lunes, 29 de agosto de 2011

Read the joke and give your views on it considering language variations and linguistic imperialism.

An American visiting England walked into a hotel lobby. "The lift will be down presently", said the receptionist. "Oh, you mean the elevator." "No, I mean the lift." replied the Englishman. "I think I should know what it is called", said the American. "Elevators were invented in the States." "Perhaps" retorted the Englishman. "But we invented the language.

Nowadays, the Globalization process has lead humanity to share cultural traits. One of the most common ways to be connected is through language, and consequently there is always one or two which are favored.

To begin with, the language that appears to be preferred nowadays is English because of many reasons. It is simpler than others, it is widely used and recognized by people from very distant communities, and it is the language used by the most powerful countries in the world, so everybody needs to manage it. One may believe that when a specific language is established, it will never change and all its users will get used to it as it is. However, as every living language, it suffers from various series of changes during its existence. How? When people speak, let us say English, they modify it in several aspects, from pronunciation to spelling. After some time of dwelling with those modifications (as they are shared by a group of people) they become part of the language in the form of coined terms, or even new sublanguages.

Some examples of those new languages are Chinglish, Globish, Spanglish, etc. Those dialects began as English, but as their native people began to use it and modified it, those changes remained until they turned into a new language. This always leads to misunderstandings, jokes, problems and other issues that are generated by the native speakers of the main language, who usually feel negative emotions towards the various changes that their mother tongue suffers. Subsequently, we should consider what is important for a language, whether its origins or its actual use. In other words, we all know that a language cannot stand the test of time if it does not evolve according to peoples’ needs and new trends. That happened with coined languages such as Esperanto (that failed because of a lack of context), and also with Latin, as its users widespread around the world and kept on modifying it to be able to communicate with different cultures.

Furthermore, something similar happened with the different varieties of languages like the Spanish from Spain and the one from Latin America (and the different varieties within this continent), and American, British, and other varieties of English. At the beginning, the different regions felt animosity towards the rest and the way they used the language, but then they started to get along and accept their differences. Nevertheless, there is still rivalry between American and British English, like the enmity between American and British English institutes in Uruguay. Sometimes English people look down on Americans because of the modifications they have done to the language, but it is actually because they have different lifestyles. Besides, the USA is newer, so it is seen as less important or serious, and it opens its doors to people from all cultures, while British people are less flexible in this aspect, they do not want to have modifications in their language.

All in all, English is the language preferred by the inhabitants of our Global Village, who usually modify it. This is controversial, but we should consider those changes as the core of its existence, and try to be open minded and keep updated.

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