In 2010, the city of Lino Lakes adopted a resolution that English was its official language. Although the nearby city of Lindström had a controversy when the state eliminated the umlaut (two dots) on their “o,” I doubted Lino Lakes was afraid of a Swedish onslaught. New Prague is too far away for them to worry about the Czechs. Perhaps they feared an influx of French from Lac qui Parle?

Historically, Minnesota has accommodated the languages of many immigrants. Back in 1896, official election instructions were published in nine languages: English, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, French, Czech, Italian and Polish. That was about the time my grandmother settled in Heron Lake, Minnesota, where the whole town spoke German. My mother didn’t speak English until she went to school. Grandma would never have learned English except for the World Wars that made speaking German akin to sleeping with the devil.

Rochelle Eastman is one of several people in the Savage community who write for Community Voices.