Polish Workers’ English Lessons – circa 1870

I hear the five minutes whistle.

It is time to go into the shop

I take my check from the gateboard and hang it on the department board.

I change my clothes and get ready to work.

The starting whistle blows.

I eat my lunch.

It is forbidden to eat until then.

The whistle blows at five minutes of starting time.

I get ready to go to work.

I work until the whistle blows to quit.

I leave my place nice and clean.

I must go home.

(from a brochure of the international harvester corporation, designed to teach its polish workers english. this is lesson one:herbert gutman, ‘work, culture and society in industrialising america, 1815-1919, american history review, 78 [3 june 1973], p.533)

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