Wednesday, July 28, 2010

National Tagalog Day (Satire) by Jon Wesick

Diverse languages can divide a nation as seen in the ongoing tensions between Flemings and Walloons in Belgium as well as French and English speakers in Canada. Several studies indicate that conducting official business in a single common language fosters national unity. Even so the government must serve its minorities. In order to meet these conflicting needs, the agency proposes that all government business be conducted in languages proportional to the relative populations of their speakers. The most straightforward way to implement this scheme is on a calendar basis.

All government employees shall use only English from January 1 through November 10, Spanish from November 11 though December 7, French from December 8 through the 10th, German from the 11th through the 12th, Italian from the 13th through the 14th, and any Chinese dialect from the 15th through the 16th. December 17 is reserved for Tagalog, the 18th for Polish, the 19th for Korean, the 20th for Vietnamese, the 21st for Portuguese, and the 22nd for Japanese. Languages without enough speakers to justify an entire day will follow. Thus government employees will speak Greek in the morning of the 23rd and then switch to Arabic in the afternoon. Yiddish, Thai, and Persian fall on December 25. Sadly for speakers of those languages, most government offices will be closed on that day. However, this should result in a cost saving for the taxpayer. After the Christmas holiday the schedule compresses ending up with Amharic from 10:40 PM through 11:59 on December 31.* For a complete schedule see OMB Circular 5264 J.

The plan will roll out on January 1 following a weeklong orientation in Creole, Armenian, Navaho, etc. By following these measures we can experience the benefits of a shared common tongue while respecting the diversity of minority speakers.

*To avoid the expense and confusion of shifting schedules during leap years, all government employees shall speak Esperanto on February 29.

Author bio:

Jon Wesick’s stories have appeared in journals such as Space and Time, Zahir, Tales of the Talisman, Blazing Adventures, Bracelet Charm, Metal Scratches, CC&D, American Drivel Review, The Aphelion Webzine, Everyday Weirdness, Metazen, Oracular Tree, MiniMAG, SamizDADA, Sangam, Sunken Lines, Tabard Inn, Tidepools, Today’s Alternative News, and Words of Wisdom. He’s also published over two hundred poems in small press journals such as Clockwise Cat, The New Orphic Review, Pearl, Pudding, and Slipstream. One of his poems won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists contest.

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