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By John Woestendiek
Philadelphia Inquirer
Wed., January 8, 1997


NEWS BULLETIN: Saying it will improve the education of children who
have grown up immersed in computer lingo, the school board in San
Jose, Calif., has officially designated computer English, or
"Geekonics", as a second language.

The historic vote on Geekonics -- a combination of the word "geek"
and the word "phonics" -- came just weeks after the Oakland school
board recognized black English, or Ebonics, as a distinct language.

"This entirely reconfigures our parameters," Milton "Floppy"
Macintosh, chairman of Geekonics Unlimited, said after the school
board became the first in the nation to recognize Geekonics.

"No longer are we preformatted for failure," Macintosh said during a
celebration that saw many Geekonics backers come dangerously close
to smiling. "Today, we are rebooting, implementing a program to
process the data we need to interface with all units of humanity."

Controversial and widely misunderstood, the Geekonics movement was
spawned in California's Silicon Valley, where many children have
grown up in households headed by computer technicians, programmers,
engineers and scientists who have lost ability to speak plain
English and have inadvertently passed on their high-tech vernacular
to their children.


While schools will not teach the language, increased teacher
awareness of Geekonics, proponents say, will help children make the
transition to standard English. Those students, in turn, could
possibly help their parents learn to speak in a manner that would
lead listeners to believe that they have actual blood coursing
through their veins.

"Bit by bit, byte by byte, with the proper system development, with
nonpreemptive multitasking, I see no reason why we can't download
the data we need to modulate our oral output," Macintosh said.

The designation of Ebonics and Geekonics as languages reflects a
growing awareness of our nation's lingual diversity, experts say.

Other groups pushing for their own languages and/or vernaculars to
be declared official viewed the Geekonics vote as a step in the
right direction.

"This is just, like, OK, you know, the most totally kewl thing,
like, ever," said Jennifer Notat-Albright, chairwoman of the
Committee for the Advancement of Valleyonics, headquartered in
Southern California. "I mean, like, you know?" she added.


"Yeee-hah," said Buford "Kudzu" Davis, president of the Dixionics
Coalition. "Y'all gotta know I'm as happy as a tick on a sleeping
bloodhound about this. We could be fartin' thru silk perty soon."

Spokesmen for several subchapters of Dixionics -- including
Alabonics, Tennesonics and Louisionics -- also said they approved of
the decision.

Bill Flack, public information officer for the Blue Ribbon Task
Force on Bureaucratonics said that his organization would not
comment on the San Jose vote until it convened a summit meeting,
studied the impact, assessed the feasibility, finalized a report and
drafted a comprehensive action plan, which, once it clears the
appropriate subcommittees and is voted on, will be made public to
those who submit the proper information-request forms.

Proponents of Ebonics heartily endorsed the designation of Geekonics
as an official language.

"I ain't got no problem wif it," said Earl E. Byrd, president of the
Ebonics Institute. "You ever try talkin' wif wunna dem computer
dudes? Don't matter if it be a white computer dude or a black
computer dude; it's like you be talkin' to a robot -- RAM, DOS,
undelete, MegaHertZ. Ain't nobody understands. But dey keep talkin'
anyway. 'Sup wif dat?"

Those involved in the lingual diversity movement believe that only
by enacting many different English languages, in addition to all the
foreign ones practiced here, can we all end up happily speaking the
same boring one, becoming a nation that is both unified in its
diversity, and diversified in its unity.

Others say that makes no sense at all. In any language.

Note: I'm not the author, these tidbits were all forwarded to me via email. Where I know the author, it is given.
The From: header may be the author, or it may just be the person who forwarded it to me.
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