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)