On the Town: English Only

The usual gang of Republican-Conservative-Libertarians have sponsored a number of bills in the Assembly that have been lounging around the Assembly State Government Committee for about two years.. One of them is A468 , “AN Act designating the English language as the official language of the State”.

If such a bill becomes law, then perhaps all official government communications must be in English only. Traffic signs, newspaper notices, official government forms—would have to be in English, and no other language. Other states such as Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Idaho all have English language as the official language of their respective States.

If A468 becomes law, which I am sure future Governor Christie would sign if it makes it to his desk—then there are some towns I think might have to change their names. After all, any and all government documents from the town contains the town name—and must be in English under the law. So, here goes:

Buena Vista Township would have to become Good View Township, saddening my good friend Mayor Chuck Chiarello.

Bayonne —which originates from the French town of the same name —the Basque city of Bayonne in France. So, an entirely new name would be needed. Perhaps North Staten Island or East Newark.

Frenchtown could become “Englishtown”, but the original “Englishtown” would be OK.

Lots of towns comes from Indian names.

Parsippany gets its name from the Indian name Parsipanog—“The place where the river winds through the Valley”. Maybe —-“The-place-where-the-river-winds-through-the- Valley-Township”. In English, but tough to put on the name of a local high school.

Scotch Plains could change to English Plains. Or American Plains. Or maybe Just Old Plains.

Sparta gets its name from the Greek city-state—would have to find an American name, with the same theme. Maybe “Military Township” or “Warfare Borough” or “Let’s Attack Athens for a Hundred Years City”. Just a thought.

The name of Lopatcong Township of Warren County comes from Lowan peek achtu onk, which meant "winter water place for deer". A “place for deer” could describe just about any town in Warren County. But, under the new law the town would have to become “Winter Water Place For Deer Township.”

Manalapan comes from the Lenape Native American language for "Land of Good Bread". A tastey new name! “Land of Good Bread Town”.

Finally, in Piscataway, the area was first settled in 1666 by Quakers. These European settlers derived the name from the words “Pisgeu” and “Awa” which means “Place of Dark Night”. Again, it’s gonna be tough renaming the football team the “Place of Dark Night Chiefs”. My good friend Mayor Brian Wahler probably might not like that. Maybe change the name from the Chiefs to the Dark Knights?

Ironically, these same Republican-Conservative-Libertarians are mostly sponsoring a bill—A1270 —"Women's Right to Know Act"— that requires women considering an abortion that receive a brochure from the state with information on the abortion procedure and alternatives. And under section 5a of the bill, this brochure must be printed “in English and in each language which is the primary language of 2% or more of the population of this State,”. So, it’s OK for the state to provide information in English only, —-unless it interferes with their Pro-Life agenda.

Oh, well—C’est la vie. On the Town: English Only