Re: [langue-fr] L'anglais est-il une langue universelle ?

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Wed Dec 20 2000 - 13:14:20 EST

Ar 06:56 -0800 2000-12-20, scríobh Alain LaBonté :
>Is English the best marketing and communication tool?

But I suspect he didn't write it. It looks very much like the kind of thing
an enthusiastic second-year university student would write as a term paper.

>Yet, it is surprising to find out that many Internet users believe
>that restricting expression to English only on the net is necessary
>to bridge our differences and make it possible for us to fully
>understand one another.

It certainly would be surprising to find this out. I certainly don't know
anyone who thinks it's the way to go.

>As a minority, what right do native English speakers have to foist
>English upon a world majority?

This is one of the points that I found particularly offensive. (John has
already mentioned the Nazi noise.) I'm happy speaking Spanish and Irish and
French and Danish and German and English and yeah, some other languages
too. I know plenty of speakers of those languages, and of many others, who
are happy enough speaking English in various situations. Lots of them are
proud of their English, and, considering some of the more challenging
features English presents to learners, that's pretty justifiable.

>Because they have devised the Internet?

Yes. It's all true. All 400 million of us native speakers of English have
conspired together to devise the Internet for the purpose of destabilizing
and wiping out all the other languages.

>Scientific creativity feeds on language and language
>structures as the linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf has clearly shown.

The rhetoric here also alerted me to the term-paperishness of this essay.

>Imposing the exclusive use of a one and unique foreign language on a
>high level professional makes him aphasic.

Our writer should look up the facts of aphasia.

>The imposition of English goes very much with the development of the
>simplistic, manicheist and strongly biased anglo-american mind.

Uh, right. I suppose that what the writer means by "manicheist" is
"Manichaean", a particular kind of dualistic Christian philosophy. While I
am indeed partial to the advaita nondualistic philosophies of Buddhism and
Hinduism, I would point out to the writer that dualism is common in many
non-Anglo-American cultures. Yin and Yang spring to mind.

>American-inspired netiquette is mostly aimed at making
>comfortable a society that is opened only to itself.

Yes, I certainly enjoy receiving spam in Korean and Chinese. It's such a
pleasure not to have to put up with "netiquette", isn't it.

Well that's about enough.

A book which *is* interesting is Robert Phillipson's _Linguistic
imperialism_, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-437146-8

Michael Everson ** Everson Gunn Teoranta **
15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire/Ireland
Mob +353 86 807 9169 ** Fax +353 1 478 2597 ** Vox +353 1 478 2597
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn; Baile an Bhóthair; Co. Átha Cliath; Éire

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