As you may have read in last week’s Journal, the Garden Grove Unified School District has approved a program to honor those who are literate in more than one language. They’ll get a seal proclaiming their “biliteracy” on their diplomas.
This, of course, makes a lot of sense. With globalization and increased ethnic diversity, being able to converse and write with greater variety is valuable. It also increases your chance for a date on Friday night.
I, myself, have moved well beyond bilteracy. I am conversant in several languages, none of which, alas, are gonna get me a seal on my paperwork. But here’s my linguistic resume.
High school French: Just enough of this romantic language to sound like I paid a little attention to Miss Seeger way back when, seasoned with enough bad pronunciation to grind the teeth of any Franchophone. “Par-lezz-voose Frahn-saze?” Or “Juh Mah Apple Ornery Marr-Tan?” (My name is Henri Martin, which is best used when your name is NOT Henri Martin).
The best practical application of this is to a) drive teachers around the bend or b) provoke a war with France, both of which have an emotional appeal. It puts me in the mind of the legendary Ray Siddons who deliberately confused “bon idee” (good idea, pronounced bun-ee day) with Easter. Good times!
Academic Lingo: Among the most impenetrable tongue anywhere, this is a dialect that is constantly evolving into more and more puzzling permutations. A student doesn’t enroll, he “matriculates.” You don’t organize stuff, you go through “articulation.” You don’t teach stuff, you pursue “student learning outcomes.”
One characteristic of this form of communication is to turn nouns into verbs. You don’t go through a transition (i.e., change), you are “transitioning.” You don’t charge money for a class or service, you “monetize” it. You don’t get people to do stuff, you “incentivize” them.
If you can make a concept completely obscure and impossible to comprehend, you get a gold seal on your doctorate.
Military terminology: If you think that the Internet and social media have taken the use of initials and acronyms to ridiculous excesses (LOL, LMAO, BFF, FWB, etc.), then you are obviously not familiar with what goes on in our armed services, letter-wise.
Everything, and I mean, everything, turns into a puzzling array of letters. Myself, I am a SSG in the PAO section of the RSC-S of the CSMR, which is an SDF.
I have a MEMS badge and my MOS is 46R. Been through BOC, BNCOC, UPAR, IEF, BRM and EST training. Coming up, SAHT and VOCAC. During a UTA, I can go to the AAFTES. We wear ACUPAT and eat MREs, drill with M-4s and M-9s and answer to an O-7.
Political Talk: This is mostly about code words. If a program benefits your voters and donors, it’s good. If it benefits your opponents’ voters and donors, it’s bad. Therefore, having a health care system is either “a safety net” or “socialism.” Financial help for a certain group? Either “welfare giveaways” or “tax incentives.”
Is your candidate a slut? (i.e, Bill Clinton or Newt Gingrich). Then he’s “had some tough times in his marriage but they’re working through it.” Is your opponent a slut? “Character! Family values! Hypocrite!”
These are but a few of the tongues I palaver in my world. The list is incomplete. Don’t even get me started on Husbandspeak.