April 29, 2006

"The Star-Spangled Banner"/"Nuestro Himno."

Is it wrong to sing the national anthem in Spanish? (Listen to it here.) When President Bush says "I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English," is he saying that it's wrong to have a Spanish language version?
Mr. Bush has tried to occupy a middle ground in the raging debate over immigration, supporting legislation that would grant immigrant workers temporary legal status and perhaps a path to citizenship, while pushing for immigrants to learn English also pressing for more steps to stop the flow of newcomers over the border. But his statement about the anthem was taken by members of both parties as a clear signal to conservatives that he stood with them on what many of them see as a clash between national identity and multiculturalism.
The middle ground is awfully hard to occupy!

I can't translate the Spanish words back into English to see the ways in which the meaning has been altered. But I can translate Bush-speak into plainer English for the purpose of fending off those Bush haters and Bush lovers who are reading more than they need to into his words.

He's said that people who want to be citizens should learn English, and to say that is not to say that they shouldn't also speak Spanish, just that wanting to be a part of the country should include wanting to be able to interact with the people here who do speak English. And he's saying that people who want to be citizens should want to learn to sing the anthem along with the rest of us, as we've sung it since it was written, in English. That doesn't mean you can't also sing it in Spanish.

Are we so partisan that we can't hear a moderate statement anymore?

61 comments:

stephanie said...

Well, the comment I heard him make was that it shouldn't be sung in Spanish, not that they should want to sing it in English.
However, I happen to agree with him on this one. You want to permanently live in this country, you learn the national language- which would be English. The national anthem belongs in the national language-English. It would not occur to me to sing the French national anthem in English-why should I not demand the same courtesy for the US anthem?

PatCA said...

"Are we so partisan that we can't hear a moderate statement anymore?"

Yes, especially when the flames are fanned by the media. Politically, I believe (hope) Bush is just trying to push the Democrats to vote for an unpopular bill which will hurt them in the 2006 elections. The Repubs don't have much else going for them.

One is either for assimilation or against it, so I won't go there at all. Here in CA we have the multicultural future, though, communities who are separatist by choice, and after a decade or two, economic and social failures. It will take an even bigger economic collapse before it changes.

Ricardo said...

Did you "watch" him when he made his comments? He did not look "inclusive".

Ross said...

Since 98 percent of Americans -- and probably 90 percent of immigrants -- agree with what the president said, I think he's on safe ground.

That said, I found the Spanish version kind of catchy. I barely recognized the melody under all the hip-hop riffs, but then I caught the music and actually got choked up.

Really, it's nice -- an immigrant embracing of the national anthem. And the title: "Nuestro Himno." It's very patriotic in its way; it's a song sung by people who want to be part of America. It celebrates America.

Serious question, though: Has the song never been translated before? There are a few million American citizens living in Puerto Rico whose native language is Spanish.

Seven Machos said...

Ricardo -- What does inclusıve look lıke? İs it green? İs it shıny? Does İt have boots on?

Please elaborate.

Ricardo said...

Inclusive doesn't have a look of disgust on its face.

chuck b. said...

Yeah, these little arguments about "shoulds" don't amount to much. I think it's great to sing the national anthem in Spanish! That doing so has practically become an act of political performance art points to how anxious the argument has become.

Patca probably has more experience with Spanish-only communities in SoCal than I do in NorCal, but we have lots of Asian language-speaking-only neighborhoods/communities up here, and they're thriving. It's more than language that makes the difference. I really doubt every European immigrant to America learned to speak English. Their kids or grandkids did tho'.

Jacques Cuze said...

1943: O'zog, kenstu sehn, wen bagin licht dervacht,
Vos mir hoben bagrist in farnachtigen glihen?
Die shtreifen un shtern, durch shreklicher nacht,
Oif festung zich hoiben galant un zich tsein?
Yeder blitz fun rocket, yeder knal fun kanon,
Hot bawizen durch nacht: az mir halten die Fohn!
O, zog, tzi der "Star Spangled Banner" flatert in roim,
Ueber land fun die freie, fun brave die heim!


“The national anthem ought to be sung in English,” Mr Bush told reporters gathered in the Rose Garden to hear the president discuss the US economy. “And I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English, and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English.”

ought1 (ôt) pronunciation
aux.v.
1. Used to indicate obligation or duty: You ought to work harder than that.
2. Used to indicate advisability or prudence: You ought to wear a raincoat.
3. Used to indicate desirability: You ought to have been there; it was great fun.
4. Used to indicate probability or likelihood: She ought to finish by next week.


You say we can't hear moderate speech.

I say you ought to take another look at whether Cuckoo Bananas is in fact a flip-flopping weasel using code words to pander to his supporters while trying to straddle the fence. This doesn't seem like moderate language to me.

It is hardly the language that a "decider" "buck stops here" President would use to clarify a situation.

Palladian said...

You might want to step up to the next size underwear, quxxoobananas, you're bunching.

PatCA said...

Chuck,
I was actually speaking of the Vietnamese community here, but the same holds true of the Hispanic. The insular and cash (tax-evading) economy eventually dooms these enclaves, and even the immigrants themselves are admitting it. Our new immigrants, Koreans, are thriving too, but I and many others have given up trying to work with them because it's all in cash, bags of it, to "avoid taxes" wink, wink. As citizens, we simply are too vulnerable to do that! Eventually, their need for outsiders (citizens) and their inability to conform to our business practices will hurt them. In another 10 years, look at the communities in your neck of the woods and see if it isn't the same.

"According to Dr. Nguyen , the cash economy in Little Saigon makes people vulnerable to robberies and limits their entrepreneurial opportunities. Without bank accounts, they can’t borrow money from financial institutions to start or expand businesses and have to rely on networks of relatives and friends to raise capital."

vbspurs said...

Since 98 percent of Americans -- and probably 90 percent of immigrants -- agree with what the president said, I think he's on safe ground.

This immigrant, certainly does.

The thing with the foreign-language, particularly Spanish language debate, is that it can be easily skewed to mean an anti-immigrant slant, which seems to be all the rage these days amongst many.

There is one reason, most people in this country agree English should remain the only quasi-official language of our culture:

English in the United States is an unifying language.

If you suddenly allow an immigrant culture a co-dominance on such things as national anthems, etc. this is a slap to the face of all the immigrants whose languages were not so honoured, at the time.

If numbers are a factor in people arguing this Himno Nacional, then why not make one in German, since so many people in the US, are of German origin?

Why not in Italian?

Perhaps the thing that I mind, is that in the countries where Spanish-speakers come from, they would take great offence to the English-language being dominant in their cultures.

No. This is too silly, and the Himno movement, just won't fly.

BTW, I learnt Spanish as my 6th and so far, last language.

How many others on Althouse, speak Spanish?

Cheers,
Victoria

Jeff said...

Will the Aztlan anthem have lyrics in english?

Aspasia M. said...

1) Ross brings up a GREAT question about Puerto Rico. (The residents of Puerto Rico are American citizens, no?)

2) The Republican party spent the last 10 years doing a pretty good job of courting Latinos. In the last months they have managed to blow all of their hard work.

I guess the political lessons from Prop 187 have been forgotten.

somefeller said...

I don't think anyone is suggesting that we replace the standard English form of the Star Spangled Banner with Nuestro Himno. It's not a "movement" or anything of the sort. It's just a translation of a patriotic song, which is being sung right now as something of a political statement, and the statement is that Hispanics are Americans, too. At worst, there may be a little baiting going on here on the part of the people singing the song, with the nativist types happily biting into the bait.

No serious person thinks that there is a movement to replace the English language as the dominant language with Spanish or anything else, and immigrants are quite aware (painfully aware, in fact) that in order to succeed in mainstream society and have any future outside the barrio underground economy they need to speak English.

And while we are on the topic of Hispanic immigration, all this talk from the Tancredo crowd of Aztlan, reconquista and the like is just stupid, quite frankly. The percentage of Latinos who support Aztlan/reconquista is probably about as large as the percentage of African-Americans who want to form their own country in North America (if memory serves, "New Afrika" will be the name, and it's supposed to be in the Deep South, if the flyers I saw some years ago on some lightposts in Austin were accurate). Any person who really believes that there is a serious movement to create Aztlan/retake the Southwest for Mexico is at best a paranoid ignoramus, and at worst a racist.

However, one thing is clear. The GOP has lost of ground among Hispanics because of all this. That's ironic because when Bush was Governor of Texas, he picked up a lot of goodwill among Hispanics by pushing back against the Pete Wilson/Prop 187 crowd. Oh, well, back to the drawing board for the GOP, I guess.

Jeff said...

"Hispanics are Americans, too"

Hispanics who are American citizens are Americans.

Illegal immigrants are NOT Americans.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Drill SGT said...

somefeller said...
... Any person who really believes that there is a serious movement to create Aztlan/retake the Southwest for Mexico is at best a paranoid ignoramus, and at worst a racist.


I'm sorry, but there is an organized group within the Hispanic community that has a separatist and racist agenda. Those slogans of La Raza (The Race), groups like MEChA "Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan." or "Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan" and the whole concept of Aztlan are serious. How many chapters of MEChA are there? 400+.

If you want to see racism, take a look at Aztlan web sites for anti-Anglo and anti-semitic tracks.

http://www.aztlan.net/

http://www.insearchofaztlan.com/plan.html

Aztlan, A nation, autonomously free, culturally, socially, economically and politically, will make its own decisions on the usage of our lands, the taxation of our goods, the utilization of our bodies for war, the determination of justice (reward and punishment) and the profit of our sweat.

Zogby did a poll of Mexican citizens in 2002 that found 58% thought that the Southwest was rightly part of Mexico and ought to be returned.

The issue of reconquista and Aztlan can't be completely divorced from the issue of border control and immigration reform. Those demonstrations in my state (California) with Mexican flags, La Raza, MEChA, Che , Castro and Chavez do scare me. The illegal immigrant population of California is estimate to be greater than 3 million.. 3 million. That's a problem.

somefeller said...

DrillSGT --

From what I've seen, most Hispanics who join MEChA do so in college because they feel like it is a place that gives them some support in an unfamiliar environment. The Aztlan rhetoric, to the extent it still exists, is mostly a holdover of warmed-over liberationist rhetoric from the 1960s (blame one more thing on the hippies), and MEChA now is mostly a support and social club for working-class Hispanics, who maintain few if any ties to the group once they are in the adult working world. I don't dispute there are some bigots in the bunch, but I suspect percentagewise there aren't many more in MEChA than there are in your standard Anglo college fraternity. Frankly, most people wouldn't even be aware of MEChA but for the fact that the existence of the organization was used as a political weapon to make Cruz Bustamante, who was perhaps the blandest Mexican-American politician in history, seem like a scary radical.

As far as La Raza goes, La Raza (I'm assuming you are talking about the National Council for La Raza) is a mainstream civil rights group, and is about as radical as the NAACP. That is to say, not very radical at all. By the way, the term "La Raza" actually has something of a complicated history, in that lots of white, affluent Latinos used the word years ago as an condescending term towards mestizo, working-class Latinos, and the term was reclaimed, as it were, by such working-class Latinos and put in the mainstream.

I personally never felt much of a need to join groups like MEChA or La Raza, but I was fortunate in my choice of parents and picked parents who were of the white affluent Hispanic variety, so while I have pretty good ears for anti-Latino dog whistle politics and can cook great fajitas, I never have felt particularly discriminated against and therefore haven't felt much of a need to join such groups. Others have different backgrounds, and I don't blame them for wanting to join groups that make them feel less isolated in the world. In any case, the whole MECha-as-fifth-column argument is a pretty weak one, sorry.

Jeff --

You are correct, Hispanics who are illegal immigrants are not Americans, though most of the ones who are here as anything other than seasonal workers generally want to be. However, from what I've seen, most of the people protesting right now aren't illegal immigrants, but are American citizens. That's the group that the GOP should be worried about.

CB said...

I am a patriotic American, but whenever issues involving the national anthem come up, the only thing I end up focusing on is that The Star-Spangled Banner is a terrible song. It's literally impossible to sing (requiring an octave-and-a-fifth range) and the words don't really make any sense. Especially the lines, "Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?" It's a tongue-twister and a head-scratcher.

I suppose while I'm at it, I may as well mention that I think the American flag is ugly, too. I wish we had kept the one with the rattlesnake that said "Don't tread on me."

somefeller said...

"I suppose while I'm at it, I may as well mention that I think the American flag is ugly, too. I wish we had kept the one with the rattlesnake that said "Don't tread on me."

I agree on the latter point, though I don't think Old Glory is ugly, just not as cool as the snake flag. Plus, if we changed the national flag to that flag, we could use Metallica's "Don't Tread on Me" as the national anthem. Who wouldn't like an anthem with this chorus:

so be it
threaten no more
to secure peace is to prepare for war
so be it
settle the score
touch me again for the words that you'll hear evermore...

don't tread on me

PatCA said...

somefeller,
Yes, only a minority supports this movement--or for exploiting the movement for money as Bustamante and all the other Mechistas do--but they are driving the discussion. The loudest and most organized always do. Amnesty and the weakening of a US identity equals money and new voters for politicians and is indeed the goal of this movement.

I can't wait to see the LA Mayor and his Mexican consul guest preside over the fun May 1. For the benefit of all the decent citizens, like my Hispanic neighbor whose SSN and identity has been stolen three times by "hardworking" illegals, only a speech by Ramsey Clark could deal the death blow quicker.

CB said...

somefeller,
Agreed--I especially like verse two:
Love it or leave it, she with the deadly bite.
Quick is the blue tongue, forked as the lightning strike.
Shining with brightness, always on surveillance,
The eyes, they never close, emblem of vigilance.

However, that West Side Story intro with the weird rhythm change would be tricky.
Also, the conspiracy theorists would have a field day with the Gadsden Flag, with its hidden "666"

John Henry said...

Regarding Puerto Rico, I have lived here since 1971, my wife and children were all born here:

Yes, Puerto Ricans are citizens of the US. Those born in PR after 1942 are "natural born citizens", exactly the same as someone born in NY or California. Those born before 1917 are "naturalized citizens" and not elegible to run for President. The status of those born in the intervening years is a bit vague. For all practical purposes, except the presidency, it really doesn't matter.

We sing both the PR anthem in Spanish and the US national anthem in English.

I have never heard the Star Spangled Banner in Spanish.

I don't have much problem with it but question the motives. I do feel very strongly that anyone who wants to be a citizen of the US should speak at least enough English to sing the SSB.

John Henry

John Henry

The Drill SGT said...

As Stephanie said at the top, we would not be surprised that the French would be offended at the thought of their anthem, redone in English. I can just see the sputtering outrage. Why should anyone be surprised that Americans are equally offended by their Anthem done in another language.

TWM said...

I don't have much time so if I repeat what has been said before, forgive me.

1) English should be our national language for all official purposes. We should teach it in schools to students who speak another language and get rid of bilingual classes.

2) Immigrants who wish to become citizens should have to pass a basic English test.

3)There are those in this immigration movement that would love to see Spanish replace English. They are a minority but they exist and are very vocal.

4) I don't think the American flag is ugly at all. It is one of the most beautiful flags in the world. And that doesn't even take into account that it is a symbol of freedom like no other.

5) The Repubulican party may or may not have lost with Hispanics over the immigration issue, but I am not sure how that really hurts them. I mean, do you really think all these illegals, once made citizens, are going to vote Republican?

PWS said...

So in viewing Bush's words, many liberals see intolerance, many on the right see justification and Ann sees the moderate view. We all see what we want? Does that mean Ann is a moderate? Just seeing what she wants? Does that make Bush's comments moderate or simply verify Ann's political viewing glasses? Being a moderate and finding the moderate interpretation of the President's words doesn't mean they're moderate words (not that Ann is claiming that). The better leaders have multi-layered thought and communication that can actually appeal to a broader base of people--which Bush does not seem to do right now.

sophia said...

Hi,

I was raised on the US-Mexico border in Texas, and Mexican citizens did not like to be called Hispanic (they did not fit the definition!). If you identify yourself as Hispanic you are saying that you're a US citizen with Spanish ancestory, therefore if your are not a US citzen but are a citizen of any Latin American country or Spain, you are not Hispanic. I believe the term was coined by the US government for census purposes, but I'm not quite sure.

The Mechanical Eye said...

As Stephanie said at the top, we would not be surprised that the French would be offended at the thought of their anthem, redone in English. I can just see the sputtering outrage. Why should anyone be surprised that Americans are equally offended by their Anthem done in another language.

Do we really want to take our queue from the French on this one? I notice when people make this point, they don't think of the Russians or the Chinese or the Germans, but the French, who are famously quick to offend on matters of culture and language. I'm not sure their overly defensive, thin-skinned kind of nationalism is one America should follow.

I'll also vouch for the earlier poster's college experience with MeCha - where I went at the University of California, Irvine, it was more of a social club than some dangerous fifth-columnist group preparing to conquer America. I did find some of the vestigal 60s era national identity politics tiresome, which is why I never joined it, but its not the brown KKK, no matter how many times local AM radio say it is.

DU

Ken said...

I do have a problem with this. Simply put, the National Anthem is unsingable in ANY language, except perhaps Klingon. I fear we will now be subjected to more bad renditions od The Star Spangled Banner. It is hard enough to listen to it being butchered in English.

Tim Sisk said...

I really don't have an opinion about translating the National Anthem into Spanish except to make this observation. It was done to be provocative no? And should you get surprised when you provoke people that they get provoked?

I think the marches, the provocative statements, and "anthems" probably do more harm than good for their cause really. It seems to provoke nativist instincts among the populace that I thought had died over a century ago.

Gahrie said...

1) Nuestro Himno is not just a translated version of the National Anthem. They have changed the words, music and even timing. It is yet another example of the refusal of the Hispanic community to assimilate.

2) What would be the reaction if a white organization used the rhetoric of MeCHA or La Raza? Yet no Hispanic politician has the balls to condemn it.

3) I don't know about Texas, but here in California there is a sizable percentage of the Hispanic community that is entirely serious about the reconquista of Atzlan.

Steven said...

"The Star-Spangled Banner" was translated into Spanish back in 1916 under the title "La Bandera de las Estrellas", by the Library of Congress. It was an actual translation of the Francis Scott Key poem, set to the same tune ("To Anacreon in Heaven") and arrangement that the poem was set to.

While I'm of two minds about singing the National Anthem in Spanish, I am definitievely against pretending that singing "Nuestro Himno" is doing so.

Truly said...

Sippican- Can you imagine being married to a German? You'd have to spend the rest of your says saying "Ich liebe dich." Yikes!

paul a'barge said...

"Yes, only a minority supports this movement--or for exploiting the movement for money as Bustamante and all the other Mechistas do--but they are driving the discussion."

This is spot-on. The major point is not that a minority supports something so extreme, it is that a majority tacitly support the extremists by NOT CONDEMNING THE POSITION OF THE EXTREMISTS.

How much more simple do you need this to be made for you?

Oh, and F' the French... who, by the way, have been very, very helpful to us behind the rhetoric-screens in the WOT.

Finn Kristiansen said...

There is nothing wrong about people singing the national anthem in another language, so long as the words remain the same and the intent is pure. I see nothing wrong with changing the rythm or pacing (which is largely just a cultural/age/ethnicity issue of little importance).

However, in this case, the switch in language seems to be confrontational in nature. If they were truly interested in getting people "on board," they would have sung it in English.

Basically they are speaking to their own, and hoping that the song-in Spanish- will force a surge of hispanic (mostly Mexican) pride, thus making various marches and boycotts successful.

The idea here is to sort of beat the nation, with a stick, into creating compliant laws toward fairly open immigration.

And while our laws do need updating, and I do not think those here should be sent packing, it just annoys to see illegals (and others)get all confrontational.

(As an aside, I keep hearing how a wall along the border is "absurd" and "ridiculous"... this gets repeated by various politicians and media types, but where is the actual proof that creating a big, tall wall (reinforced with security agents, cameras, electricity, etc) won't work? Apparently the Great Wall in China must have totally useless?)

MadisonMan said...

Much. Ado. About. Nothing.

Hurricane season will blow non-stories like this right out of the paper. To which I say Dieu Merci.

By the way, is it true that Roseann will sing Nuestro Himno during the World Series?

Aspasia M. said...

The Repubulican party may or may not have lost with Hispanics over the immigration issue, but I am not sure how that really hurts them. I mean, do you really think all these illegals, once made citizens, are going to vote Republican?

Well, it's a problem if you are a Republican and worried about winning elections.

It's a big mistake to assume that everyone who is getting offended is not a citizen.

(For example: Prop. 187, as an example of "why it matters.")

The Republican party woke up a sleeping giant. Should be interesting how it plays out.

I have a feeling the voting breakdown of Latino- and Hispanic-Americans in '06 is going to be very different from '02 and '04.
-------

(On offending voters: Can you imagine telling a bunch of Italian-Americans that they can't carry Italian flags at a festival? Or lecturing Italian immigrants about how they should speak English? My grandfather spoke with a very strong accent until the day he died. As a kid, half the time I couldn't understand him.)

I'm surprised more people can't see how this is going down, in a political sense.

Synova said...

I grew up in a Norwegian community and there were definately Norwegian flags everywhere. We didn't sing the Star Spangled Banner in Norwegian, we sang the Norwegian national anthem in Norwegian.

All ethnic communities do this and quite frankly it's *part* of what makes us American. An important part.

That said... anyone who supports a movement to *not* learn English is supporting something that will keep a population in subservience and it shouldn't be lauded or even tolerated. Separate but equal didn't work for the slaves in the south and it will not work for *any* immegrant population. It would be sad for *any* immegrant group to lose their language the way that my ancestors lost their scandinavian languages, but they *have* to learn English or they will always be at the mercy of other people.

The one job I've had that I'd describe as "sweat shop" labor was at a spanish speaking warehouse. Half the workers spoke no English at all. I quit after two days. They didn't have that option. The Vietnamese immegrants I tutored in English with my church in California work primarily in the tech industry for shops run by Vietnamese speakers who violated labor laws, clearly, but who is going to complain.

No one is *anti* immegrant or racist or anything else by insisting that immegrants must learn English... it's the exact opposite. It might not be *fair* that I learned English as a baby and they didn't, but what difference does fairness make if someone can't get good work?

Oh... my PhD cousin says she saw the same thing in the scientific research and grad school realm... English speaking scientists taking the credit for the work of teams of non-English speakers from their home countries... the English speaker could *publish*, after all.

BTW... Bush speaks Spanish, doesn't he?

Finn Kristiansen said...

Can you imagine telling a bunch of Italian-Americans that they can't carry Italian flags at a festival? Or lecturing Italian immigrants about how they should speak English?

Did these Italians of which you speak sneak across the border? Are they here illegally? (Legality being a central issue in all of this). Are these mysterious Italians pushing for government documents (and school classes) in their native Italian? Are they coming here to have babies, but sending their earnings back to, uh, Italy? Are these Italians here in Phoenix where I live (or perhaps Miami) creating a work situation where some jobs require bilingualism, thus keeping me from higher pay (or the job itself)? Show me these Italians, and yes I can imagine telling them a thing or too.

(Are these Italians in that black tophat over there, and squished up against a cold huddled mass of rabbits?).

vbspurs said...

Hola Victoria- Yo entiendo un poco espanol. Aprendi a la escuela secundaria.

Que tal, Sippican!

Mira que tu tienes cosa (which is an untranslateable, and very nearly ungrammatical Cubanismo), con tu castellano de bachillerato! ;)

Fui a Guatemala...

Hey, that's a place I've never been.

I have a few acquatainces from Guatemala, and from what I have heard, except for the Ladinos, it's very much a case of Guatepeor.

Still, every country has its mysteries, and beauties, of course. :)

Everywhere I went everyone spoke mestizo dialect. I might as well have learned Inuit.

Mestizo, eh? Well, that's because Guatemala has a high quotient of Amerindians (which the white Ladino population are at pains to differentiate themselves from).

Costa Rica is the exact opposite, and it's no coincidence, they speak the best, purest Spanish in Central America.

Spanish is easy to learn.

Yes, and no.

It's a phonetic language, and thus, easy to speak as you read it (once you've mastered their pronunciation, of course).

But the grammar, as in all Romance languages...ooh nellie.

Very hard for Anglophones.

Italian is also easy, but much prettier.

It's quite my favourite language, Italian.

German is dreadful.

Perhaps, but it does have some lovely regional accents and dialects, such as Münchner or "Weaner" German.

I tried Russian, for work, for a while. My uvula still hurts.

I had a semester of Russian, and can read the alphabet, and read a bit, but man, as you said, what dicey phonetics.

The "worst" has got to be Dutch, a language where their pronunciation must have been invented by Lucifer himself.

No Dutch flames please. Just ovens.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

As Stephanie said at the top, we would not be surprised that the French would be offended at the thought of their anthem, redone in English. I can just see the sputtering outrage.

Does anyone remember the scene in Casablanca where the Marseillaise is sung in defiance, with such brio and emotion, that it brings down the house in any theatre which shows it (still)?

It was sung in French, and its intense "Frenchness" is the reason it works so movingly well.

I think Roget de Lisle would turn in his grave, if it were translated and sung in any language but the world's most elegant tongue -- French.

We're lucky. English is more malleable, and more of a bastard tongue.

But precisely because it is so international by its very history, it is more inclusive on its own merits, than many another language out there.

It's a moot point, really, this whole discussion.

It's not whether the Himno Nacional is part of a movement, or will be adopted legally as co-equal to the SPB.

All national anthems are beautiful, in my opinion, but it is the ones who stand for what all people care about in a certain country, that are the most genuine.

And that's where this Himno translation, fails.

It's no uniter. It's a divider.

Maybe they should redo "Yankee Doodle".

Cheers,
Victoria

corinna said...

I for one think the American Flag is beautiful, mostly because of the symbolism of it, the freedom that has been fought for under that banner. I could never imagine waving another flag so proudly. Ashtetics is honestly something I've never truly considered although I think it looks more "professional" and less cultural which is a great symbol for our country being open to all different types of culures and backgrounds.

That being said, I couldn't let it pass about the comments regarding the "snake flag" which displays the words "don't tread on me". That flag has a history in the US Navy. One guy created it and then it ended up being used on the "jack staff" so it is now referred to as the "union jack". It is really more of a Navy pride type of flag, which isn't used in all the branches of the military, much less for the entire country. It actually went away for years and made a reappearance after 9/11. I'm sure there are others who could contribute more info on what is referred to as the "union jack".

Also, I just had to add that I was listening to talk radio and Hugh Hewitt played the "Nuestro Himno". My 5 year old son heard the tune and immediately stood up straight and put his hand over his heart. Then he looked at me in confusion and said "I thought this was America's song". I just thought that was an honest response, obviously no political agenda with a 5 year old.

Cousin Don said...
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Cousin Don said...

I like our flag, and enjoy speaking Russian and German. I like them much better than the Romance languages because they are more structured. IMHO.

But we should really end this by passing an Amendment to the Constitution declaring an official US language, if for no other reason than to stop having everything translated into 12 different languages for everyone.

If that doesn't happen soon, I bet that one day down the road all those academics out there will have to publish their works in English and Spanish. On the left hand side will be the English abstract and on the right the Spanish.

Can you imagine how big some of those lawbooks will become?

Thankfully, by then, everything will be bits and bytes not paper and ink, otherwise poor Prof. Althouse would have major back pain from pulling those tomes off the shelves.

ganzo azul said...

The problem with the current discussion on immigration is the perception that Mexico is shifting 20% of its population north across la línea imaginaria. When Yanquis hear the Star Spangled Banner sung in Spanish, they hear this:

Esta tierra es su tierra,
esta tierra es mi tierra
de California, a la isla de Nueva York
del bosque de la secoya, a la corriente del golfo riega
esta tierra fue hecho para usted y mí!

TWM said...

Well, it's a problem if you are a Republican and worried about winning elections.

It's a big mistake to assume that everyone who is getting offended is not a citizen.

(For example: Prop. 187, as an example of "why it matters.")

The Republican party woke up a sleeping giant. Should be interesting how it plays out.

I have a feeling the voting breakdown of Latino- and Hispanic-Americans in '06 is going to be very different from '02 and '04.


The Republicans have more to worry with losing their base by not toughening and/or just enforcing immigration law than they do from losing Hispanic voters. I, like many who vote right, are losing faith in them on this issue.

I haven't seen any information on this, but my guess is that many Hispanic citizens are threatened by all these illegals moving in and taking jobs they would like to do. And certainly, if the black community realized how they are hurt economically by illegal immigration some of them at least would vote with the party that solves the problem.

Unfortunately, the Republicans don't seem to want to solve it any more than the Democrats so in the end the Dems win on this issue.

Aspasia M. said...

these Italians of which you speak sneak across the border? Are they here illegally? (Legality being a central issue in all of this).

One of my father's cousins who grew up in Philly found out he wasn't "legal" when he tried to vote.

they coming here to have babies, but sending their earnings back to, uh, Italy?

Are you kidding me?

How do you think the people in southern Italy survived? Of course that's what they did. One of my Great Uncles slept on my Grandparent's sofa for two years, sending back his paycheck to his family in Calabria.

Part of the reason Italian-Americans voted overwhelmingly Democratic was the nativism in the Republican party. The anti-immigrant rhetoric, the jokes about drinking, the barely concealed distaste towards "swarthy" immigrants, ect...they were all insulting.
-----

I'm just surprised y'all don't understand that the Republican party could be loosing Hispanic-American citizens for a generation. If you don't believe me, look at how they will vote in '06 and compare it with '04 and '02.

The Drill SGT said...

TWM said...

...I haven't seen any information on this, but my guess is that many Hispanic citizens are threatened by all these illegals moving in and taking jobs they would like to do.


A good point. Saint Chavez (Cesar, not Hugo for those under 40) was a third generation American citizen. His United Farm Workers Union was pro-farm worker and very anti-illegal immigrant. Illegals were scabs and strike breakers who drove down wages for the union members. I doubt that the UFW is still true to that economic reality today.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I think "Nuestro Himno" is the perfect answer to the question, "Jose, can you see?"

KnightErrant said...

In addition to Yiddish, the Star Spangled Banner has been translated into German (in 1861), French, and Polish. Just this year, American Samoa proposed making the Samoan translation their official song. Links are here.

SippicanCottage said...
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The Drill SGT said...

Here are the lyrics according to the Chicago Tribune. You can form your own opinion about the song's intent.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-060426nuestro,1,2759626.story?coll=chi-news-hed

Jacques Cuze said...

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:

"From my point of view, people expressing themselves as wanting to be Americans is a good thing," she said in an interview on CBS television's "Face the Nation" program.

"I've heard the national anthem done in rap versions, country versions, classical versions. The individualization of the American national anthem is quite underway," she said.

The chief US diplomat suggested the language of the national anthem was less an issue than the growing polemic over immigration reform in the United States.

"I think what we need to focus on is an immigration policy that is comprehensive and that recognizes our laws and recognizes our humanity," Rice said.

Bush took a harsher view of "Nuestro Himno", which has been recorded by Latin American artists including Wyclef Jean, Olga Tanon, Ivy Queen and Carlos Ponce.

"I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English and I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English," he told reporters.


It must be painful for Condi. Stanford Dean having to deal with an utter moron, and worse, not only is he your boss, he is your personal savior and husband.

Simon said...

"the statement is that Hispanics are Americans, too."

Just because they are hispanic doens't mean that they have to be espanophone. The national anthem in spanish does not seem to be a statement of assimilation, it seems to be a demand for citizenship on their terms. It just seems that they want to have the priveleges or citizenship, but none of its obligations. I love this country, and despite some aspects I think are flaws, I think it is incumbent on immigrants to take America on its own terms.

The image of "illegal immigrants, but otherwise law abiding citizens," by the way, is oxymoronic; their very first act in the United States was to break the law. The fruit of the poisoned tree theory holds: even if an illegal search finds valuable evidence, that evidence is inadmissble because the search that found it was illegal. Likewise, you cannot claim to be law abiding if you came here illegally. I am not against changing the immigration regime; I'm not against making it easier for people to come here. But I am absolutely against amnesty for those who jumped the line, so to speak.

Today, immigrants are being asked to not go to work and to not transact commerce. This will apparently demonstrate how important the commercial impact of illegal immigration is. Well, I immigrated to America, and I am proud, therefore, to join millions of my fellow Americans in going to work today, and I intend to transact as much commerce as I possibly can today.

If I had my way, every person at these demonstrations would have to pass through an INS checkpoint.

grumpyfogey said...

With regard to all the damage he's done to the country internally and to the amazing stink he's attached to our name internationally, I'd think Bush should be grateful anybody wants to sing the anthem in any language.

Elizabeth said...

Duncan Black has linked to reports at Think Progress that the president himself has sung along with the anthem in Spanish while campaigning, and that Jon Secada sang it in Spanish at Bush's first inaugural ball. The decider seems indecisive on this issue.

Jacques Cuze said...
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Ann Althouse said...

Well, Elizabeth, that supports my interpretation of his statement in the original post!

Elizabeth said...

Ann, your interpretation of what you believe he means is where I stand on the multi-lingual issue (especially as an educator; multi-language ability is great, but students have to know English, period). I have no real clue, though, that what you heard is what Bush meant. His previous engagements with the anthem in Spanish could also just be good political choices at the moment. If he meant that one should sing it in English, but could also sing it in Spanish, couldn't he have said as much?

Jacques Cuze said...
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BillFoss said...

You can hear an interview with a Klingon lounge singer and the singing of the National Anthem in Klingonese at:

http://newsdredge.blogspot.com/