Tonawanda News


February 6, 2014

KEPPELER: Beautiful ... in any language


Tonawanda News — So rather than disappear (even figuratively) into the aforementioned cave, I’m going to try to take a deep breath and write out just what I find so offensive about this attitude.

Almost all of us originally came here from somewhere else. One friend commented that if Coke really wanted to re-do the commercial in the native language of this country, they’d have to start with those spoken by the Iroquois, Seneca, Cayuga and Mohawk peoples  -- and that’s just from this area.

Many of those who came here didn’t speak English. Fact: They came from Poland, from Germany, from Ireland, from Italy. They came from China and Mexico and the countries of Africa. And I daresay that even if my ancestors did arrive speaking what was more or less English (many of them were from Scotland), it wasn’t an English that today’s detractors would recognize as the language.

Most of those who start out with another native tongue learn enough (American) English to make do, at least. But they never leave their native language behind entirely. How many of us remember or know an older family member or friend who still prefers to use another language when around similarly bilingual comrades?

And if they don’t learn it, or don’t learn it well ... their children do. And their grandchildren. 

Coming to American does not take away what you were before. It does not take away your roots. It simply adds to the fabric of this country, because we are a melting pot with a rich and varied background, and that is awesome.

Good for Coke for celebrating that fact.


OK, rant over, for now. This will be my final regular weekly opinion column for the Tonawanda News. As of Monday, I’ve stepped into the role of Sunday lifestyle editor, succeeding editor Danielle Haynes.

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