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

From: Alain LaBonté  (
Date: Wed Dec 20 2000 - 14:58:18 EST

À 11:13 2000-12-20 -0500, John Cowan a écrit:
>Alain LaBonté [in fact, not me] wrote:
>[author unknown]
> > Is English the best marketing and communication tool?

>This diatribe would perhaps have more force (though not be
>as widely intelligible) were it written in something other
>than English.

[author unknown]
> > 70% of
> > the world population has no knowledge of it

>Reliable figures in this field are notoriously hard to come by,
>but I suspect this one is inflated.

[author unknown]
> > From 1880 up to the second world war, multilingualism - not
> > monolinguism - was the rule. Every participant would present
> > his work in his own native tongue.

>Now this is definitely inflated. It is notorious that 19th
>century Russian science was conducted almost entirely in German,
>with honorable exceptions. And the participants were
>restricted to Western European nations almost entirely,
>avery different situation from today's.

[author unknown]
> > The new language Gestapo that patrols the Internet to blast traces of
> > languages
> > other than English,

>Now this is both silly and offensive, in addition to invoking
>Godwin's law ("when the Nazis are mentioned, the
>debate is over").
>I yield to no one in my enthusiasm for America-bashing, but to
>compare intellectual arrogance with political imperialism,
>state terror, and the physical extermination of whole peoples
>is going much too far.
>There is / one art || John Cowan <>
>no more / no less ||
>to do / all things ||
>with art- / lessness \\ -- Piet Hein

[Alain] Btw this text is not from me (I still try to know who is its author).

   That said, what you say about the Godwin's law (thanks for the
reference, I had not heard about it) is absolutely of age in Québec these
days (you know, somebody who is not using terms that are "toitally and
dogmatically politically correct" here is being told names and considered a
nazi, to the point where innocents are condemned for just telling the bare
truth even with nuances. I will skip this discussion as this would lead us
too far, as you say.

   To come back to the text I posted, I think one should make abstraction
of the details and consider it is giving us a quite accurate portrait of

   Considering what you contest, if you say that the figure of 70% of the
world population having no knowledge of English is inflated, I must say
that you probably don't live on the same planet where I live... Just as an
indication, Québec, a 7.5-million-people island of French speakers which is
surrounded by an ocean of monolithically English-speaking community of 300
million users of this language public-wise (I mean outside of homes), does
not speak English (at least not enough to understand a simple question on
the phone and answer it) in a proportion of approximately two thirds. And
all these people -- we are perhaps among the most TV-cabled people -- have
access to all American broadcast TV networks, online, as we share the
Eastern North American Time zone. If these people, so, who are exposed all
the time to an English-speaking sea, have this profile, I personally can
imagine that a figure of 70% of the world not having a knowledge of English
appears to me underevaluated, on the contrary of what you say.

Alain LaBonté

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