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From:  "Angus B. Grieve-Smith"
Date:  Wed Aug 23, 2000  1:11 pm
Subject:  Re: Pledge Alligiance in SW

On Tue, 22 Aug 2000, Stefan Woehrmann wrote:

> please can you do me the favor to explain "various types of pledges"
> the Pledge of Allegiance "die Bürgschaft der Untertanentreue"

Hi Stefan! I figured someone from outside the US would eventually
ask what was being discussed.

The "Pledge of Allegiance" is a rather fascistic ritual that was
begun in the 1890s: every public school classroom in the US has a flag,
and every morning before class begins, schoolchildren stand up and salute
it, and recite the following words:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God,
indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

I found a German translation at <>:

Ich verspreche Treue zu der Fahne der Vereinigten Staaten von
Amerika und der Republick die sie representiert, eine Nation unter
God, mit Freiheit und Gerechtigkeit fur alle.

Most American children have no idea what they are saying, so it
comes out, mumbled and fumbled, sounding more like this:

I led the pigeons to the flag of the United States of America, and
to the Republic, for Richard Stans, one nation under God,
invisible, with liver, tea and just us for all.

The children I worked with in Lorraine's class at Chapparal seemed
to be just as clueless as the hearing children: for them it was a series
of gestures that everyone had to make before class started in the morning.

I think Nancy is thinking about using the pledge in SignWriting to
help the kids analyze it and get more of a sense of what they are actually
saying. When I was about ten I started thinking about it, and decided to
stop saying the words "under God." I also wondered what would happen if
someone put a little speaker inside the flagpole: would we have to obey
what the flag told us to do?

-Angus B. Grieve-Smith
Linguistics Department
The University of New Mexico

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