Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 25th Oct 2009 12:51 UTC
Editorial A couple of years ago, a professor at my university had a very interesting thought exchange with the class I was in. We were a small group, and I knew most of them, they were my friends. Anyway, we had a talk about language purism - not an unimportant subject if you study English in The Netherlands.
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by rexstuff on Sun 25th Oct 2009 17:28 UTC
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It's a very interesting read, Thom, but I feel I have to point out a fallacy in your original reasoning. As you state:

"Which type of person has more confidence in the strength and resilience of his culture and language - someone who feels threatened by outside influences, or someone who doesn't?

You might need to make a few 180s in your brain, but the answer is someone who doesn't.

Except that someone who doesn't may not feel threatened by outside influences simply not because of the confidence he or she has in the language and culture, but because he or she does not care. Or, he or she actually sees these outside influences as a good thing.

None of this is to say that Thom is in any way wrong, just that because someone doesn't feel threatened by outside influences, doesn't mean that he or she actually has confidence in the resilience of the his or her language or culture.

In any case, the rise and fall of global languages is a very fascinating topic, to me. I read one excellent article that I was hoping I could share, but can't find it. Basically the main point is that English has far and away secured its position as the global lingua franca. That the next best contender, in a distant second, is actually French.

Perhaps this is my own ethno-centric view speaking, but I tend to see this as more of a good thing than a bad thing. For all its faults, having English as a global language is better than having no standard language at all. "A bad standard is better than no standard" and all that. I only hope that on its way up, not too many smaller languages and cultures have to die. We all lose something when that happens.

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