April 29, 2006

citizens sing in english

It's not exactly easy to become a U.S. citizen. The requirements for naturalization include, among other things, "good moral character", which, for example, rules out "habitual drunkards" and polygamists. In additon, one must be "attached" to the principles of the Constitution of the United States. On a more practical level, one must "be able to read, write, speak, and understand words in ordinary usage in the English language", and one must "demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history and of the principles and form of government of the United States". The latter is done by passing a multiple choice test (self-test available here).


It seems that President Bush is contemplating adding another requirement: You'd better be able to sing the National Anthem -- in English, of course. From today's New York Times:

Asked at a news briefing in the Rose Garden on Friday whether he believed the anthem would have the same value in Spanish as it did in English, Mr. Bush said flatly, "No, I don't."
"And I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English," Mr. Bush said. "And they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English."
No reason to hold back if your English is not native-like. Just follow the example set by the President:

The Spanish wire service Agencia EFE once said he spoke the language poorly, 'but with great confidence."

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