It’s Politics: Dual-Language immersion program
With the rise of the global economy, school districts across the nation and plenty within the San Gabriel Valley have adopted dual-language immersion programs. The idea is simple: teach children a foreign language when their brains are still developing. From what experts in language development tell us, those dual-language learners will not only learn a second language, but will demonstrate an even greater mastery of their native tongue.
And it’s no surprise which languages are most popular with parents who choose to enroll their children in dual-language programs: Spanish and Mandarin (Chinese). The Latino population in the U.S. exploded in the last 20 years and it shows little signs of shrinking. Meanwhile, China has lent us enough money that it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the Yuan replaces the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. But what about teaching the children a third language? One that will benefit them every election cycle.
How about we teach the kids Politician Pig Latin? We have all heard Politician Pig Latin, the language of buzzwords, jargon and ambiguous phrases which politicians use during stump speeches and press conferences. It’s a language riddle with multi-syllabic words which say absolutely nothing. You have heard some of the words: “stakeholders,” “partners” “outreach” and “community buy-in.” The standards English definitions of these words don’t apply when translated from politician Pig Latin.
For example, “Stakeholder” is voting citizen who gave to the winning official’s campaign. A “Partner” is a local business person, and a voter, who gave enough money that when he or she calls, the elected official might pick up the phone. “Outreach” is a Facebook page or website enabled with a PayPal account. “Community buy-in” roughly translates into a meeting with the public scheduled at a time when those opposing the politician’s plan can’t show up. In newsrooms, we have seen the press releases written completely in Politician Pig Latin:
“I have long championed the need to balance our budget and pay down our debt, and will continue to do so,” wrote one local lawmaker in recent a press release.
Huh? The part about a “balanced budget”, clear. The part about “paying down our debt” , got it. But championed … what? Did this elected win some belt or a sports title? Merriam Webster defines championed as someone who “protects or fights for, as a champion.” The second definition is one who acts as a “militant supporter” for a cause. I doubt our elected leaders are “militant” supporters of anything. But the direct translation of “championed” from Politician Pig Latin to English is “one who barks really loud on the floor of a legislative body to pass a law, but achieves little actual success.”
Politician Pig Latin is not the hardest language to learn, but with all the things people are tasked with during the day – working, paying bills, raising children and picking those kids up from roller hockey – who has the time to learn another language as an adult? And I have yet to see a class in Politician Pig Latin at a local community college. Maybe it’s time we start equipping our children with the skills to decipher what our elected leaders are actually talking about. They might even grow up to make informed choices.
READ MORE: SGV Tribune
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