On Sun, Apr 03, 2011 at 03:17:55PM -0500, Ron Johnson wrote:
> On 04/03/2011 02:54 PM, David Jardine wrote:
> >On Sun, Apr 03, 2011 at 03:08:55PM -0400, Doug wrote:
> >>Thank God there is no "English Academy."
> >As a native English speaker I entirely agree, but I can understand the
> >frustrations of others who are effectively forced to use our language as
> >a lingua franca and cannot find a single, stable definition of it.
> Kinda like Spanish...
... but not entirely. Perhaps because of my limited knowledge of
Spanish, I feel that the various versions of that language are more
homogeneous. More importantly, Russians don't have to learn Spanish to
communicate with Japanese, nor Swedes to do business with Pakistanis.
> > How do they say
> >"Disneyland" in French?
> Terre de Disney?
> Terre de Souris?
"Pays de Disney" might be closer.
> > A nationalistic dictionary compiler (anti-
> Webster completed his /American Dictionary/ while at U. Cambridge.
But that was a pretty small proportion of the time he spent on it.
> Would an anti-Brit really go to England to do his work?
Frankly, why not? Where did the anti-colonialist future leaders of
newly independent African and Asian countries study? Mostly in England
or France. And are you really suggesting that Webster was not anti-
British - or at least fiercely opposed to British influence on America?
> > rather than anti-French) caught the mood of the times and you all
> >lapped it up.
> That can only happen when there's no canon. spelling is in flux.
But was that the case? Were some people writing "center" and others
"centre". I may be wrong here, but I think that "centre" was the accepted
spelling, but Webster decided otherwise.
> > I don't know if England had its own xenophobic equivalents,
> >but I think the English would be less likely to accept changes of spelling
> >decreed from above.
> Above? Webster didn't get his dictionary mandated by the government.
By "above" I didn't mean government. Webster was "above".
> Anyway, two words: Samuel Johnson.
Good point. I do feel, however (very possibly wrongly) that Johnson was
trying to sort out conflicting practice whereas Webster was creating new
> >>The French may hate everything English, but those of us who speak
> >>any variety of English
> >>appreciate its variety, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
> >But is it _our_ language any more?
> Not after you beggared yourself after the two World Wars.
Misunderstanding: by "our" language I meant the language of native
speakers of English - American, Australian, English or whoever. If, for
example, we insist on saying, "We've been doing it like this for ages",
who are we to say that "We do it like this since ages" is not correct?
Thanks for your comments, Ron. I appreciated them.
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