No time to write a proper post:
How English erased its roots to become the global tongue of the 21st century
‘Throw away your dictionaries!’ is the battle cry as a simplified global hybrid of English conquers cultures and continents. In this extract from his new book, Globish, Robert McCrum tells the story of a linguistic phenomenon – and its links to big money.
And here’s a taster:[I]n the early 1980s…. when Bill Gates was still an obscure Seattle software nerd, and the latest cool invention to transform international telephone lines was the fax, we believed we were providing a snapshot of the English language at the peak of its power and influence, a reflection of the Anglo-American hegemony. Naturally, we saw our efforts as ephemeral. Language and culture, we knew, are in flux. Any attempts to pin them down would be antiquarianism at best, doomed at worst. Besides, some of the experts we talked to believed that English, like Latin before it, was already showing signs of breaking up into mutually unintelligible variants. The Story of English might turn out to be a last hurrah.We were, of course, dead wrong. The global power and influence of Anglo-American language and culture in the broadest sense were about to hit another new high. When the cold war ended, after the Berlin Wall came down, and once the internet took off in the 1990s, there was an astonishing new landscape to explore and describe.