Speak English, or else
The city of Taneytown, Md., a municipality of something more than 5,000 people located 35 miles from Baltimore, is considering making English its official language.
If the council proceeds to enact this measure, then I say it is time to stop trifling with half-measures. I am prepared to move to Taneytown to serve as municipal English magistrate, and I am drafting provisions to put teeth into the ordinance.
Using it’s for its.
First offense: a godly admonition.
Second offense: a stern warning.
Third offense: a tattoo of the letter I on the forehead, for Illiterate.
Sounding the t in often.
Fine of $5.00 per occurrence.
Pronouncing nuclear as nucular.
Fine of $10 per occurrence.
Pronouncing mischievous as mischeevious.
Failure to make a subject and verb agree, as in the sentence on Taneytown’s Web site saying that “the City and surrounding area is rich in historic landmarks.”
One hour at noon in the stocks in front of the town hall.
Allowing annoying typos into print, as in the mayor’s State of the City report on the Web site: “He has come to use with some new ideas and some of those have already been put into action” (emphasis added).
This is a serious offense because of the presumption that no copy editor has been employed to vet the text.
Dismissal of appointed officials, impeachment of elected officials.
Saying between you and I.
Forfeiture of driver’s license for 30 days.
Using whom when the pronoun is the subject of a subordinate clause.
Spend the night in the box.
Saying or writing the obnoxious pleonasm safe haven.
One week at a re-education camp shoveling pig manure.
As H.L. Mencken wrote, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” So let the people speak. Provided their English is acceptable.