HSTAHLKE at GW.BSU.EDU
Thu Jun 10 15:50:41 UTC 1999
As a legend, it goes back well beyond 1976. I recall my mother, Lutheran and of German heritage, telling the story with some pride when I was a child, in the late '40s and early '50s. To her, the pride arose from what she believed to be the fact that German was that prominent in the colonies and the fact that Muehlenberg, who led the defeat of the move, was the son of a prominent early Lutheran leader H. Melchior Muehlenberg. (I think the initial is right.)
>>> Doug Honorof <honorof at EARTHLINK.NET> 06/10 10:08 AM >>>
> Date: Tue, 8 Jun 1999 19:44:50 -0700
> From: Bob Hamilton <hambo at PRIMENET.COM>
> Subject: offical U.S. language
> I am trying to find an answer to settle a argument between two friends.
> One contends that the American congress, after the revolutionary War voted
> to see if the offical national language would be English or French
> ...and English won by one vote
> In my study of American History I have never seen or heard of this vote.
> Hopefully someone can steer me to the answer.
> Bob Hamilton
I recall the German vs. English urban legend being widely circulated in 1976
in connection with the U.S. bicentennial. If my memory serves me well, this
piece of linguisticana may have entered the seventies public consciousness
through a line from the play "1776" or, perhaps, through one of those
television retromercials of the "200 Years Ago Today" variety. Does anyone
have a more exact memory of hearing about this in 1976?
Douglas N. Honorof
honorof at haskins.yale.edu
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