Should English Become The Official Language of the US? NO. Here’s Why.

It would be impossible for English to become the official language of the US, because English is not defined and has no rules.

You read that right — there are no rules for the English language, and that is why it cannot become the official language of the US. All of the rules you learned in your English class were the rules for passing that individual class and do not apply to English the language itself.

Think of it this way: are there rules for making a painting? Painting is an art, and there are no rules in art. In order to pass an art class, however, students must obey the rules that the teacher must create to conform to grading systems — but those rules do not apply to art itself.

A Bachelor of Arts in English, is an Arts degree. Art does not have rules. Art is a form of expression, and since the US constitution limits how the government’s suppression of expression, the government cannot establish an official art and remain constitutional. An official art that everyone must use would be like creating an official form of expression and eliminating or invalidating other forms of expression.

English doesn’t have rules? What about the dictionary?
English does not have rules. A dictionary is a kind of newspaper about a language, not a rule book. Think of a sports page of a newspaper that lists yesterday’s game scores. Is the newspaper suggesting that all games from those teams in the future must have those scores? No, it is merely descriptive of observations of the game. In the same way, dictionaries are descriptive of how language has been observed to have been used in the past, by the largest number of people.

Dictionaries are not prescriptive of how words are only allowed to be used, nor do they limit ways words must be used. Dictionaries serve as a troubleshooting tool to help you figure out what someone might have meant, or as a strategy to help you select a word that the largest number of people might understand with minimal questions of what you meant.

Think of a hashtag search on Twitter. If you perform a search of a particular hashtag on Twitter, you’re given a list of tweets in which that hashtag has been used in the past — not standards that limit how a hashtag must be used. A dictionary is merely a kind of hashtag search, which shows the most popular ways to use them — but not the rules for using them.

Dictionaries can be used prescriptively in certain styles of writing, but English does not have a governing style. Imagine if you were playing basketball and someone yellow-carded you for touching the ball with your hand, as if you were playing soccer. Styles of English are like different sports. Many styles are similar, such as Chicago Press Style and Associated Press Style for journalists.. similar to the way soccer and basketball both involve getting a ball into a goal. But the rules of one sport do not govern “sports” in the way that the rules you learned in English class do not govern English.

Lexicographers are people who study words and how they’re used. Lexicographers research by direct observation the ways people use words in everyday life.. in TV, newspapers, on Facebook and more, and keep a tally of the way people have used a word. Did they use it adverbially? Did they verb the word? This tally of ways people have been observed to use words go into a large database called a corpus, that dictionaries can draw statistics from about specific words. In what way was a particular word used the most often? Dictionaries then list those ways in the text of the dictionary, starting with the most frequent way, followed by other ways in descending rank.

When you look at the definitions of a word in a dictionary, you’re not looking at the only ways you’re allowed to use a word (nor spell, nor pronounce them, either). What you’re seeing is just a list of ways people have used words the most, from the past. If a newspaper were to report about a murder where the weapon used was rope, the newspaper is saying that it was observed that a murder took place using rope — not that rope must be used for all future murders. A dictionary only describes how words were previously used, by the most number of people.

In order to understand what someone from the past meant, it is important to look to a dictionary from that person’s time to see what other people from that person’s time meant when used a particular word. If a people are observed to use a word differently than the most frequent way of yesteryear, then the dictionaries will eventually change the ranking of the most frequent definitions of a word in order to be up to date. The addition or removal of a word from a dictionary doesn’t make it official or unofficial — the word simply becomes popular enough or becomes insufficiently popular to make the arbitrary minimum rank that the dictionary publisher chooses to set.

There was a recent controversy about the dictionary definition of marriage changing to match the way marriage is used. Since a dictionary does not limit the ways words are only about to be used, people who believed they did were upset that dictionaries were changing the rules on marriage.

The US cannot even plausibly enforce a law making English the official language of the US, because English itself has no rules.

References of Interest:

“Many believe that when (and only when) a word appears in a reputable dictionary it receives formal validation and can take its place in the English lexicon. … As one of a number of researchers who collect evidence of new usage for the OED, it intrigued me to think that I might be a member, even a junior member, of a shadowy cabal that sets the standards for all well-educated English speakers. No — the process really is as anarchic as it seems. This is actually a relief, since I’d hate to be held personally responsible for the current state of the language. … We are, in the language of the business, descriptive dictionary makers: we record, we collate, we analyse, and we describe what people actually say and write. If enough English speakers decide that some word or phrase has value, to the extent that those who encounter it are likely to need to consult the dictionary in search of its meaning, then it is put into new editions. .. This standpoint is sometimes misunderstood, and as often disliked. People who consult dictionaries most commonly want the tablets of the law, not a mirror to language.” — How Words Enter the Language.

“To decide which words to include in the dictionary and to determine what they mean, Merriam-Webster editors study the language as it’s used. They carefully monitor which words people use most often and how they use them. Each day most Merriam-Webster editors devote an hour or two to reading a cross section of published material, including books, newspapers, magazines, and electronic publications; in our office this activity is called “reading and marking.” The editors scour the texts in search of new words, new usages of existing words, variant spellings, and inflected forms–in short, anything that might help in deciding if a word belongs in the dictionary, understanding what it means, and determining typical usage. Any word of interest is marked, along with surrounding context that offers insight into its form and use. … Change and variation are as natural in language as they are in other areas of human life and Merriam-Webster reference works must reflect that fact. By relying on citational evidence, we hope to keep our publications grounded in the details of current usage so they can calmly and dispassionately offer information about modern English. That way, our references can speak with authority without being authoritarian.” — How does a word get into a Merriam-Webster dictionary?.

“People often send us words they have made up and ask if we will add their invented terms to one of our dictionaries. Unfortunately, the answer is probably no, because we generally only add words that have been used widely over a number of years: we assess this by looking at all the evidence we have in our files and databases. Of course, some invented words do catch on and become an established part of English, either because they fill a gap or because they are describing something new. … New terms have to be recorded in a print or online source before they can be considered: it’s not enough just to hear them in conversation or on television, although we do analyse material from Internet message boards and TV scripts. … For every new dictionary or online update we assess all the most recent terms that have emerged and select those which we judge to be the most significant or important and those which we think are likely to stand the test of time.” — How do you decide whether a new word should be included in an Oxford dictionary?.

In Defense of Sensible Message Delivery

The following is a conversation that I had with another YouTubee, regarding the nonsensical use of a song with blatantly explicit lyrics within the first few seconds when attempting to spread the word of why weed legalization should be considered. My foremost argument was that the attempt should have been made to reach the widest possible audience, not merely rationalize that people should just disregard offensive bits.

The video (here, note the very NSFW lyrics at the immediate beginning) about the rationale to legalize weed is a decent message and well-made conversation, but the opening song makes the potential for spreading to relatives and cow-orkers dramatically lesser due specifically to the opener.

It’s not something I’d rather forward to my grandmother, or post on here as I try to keep things as clean as possible. Further, it is my assertion that the vast majority of swearing is purely unnecessary — that emphatic statements can be made without using language many regard as woefully inappropriate.

Keep in mind that YouTube comments have a maximum character limit of 500, so retorts are naturally brief. Words inside [brackets] are corrections in my original post to clarify.

ablestmage – Video would be loads better if the opening song didn’t have swearing. It is now not sharable with friends and family due to the obscenity at the very beginning. Nice.

casemon – Maybe you should get friends and family that are adults and can handle someone else’s expression without feeling they’re being violated?

ablestmage – The idea when spreading a message is to appeal to as many people as possible, not limit your audience. There are millions of Americans who will not tolerate swearing [in] music, and will be automatically turned off from any message that contains swearing because it is utter insensitivity from the very beginning. The idea is to appeal to EVERYONE, not just people you consider adults. Why limit your audience like that?

casemon – You say “everyone” but then discount use of aggressive language as a means of expression. This is the very core of hypocrisy (hip-hopcrisy?) Closed-minded people who “turn off” from a few uncouth words, imposing outdated morality, are the very closed-minded people who got us into this. I don’t care for the music either, but as a thinking person, I choose to not let it tarnish the core message. Otherwise I’d be apart of the problem, not the solution. Don’t mistake the forest from the trees.

ablestmage – I don’t discount it as a means of expression. I discount it as a means of appealing to the widest audience possible. The idea is to get the message out to both the open AND the close-minded people. Insulting your audience’s standards is not conducive to getting a message out, and may inadvertently re-inforce the idea that drug legalization propontents lack common decency — regardless of whether the message is legitimate. Simply excising the offensive language solves the entire problem.

casemon – Cow-towing to a self-imposed moral center will get us nowhere. I contend such is the very same thinking that got us here (your rebuttal?) What you’re suggesting is censorship; voluntary, but still damaging. I don’t know where to begin to explain how many ways that is harmful. What I do know is supporting insular, xenophobic thinking, that serves to distract from the message, will not help us move forward. Perhaps you can channel your conviction into creating a pro-pot video for the dainties?

ablestmage – Catering to the sensibilities of your audience is fundamental in the essence of effective message dispersal. If you are trying to spread the message about the benefits of democracy to an Islamic nation, you don’t make a video with the opening song bellowing, “Mohammad was a douc[h]ebag.” It’s just common sense. You’re not sacrificing your journalistic integrity by being cognizant of your intended audience’s sensitivity — you’ll have their rapt attention if you acknowledge it.

casemon – Ok, so let’s follow your point (as you ignore the ones I make). How is the opening music anti-american as you suggest? I believe tagging other people’s videos with your own bumper music / logo is stupid, but surely this content is available without the uploader’s tag, unbranded? Why not find those and send those links to your sensitive friends? Or again, why not make your own? This is YouTube. Basically why not be a part of the solution that you so covet?

ablestmage – I never suggested the opening music was anti-American. I said there are millions of Americans, who could certainly do well to hear this message, which also find curse-filled lyrics unacceptable. Part of effective message dissemination is establishing credibility as a messenger, and by insulting the audience you’re trying to communicate with is detrimental to that goal. The argument is not with the branding, the style, the music genre, the artist, or the beat — it’s the explicit lyrics.

casemon – Ok, I’ll bite. So how does your example about sending an anti-Muhammad message to a Islamic nation compare here, if you’re not suggesting the opening music to this video is anti-american? From where I’m sitting, you’re using double-speak; draw contentious inferences to flame the fire, but then deny doing so and try to shift focus away. Poison-pill. I understand your views on marketing strategy, you needn’t repeat them. Perhaps instead you can rather rebute the points I’ve made? Perhaps not!

ablestmage – The example applies because the original message (of democracy) has nothing to do with the alleged douchebaggery of Mohammad. Including an offensively-worded song as an opener for a message you want to speak to people who would naturally find offense with the song, is just nonsensical. What other points in particular have you made, other than misunderstand mine?

casemon – The music and the video do speak to a similar venue; that we’re no longer a republic “of for & by the people”. You’ve made your point, the music conflicts with your _personal_ views on what is offensive; “nice”. I do disagree the uploader should change for you or the supposed millions you apparently have no qualms speaking for. I know there are just as many who have no problem with it. But if you can’t read, don’t get snarky with me for giving you a chance to not sound like a dinosaur…

ablestmage – It is not my opinion that they are offensive — I can dismiss them just fine. My remark is that a very large potential audience exists who would find the opening lyrics offensive. In order to better communicate a message to a wider group of people, a peaceable form of speaking should be utilized, instead the sort that is widely known to elicit irritation, regardless of whether that irritation is well-founded. In order to convince dinosaurs of a valid point, you’ve got to speak dinosaur.

casemon – So many assumptions, so little humility; amazing! Twist & bend what you’ve said as being something else, go ahead. Ignore the points I’ve challenged you on, no problem. I understand such is easier than _actually considering_ an alternate view; best to just repeat yourself and accuse anyone who questions who as being simple (oh the irony!) I _was_ curious as to why you don’t do a better job yourself, rather than criticize others… but your attitude speaks for itself. Hope that works for you! As of press time, there were no further replies. Should there be any more, I will append them.

ablestmage – The reason I’ve been repeating the same thesis is because you keep trying to derail the original argument and make it about unrelated side issues. Sure, feel absolutely free to have grand, exquisite, lightning-spooge victory on the side points all you like. I haven’t bent anything — I’ve repeated my original argument continuously. My criticism is constructive and makes the potential audience larger, thereby increasing its effectiveness.. I *do* a better job, and I’m passing along tips.

casemon – It’s ok, people lie to themselves every day. Don’t feel you have to justify yourself (unless you want to).

ablestmage – Bothering to justify oneself is evidence of credibility. If you prefer not to justify yourself, I’m sure your intended audience will have their tomatoes ready.

REVIEW — Fallout 3 Anchorage Addon: Don’t Bother!

I played through practically the entire Anchorage addon for Fallout 3 in under three hours. It’s not worth ten bucks — seriously. Wait until the GOTY edition comes out and get it when it’s included in the bundle. Don’t waste ten bucks worth of MS Points on this silly thing.

PROS:
* Rather awesome plasma sniper rifle with 72dmg afterward (uses one entire MF Cell per shot)
* Rather awesome winterized armor afterward.
* Rather awesome special sword afterward.
* Graphics that are different than the same boring desert wasteland all over again.
* Tons of ammo and health regeneration everywhere.
* Tall cliffs, large caverns, fighting against a tank, a few big explosions, some cloaked enemies.
* One of your squadmates seems almost completely immortal, as if he had one of those crown icons from Oblivion, so he can come in handly.

CONS:
* Not free-roaming. You can only go in very limited areas. Very BIG con! The added size is about as big in areas as perhaps two of the harder Oblivion gates from ES4:Oblivion. You’re not allowed to wander about, you’re pretty much set within either terribly steep cliffs with nowhere to go but the path, or between trench-like cliffs taller than your head that you can’t climb over.
* You don’t get to bring your gear, and start with practically nothing.
* A very confusing moment when teammates start shooting each other/you, seemingly unprovoked.
* Really corny, unrealistic, absurdly simple miniboss at the end.
* Stylistically terrible copypasted use of the Nirnroot sound from Oblivion to locate ammo/health/weaps.
* Can’t open boxes, garbage cans, toolboxes, or anything else.
* Can’t pick items off bodies, they disappear after death.
* Harder enemies hinding in the distance easily outsmarted by novice-level VATS usage.
* Supposed immense treasure trove at the end is a very small, single room and a few shelves of regular junk, most of which you probably already had.
* Forced “fast travel” moments when, as you’re done with a particular task, you’re just blurred out and back into wherever you’re supposed to be instead of letting you walk around and pick up the pieces.
* No need for money, repairing weapons (since you can’t collect them from fallen enemies), lockpicks.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Fallout 3 so far, despite my initial frustration with many of the non-intuitive aspects of the game — but the Anchorage add-on flat out removes a lot of what makes Fallout 3 great (just while you’re in the simulation) and doesn’t add but perhaps a few nice weapons and maybe five hours tops, to a game I could easily spend 80-100 hours playing without even completing the main quest. Bad Bethesda! Bad!

Cuddle & Coo Doll Comments Summary

After looking at the zillions of comments I’ve gotten from people in the past couple months of my video’s run, here’s a list of all suggestions submitted.

islam is the light
israel is the light (pronounced iz-RY-el)
ismaliz delight
a smile is delight
ichabod needs the mike
israel is the life
aslan is the light
we all look alike
is lamb on a kite
Hitler is the reich (and thus invoking Godwin’s Law)
e-slaw is delight
his mom is a dyke
a smile in the night
I.S.K.C.O.N. is the light
anyone got a light?
it’s not near the light
islam is alike
England is the light
Eggland is the light
if you’re not here tonight
is mom here tonight
islam has my knife
lives long in the night
is mom alright
which one is alike
slammin down the light (in an aussie accent)
it’s sunny delight
i glow in the night
it’s on israelite
is ron in the lake (aussie accent)
his law is the light
his long israelite
kiss mom goodnight

There also appears to be a big rift between many of the commenters:
1. many are perfectly capable to discern individual syllables from the sounds and make up nonsensical “ig-la-ig-de-like” translations, others understand how “islam is the light” might be heard by someone who doesn’t know any better but just find it to be incoherent murmurs,
2. more suggested comedically that the message is actually a garbled version of “the [insert sports team] rule,” (or some otherwise unlikely variation), others who reason that “ig-la-ig-de-like” doesn’t make any sense therefore it must be some other combination of real words,
3. a few muslim commenters revelling in the victory of islam over American capitalism,
4. yet still others will adamantly *insist* that there is a message present of some kind and that it is ultimately some act of corporate conspiracy to destroy the minds of children and demand its removal from the shelves or they may just have some kind of aneurysm right this very second and it is all your fault.

I am among the first group, and I am frankly baffled by the last group. Here are a few from that last bunch:

//
“This doll obviously says “Islam is the light.” I can’t believe people aren’t fighting to get this trash out of America!

Um hello ITS CLEAR AS DAY!!!!!

Look IDIOTS…the point is the doll is defintely saying something. The timber of the voice changes and their is a meter to it’s speech. It is no longer “cooing”. So what is FP toys trying to feed our kids? They could clear all this up by simply making it public. It’s obviously saying something and since FP is “politicaly correct” it probably IS saying Islam is the Light to garner support from the enlightened peoples of the world. (roll eyes)

It sure sounds like “Islam is the light” to me. Regardless of what it says, I don’t appreciate a toy manufacturer slipping something other than a “coo” in this doll. I don’t trust their message and their messing with the minds of our children!!

I bet some oil rich Musim @%&*!$# bribed Fisher Price just to get this out on the market!!! It’s to bad some Americans will sell there soul for a quick buck. And I wouldn’t buy one for a buck today even if I could sell it tomorrow for $1,000,000!!!! And anyone who buys one is supporting Terrorists! Think about it!!!!

official response is, “The only ‘word’ the doll is programmed to say is ‘mama’. all else is ‘cooing and gurgling”. asked her if she heard it herself. she said no. i told her that i had, and mama was not the only ‘words’ this doll said. i told her i will be boycotting fp/mattel products until they acknowledge the problem and make a public apology. whether they intended to produce this or not; it happened and they need to take responsibility for it.

I only have one thing to say: What in the hell is the reason for making these children’s toys to say things like I just heard. I am not deaf or hard of hearing. I will no longer shop at Target or any other store who carries these types of dolls or other toys that can send messages that parents should be giving their children. What happened to plain dolls that help little girls to learn to be good mommies? They went out in the the 60s. When I was young. We don’t need talking dolls at all.

Whether that is what it is saying or not, it is close enough to warrant concern on the part of any Christian. The doll will not be recalled for fear that it would offend the Islam community in the US. Christians have been offended and ridiculed for way too long now and I certainly do not want any child that I love and care for to have one of those dolls and, unless there is a formal apology, it will be a cold day hades before I purchase a F-P or Mattel product again.

What do you think it is saying? I hear it saying ‘Islam is the light’.
Obama, the secret muslim, is in cahoots with Fisher Price to brainwash America. This is a very sinister thing that has been uncovered.

//

Even still, I am thankful there are a few people with some sense out there:

//
I’m hearing “Ichabod needs the mike [microphone].” Either way, it’s just an example of apophenia. And not even a particularly good one; I’ve heard much better examples. Check out episode #105 of the Skeptoid podcast for some really uncanny examples made from only computer-generated sine waves. (BTW, I’m not associated with Skeptoid at all, I’m just a fan of it.)

Everyone is nuts!!!! it just sounds like baby talk…blah blah blah…People have way too much time on their hands.

This is the power of suggestion at work; it sounds like “Islam is the light” because that’s what we’ve been told to listen for. Fisher-Price has released the original (uncompressed) recording, and it’s clearly nonsensical baby talk.

Just go find the Chinese people that recorded and made this doll and you will have your answer. It probably really is something Chinese for “More American dollars for us!” XD

I rate you five stars for the way you present the video. It’s sounds like “Islam is the Light” to me, too. Of course, nobody really ever says “Islam is the Light” except this doll, so it’s hard to believe it’s a Muslim product. I think it’s supposed to be burbling like a baby, not saying anything. I have to admit, I would freak out if a doll I bought suddenly said something religious.

if i had listed to the doll without reading what it’s supposedly saying, i maybe would have just said that it was random mumbling but like you said, a case of suggestion, so i’m sitting here expecting it to say “islam is the light”

“ikluh eh da light” – That is what it sounds like to me. Sounds like babble…… What an amazing concept, a baby the babbles. Wonder if somebody put that in a doll. Hmmmmmm? How any of you hear Islam at all in the first word scares me. The doll clearly makes a keh sound in the first word. Unless somebody has changed it and not told me, and Webster, there is no “K” or keh sound in the word Islam

Im pretty sure that if you listen to it with the words Islam is the light going through your head then that is what you will hear.I have to admit,I couldnt make out anything other than an unclear voice saying Islam is the light.Somebody made the point about free speech,people have the right to suggest that Islam is the light.But,and its a BIG but,if as were meant to believe this is a crude attempt at brainwashing children then the disturbing thing isnt the words but their vessel.
//

However, there were a handful of people who took the opportunity to make light of the mess and post silly, funny, and smile-worthy remarks to lighten up the discussion:

//
It’s saying “I snort the nose, Lucifer! Banana! Banana!”

I want a Bud Light.

Afternoon delight. The doll is obviously a fan of “The Starland Vocal Band”

“Staaaaay in school! Bruuuush your teeth!”

Too bad it’s not uttering stock tips.

It also says: “Americans are paranoid !!”

“obama is white”

“e-slaw is delight” I’ve never tried e-slaw, but I did have an e-hotdog once.

it said “anyone got a light?” cus it’s a cool smoking baby

I just got done taking a shower! i just watched ur video while im naked! lol xD w

it says Estrella delight! 50 % Less Fat!

//

One final goofy commenter is while I’ll close with, which gave me a good chuckle it was so random:

igla is delight. This dates back to the original doll series back during the time of hedges which was shortly before the wheel. Igla was a shrewd fellow who enjoyed fig daltons (later becoming the infamous fig Newton) but spent quite a many nights with a fake friend dollumnaum. After many years of mispronouncing this fake creatures name, he decided to cut it short and just call it doll. Many years later….awe crumb..I’ve dropped my fudge.

I’m done.

Mini Timewaster Flash Game Review: Kon-stroo This!

Here’s a quick and simple wordgame that is played in two phases, and is great for comparing with friends and cow-orkers, and takes perhaps 10 minutes tops.

In the first phase, you re-arrange three groups of letters to spell out one word each, using all of the letters (no partials). You can also get a hint for a 1-point deduction. You get to pick the time limit, if any, and how large the words have to be.

In the second phase, all of the letters of the phase 1 words are placed at the top and you drag them to lower rows to spell out seperate words, and you get a bonus for using all letters. You get to set the minimum letter number for words, and the time limit.

Kon-stroo This!

Most of my scores ended up in the 140-160 range, and you can skip instruction screens in later games if you like, but on the downside, there’s no end review of what words or letters you used, only a non-sendable score card. You can always screen capture your score, paste it into an image editor as a new image and crop the score if you want to send proof, but it seems like they should’ve made this easier.

Sample game:

Phase 1
I picked “More Difficult” (6-letter words) and a 2-minute timer. Three sets of scrambled letters come up: NNEEGI, ETLIOV, LNCEAC. I had to use a hint on the first one, and got ENGINE, VIOLET and CANCEL, for 11, 12, and 12 points respectively (35 total).

Phase 2
I drug the letters down to spell VIOLENCE, LANCE and TINGE. That’s a 25-point bonus for using all letters, plus 70, 25 and 25 points respectively for a phase 2 total of 145.

Score Card:
35+145=180, actually one of my highest scores so far, even with starting the first round with 1:45 to go because I had to type them out for the guide here ^_^

Solution for Poor-Parking Holiday Shopper Annoyances

There’s a low-tac bumpersticker you can plaster on the back end of someone whose parking overtly lacks the spatial awareness of most preteens. They’re pretty cheap, to the point and easily removable so you don’t ruin paint jobs in the process. Around $0.50 each or less (cheaper in larger quantities), keep a bundle in your glove compartment for just the right moment.

Researching “American Agencies” @ 1-877-728-8912

Note: This article is taken as true on “presumed honesty” and is more just a culmination of the Internet version of group-think — people posting semi-random remarks on the same subject, and drawing a conclusion from the total. The article’s authority is based on unknown degrees of honesty from anonymous sources.

After doing a little research online and looking up 1-877-728-8912, random-ish and mostly-anonymous reports seem to pop up from number-alert sites that a company called “ACA Receivables” (that may or may not appear on Caller ID) may be the one making these calls (according to a few commenters here and here): under the guise of a collections agency. Another commenter reports being told they owed money for AT&T and that after checking with AT&T him/herself, that AT&T hadn’t used them for collections for at least four years.

There’s a website for AmericanAgencies.comAnother similarly-named company, AmericanAgency.com deals with insurance, and I suspect they may simply have a similar name — plus none of their contact numbers appear to match up.

CallerComplaints.com’s Entry lists around 35 reports for this number, a few citing actually calling the number and getting runaround about past debt and asking you to verify your information by telling the “first five digits” of your SSN. Yikes!

American-Agencies-Complaints.US appears to be a written by someone uninterested in web design, but contains a bit of info about a lawsuit that occured in 2003 involving ACA Receiveables.

I also looked up a few governmental fraud reporting sites for possible scams, and FTC Complain Assistant seems like the best place to official submit alerts if you’re in the US, as they need reports to track areas that are being hit. From the CallerComplaint site above, it seems various parts of the country may be getting singled out and some complaints date back to around October of 2007.

Hope this helps out! This very well may simply be a legitimate credit agency who has a wrong number for someone who does actually owe money. However, it hasn’t gotten to the point of irritation that I’ve yet been bothered to call the number to find out. If you do or did, please tell me your results in the comments below! If you recorded your conversation — send it to ablestmage@gmail.com so the rest of us will know what to expect. Don’t give out any pertinent info like SSN digits of any sort, but perhaps just with exploratory questions to see whether they might actually be kosher.