Monday, December 31, 2007
half life of a language
I was wondering out loud the other day to Jacob Z about the chances of packing up our language and starting something fresh. Not for practical reasons, really, but just because ...
... well I think that one day the rest of the world might just get fed up with English. Not because it is ubiquitous, but because it is increasingly being used as the language of choice by liars.
More and more people are learning to speak English for the reach of its imperative tense : "don't miss out" - "get yours before the price goes up" - "find a Russian bride" - "stop your WMD program (or we'll use ours)"
When commerce and false diplomacy take a language hostage, how long can it really last before people tune out? I imagine that within my lifetime people around the world will (as the French do) hear a few words in English and stop listening, because they are tired of being sold something.