On May 4, 2007, at 7:27 PM, Robert Dober wrote:

> On 5/3/07, Rick DeNatale <rick.denatale / gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 5/2/07, Robert Dober <robert.dober / gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> > You mean you want to have your cake *and* eat it ;)?
>>
>> Actually, this is no problem at all, in fact you have to have your
>> cake before you eat it.
>>
>> The trick is to eat your cake and have it too.
>>
>> Almost everyone gets this old saying backwards.
> As the English language is the greatest victim of trivialization by
> foreign speakers and writers I appreciate enormously to get these
> things right.
> It is a great irony that countries like France, where I happen to
> live, are very worried about the influence of English - and they are
> right because I do not feel that English verbs scale very nicely into
> latin languages but this is beyond my point.
>
> The true "victim" of English's globalization is English itself. But
> that is how languages have evolved for millennia now and there is
> nothing we can do about it. (Imagine the shock Sallust, Cicero or
> Caesar would have had when hearing the vulgo from of Latin that gave
> birth to latin languages).
This is OT.
But I'll bite.
Utter nonsense. Languages are never victims. No human language is  
canonical. It isn't possible. English is one of the few languages  
whose grammar books are not dictated by committee, but updated to  
reflect modern usage. English, like all human languages is flexible  
and fuzzy. Now the number of speakers of English as a second language  
outnumber native English speakers. This simply means that English now  
has more dialects than ever and where they all overlap is where you  
will find the language. Language and culture are often difficult to  
separate and thus societies attempt to preserve something that is  
intangible. Language and culture are organic and depend on each  
connection between individuals to identify what is and is not  
functioning symbolic code for communication of ideas. Language is its  
own disruptive technology. It contradicts, counteracts and alters  
itself. Often words do or eventually will have exactly opposite or  
wholly different meanings from their origins.
English has no foreign speakers. English has no single country or  
nation. It has always historically been a mix-in. There is not and  
never has been such a concept as a pure language.
Thus, nobody is trivializing any language. Native speakers of any  
given language will often and naturally take it for granted.
Sallust, Cicero and Caesar would hardly have been shocked by Latin  
pidgins and creoles. Those existed in their time. It was always an  
effect of expansion of communication and interaction, all provided  
primarily by advancing and spreading technology (roads, writing,  
commerce) and a little dash of imperialism to boot.