It is now attached to the answer for any question, past, present and future. What’s your name, for example, might be answered, “Muhammad, inshallah.”It's presented (plausibly, I guess) as another outward sign of religiosity:
the linguistic equivalent of the head scarf on women and the prayer bump, the spot where worshipers press their foreheads into the ground during prayers, on men. It has become a public display of piety and fashion, a symbol of faith and the times. Inshallah has become a reflex, a bit of a linguistic tic that has attached itself to nearly every moment, every question, like the word “like” in English. But it is a powerful reference, intended or not.Well, it's not like like, but it sounds like a topic for a sociolinguist. It seems unusual to have a straightforward linguistic observation presented in the media. Assuming the story's right, it's refreshing.
By contrast, this piece by Roger Mummert caught my eye. It's got the folksy thing his stuff always has (or so I remember it). That apparently is license to say anything. The piece starts with things like these:
Regional accents may be fading from the American landscape …Well, really now? In fact, the NYT and other high-profile outlets have run tons on the standard Labovian line that diversity in American English is increasing, not decreasing today. Certainly, there are lots of recessive features, and some varieties are definitely losing ground, but it's hard to paint with a brush that's so broad.
Then comes the news that Mummert is from "the land of the umlaut." Pennsylvania Dutch, as far as I know, lacks the front rounded vowels of Standard German (along with Low German dialects, etc.) that Americans generally mean when they say 'umlaut' — a word like German schön is schee (roughly like Shea Stadium). I don't quite know how people pronounce it when they call him a "löhkle boy." And then:
we invariably slipped into Dutchy talk. “Throw Father down the stairs his hat!” I’d say to my sister in an expression taken straight from a potholder sold at a tourist trap. “And throw the cow over the fence some hay!” she’d counter.Is this actually Dutchy talk or is it hokey invented stereotype? I suspect the latter.
But then, on p. 2 of the on-line version, things improve dramatically, starting with this:
“When you hear the Amish speak English, they don’t really have a Dutch accent,” said Keith (Butch) Reigart, who teaches classes in Pennsylvania Dutch at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society.Good, some non-exoticization of the Amish. (And accurate, from what I know.) It continues with a little on Dutch humorists, and so on. Nice to see something on the topic, at least, and it does have some good stuff.
There have been worse days in the MSM coverage of language issues, certainly.
Image from here.