Translating U.S. National Anthem?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by patrick0brien, Apr 26, 2006.

  1. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #1
    -All

    As zimv20 has noted, I don't speak up much here - let alone start a thread, as things get so polarized here. But after some serious internal arguing, I really have to point this out to you folks.

    My $0.02? I'm conservative on this subject. To the U.S., Immigration also means Assimilation (ergo "Melting Pot"), want to immigrate? Learn the standard language of the land.

    Not saying give up who one is, just add to it, they are immigrating, clearly looking for a change.

    But translating the United States of America National Anthem to another language is really getting me. I've always squirmed uncomfortably in my seat when I hear it butchered by a singer with an "inspiration", but this is too far. It was written in English - for English-speakers, for a country whose standard language is English.

    Linkypoo
     
  2. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #2
    This is an interesting topic.

    Currently, I have no real preference on this issue, though I lean towards immigrants learning English, if only to assimilate them more fully into our culture and to open up more opportunity for them. From this, the Ntional Anthem being sung only in English logically follows.

    Still, I wonder about the US 20-50 years from now, as spanish-speaking immigrants/natives make a big demographic push in terms of % of population, and how perhaps certain swaths of the country will be predominately Latin.

    It is possible that we may go the way of the Swiss - with several National Languages, and several versions of a National Anthem.
     
  3. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #3
    As long as they avoid transliterations like "José, can you see", I'd be interested to hear what they come up with. Melodically and lyrically, it's one of the most unsingable himnos nacionales out there.
     
  4. patrick0brien thread starter macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #4
    -blackfox

    Interesting point.

    But I think I'll actually go "Curmudgeonly Old Man" and 'grr' and 'arg' and dig my heels in all the way on that. The U.S. has had massive infusions before and the net effect has been an alteration of the vernacular, not out-and-out multilanguage.

    Heck, I'm in IT and I see this everyday - the danger and expense of competing standards.

    Translating the bloody anthem is a step toward antiassimilation. Enough of that, and what will we end up with..?
     
  5. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #5
    All immigrants need to learn English. Period. I'm all for keeping one's native tongue and for teaching it to one's children. The McCarthy era pretty much told all immigrants that being a foreigner and speaking a foreign language is evil. I hope Joe is burning in his own little hell right now.

    Anyhoo, immigrants who don't learn the language of the country they moved to are at risk of being defrauded by the unscrupulous and ignored by the bureaucracy. That just sets the stage for a revolt later on. A person simply can't function in a society if they can't use the language.
     
  6. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #6
    Canada's got two; I hear 'em both every time I visit "Centre Bell Centre."
     
  7. g30ffr3y macrumors 6502a

    g30ffr3y

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    #7
    the way i see it... all the imigrants who come here for a better
    life and a fresh start because of whatever was so bad for them
    in their home country NEED TO LEARN THE DAMN LANGUAGE...

    thats the least THEY CAN DO for the opportunity at a better
    future...
     
  8. Qoxiivi macrumors regular

    Qoxiivi

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    #8
    Nice ;)

    I have to say that I couldn't give a toss what language God Save The Queen is translated into (unless you're talking about the God Save The Queen by The Sex Pistols which should unconditionally be sung in a grating and visceral north London accent) as I consider national anthems in general to be fairly ridiculous constructions.

    As far as people learning the native language of whatever country they’ve decided to live in, I think it can only be a good thing in terms of assisting cultural diversity and social integration (but not assimilation).

    Even if I were a fan of my particular country’s national anthem, I still don’t think I would mind it (‘it’ basically being an exaltation of the host country) and its meaning being interpreted and understood in a different dialect.
     
  9. rdowns Suspended

    rdowns

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    #9
    I'm all for making English our official language. It is the one thing that all should have in common with one another.
     
  10. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #10
    I have no problem with translating our anthem. I believe that all people should understand its meaning - both figuratively and literally. Our anthem is our country.

    That being said, I believe that the translation should be for educational and informative purposes only. The anthem should never, ever, be sung as a representation of the United States in any language that is not English. It doesn't matter that some were on the land first, others were brought here against their will, others settled here en masse, some were living on land that sold to us, or others are migrating here on a scale the likes of which we have never seen before - The United States was founded upon the english language, our anthem was written in english, and it shall always be sung in english.

    Any goodwill that the recent movement has built up will be destroyed if this production goes forward. To make things worse....Gloria Trevi? For a quick summary of this woman, check her wiki article. She is worse than we think Michael Jackson is...
     
  11. thedude110 macrumors 68020

    thedude110

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    #11
    I think it does matter that many were brought here against their will. English wasn't their language and, as it exists today, it exists just as it did before -- as an element of oppression and exclusion (thus those who don't speak "proper English" -- white English, as my students would say -- are considered stupid and often prevented from landing "real" jobs).

    Similarly, I don't compel my students to stand for the pledge of allegiance if they don't want to. Just as the flag and the pledge mean different things to different people, English (and the literacy it implies) has very different historical connotations (and denotations) for different people.

    But yeah. New immigrants should learn English -- opportunity, as Ugg says. But they shouldn't be compelled to use it.

    We're dewhitenezing and we should embrace the diversity -- and the beauty -- of langauges and the possibilties (in identity, communication, art -- whatever!) they present.
     
  12. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #12
    OK, let's imagine an immigrating family. They have a little child, adults, and an old grandparent. The kid is going to learn English. The adults have it in their best interest to learn it as well as possible. They'll always speak with a strong accent and problably will never get jobs as editors, but they will probably try to do their best. Grandma, on the other hand, doesn't want to learn English. She's old and really all she wants to do is live out her days helping to raise the child and contribute to cooking and housekeeping (or nitpicking). Are you all really such English-first proponents that you want to deport her because she can't be bothered to learn English?
     
  13. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #13
    *Best Perspective Thus Far Award*
    And it's pretty much how it happened from Ellis Island, on.
    BTW- As pain-staking as it is to screech and mumble through it, how many U.S. citizens actually know there are 4 versus to the Star Spangled Banner?
     
  14. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

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    #14
    Switzerland has a fine set up...and I'd love to see the U.S. diversify language-wise (even though having just one language is helpful at times), however I can't see anything like that actually happening.

    The people here would have to reverse their stances on foreigners and change the language education system entirely...kids in the main parts (french and german speaking) of Switzerland usually learn French, German and English. Most people there know a little Italian and/or Spanish as well.

    The other problem is that the languages are taken seriously in Switzerland out of necessity...a 2 or 3 hour train ride from almost anywhere in the country can take you to a place that speaks a different language.
     
  15. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #15
    I have no problem with someone staying home and caring for a child or anything like that if they don't want to speak english. However, demanding services be provided in their native language is too much. I think that by catering to the individual, we only promote the separation of Americans into hyphens. I feel bad, because I've noticed that we have exported that mentality to Canada as I see more and more reports out of the Great White North referring to X-Canadians.

    I have no problem with those who learn the language and speak with thick accents. In fact, I applaud them more than many native born Americans, as they struggle to learn a new language while many of us are too lazy to learn how to speak understandably.

    That being said, I don't see a relationship between that and our anthem being used as a patriotic symbol in another language. To change the lyrics - even for translation - is to change who we are. I don't ask the Germans, Russians, Mexicans, Japanese, or anyone else to sing their anthems in english. Their anthems are a symbol of who they are, just as their flags are. That was my point. What I was trying to say was that while we are a nation of (legal) immigrants, our nation was founded on and in the english language. Others can contribute, but the anthem remains the same.

    And yes, I know that there are 4 verses (the last is so much fun because it drags the church/state argument back into the equation). While I haven't done it in a while (and I don't think I can anymore), I used to be able to sing all four verses. Every year on the July 4th weekend, we sing all 4 in church (it's in our hymnal).
     
  16. Stella macrumors 604

    Stella

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    #16
    Soon you'll need a Spanish* version.

    Diversity is Good.


    *or is it Portuguese, at this time of time, I forget.
     
  17. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #17
    i like hearing people speak foreign languages. am i in the minority?
     
  18. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #18
    Nobody wants to kick Grandma or Grandpa out of the country however, what happens when they get to the point where they need medical assisatance? Sure, most hospitals provide translators but they're not available 24 hours a day nor is the family. People of all ages should be encouraged to learn the language of their new country. Grandkids grow up, children get divorced and die, etc. What happens to Grandma then? Ship her off to a nursing home where nobody understands her at all?

    I would like to see a system where English language lessons are mandatory for all new arrivals. Why should we exempt someone because of their age?
     
  19. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #19
    I don't know but that's one of the reasons why I love Vancouver so much. Walking down the street you'll hear dozens of languages.
     
  20. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #20
    There are so many to chose from.

    I heart Vancouver and will live there one day. Then I will build a second house in Montreal. My pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness leads straight to Canada.

    Though I have always loved Minneapolis and they have a train now (yay)...that might work for a while...
     
  21. Queso macrumors G4

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    #21
    I don't quite see why you are all having a problem with this. Yes, the original USA was founded on the English language, but that's only because it came from 13 British colonies. As the country grew, it absorbed areas where the common shared language was Spanish. Spanish therefore isn't an immigrant language to the USA like Japanese or Russian.

    Unless you're going to go the whole hog and start talking about the casinos in "The Meadows", the smog in "Angels City" or the mountains in "Denver, Coloured", you should accept that Spanish is as big a part of your heritage as English is. Providing mandatory services in it does not undermine America.
     
  22. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #22
    And the idea that the U.S. was founded in the English language isn't exactly accurate. The issue language used to be German, and pro-English types worried that those Germans would never learn English. On the other hand, some politicians proposed that German be made the official language precisely because it wasn't English, as a way of further separating the U.S. from England.

    Dynamicv makes a good point about heritige too. The US conquered a lot of land that contained Spanish speakers, Russian speakers, French speakers, etc., not to mention Cherokee, Creek, etc. This country wasn't founded in English so much as English was one of means by which conquered peoples were assimilated.

    And of course there have been immigrants. Immigrant populations always eventually learn English.

    Ugg, you'd like to make English lessons mandatory for all immigrants? By doing so, you'd turn a service that most immigrants willingly pay for into an expensive government program.

    And nbs2, you don't want an America separated into hyphens. Whre does that leave people who don't believe that the definition of "American" allows them to be who they are? (And there's a difference between American and American citizen. Until those ruly line up, people should have the right to have their own identity).
     
  23. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #23
    huh ? it can be mandatory _and_ charged for it

    afaik so it's done over here since learning a minimum german got mandatory a few years ago

    if it's not mandatory you well end up with integration problems and people "living in their own world" which only leads to problem for example kids of immigrants who aren't able to talk german are more likely to have bad education, bad jobs etc.
     
  24. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #24
    I call ********. There's another active thread here where I talk about my neck of the woods.

    There's a large group of Americans still speaking old High German. They've been speaking it since before my Irish ancestors sailed here.
    My English is accented and grammatically perverted by the dialect, too. I sometimes catch myself saying things like "Newada."

    This nation was founded on many languages and it's an important gesture that we have no official language.
     
  25. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #25
    Like I said in my first post, the land came from many different sources. But, it all came in under a country that was based on the English language. That immigrants "always eventually learn English" is what I would love to see. Instead we have a push to allow each person to retain their native tounge. If you ever want to see what happens when each different group speaks a different language, go to India. Many times, you will be hard pressed to understand what is going on from state to state. I speak some hindi, and my English is as good as any Americans (better than most would be bragging). But, I often struggled because each state had its own language. For a lot of people, that means that they cannot function. All I would like is to see the immigrants learn what they will eventually learn a little faster. And I think that providing services in english encourages that. I promise you that my grandmother has learned a lot of english since my grandfather died - services depend on it and she doesn't speak spanish. At what point do you say we have enough languages?

    I just believe that people should classify themselves as what they view themselves to be. I am American. Do I have parents from overseas? Yes. But, I am American. If you don't believe that you are "American," then don't pretend to be. I couldn't care less what (the proverbial) you think you are. If you think of yourself as Japanese first and American second, you are Japanese. If you think of yourself as African first and American second, you are African. Citizenship is irrelevant. And I'm not sure what you mean by the definition of American not allowing you to be who you are. I am understanding that to mean that you believe that America (as a majority) has defined itself in a way that you don't. That shouldn't make you any less American. America is not what the majority or minority say it is. America is belief in a way. I guess the best way to explain this is: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. But, I will make sure the other guy gets to first.
     

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