I said language was a class thing: I did not say that was a CAUSE of the
dominance of English. Class differences are not limited to English as the
comments about Quebec French show. (Were those not your comments?)
But the class thing is, indeed, the cause of other things--like
discrimination and assumptions of superiority and so on.
Date sent: Fri, 10 Jan 2003 20:28:50 EST
Send reply to: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From: Kate Troy <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: The Reason for English
To: [log in to unmask]
In a message dated 1/10/03 5:18:31 PM !!!First Boot!!!,
[log in to unmask] writes:
> Language has always been a "class thing," which is part of what I meant
> by "unfortunate."
I don't think that is the true account of why English is the world
language. I think it has more to do with the dominance of the American
economy and international business, and this has not much to do with
class, since many Europeans put Americans down for being '"plebeian,"
our gas guzzling SUV's and ultra middle class society. As far as class
goes, it's considered very classy to be able to speak French, certainly.
But, there's an explanation beyond Class or the American economy or the
American military. It's the reason why the French young people after
leaving the bars at night sing American and British rock songs in the
early hours of the morning on the rues in English. There's a reason why
photos of Jim Morrison may be found at hundreds of shops on the West Bank
and hung at practically all cafes. There's a reason why thousands of
French persons could recite these lyrics to me in English:
My Spanish Harlem Mona Lisa
You're my reason for reason
The step in my groove
And you said this life
Aint good enough
I would give my world to lift you up
I could change my life to better
Suit your mood
Cause you're so smooth.
Give me your heart make it real
or else forget about it.
So, I thought the reason is not just business. . . but also music and
Indeed, it has been said that English is the ultra communication
But then, I asked my husband. Is English the best communication language.
Is it the most expressive language? He is totally fluent in two languages,
and very knowledgeable in two others. He said to me no, that it is indeed
our dominance in the world, that to really make it any medium that you
have to capture the imagination of America, that Spanish and French are
extremely expressive, communicative also, in their own right. But so, why
do they sing these songs English then? Husband says because this is where
it is happening . . . because we're so smooth.