Saturday, February 23, 2008

Globish not English

The recent reappearance of ethno-nationalism in Québec belies a fundamental misunderstanding of the place of the English language. The world is not becoming dominated by English. It is embracing Globish, a dialect or creole derived from English, which is in turn a bastard language of Norman French, Anglo-Saxon and whatever words seemed handy in other languages, all mixed together.

I'm not sure how such a fluid language as Globish can consistently challenge the literature, and culture conveyed through more stable cultures. Indeed I suspect those languages will inflect and reinflect the changing forms of Globish. Globish will probably marginalise English over the next few generations, as English and other Germanic tongues marginalised the Frisian from which they developed.

English and Globish don't kill other languages- Other language users let them die. The real threat to the French language in Quebec is the high drop-out rate of francophone students.

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"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster