below unless you are ready for some very scary stuff.

Like everything in life though, you have to be careful not to draw false conclusions.

While it is true that the amount of money being spent in the Iraq war is absolutely outrageous it is also true that what we are talking here is the lives of our soldiers and therefore any amount of money is worthwhile spending.

What we need to ask therefore is not how much, but, how come we got ourselves into this mess and who is responsible for this absurd and inept adventure.

Did the conveniently classified top secret meetings between Vice President Cheney and the good oil boys had anything to do with this?

Was Ted Kennedy right when he said that Iraq was a war “Made in Texas”?

These are all valid questions that need to be answered and hopefully, some day, they will.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


I believe it was Goethe who once said “Nothing is more terrifying than ignorance in action”. We have become an ignorant society that is governed by slogans without even questioning what those slogans mean. Even worst; we act based upon those slogans with no regard for the consequences. The concept of Democracy just happens to be one more casualty of the slogan vortex.

There is no democracy if people do not have a clear concept of “freedom”. The problem is that this “God given right”, which is also a slogan, has been given in different measures and by different Gods.

For Christians, the freedom granted to us by God has no limit or boundaries. So much so that we believe we are free even if we are agnostic. To say it in other words, our concept of freedom allows us the right to even negate God himself.

Friday, May 19, 2006


As much as would like to start this blog by writing about the immigration debate I believe there are far more compelling issues that need to be addressed.
The senseless war in Iraq is certainly one of them and the threat from within to our democratic system is by far the most important of them all. Let me start therefore by expressing some thoughts in regard to what I believe is a serious internal threat to our democratic values and system.

Read my next posting!