Pledge of Allegiance in Six Different Languages

JESS: You bring me here to this place, you put me in a school that says the Pledge of Allegiance in six different languages, two of which I’ve never heard of before.

The Pledge of Allegiance expresses loyalty to the United States flag and the nation that it represents. A pledge was first composed in 1887 by Captain George Thatcher Balch, a former Union Army Officer during the Civil War who later taught patriotism in schools. The current pledge was mostly composed by a Christian socialist minister and author Francis Bellamy in 1892, based on the one by Balch. It was formally adopted by Congress in 1942.

The Pledge of Allegiance is recited at the start of Congressional sessions, many local government meetings, and often even in private organisations. Most states, including Connecticut, require the pledge to be recited regularly, usually every day, at public schools. However, a student legally cannot be compelled to recite the pledge, or punished for failing to do so.

The Pledge of Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

It is recited while standing to attention, facing the flag with the right hand over the heart (non-religious headgear is removed for the pledge by males). Those in uniform remain silent for the pledge, but give a military salute to the flag.

Sometimes schools in the US have recited the pledge in different languages, but it tends to not go down well, and be considered unpatriotic. Stars Hollow High School is apparently not afraid to celebrate its diversity, even though its student population isn’t very diverse. Six languages seems extremely unusual though.

What the six languages were, two of which Jess had never heard of before, is open to speculation. I am going to guess, based on languages spoken in Connecticut, according to the census:

English

Spanish (the most common non-English language in the US)

French (we know this language is taught at Stars Hollow High)

Korean (Mrs Kim can be very persuasive?)

Tagalog (the language of the Philippines, which Jess might not have heard of?)

Urdu (the national language of Pakistan, which Jess might not have heard of?)

Other possibilities I considered: German (Stars Hollow once had an ill-fated German Club), Portuguese (second most common non-English language in Connecticut), Polish (very commonly spoken in the nearby Hartford area), Hebrew or Yiddish (we later learn Stars Hollow has a vibrant Jewish community), Algonquin (the Native American language spoken by Connecticut tribes), Esperanto (a created universal language), American Sign Language for the deaf.

Feel free to add your own thoughts!

2 thoughts on “Pledge of Allegiance in Six Different Languages

  1. Something historical perhaps, like Latin, Ancient Greek or Middle English? Seems like more like a Chilton thing, with their school song in Latin bonus, though. As a non-US person I have no idea if the pledge is only done in living languages.

    Maybe Danish if Luke’s family represents a large number of local people with Danish ancestry. Wikipedia tells me that Italian and Irish were the most common European ancestries in Connecticut, so Italian or Irish Gaelic. Gaelic might be new to Jess, I don’t know how widely used that name for Irish is used in the US.

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    1. In real life I think usually the Pledge is only done in English, and occasionally Spanish. This is clearly one of those fantasy situations that only happen in Gilmore Girls.

      Luke Danes isn’t of Danish ancestry – Danes is an English surname, it comes from the Old English denu, meaning “valley”.

      I think the problem with the high levels of Irish and Italian ancestry is that they have been in the US so long that they would no longer speak Gaelic or Italian (and wouldn’t be accepted as such in Ireland and Italy). Those languages aren’t widely spoken in Connecticut, according to the census.

      I find it almost impossible to think of believable languages that Jess wouldn’t have heard of, he’s an intelligent and well-read kid, for a start, and comes from New York, which is very ethnically diverse. It’s one of those Gilmore Girls jokes that you’re not meant to take literally, it’s just fun seeing if you can actually make it work!

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