Re: UK/US English - What to do?

Subject: Re: UK/US English - What to do?
From: Bob Gembey <bob -at- SUPERNOVA -dot- NL>
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 11:17:30 +0200

John Sheridan-Smith wrote:

<<There is no such "industry standard", merely an American domination of
market and culture. Most software producers and most software buyers speak
and write American. ... Fair enough, in the commercial
world you have to do what is commercially viable, but do not run away with
the idea that that is the same thing as an acceptable and agreed standard
based on reasoned analysis and linguistic logic.>>

I'm not sure what reasoned analysis and linguistic logic has to do with all
this. I wonder if the Mexicans, for example, learn that the Spanish spoken
in Castille is the "correct" Spanish, as opposed to what they speak and
write. And I'd like to hear whether the French Canadians have any
differences which they consider "acceptable" from the French spoken in
France (where? in Paris, or Marseille). The Swiss speak "Schweizer
Deutsch" but learn that Hochdeutsch is "correct", and the Flemish and Dutch
have agreed on a single, correct language that is closer to that spoken in
the central part of the Netherlands, than it is to anything spoken in
Flanders (interesting point, though, both agree that what the Flemish speak
is a purer version of the language). So, only for English do there seem to
be two groups who both claim the "right" to set a standard. I don't see
the point -- languages evolve and grow, affected by both the people who
speak them and the world these people live in. The English spoken in the
British Isles today is very different from that spoken in Chaucer's time
(to say nothing of that in Beowulf). Just 200 years ago, there was still
no standard spelling, there. And some usages, such as "pretty" in the
sense of "that's pretty good", disappeared in England, until re-introduced
by the Americans, who had continued to use it.

<<The arguments that have been advanced in favour or rewriting
in American seem to boil down to "yes Americans can understand it but don't
like it so it must be changed". Well we could all say that about a lot
things couldn't we?>>

So, this sounds to me like sour grapes about Britain's place as the world's
major superpower being usurped by the US. But, then again, maybe the
British _do_ speak the correct English. After all, there are so many
different versions spoken there, one of them must be correct.


From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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