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Show Less Restricted access. Neben der Rolle der Variation im heutigen Deutsch und den daraus folgenden didaktischen Konsequenzen werden neue Aspekte der Sprachreflexion betrachtet. Buy eBook. Currency depends on your shipping address. Sprachvariation im heutigen Deutsch II. Linguistische und didaktische Aspekte interkultureller Kommunikation Autorinnen und Autoren dieses Bandes. Restricted access. Chapter Subjects: Linguistics. Add to Cart. Extract The German language came to Namibia when more than Do you have any questions?

Contact us. Or login to access all content. Subscriber Login. Forgot your password? Have an access token? Peter Lang International Academic Publishers. Sign in to annotate. See Hermann Dieters essay in this volume. John Tomlinson, Cultural imperialism. A Critical Introduction. Baltimore , p. Language policy challenges. London Robert Phillipson, English for emerging or submerging multiple European identities? Oxford , p. Uwe Prksen, Plastic words. The tyranny of modular language. University Park, PA , p.

Language and the media are conspicuously absent from their analysis of Empire. Yet, it seems to me that their central importance for the process they reconstruct is obvious. It is regrettable that Michael Hardt, who gave the opening address to the conference that led to this volume, did not have the time to prepare his lecture for publication. Zbigniew K. Andreas Gardt, ed. Die Diskussion ihres Verhltnisses in Geschichte und Gegenwart.

Berlin, New York, Zimmer, Abschied von Illusionen. In: Zimmer, Deutsch und anderes die Sprache im Modernisierungsfieber. Reinbek Footnote 3. The literature on this issue is vast; see e. Gerhard Stickel ed. Aktueller lexikalischer Wandel. Versuch einer Systematik des Fremdwortbegriffs in der deutschen Sprachgeschichte. Ulrich Busse, Typen von Anglizismen: von der heilago geist bis Extremsparing aufgezeigt anhand ausgewhlter lexikographischer Kategorisierungen, S. Bernhard Kettemann, Anglizismen allgemein und konkret: Zahlen und Fakten. In: Rudolf Muhr and Bernhard Kettemann eds.

Conservative critics of modern culture observed an excessive influx of American words in the German language after and associated this, they thought, undesirable tendency with the collapsed identity following military and political defeat. Herbert Drube, Zum deutschen Wortschatz, Mnchen , esp. — collected tags

Eckart Werthebach, Die deutsche Sprache braucht gesetzlichen Schutz! In , the Institut fr Deutsche Sprache Mannheim proposed the creation of a German Language Council Sprachrat and stated as reasons the increasing number of English words and other related changes of the language that have led to suggesting a law for the protection of the German language and the creation of an academy following.

Bernd Hppauf the French example. The Verein deutsche Sprache Wiesbaden is the most prominent example of a recent foundation of a language association. It claims active members and has branches in several German and European cities. The equivalent among a few similar organizations in France is an association called Dfense de la langue franaise. Verein deutsche Sprache: Leitlinien, 2nd edition, June www.

In , the Verein created a Berliner Sprachbndnis with the aim to stem the flood of foreign words and expressions. The sociological literature on the subject is vast. Media, Arts, Policy, and Globalization, ed. Diana Crane et al, New York and London , p. John D. Commodities in Cultural perspectives. Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis ; Christian F. Feest, Ethnologie und materielle Kultur, in: Das Ding. Die Ethnologie und ihr Gegenstand. Archiv fr Vlkerkunde 51, , S.

Kelly, Time and the Global, p. Englisch auch fr die Lehre an den deutschsprachigen Hochschulen. Berlin, New York ; Ammon ed. The dominance of English as a language of science. Effects on other languages and language communities. Vortrge des Internationalen Symposiums vom Januar Grnde und Folgen des Wechsels von Wissenschaftssprachen, S. Edward Said, Traveling Theory, in: E. Karl-Heinz Kohl, Das exotische Europa. In: Merkur , Maiken Umbach and Bernd Huppauf ed. Fabian, Time and the Work of Anthropology.

Critical essays Chur , chapter Paradigmatic is David Crystals interpretation of the envisaged future of English as the language of uninhibited global communication. David Crystal, English as a Global Language. Cambridge ; Crystal, Language Death. Cambridge It is regrettable that lack of time prevented the inclusion of a revised version of her presentation in this anthology.

This interpretation of the potential of contact between languages stands in opposition to Prksens observation of an increasing unification, reduction of diversity and disabling of the language of the everyday-life. Footnote 5, p. Ammon, Ulrich ed. Effects on Other Languages and Language Communities. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. New York: Routledge. Crystal, David English as a Global Language.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Stuttgart: Steiner. Gardt, Andreas ed. Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri Empire. Cambridge, Mass. Malden, Mass. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Challenging Language Policy. Prksen, Uwe Plastic words. Jahrbuch des Instituts fr Deutsche Sprache Tomlinson, John imperialism Cultural imperialism. Umbach, Maiken and Bernd Hppauf ed. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Zimmer, Dieter E. Reinbek: Rowohlt. Zusammenfassung Englisch ist heute die Sprache der Welt.

Wie ist es dazu gekommen? Und was sind die Konsequenzen dieses neuen Status fr die knftige Entwicklung der Sprache? Drei Konsequenzen der Globalisierung der Sprache werden angesprochen: Die Tendenzen, die das Englische bereits weltweit beeinflussen in der Form von neuen Englischs; die Wirkung von Englisch auf gefhrdete Sprachen; und der Einfluss des Englischen auf den linguistischen Charakter anderer Sprachen durch die Einfhrung von Lehn- und Fremdwrtern.

Introduction Any conference dealing with the theme of globalization must at some point address the question of language; and these days, the language which must be chiefly considered is English. I say these days, because only a relatively short time ago the prospect of English becoming a genuinely global language was uncertain. I never gave talks on English as a world language in the s or s. Indeed, it is only in the s that the issue has come to the fore, with surveys, books, and conferences trying to explain how it is that a language can become truly global, what the consequences are when it happens, and why English has become the prime candidate Crystal , McArthur , Graddol But, in order to speculate about the future of English or, as I shall say later, Englishes we must first understand what has happened in the past.

The present situation A language achieves a genuinely global status when it develops a special role that is recognized in every country. This role will be most obvious in countries where large numbers of the people speak it as a first language in the case of English, this would mean the USA, Canada, Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, several Caribbean countries, and a scattering of other territories.

However, no language has ever been spoken by a mother-tongue majority in more than a dozen or so countries, so mother-tongue use by itself cannot give a language world status. To achieve such a status, a language has to be taken up by other countries around the globe. They must decide to give it a special place within their communities, even though they may have few or no mother-tongue speakers. There are two main ways in which this can be done. First, the language can be made the official or semi-official language of a country, to be used as a medium of communication in such domains as government, the law courts, the media, and the educational system.

To get on in such societies, it is essential to master the official language as early in life as possible. This role is well illustrated by English, which now has some kind of special administrative status in over 70 countries, such as Ghana, Nigeria, India, Singapore, and Vanuatu. This is far more than the status achieved by any other language French being closest. Second, the language can be made a priority in a countrys foreignlanguage teaching. It becomes the language which children are most likely to be taught when they arrive in school, and the one most available to adults who for whatever reason never learned it, or learned it badly, in their early educational years.

Over countries treat English as just a foreign language; but in most of these, it is now recognized as the chief foreign language to be taught in schools. Because of this three-pronged development of first language, second language, and foreign language speakers it is inevitable that a world language will eventually come to be used by more people than any other language. English has already reached this stage.

Those who have learned it as a first language are now estimated to be around million. Those who have learned it as a second language are more difficult to estimate, for now we must take into account the levels of fluency achieved. If we take a basic level of conversational ability as the criterion enough to make yourself understood, though by no means free of errors, and having no command of specialized vocabulary the figure is also some million.

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The significance of these two figures should not be missed. The population growth in. This means that second-language speakers of English will soon hugely exceed first-language speakers a situation without precedent for an international language. And when the number of people who speak English as a foreign language is taken into account, this contrast becomes even more dramatic Graddol The British Council has estimated that roughly a billion people are learning English around the world British Council Excluding the complete beginners, it would seem reasonable to take two thirds of these as a guess at the number of foreign learners with whom it would be possible to hold a reasonable conversation in English say million.

If, now, we add the three totals the million who use it as a first language, plus the million who use it as a second language, and the million who use it as a foreign language, we will end up with a grand total of 1, million or so which in round terms is a quarter of the worlds population recently passing 6 billion. No other language is used so extensively.

Even Chinese, found in eight different spoken languages, but unified by a common writing system, is known to only some 1, million. Of course, we must not overstate the situation. If one in four of the worlds population speaks English, three out of four do not. We do not have to travel far into the hinterland of a country away from the tourist spots, the airports, the hotels, the restaurants to encounter this reality. But even so, one in four is impressive, and unprecedented. And we must ask: Why?

It is not so much the total, as the speed with which this expansion has taken place, very largely since the s. What can account for it? Historical factors An obvious factor, of course, is the need for a lingua franca a concept probably as old as language itself. But the prospect that a lingua franca might be needed for the whole world is something which has emerged strongly only in the 20th century, and since the s in particular.

The chief international forum for political communication the United Nations dates only from , and then it had only 51 member states. By this had risen to over 80 members. But the independence movements which began at that time led to a massive increase in the number of new nations during the next decade, and this process continued steadily into the s. There are now members of the UN nearly four times as many as there were 50 years ago. The need for lingua francas is obvious, and the pressure.

But why English? There is of course nothing intrinsically wonderful about the English language that it should have spread in this way. Its pronunciation is not simpler than that of many other languages, its grammar is no simpler what it lacks in morphology in cases and genders it certainly makes up for in syntax in word-order patterns and its spelling certainly isnt simpler. A language becomes a world language for one reason only the power of the people who speak it.

But power means different things: it can mean political military power, technological power, economic power, and cultural power. Political power relates to the colonialism that brought English around the world from the 16th century, so that by the 19th century, the language was one on which the sun never sets. Technological power relates to the fact that the industrial revolution of the 17th and 18th centuries was very significantly an English-language event. The 19th century saw the growth in the economic power of the United States, rapidly overtaking Britain as its population hugely grew, and adding greatly to the number of world English speakers.

The point was recognized by Bismarck as early as asked by a journalist what he considered to be the decisive factor in modern history, he is said to have replied, The fact that the North Americans speak English cited in Nunberg And in the 20th century, we have indeed seen the fourth kind of power, cultural power, manifesting itself in virtually every walk of life through spheres of American influence. I will now look more closely at these different kinds of power, and their consequences, recognizing ten domains in which English is now pre-eminent. Politics Most preth-century commentators would have had no difficulty giving a single, political answer to the question, Why world English?

They would simply have pointed to the growth of the British Empire. This legacy carried over into the 20th century. The League of Nations was the first of many modern international alliances to allocate a special place to English in its proceedings: English was one of the two official languages the other was French , and all documents were printed in both. I have already mentioned the UN, which replaced it. But English now plays an official or working role in the proceedings of most other major international political gatherings, in all parts of the world.

The extent to which English is used in this. According to a recent issue of the Union of International Associations Yearbook, there are about 12, international organizations in the world. International politics operates at several levels and in many different ways, but the presence of English is usually not far away. A political protest may surface in the form of an official question to a government minister, a peaceful lobby outside an embassy, a street riot, or a bomb.

When the television cameras present the event to a world audience, it is notable how often a message in English can be seen on a banner or placard as part of the occasion. Whatever the mother tongue of the protesters, they know that their cause will gain maximum impact if it is expressed through the medium of English. A famous instance of this occurred a few years ago in India, where a march supporting Hindi and opposing English was seen on world television: most of the banners were in Hindi, but one astute marcher carried a prominent sign which enabled the voice of his group to reach much further around the world than would otherwise have been possible.

His sign read: Death to English. Economics By the beginning of the 19th century, Britain had become the worlds leading industrial and trading nation. Most of the innovations of the industrial revolution were of British origin. By , the chief growth areas, in textiles and mining, were producing a range of manufactured goods for export which led to Britain being called the workshop of the world. Over half of the scientists and technologists who made that revolution worked in English, and people who travelled to Britain and later America to learn about the new technologies had to do so through the medium of English.

Steam technology revolutionized printing, generating an unprecedented mass of publications in English. The early 19th century saw the rapid growth of the international banking system, especially in Germany, Britain and the USA, with London and New York becoming the investment capitals of the world. The resulting eco-. Money talks, then as now, was the chief metaphor and the language in which it was talking was chiefly English.

The press The English language has been an important medium of the press for nearly years. The 19th century was the period of greatest progress, thanks to the introduction of new printing technology and new methods of mass production and transportation. It also saw the development of a truly independent press, chiefly fostered in the USA, where there were some daily newspapers by , and nearly by the turn of the century.

Censorship and other restrictions continued in Continental Europe during the early decades, however, which meant that the provision of popular news in languages other than English developed much more slowly. Today, about a third of the worlds newspapers are published in countries where English has special status, and the majority of these will be in English. The high profile given to English in the popular press was reinforced by the way techniques of news gathering developed. The midth century saw the growth of the major news agencies, especially following the invention of the telegraph.

Paul Julius Reuter started an office in Aachen, but soon moved to London, where in he launched the agency which now bears his name. By Reuters had acquired more territorial news monopolies than any of its Continental competitors. With the emergence in of the New York Associated Press, the majority of the information being transmitted along the telegraph wires of the world was in English. Advertising Towards the end of the 19th century, a combination of social and economic factors led to a dramatic increase in the use of advertisements in publications, especially in the more industrialized countries.

Mass production had increased the flow of goods and was fostering competition; consumer purchasing power was growing; and new printing techniques were providing fresh display possibilities. In the USA, publishers realized that income from advertising would allow them to lower the selling price of their magazines, and thus hugely increase circulation. Two-thirds of a modern newspaper, especially in the USA, may be devoted to advertising. During the 19th cen-. It pays to advertise itself became a US slogan in the s. Many products which are now household names received a special boost in that decade, such as Ford, Coca Cola, Kodak, and Kellogg.

The media capitalized on the brevity with which a product could be conveyed to an audience even if the people were passing at speed in one of the new methods of transportation. Posters, billboards, electric displays, shop signs, and other techniques became part of the everyday scene. As international markets grew, the outdoor media began to travel the world, and their prominence in virtually every town and city is now one of the most noticeable global manifestations of English language use.

The English advertisements are not always more numerous, in countries where English has no special status, but they are usually the most noticeable. American English ruled: by , only three of the worlds top 30 advertising agencies were not US-owned. Broadcasting It took many decades of experimental research in physics, chiefly in Britain and America, before it was possible to send the first radio telecommunication signals through the air, without wires. Marconis system, built in , carried telegraph code signals over a distance of one mile. Six years later, his signals had crossed the Atlantic Ocean; by , they had reached Australia.

English was the first language to be transmitted by radio. Within 25 years of Marconis first transmission, public broadcasting became a reality. The first commercial radio station, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, broadcast its first program in November , and there were over broadcasting stations licensed in the USA within two years. A similar dramatic expansion affected public television 20 years later.

We can only speculate about how these media developments must have influenced the growth of world English. There are no statistics on the proportion of time devoted to English-language programmes the world over, or on how much time is spent listening to such programs. But if we look at broadcasting aimed specifically at audiences in other countries such as the BBC World Service, or the Voice of America , we note significant levels of provision over a thousand hours a week by the former, twice as much by the latter.

Most other countries showed sharp increases in external broadcasting during the post-War years, and several launched English-language radio programmes, such as the Soviet Union, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, The Netherlands,. Sweden, and Germany. No comparative data are available about how many people listen to each of the languages provided by these services. However, if we list the languages in which these countries broadcast, it is noticeable that only one of these languages has a place on each of the lists: English.

Motion pictures The new technologies which followed the discovery of electrical power fundamentally altered the nature of home and public entertainment, and provided fresh directions for the development of the English language. The technology of this industry has many roots in Europe and America during the 19th century, with England and France providing an initial impetus to the artistic and commercial development of the cinema from However, the years preceding and during the First World War stunted the growth of a European film industry, and dominance soon passed to America, which oversaw from the emergence of the feature film, the star system, the movie mogul, and the grand studio, all based in Hollywood, California.

As a result, when sound was added to the technology in the late s, it was the English language which suddenly came to dominate the movie world. And despite the growth of the film industry in other countries in later decades, English-language movies still dominate the medium, with Hollywood coming to rely increasingly on a small number of annual productions aimed at huge audiences. The influence of movies on the viewing audience is uncertain, but many observers agree with the view of director Wim Wenders: People increasingly believe in what they see and they buy what they believe in.

People use, drive, wear, eat and buy what they see in the movies cited in Robinson If this is so, then the fact that most movies are made in the English language must surely be significant, at least in the long term. Popular music The cinema was one of two new entertainment technologies which emerged at the end of the 19th century: the other was the recording industry. Here too the English language was early in evidence. When in Thomas A Edison devised the phonograph, the first machine that could both record.

Most of the subsequent technical developments took place in the USA. All the major recording companies in popular music had English-language origins, beginning with the US firm Columbia from Radio sets around the world hourly testify to the dominance of English in the popular music scene today. Many people make their first contact with English in this way. By the turn of the century, Tin Pan Alley the popular name for the Broadway-centred song-publishing industry was a reality, and was soon known worldwide as the chief source of US popular music.

Jazz, too, had its linguistic dimension, with the development of the blues and many other genres. And by the time modern popular music arrived, it was almost entirely an English scene. Mass audiences for pop singers became a routine feature of the world scene from the s.

No other single source has spread the English language around the youth of the world so rapidly and so pervasively. International travel and safety The reasons for travelling abroad are many and various. Each journey has immediate linguistic consequences a language has to be interpreted, learned, imposed and over time a travelling trend can develop into a major influence.

If there is a contemporary movement towards world English use, therefore, we would expect it to be particularly noticeable in this domain. And so it is. For those whose international travel brings them into a world of package holidays, business meetings, academic conferences, international conventions, community rallies, sporting occasions, military occupations, and other official gatherings, the domains of transportation and accommodation are chiefly mediated through the use of English as an auxiliary language.

Safety instructions on international flights and sailings, information about emergency procedures in hotels, and directions to major locations are now increasingly in English alongside local languages. Most notices which tell us to fasten our seatbelts, find the lifeboat stations, or check the location of the emergency stairs give us an option in English. A special aspect of safety is the way that the language has come to be used as a means of controlling international transport operations, especially on water and in the air.

English has emerged as the international language of. Progress has also been made in recent years in devising systems of unambiguous communication between organizations which are involved in handling emergencies on the ground notably, the fire service, the ambulance service, and the police. There is now Emergencyspeak, trying to cope with problems of ambiguity at the two ends of the Channel Tunnel. And of course there is Airspeak, the language of international aircraft control.

Edited By Corinna Peschel and Kerstin Runschke

Only then was it agreed that English should be the international language of aviation when pilots and controllers speak different languages. Over nations have since adopted its recommendations about English terminology though it should be noted that there is nothing mandatory about them. Education English is the medium of a great deal of the worlds knowledge, especially in such areas as science and technology. And access to knowledge is the business of education. When we investigate why so many nations have in recent years made English an official language or chosen it as their chief foreign language in schools, one of the most important reasons is always educational in the broadest sense.

Her response was immediate and specific: Send us people to train our teachers to teach English as a foreign language. My amazement must have showed, for the Prime Minister went on to explain that the policies her husband had put in place twenty years earlier to promote Sinhalese as the official language had succeeded so well that in the process Sri Lanka so long the pearl of the English-speaking world in Asia had in fact lost English, even as a second language save for the most educated Sri Lankans.

Her concern was for development. Farmers in the field, she told me, could not read the instructions on bags of imported fertiliser and manufacturers in the global market were not likely to print them in Sinhalese. Sri Lanka was losing its access to the world language of English. Since the s, English has become the normal medium of instruction in higher education for many countries including several where the language has no official status.

Advanced courses in The Netherlands, for example, are widely taught in English. No African country uses its indigenous language in higher education, English being used in the majority of cases. The English language teaching ELT business has become one of the major growth industries around the world in the past 30 years. Communications If a language is a truly international medium, it is going to be most apparent in those services which deal directly with the task of communication the postal and telephone systems and the electronic networks.

Information about the use of English in these domains is not easy to come by, however. It is thought that three-quarters of the worlds mail is in English. But as noone monitors the language in which we write our letters, such statistics are highly speculative. Only on the Internet, where messages and data can be left for indefinite periods of time, is it possible to develop an idea of how much of the worlds everyday communications at least, between computerowners is actually in English.

To begin with, of course, the whole of the Internet was in English, because the Internet was yet another American invention. It began as ARPANET , the Advanced Research Projects Agency network, in the late s, conceived as a decentralized national network, its aim being to link important American academic and government institutions in a way which would survive local damage in the event of a major war. Its language was, accordingly, English; and when people in other countries began to form links with this network, it proved essential for them to use English. The dominance of this language was then reinforced when the service was opened up in the s to private and commercial organizations, most of which were for the reasons already given already communicating chiefly in English.

There was also a technical reason underpinning the position of the language at this time. The first protocols devised to carry data on the Net were developed for the English alphabet, and no browser is yet able to handle all aspects of multilingual data presentation. However, the number of non-English language users on the Internet is growing all the time, and now exceeds the number of new English-speaking users.

In particular, minority languages are finding that the Net gives them a louder and cheaper voice than is available through such traditional media as radio, and Usenet groups are now ongoing in several hundred languages. The estimate. This is good news for those worried by the global trend in language loss, but it is also good news for those concerned that global intelligibility should not lose out to local identity. On the Net, all languages are as equal as their users wish to make them, and English emerges as an alternative rather than a threat Crystal The future of English as a world language When a language becomes a world language, what happens to it, and what happens to other languages as a consequence?

There are no precedents, because no language has ever been spoken by so many people in so many countries before. Three questions need to be briefly addressed. Will English fragment into mutually unintelligible languages, as it spreads around the world? Will English kill off other languages? Will English change other languages? Will English fragment? The answer to the first question is: probably yes, at one level, and no at another.

For the yes answer we need to note the many new varieties of spoken English developing around the world, in such countries as India, Singapore, and Ghana Burchfield They have been called New Englishes, and they have arisen because of the need to express national identity. A primary motivation of the newly independent nations of the s and s was the need to manifest their identity in the eyes of the world; and the most convenient way of doing this was through the medium of the language they use.

Many of the new countries, such as Ghana and Nigeria, found that they had no alternative but to continue using English the alternative was to make an impossible choice between the many competing local ethnic languages over , in the case of Nigeria. However, we can also appreciate the view that to continue with English would be, in the eyes of many, an unacceptable link with the colonial past.

How could this dilemma be resolved? The answer was to continue with English, but to shape it to meet their own ends adding local vocabulary, focussing on local cultural variations, developing fresh standards of pronunciation. It is not difficult to quickly accumulate several thousand local words, in countries which have a wide range of local fauna and flora, diverse ethnic cus-. The emerging literatures of the Commonwealth countries the novels from various parts of West Africa, the poetry from the countries of the Caribbean illustrate how quickly new identities can emerge.

Namslang – Deutsche Jugendsprache in Namibia?

The term New Englishes reflects these identities. And in some parts of the world, the kind of English which has emerged has brought increasing unintelligibility to outsiders as in the case of Singlish, in Singapore, which incorporates a great deal of Chinese.

So, is the future one of mutually unintelligible Englishes an English family of languages, as some have put it? At the level of popular speech, this is probably already taking place. But there is another level usually referred to as standard English where there is little sign of any such fragmentation. Standard English is essentially written, printed English, seen in the textbooks, newspapers, and periodicals of the world and also, these days, on the World Wide Web.

It is largely identical in its global manifestation; we must allow only for the small amount of variation in vocabulary, grammar, and spelling which make up the differences between American, British, Australian, and other regional standards. Educated people also use it in daily interaction, at least on formal occasions; informally, they may well use a regional dialect, or a dialect which is a mixture of standard and regional a modified standard.

One of the consequences of globalization is that through the media we have immediate access to standard English, in ways that have come to be available but recently; and this is influencing the character of New Englishes. A British Council colleague told me a little while ago that he had just come back from India where he had seen a group of people in an out-of-the-way village clustering around a television set, where they were hearing CNN News beamed down via satellite.

None of these people, he felt, would have had any regular contact with English previously other than the Indian variety of English used by their schoolteacher. But with a whole range of fresh auditory models becoming routinely available, it is easy to see how the type of English spoken in India could move in fresh directions. And satellite communication being, by definition, global, we can also see how a system of natural checks and balances well-attested in the history of language could emerge in the case of world English.

The pull imposed by the need for identity, which has been making Indian English increasingly dissimilar from British English, will be balanced by a pull imposed by the need for intelligibility, on a world scale, which will make Indian English increasingly similar. And this could happen anywhere. As to the second question, the effect of English on other languages, here the situation is much gloomier.

The surveys which have taken place since the s have shown us that, of the or so languages in the world, at least half are likely to become extinct in the next years Crystal One of the chief reasons is, of course, the way small rural communities have been affected by globalization processes. Ninety percent of the worlds languages are located in equatorial and tropical regions a thousand in Africa, over in Papua New Guinea alone.

One of the consequences of colonialism has been the way in which many of these cultures have assimilated to the dominant one, with an inevitable shift in use away from the indigenous language. In Australia and North America, for example, the shift has been to English. Because of its worldwide spread, English is undoubtedly the language which many of these peoples will eventually speak. But the issue of language death goes well beyond English, for the same effects have been noted in parts of the world where English is not historically a major influence.

The indigenous languages of South America are also rapidly disappearing but there the shift has been to Spanish and Portuguese. In the area covered by the countries of the former Soviet Union, the shift has been to Russian. Chinese, French, Swahili, Arabic, and a few other languages have played similar roles. There is of course very little that can be done to preserve the worlds linguistic diversity any more than it has been possible to prevent the extinction of so many biological species. On the other hand, the ecological movement has had its major successes, in conservation, and there is no reason why there should not be successes too, in relation to language.

Governments can do a great deal by introducing sensible bilingual policies, and protection measures for minority languages. These can be reinforced by international statute, and the fostering of a generally positive climate of opinion. But measures of this kind take many years to have any effect.

In the meantime, languages are dying at the rate of one every two weeks or so. Linguists are urgently trying to document these dying languages before they disappear for ever for we must recognize that, when a spoken language dies which has never been written down, it is as if it has never been, and the loss to the human race is permanent.

But it is an expensive business,. Organizations have grown up in several countries to try to help in Britain there is the Foundation for Endangered Languages, founded in Bath in ; in Germany there is the Gesellschaft fr bedrohte Sprachen, founded in Cologne in [address: Institut f. Sprachwissenschaft, Univ. Kln, Kln] but they are very limited by shortage of funds. It seems to me, though, that if we are concerned by the processes of globalization, as they affect language, then one of the ways in which we can actually do something is to work towards preserving our world linguistic heritage.

While recognizing the importance of world languages as a means of fostering international intelligibility, we must not forget the importance of indigenous languages as a means of fostering community identity. We need both. A world in which there was only one language left probably, but not necessarily English a scenario which could in theory obtain within years would be an ecological intellectual disaster of unprecedented scale. It is our responsibility to work towards ensuring that this does not happen. The answer to this last question is, of course, yes.

Indeed, it is the arrival of unprecedented numbers of loan words into other languages that has been one of the most notable trends in the past half century. Cultures vary greatly in their response to this influx, and within each culture there are mixed attitudes, as the surveys by Grlach , have made very clear. Some people welcome them , seeing them as a source of lexical enrichment; more puristically minded people condemn them, seeing them as an attack on traditional language values. Organizations have been set up to fight them. In some famous cases, attempts have been made to ban them the loi Toubon in France being perhaps the best-known instance.

The energy and emotion generated has to be respected, but at the same time history tells us very firmly that it is misplaced. All languages have always been in contact with other languages. All languages have always borrowed words from other languages. And no language community has ever succeeded in stopping this process taking place. The only way to do so would be to take ones language away from contact with other languages.

But no-one would want the social and economic isolationism that such a policy would imply. There is a fallacy underlying the anti-borrowing position. Purists believe that borrowing words from other languages will lead to their own language changing its character and that this is a disaster. Change there certainly will. Disaster there certainly wont be.


The evidence, of course, comes from English itself. A search through the Oxford English Dictionary shows that English over the centuries has borrowed words from over other languages. This has changed the character of English dramatically. English today is not like the English of Anglo-Saxon times. English is actually a Romance language, from the lexical point of view.

I always find it ironic that when the French, for example, complain about some of the English words currently entering French, in many cases these are words which have a French or Latin origin such as computer. As a result of all this, English has changed its character, undoubtedly. But has this been a bad thing? Much of the impact of Chaucer and Shakespeare to take just two of many authors is due to their ability to work with all that multilingual vocabulary.

And everyone benefits, in a lexically enriched language. In English we have many doublets and triplets, such as kingly, royal, and regal, which stem from the borrowing history of the language one Germanic, one French, one Latin. Three words for the same basic concept allows a whole range of stylistic nuances to be expressed which would not otherwise have been possible. Loan words always add semantic value to a language, providing people with the opportunity to express their thoughts in a more nuanced way.

This is exactly what is happening with English in other languages at the moment: young people, for example, find many English loan words cool, in a way that the older generation does not, and their expressiveness is empowered as a consequence. Many social domains now actively and creatively make use of English words in advertising, for example, where the use of an English lexicon can actually help to sell goods. It is, of course, the same in English, but the other way round. French words in English help to sell perfume. And one of the most widely used expressions borrowed into English via TV ads in the past decade or so was Vorsprung durch Technik.

When a language adopts words and also sounds and grammatical constructions it adapts them. This is the repeated history of English, as it has spread around the world, evolving New Englishes. This will happen to the loan-words currently entering German and other languages too. When the French word restaurant entered English it slowly changed its meaning, losing the French nasal vowel in the final syllable to end up first with restuh-rong and eventually the modern pronunciation rest-ront. English words change their pronunciation, and eventually their English character, when they are re-pronounced in other languages.

The syllabification which has affected English words entering Japanese is a well-studied case: several. Such labels are not jocular though they are often used thus: they are intuitive attempts to characterize what is happening linguistically around the world, as languages become increasingly in contact with each other. They are a prime example of the point that human language cannot be controlled. The more a language becomes a national, then an international, then a global language, the more it ceases to be in the ownership of its originators. English itself has long since ceased to be owned by anyone, and is now open to the influence of all who choose to use it.

That is why it is changing so much, as it moves around the globe, and why the scenario of an English family of languages is likely to be the main development of the 21st-century. One of the new varieties, incidentally, will be German: a patently German-influenced variety of English already exists, and is bound to develop further in due course. The reason that vocabulary attracts all the attention is because the lexicon is the area where change is most rapid and noticeable.

People are aware of new words, and new meanings of words. But not all borrowings attract the same amount of attention.


Loan words tend to be of two types: words for concepts which the language never expressed before as in much Internet vocabulary ; and words for concepts which were already expressed by a perfectly satisfactory local word. It is this second category which attracts the criticism, because there is a fear that the new word will replace the old one. It is a misplaced fear, as I have said, for two reasons.