February 14, 2010

Grumping about language

I added this to Mick's post on Anatreptic about the use of French in the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympics:

Less than 1/6th of Canadians self-identify as ethnically French, but they have successfully conducted a parasitic racket against the rest of the country for several decades with the connivance of the political and media classes. The same parasitism is used by Francophones in Belgium and the EU, but the scale of Quebec's achievement is most impressive. I tend to agree with De Gaulle, 'Vive le Québec libre!', that is let Quebec secede. Of course it doesn't because that would end the lucrative racket as well as all the bullshit of involuntary bi-lingualism.

On the point about Spanish, sure let Spanish be freely used everywhere in America (and Urdu in London) except where funded by taxes, ie all government. If the ATM forces me to press a button to transact in English, that's fine as long as I have a choice to change to a bank that wants my business more. Let there be a free market for language.

In fact English is the language of freedom. It's the most expressive, most unruly, most adaptable, most omnivorous, most mongrel of languages with the untouchable advantage of Shakespeare. For the most part we think and dream the thoughts to which our languages pre-dispose us and English itself may be why we are still free (sort of). The threat isn't Spanish or Mandarin but Newspeak and the corruption of language and thought by terms such as 'diversity' or 'abuse' or 'appropriate' or 'tolerance' or 'hatespeech'. Therapyspeak is one gateway drug for Newspeak, but there are plenty. The weapons of freedom in this crucial war are English and the Internet. Keep English sharp and the Internet unruly.

A link to "Politics and the English Language" is called for.

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