Turmoil as US language amendment takes effect

WASHINGTON (Rooters agency, translated from classical Tupi by Euroenglish for its readers. Not to be distributed in the United States.) – Most normal activities in the United States have come to a halt as the country tries to come to terms with the 29th Amendment to the Constitution, which went into effect last month.

Also called the “Speak American Amendment” and the “Flailing Amendment” after former Governor Shirley Flailing, who first proposed it, the amendment requires everyone in the country (with a limited exemption for foreign tourists) to speak only “American language,” and imposes fines or imprisonment on those who fail to do so.

Unfortunately, it seems that the drafters of the amendment were not sufficiently precise in their terminology. On the day the amendment took effect, a shrewd Athabaskan lawyer sought an emergency ruling from the Supreme Court that English is a European language, not an American one.

The Court agreed, in a ruling delivered in Mayan by Justice Ivy, who had studied that language on several Guatemalan holidays during his university years. The decision further pointed out that “American” applies to the entire Western Hemisphere, not just the United States. Hence any indigenous language of the Western Hemisphere meets the amendment’s requirements.

That’s not what we intended!” declared, in English, several members of Congress, who were immediately expelled from the chamber for using a non-American language. Members of both parties are reported to be intensively studying how to lie in Nahuatl, Navajo, Ojibwe, Cree, and Cherokee, among others.

Almost immediately after the Supreme Court ruling, universities and private language schools began offering courses in various American languages. There are a large number of them, even if you don’t count the ones that are no longer spoken, so competition is fierce.

For those of a religious bent, the teachers of Wampanoag in Massachusetts point out that it was the language of the first Bible printed in North America. The University of São Paulo quickly opened US extensions of its existing course in Nheengatu, pointing out that the language’s forerunner, Tupi, had been a lingua franca in South America, which should make Nheengatu fluency an advantage in commerce. Tlingit is spoken by indigenous people in northwestern Canada and Alaska, which might make it attractive to Governor Flailing. Another plus is that it can be written in Latin or Cyrillic script.

The Amendment has created numerous disruptions and delays as computers are altered to ensure that their displays are in an American language. But the biggest headache, which was totally unforeseen, is that US money has become officially unAmerican and therefore illegal in the United States.