Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Use of English in the USA: Note for a lecture, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United"

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Trump, the tone-setter of today’s GOP, recently chastised Jeb Bush for answering in Spanish a question that was asked in Spanish. Trump said Bush “should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States.” Trump presumably deplores the fact that a leading Illinois Republican politician in the late 1850s bought one of the region’s many German-language newspapers, and even briefly took German lessons. Abraham Lincoln did so, says Harold Holzer in “Lincoln and the Power of the Press,” in order to “boost his appeal to the most important voting bloc in his region.” Somehow, Americans of German extraction — the largest group of Americans — seem to have assimilated even though Lincoln set a sinister “example.”
--George Will,"Donald Trump is a malleable mess," Washington Post

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