The Purity of the English language

After having a semi-serious discussion on IRC with a melting pot of English degree students, English as second language Scandinavians and self-centered Americans on whether Instant Messaging systems like IRC and MSN Messenger are responsible for the deterioration of the English language, this blog entry on Chocolate and Vodka made me laugh.

“The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”
– James D. Nicoll

“English is the result of Norman men-at-arms attempting to pick up Saxon barmaids and is no more legitimate than any of the other results.”
– H. Beam Piper

Update 04/01/05: I watched StarSpell, a celebrity spelling bee contest for charity on TV while preparing dinner last night, and it proved this on so many levels; Italian, German, French, Latin… at least 4-5 words per each round of ten were very heavily borrowed from another language. Ah well, it was still fun to watch!

2 thoughts on “The Purity of the English language

  1. Rafael

    This is not a privileg juts for English itself, Portuguese (my first language) and spanish are being “deteriorated” too.. but if you take into account that languages in general change very, very fast, it’s just a kind of “natural sellection” for communication. We tend to be more and more concise, I couldn’t picture myself writing or talking like my Great-Grand father…

  2. Matt

    Yes, another MySpace geek… I’m sort of between websites right now, so that’ll have to do.

    Anyway, nothing major, just followed the link here from the “Chocolate and Vodka” blog you quoted above, looking for the rest of your comment, and thought you might appreciate another Canadian with a facination for language (would that be a “linguophile”???) stopping by to say, “Eh!”

    Anyway, that’s “aboot” it… running out the door to work, or I’d leave something a little more in-depth. Cheerio! (No, not the cereal).

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