Undertstanding the linguistic challenge that is our president.

Safer here  …

How to listen to the Don


History – repeats – repeats – repeats

“The silent minority”

I stumbled across this article this morning. Interesting. It’s also scary and sad and frustrating, but interesting all the same. Really we could just use this paragraph as a template:

“During the _________ war, parts of America grew hysterically anti-__________. Some __________ were spat at in the street. The teaching of their language was banned in schools. ____ (insert heritage food) ____ was renamed “liberty _______”. _________ books were burned, ___ (insert heritage animal) ___ kicked and _________-Americans forced to buy war bonds to prove their patriotism.”

Will we ever learn? Patriotism … if you’re denying anyone the rights and privileges granted in our constitution, a document that defines our very existence as a country, then you know not why patriotism is. America was built on freedom and justice for all. Of course it remains a work in progress but still. It is for all or for none.

Are we human or are we … something less?

Yeah, I was brought up in a Christian household too (Catholic and Lutheran together, yup!) with what most would consider to be “good Christian values”: compassion, kindness, tolerance, generosity, respect for all living creatures, responsibility for the planet …
These are in fact not the values of any religion but the vital elements of our humanity. What I see being posted around the internet under the guise of good religious values, Christian or other, goes against everything I’ve ever learned. Hate has no religion. Intolerance has no religion. Ignorance, cruelty, selfishness, anger … nothing to do with religion. Stop hiding behind “religion”, come out and play human.
Turn off the television.
Close the newspaper.
Go out and talk to people of every size and shape.
Read books from other shelves.
Make friends with people that aren’t like you …
If you are afraid, ask.
If you are unsure, ask.
If you don’t know, ask.
Exchange your fear with childlike curiosity.
Go open your eyes and ears to the wonder that is the world around you!!!
(ps. This is about so much more than one deplorable election …. are we not more than that???)

Wow. Ok. (from 2015)

“En zo hebben wij besloten om jouw aanvraag niet in te dienen. Het interview is meer een verhoor en enkel heel ‘zwakke mensen’ krijgen de rechten op de maatregel … ”

Ok, so, let me get this straight … you have teachers and engineers and lawyers and doctors and nurses and vets and every other career imaginable sitting unable to work for one reason and one reason alone … (ok, there is a little bit of the “Flemish people tend to prefer hiring Flemish people” going on but still if we could WOW! them with our words… ). I don’t blame the person here locally just trying to get their job done. I certainly don’t blame “zwakke mensen” that need so much more help than I do. But what are we supposed to do? If we work, we learn. If we work, we meet people. If we work, we build bridges and integrate. And perhaps most important to those people sitting at the top making the “maatregels” (btw – that’s the direction this finger of blame is pointing), if we work, we make money which is taxed which contributes to the system which is working to help people out of “zwakke” conditions …
Check out America if you want to see just how well affirmative action works in reality … there is no positive discrimination, only discrimination.

Drempels (from 2015)

I’ve been rather obsessed with this word for moths now. Drempel = threshold…barrier/border/line to cross…the thing standing between you and entrance to another world. There’s a lot of talk about drempels here and how they can be eliminated or, at the very least, lowered. The more I hear about this the more I wonder where these boundaries really come from. Who’s drawing the lines, actually? Is it the people being “helped”, in this case the NT2 community, or is it the people (bless them for trying) who are “helping”?

Both, I’d say.

There is a lack of confidence on both sides in people who have minimal language skills. Both parties forget that we’re dealing with adults who, in fact, DO HAVE a complete set of language skills – just not the right set for this moment. Not being able to speak a language is not the same though as not having an opinion or a meaning.