Friday, 24 September 2010

English Language

"English doesn't borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them over, and goes through their pockets for loose grammar."

Having stumbled on the above quote, and appreciating it's sentiments, I spent a couple of minutes trying to track down the original author. I found a couples of possibilities but no one who was a clear candidate. But in Wikipeadia, the fount of all knowledge, I did find a simular statement which is could have been derived from:

“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 Nicoll (1990)

I've always pictured the English language like a pirate... Stealing words from other languages... Making obsolete words walk the plank... We have such a wealth of words from all manner of locations, Ancient German, Ancient French, Latin, Hindi... And I like how we use ancient foreign words in the manner that they were used hundreds of years ago, whilst the original language no longer uses that word, and the English words used at the same time have suffered from meaning changes...

In my search I also found:

If the English language made any sense, a catastrophe would be an apostrophe with fur.
- Doug Larson

Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don't see any.
- Orson Scott Card

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