October 14, 2005

Another letter to (yesterday's) local student newspaper. Should it matter whether or not I share it onward for the same reasons as the previous one?

English is as pure as a prostitute
Re: "LOL! K, liek U shuld so reed this yo," Oct. 5, 2005
By Nick Milne

It's frankly impossible to defend the purity of the English language with a straight face. English is akin to a fresh-faced college girl who has spent a year backpacking through Europe, returning home with a cosmopolitan arrogance, a handful of souvenirs and a startling venereal disease.

These are not charges levelled without cause. To declare the chastity of fair lady English in need of protection is a naive and hilarious thing. True devotees of the tongue don't defend her because she's pure; we defend her because she's a slut.

Comments:
Well said, although I would use a different metaphor, i.e., English is a cosmopolitan in a world of bigots.
 
Ah, but "cosmopolitan" also connotes both something positive and something always accepted willingly. It does not connote conquest, or foreign influence otherwise forceably imposed: upon which much of the melange that has become the English language has been built. What you term the bigotry of other languages is what forced English-language identity into the shape it wears today.
 
That's only true if you regard English has having come into it's final form as a result of Duke William the Bastard. I think it safe to say that Modern English has gained as much by the British Empire's conquests around the globe as by the Francophonic infestation that followed Hastings. The word "thug" coming from the Thugee cults of India is just one example.
 
The conquerer conquered? The memsahib become his own white man's burden?

*Laugh* I wonder what time will make of the "its"/"it's" dilemma?
 
All conquerors were once conquered, and all will someday fall. So it goes.
 
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