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Something in common: should English be the official language of the EU? | Philip Oltermann. Money talks, especially in Brussels. A billion euros are usually "mil milhoes de euros" in Portuguese, or a thousand million. In Spanish, likewise, "billón" means a million million, so billion is "mil millones de euros". Confusingly, "billion" translates as "milijarde" into Croatian, or "miljard" into Dutch. When the French talk of "un billion", they are referring to what Britons call a trillion. Oh, and a German "Billiarde" is a French "quadrillion". Of course. Translation in the EU's headquarters is a complicated – and often costly – business. In these austere times, national governments are eager to trim the EU budget, which is one reason why a recent speech by the German president was welcomed with such enthusiasm. But how realistic is it? But if northern and eastern member states would welcome English as an official language, the south would be up in arms.

There would be legal obstacles too. How about alternative solutions? Japan’s New Business Language by Hiroshi Mikitani. TOKYO – Five years ago, I stood before several thousand mostly native Japanese speakers and addressed them in English. From now on, I told them, Rakuten – Japan’s largest online marketplace, of which I am CEO – would conduct all of its business, from official meetings to internal emails, in English. I still remember the shocked expressions on listeners’ faces. Their reaction was certainly understandable. No major Japanese company had ever changed its official language. But the simple fact is that adopting the English language is vital to the long-term competitiveness of Japanese business. Saving the IMF Following this year’s reform-free IMF meeting, former Fund official Ashoka Mody sizes up the best thinking about its post-crisis challenges.

PS On Point: Your review of the world’s leading opinions on global issues. Of course, my decision faced plenty of criticism. But I was not deterred. There is another benefit to using English in business: The language has few power markers. Learn more. Tanzania dumps English as its official language in schools, opts for Kiswahili. Tanzania is set to become the first sub-Saharan African country to use an African language as the medium of instruction throughout the schooling years. As part of far-reaching plans to reform education, President Jakaya Kikwete’s administration announced last week that, going forward, education in Tanzania will have Kiswahili as the sole language of instruction.

Currently, public education in Tanzania is bilingual, as it has been since the country’s independence from the British in 1961. At primary level, students are taught in Kiswahili, with English a part of the curriculum as a language subject. At secondary school level, and all the way up to university, the learning process is reversed, with English becoming the medium of instruction. As someone who is a product of this education, I am pleased that Kikwete is bringing some clarity to a system that has for generations left students confused and not necessarily proficient in either language. But is it smart policy? English or Hinglish - which will India choose? 26 November 2012Last updated at 19:02 ET By Zareer Masani Writer and broadcaster Today's aspirational Indians want their children to go to a school where lessons are taught in English.

But often the pupils leave speaking a language that would not be recognised in London or New York. Could this Hinglish be the language of India's future? Why, half a century after Indian independence, does English remain the language of higher education, national media, the upper judiciary and bureaucracy and corporate business? The answer is that India, unlike its rival Asian giant China, has no truly national language of its own. Hindi, the official language of central government, is an artificial and largely unspoken 20th Century construct.

Even the colloquial Hindustani of Bollywood films is spoken by only 40% of the population, concentrated in the "cow belt" of northern India. The rest of the subcontinent speaks hundreds of regional vernaculars. Continue reading the main story Hinglish lesson “Start Quote. How dialects from Trinidad to Hawaii are expanding the limits of English | the world in words. Here’s a post from Nina Porzucki. There are probably as many terms for different kinds of English vernacular as there are vernaculars themselves: pidgin, patois, slang, creole dialect and so on. But while we usually think of the vernaculars as oral versions of the English language, they’re making their way into the written word as well. “There’s a really interesting paradox going on, where you’re taking something that’s constantly changing — and that people don’t expect to see written down — and you’re making it codified and setting it down for a wider audience,” says Dohra Ahmad, editor of an anthology of vernacular literature called Rotten English.

M. NourbeSe Philip (pictured above) is one of the authors included in the anthology. She speaks and writes Trinidadian Creole but points out that the process of getting the language on the page is much the same as writing in Standard English. “You can’t write it exactly as the person speaks it,” she says. Like this: Like Loading... Students want English as medium of instruction. What the World Will Speak in 2115. In 1880 a Bavarian priest created a language that he hoped the whole world could use.

He mixed words from French, German and English and gave his creation the name Volapük, which didn’t do it any favors. Worse, Volapük was hard to use, sprinkled with odd sounds and case endings like Latin. It made a splash for a few years but was soon pushed aside by another invented language, Esperanto, which had a lyrical name and was much easier to master. A game learner could pick up its rules of usage in an afternoon. But it didn’t matter. Science fiction often presents us with whole planets that speak a single language, but that fantasy seems more menacing here in real life on this planet we call home—that is, in a world where some worry that English might eradicate every other language.

But the existence of so many languages can also create problems: It isn’t an accident that the Bible’s tale of the Tower of Babel presents multilingualism as a divine curse meant to hinder our understanding. Dr. English will fragment into 'global dialects' English as a global language flashcards. Jay Walker: The world's English mania. Attitudes. Why Can’t Johnny Write? Don’t Blame Social Media. Books were my best friends, when I was growing up. I read all the time, but wrote little. It wasn’t until I hit my teens that I began to write regularly for fun. None of it was very good, but I had, thanks to countless hours between book covers, learned a little something about structure, grammar, even spelling.

This made me a better-than-average writer for my age and someone who peppered his conversations with big words (mostly because I loved the sound of them). My teenage children read less than I did when I was their age. The two of them spend hours on their phones, ingesting viral content or chatting on Facebook, while I spent my time with books and TV. Despite the generational shift in reading habits, my children are above average writers (although this could be because their parents have writing backgrounds). David Abulafia would be surprised, too. Facebook and Twitter are sending essay skills “down the plug hole.” Facebook and Twitter are sending essay skills “down the plug hole.” A Compromise: How To Be A Reasonable Prescriptivist | harm·less drudg·ery. Dear Language Peever: Welcome to harm•less drudg•ery! You are here because you googled something like “literally killed English” or “different than is wrong” or “irregardless not a word.”

Allow me to introduce myself: I’m that lady from the dictionary that made that stupid video about “irregardless.” Behold: I am a dread descriptivist. Before you stomp off in a fit of pique, hear me out (if only because I used the right “pique”). Many people assume you and I are on different sides of the Great Grammar Debate–in fact, you probably assume this–but we have much in common. So in a spirit of bonhomie, I’m reaching across the aisle: I’m going to give you tools to be an informed prescriptivist and then let you go on your merry, doomsaying way, never to tell you to lighten the hell up again. Step 1: Learn what prescriptivism and descriptivism really are.

In fact, do everyone a favor and just stop talking about “descriptivists vs. prescriptivists.” Step 2: Learn what dictionaries actually do. Language Wars. From the first time we step into an English class, we’re told that the rules matter, that they must be followed, that we must know when it’s appropriate to use a comma and what it means to employ the subjunctive mood. But do these things really matter? Outside of the classroom, what difference does it make if we write “who” instead of “whom” or say “good” instead of “well”?

It does make a difference, at least sometimes. In order to determine when those times are, the question must be asked: For whom are you writing? Take that last sentence, for example. As Joan Acocella wrote recently in The New Yorker, “Every statement is subjective, partial, full of biases and secret messages.” The above sentence is no exception. But how different would things be if I walked into the sports bar down the street on a Sunday afternoon and asked, “For whom are we rooting today?” Why did it go so wrong? This is not even to mention the descriptivists’ dirty little secret. Teen slang: What's, like, so wrong with like? 28 September 2010Last updated at 15:50 By Denise Winterman BBC News Magazine Teenage slang - do I not like that? Actress Emma Thompson says young people make themselves sound stupid by speaking slang outside of school.

But while the use of the word "like" might annoy her, it fulfils a useful role in everyday speech. "That's, like, so unfair. " One response to Emma Thompson's comments likely to trigger a rush of steam from her ears. The Oscar winner has spoken out against the use of sloppy language. But is peppering one's sentences with "like" such a heinous crime against the English tongue? Language experts are more understanding of teen culture than Thompson, pointing out the word's many uses. But fillers are a way we all stall for time when speaking and historically always have.

"It is not a lazy use of language, that is a common fallacy among non-linguists," he says. "We have always used words to plug gaps or make sentences run smoothly. Thompson just isn't part of the "like" club. Fascist Workplace Phonics or: How i learned to stop worrying and love phonology Fascism. Is internet English debasing the language? Not IMHO | Steven Poole | Books. The internet might be a historic boon for kitten-fanciers and steaming-eared trolls, but it's not all good news. Online writing, you see, is destroying the purity of English as we know it and threatening to dumb us all down into a herd of screen-jabbing illiterates. Or so runs one regular technophobic complaint, the latest version of which has been offered by Robert McCrum. He is worried about what he describes as "the abuse and impoverishment of English online (notably, in blogs and emails)" and what he perceives as "the overall crassness of English prose in the age of global communications".

The remedy, as so often for such linguo-pessimists, is George Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language", about whose loopy prescriptions I have previously recorded my own reservations. But is it really true that English is being abused and impoverished in "blogs and emails"? Of course there's a lot of bad writing on the web, but there's a lot of very good writing too.

2b or not 2b: David Crystal on why texting is good for language. Last year, in a newspaper article headed "I h8 txt msgs: How texting is wrecking our language", John Humphrys argued that texters are "vandals who are doing to our language what Genghis Khan did to his neighbours 800 years ago. They are destroying it: pillaging our punctuation; savaging our sentences; raping our vocabulary. And they must be stopped. " As a new variety of language, texting has been condemned as "textese", "slanguage", a "digital virus".

According to John Sutherland of University College London, writing in this paper in 2002, it is "bleak, bald, sad shorthand. Drab shrinktalk ... Linguistically it's all pig's ear ... it masks dyslexia, poor spelling and mental laziness. Texting is penmanship for illiterates. " Ever since the arrival of printing - thought to be the invention of the devil because it would put false opinions into people's minds - people have been arguing that new technology would have disastrous consequences for language.

("Too wise you are . . . ") My luv adorz. 'Only pizzas are delivered': Public sector jargon banned in first style guide for Government announcements - UK Politics - UK. But no more. Britain’s cadre of real life civil servants have finally been banned from using the jargon that has kept the comedy writers from Yes Minister to the Thick Of It in gags for years. Officials have been issued with an online style guide that tells them, for the first time, what unacceptable Whitehallese is. Out goes ‘deliver’. Pizzas and post are delivered, it points out, not abstract concepts like ‘improvements’ or ‘priorities’.

Officials can no long ‘drive’ anything out (unless it is cattle) or ‘foster’ (unless it is children). Tackling is also banned (unless Sir Humphrey or Terri Coverley are playing rugby or football) while the ‘key’ should always be in the lock. Overall more than 30 terms of jargon that have crept into Government announcements and policy documents over the years have been placed off-limits. There will be no more advancing, collaborating, combating or pledging. People will no longer be empowered. “The style is about writing clearly, concisely and without jargon.