October 19, 2005
English Can Be Both a Borrower and a Lender
For decades, perhaps even centuries, English has been the indisputable lingua franca of commercialism, spouting unpremeditated creoles such as Spanglish, Chinglish, Konglish, Franglais and the lesser known, but emerging, Denglish (Deutsch and English).
The world of international trade has embraced English with open arms. English words are perceived as being cool, creative, technically savvy, and at least compared to some, short and punchy. It is, after all, easier to write an advertising copy around a Fileserver versus a Computer der Dateien im Netzwerk zur Verfügung stellt. Or wouldn't you rather promote a TV Network than a Fernsehgesellschaft?
Language purists and linguistic prescriptionists, however, are prompting a backlash against English language creep, with a call to arms in some European countries for protective measures or new policies.
In Russia, Lyudmilla Putin, the wife of President Vladimir Putin, is a leading opponent of Russian linguistic change. And, in Switzerland, where there are four official languages, the "Defense of French" foundation put up an impassioned plea recently arguing the Swiss had no need for English as a fifth official language.
Even more recently, Lufthansa, the German airline, made a bit of news when it changed its slogan from "There's No Better Way to Fly," in English, to the German "Alles für diesen Moment," or "Everything for This Moment."
As an English speaker, however, the flow of our language back to its roots is not a cause for concern. After all, English is first and foremost a "Germanic" language, and has "borrowed" words from more than 300 other languages over the last 1,000 years, including up to 60,000 French words following the Norman invasion of 1066.
Isn't it time we gave something back?
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I'm frequently discussing the nuances of history and language with clients and business partners (after all, about 1/3 of the work we do is international). This post, from the Strategic Name Development Blog, is a great bit to keep in my back pocket ... [Read More]
Tracked on October 24, 2005 12:44 AM